Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
Shraya Singh, 11 Dec 2018
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Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) - JLPT or the Japanese Language Proficiency Test is an internationally recognized certification which attests to an individual's proficiency in the Japanese language. It is conducted globally, in 40 countries apart from Japan, by the Japan Foundation along with Japan Educational Exchange and Services (JEES). The JLPT language proficiency certification is required for non-native individuals who want to pursue education in Japan, employment which requires Japanese language proficiency or for other personal purposes. There are five different JLPT levels, the primary level being JLPT N5 and the most advanced proficiency level being JLPT N1. The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is conducted twice a year in countries other than Japan i.e. JLPT India occurs twice a year in the months of July and December. The JLPT results for the July test are generally sent to candidates in early September - October whereas the JLPT results for the December session are sent in February - March. 


JLPT Registration

In order to complete the JLPT registration, test-takers in Japan can fill out the online application form via the JEES account or mail a filled application form to the JLPT Application Center. Overseas candidates on the other hand, must complete the JLPT registration according to the method prescribed by the host institution. Therefore, the JLPT registration for the different centers offering JLPT India differs and for prospective candidates, the individual host institutions will need to be contacted regarding the details of the procedure. Depending upon the host institution, the JLPT registration will be carried out either online or offline through the Japan Foundation. Following JLPT registration, candidates will need to pay the requisite application fee which will be determined by the Japan Foundation and communicated to candidates via the specific host institutions. 


JLPT India - Dates

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is conducted twice a year at all overseas testing centers. For JLPT India, similar to other overseas test sites, the test is conducted annually in the months of July and December. The dates for JLPT India for 2019 are yet to be announced.

For prospective JLPT candidates, the dates for JLPT India for 2018 have been provided in order to understand the approximate dates for 2019. 

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JLPT India: Important Dates

JLPT session

July

December

Exam date

July 1, 2018

December 2, 2018

JLPT registration

March - April

August - December

JLPT results

September - October

February - March


JLPT India - Test Centers

There are a number of test centers for JLPT India. These JLPT India test centers are available in popular metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. The various JLPT India test centers have been listed in the table given below.


JLPT India: Test Centers

State

City

Test Center 

Delhi

New Delhi

MOSAI (Mombusho Scholar's Association of India)

Maharashtra

Pune

Japanese Language Teachers' Association, PUNE (JALTAP)

West Bengal

Kolkata

The Indo-Japan Welfare and Cultural Association

Tamil Nadu

Chennai

ABK-AOTS DOSOKAI, Tamilnadu Centre, Chennai

Karnataka

Bangalore

Bangalore Nihongo Kyooshi-kai (BNK) / JLPT Test Administrative Committee, Bangalore

Maharashtra

Mumbai

Teachers Association of Japanese (TAJ)

West Bengal

Santiniketan

Visva-Bharati


JLPT Levels

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test has five levels of proficiency for non-native speakers of Japanese. Of these five levels, JLPT N5 is the most basic/primary level of Japanese proficiency whereas JLPT N1 is the most advanced level of Japanese language proficiency. 

The JLPT assesses candidates on the basis of two major criteria which are:

  • Japanese language and grammar knowledge

  • Ability to use Japanese knowledge in real-life communication 

In order to test candidates on the basis of the above mentioned requirements, each of the JLPT levels is divided into sections or elements which are Language knowledge (vocabulary/grammar), Reading and Listening. Due to the large scale of testing, the JLPT is machine-scored; therefore, there is no test section which involves writing or speaking. The test pattern and expected language ability for the five JLPT levels have been delineated below.


  • JLPT N5

Candidates who successfully clear JLPT N5 have the ability to understand simple phrases and expressions in hiragana, katakana and kanji. Successful JLPT N5 candidates can also understand conversations encountered in daily life situations when spoken slowly in Japanese. 


JLPT N5 Details

Test sections

Duration

Scoring sections

Maximum marks

Language knowledge (vocabulary)

25 minutes

Language knowledge (vocabulary/grammar) + Reading

120

Language knowledge (grammar) + Reading

50 minutes

Listening

30 minutes

Listening

60


  • JLPT N4

Candidates who successfully clear JLPT N4 can understand passages which are on familiar daily topics written using basic kanji and vocabulary. They can also understand and follow basic conversations encountered in daily life when spoken slowly in Japanese.


