When did you decide it was time to take JLPT?

and what new doors did passing it give you ?


Honestly, unless you’re planning on getting a job in Japan, going to a Japanese school, or being a translator, it probably won’t open too many doors. I’m just using the JLPT as a personal challenge, a way to test myself, and as a way to guide my grammar study for a couple of years.


I was at a low point back in March after being burned out on my studies and just finding out I had failed to make the shortlist for the JET program, so instead of sitting there upset I decided to apply for the JLPT. It really motivated me to start studying again despite the fact that I was already close to N4, and even though I still haven’t done much since then, I have a shiny N4 certificate that I wouldn’t otherwise have. It doesn’t help me too much in terms of opportunities, but I can’t complain about having it.

Disclaimer: The JLPT certificate is not shiny. I was very disappointed to find this out


the n3 ones and above may or may not be shiny :eyes:

looks like you’re gonna have to aim for n3 to find out…


Are they really shiny? I must know… :eyes:

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After I’d studied in Japan for several months I felt like I could take the N3 to have tangible proof that I’d been studying well lmao

Very childish, but you could say it helped me motivate myself more and structure my studoes.


i heard the n3 one glitters a little, and you can use the n1 one to read without lamp.


I got myself a consistent study partner, and the JLPT was a natural milestone marker. It personally helps us to have a very clear and concrete assessment of progress. We don’t study specifically towards it most of the year, but do keep it in mind. The listening part in particular is a good reminder/motivator not to neglect studying weak points (speaking/listening).


I decided to take N5 back in 2016. I failed (by 2 points). Took again in 2017 and failed again (by 3 points this time :roll_eyes:).
At this point I decided I was done with JLPT.


I studied Japanese at uni. At about the middle of my first year, the lecturers went “hey look, there’s this thing called the JLPT, and you lot ought to be able to pass N5 by the end of this session, and incidentally, registrations close this month”. So I applied. And I passed.

Passed N3 two years later, though some of my classmates were doing N2 at the same time. I haven’t thought of trying for N2 or N1 myself since, though.


My story is similar to @Belthazar’s.
During the second year of Japanese class, the teacher mentioned we had at least the level to pass N5, and we may be as good as N4 by the end. My classmates went for N5 and I think I was the only one yoloing N4. I did pass, so I guess the teacher was right :slight_smile: Something similar happened with N3, while I was taking an intensive class in Japan.
For N2, I was instead motivated by people around me attempting it. I was “self-studying” at the time (i.e. I was binge reading manga) which really wasn’t enough to get to that level. Even reading cover to cover a JLPT grammar book 2 weeks before the test didn’t save me (who would have thought :p). That being said, I got it on the second attempt, doing exactly the same thing.
Then, I was quite stuck in my studies, until I found a website called Jalup. It helped me get a much better vocab, and convinced me to attempt N1. I did study grammar seriously, that time. Still, I ended up missing it by 3 points. I was a bit bummed out but still registered again. That time, I did nothing in terms of study; I was just enjoying reading novels (and non-fiction books) in Japanese. That did help, as I managed to breeze through the reading section, while I could hear people complain about how long/hard the text were during the break before listening. Both of the other sections were worst than the first time, but reading alone gave me more than half the required points, so I managed to pass anyway :joy:

In terms of opened doors, I would not have gotten an interview for my current position without that certificate.


I’m starting up on the intermediate level of JALUP. Since you’re ahead of me, can you tell me about your experience with it? :slight_smile:

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Well, I’ve never bought any of the decks, so my knowledge of the content is a bit limited.
When I got there, there was 100 free cards from the intermediate deck that were there to ease you into monolingual cards, and that helped a lot. I was a bit confused by the choice of words at first (stuff like 有様 物事 様子 and the like, which all felt very abstract), but then I realized that they are virtually in all monolingual definitions. So, indeed, learning those words first made making and using J-J cards much easier.
Past that, I used the guide on the site to make my own cards, based on stuff I was reading (mostly manga and blogs, as well as definitions of other words). I ended up making 15~20 cards everyday. More than anything, the card got me to have a learning routine; after reviewing cards, I would make new ones, then study a bit of grammar, then read something in Japanese, everyday. I think the consistency is really key. It helped me a lot getting to the point were I could read actual novels, which in turn got me to the N1 level.

