The Japanese Proficiency Exam

The Japanese Proficiency Exam – How to sign up and secure a seat

So here’s the scenario, you’ve been studying for the Japanese Proficiency Exam. Maybe you need it because you’re interested in pursuing a job with Japanese and you want to communicate to employers that you have Japanese ability. Maybe you’re a prospective student trying to enter university in Japan, and doing well on the Japanese Proficiency Exam is your ticket to a good scholarship. Or probably it’s just a personal goal of yours to get official recognition for your Japanese abilities. At any rate, the secret to securing a seat on the Japanese Proficiency Exam is signing up in a timely and organized manner, don’t put it off.

Don’t believe me? Here are some examples of people who put it off:

– After finally passing the level 2-kyu of the proficiency exam, Rob had started studying in January to take 1-kyu. He knows how difficult the Japanese Proficiency Exam is, and he knows the importance of passing the exam for his dream job: working in the American Embassy in Tokyo. After studying off and on most of the year, he goes and purchases the voucher in the end of August. “Plenty of time” he thinks, especially as although they have a deadline, last year they ended up extending it to the beginning of October. All of a sudden it’s the deadline date, September 25th, he calls to make sure he can still apply. The answer is: “Sorry, all test centers are already full this year.” He now has to wait one more year to apply and take the exam.

– One of the main reasons Steve had decided to come to Japan was to pass the Japanese Proficiency Exam. He had already passed 2-kyu his first time here, and he wants to be able to pass 1-kyu. Diligently, he’s studying off and on most of the year. He gets a warning from his friend that’s missed the exam before, “Don’t forget to sign up immediately!” Of course he says, not really checking when the deadline is. All of a sudden it’s passed, and even though he calls and pleads with the authorities, they say: “Sorry, test centers are all full.”

The point is the Japanese Proficiency Exam fills up quickly, and no exceptions can be made in terms of extension of deadlines. Without further delay, here’s how to sign up for the exam in New York City:

The below college is where the test is being administered in December 6th, 2009:

New York – Lehman College, The City University of New York (Limited to 500 seats)

Note the ominous “limited to 500 seats.” If you know the population of New York City, this should encourage you to sign up early.

Next, there are two methods of signing up for the exam: 1 – online app 2 – paper app. Please note: the center that collects your application and allows you take the exam is in Los Angeles, called The Japan Foundation. So if you’re going to send in a paper app, you have to make sure it makes it there by 5:00 pm September 25, 2009, the deadline. Yes, they even have an exam time.

The online application is here: Things you will need:

1 – Decision on which level of the exam is appropriate for you (1,2,3,4). They do have suggested study periods that correspond to each level, and suggested Japanese abilities.

2 – A credit card to pay the testing fee, usually about 50 dollars

3 – A photo of yourself

4 – Your personal info

That’s it, now stop wasting time and signup!

Oh yeah, one more thing to keep in mind: The answer for if you’ve gotten in to take the exam doesn’t come until November. It’ll come by mail, you’ll get a voucher with your picture saying “confirmed to take the exam in Lehman College.” If you don’t get anything in the mail by mid-November, you should definitely call the administrators of the exam, in this case The Japan Foundation in Los Angeles. Good luck and keep studying!