JLPT N4 Details

Test sections

Duration

Scoring sections

Maximum marks

Language knowledge (vocabulary)

30 minutes

Language knowledge (vocabulary/grammar) + Reading

120

Language knowledge (grammar) + Reading

60 minutes

Listening

35 minutes

Listening

60


  • JLPT N3

Candidates who clear the JLPT N3 successfully have the ability to read and understand passages in Japanese as well as follow newspaper headlines and understand the main points of certain complex written material. Candidates can also listen to and understand basic conversations spoken in Japanese at near-native speed and also grasp the register and relationships of the people involved.


JLPT N3 Details

Test sections

Duration

Scoring sections

Maximum marks

Language knowledge (vocabulary)

30 minutes

Language knowledge (vocabulary/grammar)

60

Language knowledge (grammar) + Reading

70 minutes

Reading

60

Listening

40 minutes

Listening

60


  • JLPT N2

Candidates who clear the JLPT N2 successfully can clearly read and understand written materials on a variety of topics in Japanese including magazines, articles, commentaries etc. Candidates can also follow materials which are orally presented such as news reports and conversations spoken at a near-natural speed as well as the register used in such conversations. 


JLPT N2 Details

Test sections

Duration

Scoring sections

Maximum marks

Language knowledge (vocabulary/grammar) + Reading

105 minutes

Language knowledge (vocabulary/grammar)

60

Reading

60

Listening

50 minutes

Listening

60


  • JLPT N1

Candidates who successfully clear the JLPT N1 have obtained the most advanced level of proficiency in Japanese and can read and understand complex written material on a variety of topics. Successful JLPT N1 candidates can also converse orally and understand orally presented material extensively, even when spoken with native fluency in Japanese. 


JLPT N1 Details

Test sections

Duration

Scoring sections

Maximum marks

Language knowledge (vocabulary/grammar) + Reading

110 minutes

Language knowledge (vocabulary/grammar)

60

Reading

60

Listening

60 minutes

Listening

60


JLPT Syllabus

There is no definitive syllabus for any of the JLPT levels as the Japanese Language Proficiency Test aims to assess candidates on their ability to communicate effectively in Japanese and not upon their ability to memorize different vocabulary items and/or grammar patterns. Instead, the various categories of topics which are covered and assessed in the JLPT are specified according to the category or test section in which they fall. The various types of questions which can be found in the different JLPT levels have been mentioned below.


JLPT Syllabus - Vocabulary

Type of question

N1

N2

N3

N4

N5

Kanji reading

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Orthography

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Word formation

No

Yes

No

No

No

Contextually-defined expressions

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Paraphrases 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Usage 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

JLPT Syllabus - Grammar

Type of question

N1

N2

N3

N4

N5

Sentential grammar 1 (selecting grammar form)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sentential grammar 2 (sentence composition)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Text grammar

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

JLPT Syllabus - Reading

Type of question

N1

N2

N3

N4

N5

Comprehension (short passages)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Comprehension (mid-size passages)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Comprehension (long passages)

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Integrated comprehension

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Thematic comprehension (long passages)

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Information retrieval

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

JLPT Syllabus - Listening

Type of question

N1

N2

N3

N4

N5

Task-based comprehension

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Comprehension of key points

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Comprehension of general outline

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Verbal expressions

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Quick response

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Integrated comprehension

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

JLPT Study Material

Although there is no officially prescribed syllabus for JLPT, there are a number of official JLPT study materials available which cover the types of questions and subject matter which appear in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. 

Some of the official JLPT books for prospective candidates include:


JLPT Books

Title

Price

Details

Japanese Language Proficiency Test Official Practice Workbook N1

JPY 700

101 pages + 1 CD

Japanese Language Proficiency Test Official Practice Workbook N2

JPY 700

99 pages + 1 CD

Japanese Language Proficiency Test Official Practice Workbook N3

JPY 700

93 pages + 1 CD

Japanese Language Proficiency Test Official Practice Workbook N4

JPY 700

93 pages + 1 CD


Japanese Language Proficiency Test Official Practice Workbook N5

JPY 700

89 pages + 1 CD

New Japanese Language Proficiency Test Guidebook: An Executive Summary and Sample Questions for N1, N2 and N3

JPY 900

129 pages + 1 CD

New Japanese Language Proficiency Test Guidebook: An Executive Summary and Sample Questions for N4 and N5

JPY 800 

87 pages + 1 CD

* all prices are exclusive of applicable taxes.


