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How to Take JLPT Test 2023


Learning kanji (image credit: unsplash/felipepelaquim)

A JLPT certificate is crucial for foreigners looking for jobs in Japan. Almost all companies ask for a Japanese level when candidates apply. Even if they don't ask, having a JLPT certificate will be a plus point over other applicants.

What is JLPT, and how to take the JLPT test?

What is JLPT?

JLPT, or the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, is a standardized qualification to evaluate non-native Japanese speakers. It was first held in 1984 with 7,000 participants.

The JLPT is administered by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) through the Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES). Overseas, the Japan Foundation co-proctors test administration with a local cultural exchange, educational institutions, or committees specially established for this purpose.

The skills tested in JLPT are reading and listening. Every question is a multiple choice. The difficulty is divided into 5 levels: N1 (the highest), N2, N3, N4, and N5. N5 and N4 are for beginners, while N2 and N1 are for advanced learners. N3 is designed to bridge the gap.

You have to choose which level you will take. If you pass the required score, then you will get the certificate. Therefore, picking a suitable level is crucial so you don't waste money. There is no expiring date for the JLPT certificate.

Taking the JLPT test in Japan

The JLPT test is held twice yearly in Japan, on the first Sunday of July and December. Create a MyJLPT account on the JEES website to register. All the information will be available there, from the test date, application procedure, and payment to the test result.

To register, create a MyJLPT account on the JEES website. Don't worry; the website is also available in English. Fill in the form with your information, including test level and area, and upload your photo. The test fee is JPY6,500 for all levels. Complete the payment by credit card, bank transfer, or convenience store.

MyJLPT Registration Form

Here is the timeline if you take the JLPT test in Japan.

The first test (July)

From late March to mid-April

Apply via JEES website and pay the application fee


Receive test voucher from JEES

Early July

Take the test

Early September

Receive test results from JEES

The second test (December)

From late August to mid-September

Apply via JEES website and pay the application fee


Receive test voucher from JEES

Early December

Take the test

Early February

Receive test results from JEES

Examinees can view test results by logging on to MyJLPT. The scores report will be sent to all examinees' addresses shortly after the result is available online. If the examinees pass the test, they will also receive a Certificate of Proficiency.

Taking JLPT test outside Japan

You don't have to go all the way to Japan only to take the JLPT test. Fortunately, JLPT is available in hundreds of cities in 90+ countries.

Some countries have the same schedule as Japan, which is twice a year on the first Sunday of July and December. Some countries only conduct the test once a year, either in July or December. Make sure to check local institutions' schedules in your area.

The examination fee varies in each country. It costs USD60 (~JPY8,000) for all levels to take the test in the United States. Indonesia has different fees for each level, ranging from IDR140,000 (~JPY1,200) for N5 to IDR250,000 (~JPY2,200) for N1. Australia divided the price into AUD85 (~JPY7,900) for N4-N5 and AUD95 (~JPY8,900) for N1-N3.

Tips on taking JLPT Test

  • Pay attention to the application period. It's usually open around 2-3 months before the actual test. If you miss it, you have to wait for the next test in 6 months or a year.

  • Do test simulation. Although the previous JLPT test question was not published, JEES released 2 volumes of JLPT practice workbooks. Knowing the structure and length of each section is essential to building a strategy.

  • Check the test site before D-day. Plan your transportation route. If you want to go by private vehicle, make sure you know the parking lot nearby. If you want to go by public transport, depart early in case of delays, crowds, or other unexpected events.

Can you study for JLPT on your own?

Yes, lots of people study JLPT by themselves. JLPT is a standardized test with specific linguistic competence required for each level. They have patterns that you can learn.

Luckily, it's easy to find the patterns, tips, and tricks to pass JLPT on the internet. There are also blogs, webs, apps, videos, and everything to help you. As long as you are disciplined and consistent, passing JLPT without attending formal classes is possible.

You can also learn Japanese with Tokhimo. Check out our YouTube for Japanese vocabularies.

Japanese book (image: Wix)

However, JLPT is not the best judgment of your Japanese language ability. Out of 4 skills, it only tests reading and listening. It’s best to not just focus on JLPT and leave out speaking and writing practice when learning Japanese.

Also, JLPT is only one of the Japanese proficiency tests. There are EJU (The Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students), BJT (Business Japanese Proficiency Test) for professionals, and more.

It's good to have a JLPT certificate, but it doesn't mean your Japanese is bad if you failed the test. After all, as long as you can communicate in Japanese well, companies are willing to hire you even without a JLPT certificate.





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