JLPT NYC FAQ – Japanese Language Proficiency Test

2014 June 27
by Haley Albin

We’re already halfway through 2014, and the time to register and take the JLPT is creeping up quickly! In fact, I will personally be taking the JLPT N2 test in New York. So if you plan on taking the JLPT this year and live in the New York area like me, here’s a run through about what the JLPT is like, how to register for the test held in New York, and some study tips to prepare for the test.

What is the JLPT?

The JLPT, short for Japanese Language Proficiency Test, is an exam sponsored by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services to test the Japanese language abilities of non-native speakers. There are 5 different levels of the JLPT and the test is separated into three parts: Language Knowledge (Vocabulary and Grammar), Reading, and Listening.

Which level should I take? 

The five levels of JLPT are N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5. N1 is the hardest test while N5 is the easiest test. Try taking some mini sample tests offered here on the JLPT website to determine your level!

(Note: If you are planning to look for a job in Japan in the near future, it would be a great idea to take either the N1 test or N2 test because some companies require you to have an N1 or N2 certification.)

How much time do I have for each section of the test?

N1

  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary and Grammar) and Reading: 110 minutes
  • Listening: 60 minutes

N2

  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary and Grammar) and Reading: 105 minutes
  • Listening: 50 minutes

N3

  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary): 30 minutes
  • Language Knowledge (Grammar) and Reading: 70 minutes
  • Listening: 40 minutes

N4

  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary): 30 minutes
  • Language Knowledge (Grammar) and Reading: 60 minutes
  • Listening: 35 minutes

N5

  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary): 25 minutes
  • Language Knowledge (Grammar) and Reading: 50 minutes
  • Listening: 30 minutes

What score do I need in order to pass the JLPT?

In order to pass the JLPT, an examinee must achieve an overall pass mark and a passing score for each section. The passing scores for each test is as follows:

N1

  • Overall pass mark: 100 out of 180 points
  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary and Grammar): 19 out of 60 points
  • Reading: 19 out of 60 points
  • Listening: 19 out of 60 points

N2

  • Overall pass mark: 90 out of 180 points
  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary and Grammar): 19 out of 60 points
  • Reading: 19 out of 60 points
  • Listening: 19 out of 60 points

N3

  • Overall pass mark: 95 out of 180 points
  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary and Grammar): 19 out of 60 points
  • Reading: 19 out of 60 points
  • Listening: 19 out of 60 points

N4

  • Overall pass mark: 90 out of 180 points
  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary and Grammar) and Reading: 38 out of 120 points
  • Listening: 19 out of 60 points

N5

  • Overall pass mark: 80 out of 180 points
  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary and Grammar) and Reading: 38 out of 120 points
  • Listening: 19 out of 60 points

In addition, keep this in mind: If you did not get a passing score for one of the sections, you will fail the entire JLPT.

Where and when will the JLPT be held in New York?

The official testing location for the JLPT in New York is Lehman College and will be held on December 7, 2014 (Sunday).

How do I register for the JLPT in New York?

The JLPT registration will begin on September 3, 2014 and end on October 1, 2014. Registration information will be posted on the American Association of Teachers of Japanese website in August 2014. There are only 500 spaces for examinees of all levels so please register ASAP! If you don’t you may have to travel to another city in order to take the exam.

What kind of resources should I use to study for the JLPT?

  • Buying JLPT textbooks would be a great start! The JLPT website offers practice textbooks or you can buy them at bookstores that offer study materials for the JLPT such as Books Kinokuniya or BOOKOFF USA.
  • Besides the official JLPT textbooks, there are other series that cover JLPT material such as Nihongo So-Matome, Tanki Master JLPT Drill, Kanzen Master, Speed Master, JLPT Practice Exams and Strategies, and so on.
  • If you feel like you struggle in a certain section (in my case, that would be reading), there are textbooks that focus on certain sections of the exam so it would be good to buy at least one kind of those books along with the general textbook(s).
  • Create/Use flashcards for memorizing certain kanji, vocabulary, and grammar.
  • Take a class with Hills Learning! We will soon be offering classes to prepare for the JLPT so be sure to take a course with us.

How often should I study for the JLPT? 

It is recommended that you should study for at least 2 to 4 hours per week. Also, start studying ASAP! The earlier you begin your studies, the more prepared you will be for the exam.

So what are you waiting for? If you really want your JLPT certification, start studying now!

For those who plan to take the JLPT this year, whether you will be taking it in New York, outside the United States, or even in Japan, I wish you good luck with your studies and I hope you pass with flying colors!

がんばって!

For more information about the JLPT, please access the official JLPT website.

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