There are also a number of other JLPT resources available for download for prospective JLPT candidates to gain insight regarding the test components and subject matter. These include:

  • Guide to Japanese Language Proficiency Test brochure

  • New Japanese Language Proficiency Test Guidebook

  • New Japanese Language Proficiency Test Executive Summary

  • JLPT Executive Summary: Explanatory Slides


JLPT Scores

The scoring criteria for JLPT varies depending upon the individual JLPT levels. For JLPT N5 and N4, the scoring criteria differs as the scores for the Language Knowledge and Reading sections are calculated collectively. On the other had, for JLPT N1, N2 and N3, the scores are individually calculated for the three composite sections (Reading, Language Knowledge and Listening). The raw scores from the test are used to calculate the JLPT scaled scores for each of the individual sections, therefore, two candidates who have answered a certain number of questions correctly does not ensure that they will obtain the same score. 


The minimum passing scores for the different sections also vary with the JLPT levels. Candidates are required to clear the overall JLPT passing score as well as the individual sectional passing score in order to successfully clear any of the JLPT levels. The minimum passing scores for each level have been listed below.


Japanese Language Proficiency Test Scores: JLPT N5, N4

JLPT Levels

Total score

Sectional scores

Language knowledge + Reading

Listening

Range

Pass mark

Range

Pass mark

Range

Pass mark

JLPT N4

0 - 180

90

0 - 120

38

0 - 60

19

JLPT N5

0 - 180

80

0 - 120

38

0 - 60

19


Japanese Language Proficiency Test Scores: JLPT N1, N2 and N3

JLPT Levels

Total score

Sectional scores

Language knowledge

Reading

Listening

Range

Pass mark

Range

Pass mark

Range

Pass mark

Range

Pass mark

N1

0 - 180

100

0 - 60

19

0 - 60

19

0 - 60

19

N2

0 - 180

90

0 - 60

19

0 - 60

19

0 - 60

19

N3

0 - 180

95

0 - 60

19

0 - 60

19

0 - 60

19


JLPT Results

The JLPT results are released only in the offline format. A score report will be mailed to all the candidates after the scoring for the JLPT levels is complete. For test-takers in Japan, the score reports and JLPT results will be mailed in early September and February for the July and December JLPT sessions respectively. For overseas candidates, as the results will be sent out by the local host institutions, the JLPT results will be sent in early October for the July session and early March for the December session. All the participating candidates will receive a score report but only successful candidates will receive a certificate of proficiency along with their JLPT results. 


The JLPT results for successful candidates includes the certificate of proficiency and the score report. The score report will contain individual sectional scores as well as the total score for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Apart from the scores, the JLPT results will also feature a percentile rank for the individual candidate. There is no provision for the reevaluation of JLPT results under any condition. 


JLPT India - Contact Information

If candidates are facing any trouble prior, during or after the JLPT India registration process, then the candidate may contact the preferred test center for resolution of problems and/or queries. The contact details i.e. the phone number and email address for each of the JLPT India test centers has been provided for prospective JLPT India candidates. 


JLPT India - Contact Details

Test center

Phone number

Email address

MOSAI (Mombusho Scholar's Association of India)

+91(11)2331-3524

[email protected]

Japanese Language Teachers' Association, PUNE (JALTAP)

+91(20)2426-6463

[email protected], [email protected]

The Indo-Japan Welfare and Cultural Association

91(33)2475-3773

[email protected]

ABK-AOTS DOSOKAI, Tamilnadu Centre, Chennai

+91(44)2374-0318

[email protected]

Bangalore Nihongo Kyooshi-kai (BNK) / JLPT Test Administrative Committee, Bangalore

+91(80)2211-3284

[email protected]

Teachers Association of Japanese (TAJ)

+91(98)7000-5997

+91(75)0693-4758/4759

[email protected]

Visva-Bharati

+9194334-68569

[email protected]

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