It’s funny that I stopped anki after the first failure and didn’t actually study for the second attempt, but I still think that all the efforts I did at that time is what got me to almost N1 in the first place.

Tl;dr: The Jalup guides were really useful, the few cards I have seen were good too and the ordering made a lot of sense. I was too broke to buy the full set, but in any case I think making your own cards has a higher impact on retention, so I don’t really mind it.


I’ve only attempted the JLPT once (N3, and I juuuuust barely didn’t make it :angry:) and am going to try again next year, but mainly I want to have some sort of quantifiable level for my Japanese ability because that makes me happy. I also would love to work in some sort of public service section of the national parks or other environmental science field, and having that certificate to stick on my resume can only help my chances as communication is (obviously) important.

I originally decided to take it just to see if I would pass after a few years of college Japanese and self study, and I’m too stubborn to let it go now…

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I decided that I was ready to take it towards the end of this year, I’m currently studying a Japanese Major at university and am starting N3 content in 2020. I asked my teacher and he said that I was ready for the N4. I’ll be taking the N5 since I have to travel so far for the test, I want to make sure I can pass ('^-^).

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Last year, a couple of my friends were leaving Japan, but before they left they wanted to take the July JLPT (N1 & N3). I was going to take it with them in camaraderie but I was going to take N4.

My friend who was going to take N3 said I should just try it with her. So I did, not thinking I was going to pass. (Because I was still doing N4 stuff, hadn’t even touched N3 except for Kanji.) But I ended up passing! (Barely. My friend got almost perfect marks. :joy:)

A month later, I got transferred to a new workplace. One where the amount of Japanese I was exposed to/needed to use was a lot higher than my previous one. My predecessor was, let’s say, way more skilled in Japanese than I was. So I felt really awkward. So I decided that I needed to really really buckle down and study. I took the N2 this past July and passed it swimmingly, since I actually studied a lot for that entire year in-between.

And then, since I was in such a good studying mood and I was riding the high of doing great on the N2, I went “Why not?” and registered for the N1 for this December and took it. And now we wait to see if my gamble paid off…

For what doors opened?
Well I got my new job before I even decided to take my first JLPT.
This year I did a short internship at a ryokan that required N2 or equivalent. (Though I technically only found out I passed N2 like a week before I did my internship. It was already guaranteed before then.)

Honestly, so far the opportunities I’ve gotten were because of me studying for the JLPT and the skill I obtain from it, more than the certificate itself.


That’s the only reason I took N3. Everyone kept talking about it and finally I was like “fiiine!”


Same! This seems like a very common experience! :joy:

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I was going to wait until I felt ready for the N3, but abruptly decided to take the N4 for practice and to see how I was coming along. Currently I’m awaiting the results as I continue studying. I kind of wung it so we’ll see how it went.

The JLPT wasn’t actually about what doors passing would open (at first), but just a way to structure my study when I came to Japan for JET. I like having set goals, and the structure of several JLPT book lines appealed to me as I was facing self-study of lower-intermediate Japanese (where I’d left off after six years of disuse following my sophomore year of college). I thought, “It would be nice to pass N3 while I’m here. Just for fun.”

Two years later and I’ve passed N1. At a certain point, I was really, really gunning nervously for N2, because learning Japanese had transitioned from a hobby to something I wanted to tie into future work (written translation, since I hold an MFA in writing), and I wanted to get that certificate while I was guaranteed time in the country. But mostly, it’s just been about having structured study goals, which is why I’m now prepping for Kanken and Nihongo Kentei tests even though there’s no real need to. Tests and test-prep material just really click for me in managing my self-study.

As for opened doors? None I’ve taken advantage yet, but I’m definitely able to confidently apply for many, many more things than I would have been able to had I not taken the tests, once my current teaching contract ends.