JLPT New York – The Japanese Language Proficiency Test Details

It’s great that you’re interested in taking the JLPT exam. For first timers of taking the JLPT and you’re curious as to which level might fit you best, please visit the attached link for JLPT placement. For students that have more or less decided on which level and want to know more details about taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in New York, then look no further!


1. If you’re serious about taking the JLPT and you’re reading this article, start studying now.

2 . Please note the Japanese Language Proficiency Test has changed in the past couple years. Now each level is referred to as N2, or N3. So when looking to purchase a good textbook (which is highly recommended), please choose an up-to-date version and make sure it has an “N label” for the level.

3. The textbooks are helpful, but be prepared (especially in higher N1 and N2 levels) to have a test that is more difficult than the textbooks. Take the level of the textbooks you’re studying with and bring it up a notch or two, that is how difficult the actual test is.

4. If you can, naturally we’d recommend either group or private lessons for JLPT study. Group is helpful because you have potential study buddies to learn from both in and outside class. Also when you get a professional teacher involved, they’ll be able to set goals for you and hold you to it.


The application for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test becomes available towards the middle or end of August. The application period is only one month, the month of September. If you can, postmark your application the first of the month of September. Yes, we said postmark. Last year the Japan Foundation of Los Angeles (they run the JLPT) required all applicants to mail applications, online was not accepted.

OFFICIAL TEST DATE – Sunday December 2, 2012

LOCATION – Lehman College in New York

250 Bedford Park Boulevard West – Bronx, NY 10468

Phone: 718-960-8000

Only 500 Seats Maximum


New York City is America’s most populous city, with a very diverse background of inhabitants. Naturally the demand for the Japanese Language is high. The test center itself only has a maximum of 500 students accepted. The applications for the JLPT start getting accepted by September 1st, and New York is the first center to sell out every year, usually by the third week of September. Submit your applications asap.

The JLPT is a rigorous and challenging test. Take a class or at least consult with someone who has taken the test previously before studying. The JLPT N1 is used to place foreign students into universities in Japan, and the Japanese take the test and its administration very seriously.

This article is limited in scope but please don’t hesitate to ask questions or comments about the JLPT in New York. Good luck with your studies!

JLPT Test – Which Level is Right for You?

Any serious learner of Japanese has considered taking the JLPT, or the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. The test can be taken all over the world, of course the country with the most test centers and frequency of administration is Japan, but in America as well there are multiple centers available to students looking to take the Japanese Proficiency test. In New York City, it is administered at Lehman College.

But what level is right for you? It depends on a few factors:

1 Frequency of study of Japanese up till now

2 – Goals you have for taking the exam

3 – How much you think you can study

1 – The Japanese Proficiency test is designed to be administered in five levels, N1 – N5. N5 is beginning level, and N1 is the highest or fluency level.

To get a sense of how each level differs, please try the sample problems found on this website: http://www.jlpt.jp/samples/forlearners.html

To get to take N5, we would recommend about 2 years of Japanese language study, or the Hills Learning equivalent of six semesters of our 2 month classes. Students taking N5 know some basic Japanese grammar, about 100 Kanji or so, and know the other alphabets Hiragana and Katakana.

To contrast this, N2 (the second highest level of the exam) requires knowledge of 1,000 Kanji, and about 6,000 vocabulary words. To give you a sense of the grammar you have to learn, there are 181 grammar patterns (not including basic grammar patterns that have been learned previously for N3 and N4 levels), and your listening skills have to be developed to listen to everyday conversations, office meetings, and general lectures and be able to pick out and understand what’s being said.

For students that are serious about learning Japanese and have been for sometime, maybe want to move to Japan or get into a Japanese company, we feel that N2 is the natural choice to take. Please see our JLPT Classes for more information about our group course on this class.

2 – Which leads us to the second factor, what is your goal for taking the JLPT test? There are various reasons why people take the Proficiency Test, from trying to get a job to entering university. If it’s a specific goal such as entering a Japanese university as a foreign national, or applying for a translation job (for example the State Department has requirements of N1 for various positions), then you already know you have to pass the N1 level of the test.

N1 is naturally the hardest level of the exam, and just within the past couple years has become even harder. Students that don’t use the language on a daily basis at work, didn’t grow up speaking it, or do not have the time to immerse themselves should seriously consider not taking this level. It’s the fluency level for a reason, grammar and vocabulary studied for the test are usually not used in regular conversation.

As mentioned earlier, the N2 level is a great level to take if you’re interested in working in a Japanese company, or just looking to improve overall conversational and reading fluency. The grammar patterns for the test are used in everyday conversation, the vocabulary and kanji are frequented in newspapers, and you can claim you’re “business fluent” on a resume.

N3 is the newest addition to the JLPT level catalog, and it’s not quite clear to this author how the level will be used both on a practical basis and in the job market.

N4 has historically been the level that states you’re “not a beginner of Japanese.” Basically, N4 is where students are introduced to Keigo, the formidable polite language that has no direct equivalent in English. Add around 500 Kanji to the equation and it is proven by passing this level students are no longer considered beginners of Japanese.

3 – Which leads us to our third point, how much time do you have study for the Japanese Proficiency Test? Here’s the quick answer, if you do not use Japanese on a daily basis, you will need to study for the test. Whether it’s N5 or N1, students need to develop a regiment and study quite a bit. As with all tests, the first step is to understand the structure of the test and take some sample problems. Then afterwards for any level, students should be ready to study at least 3 to 4 hours  per week. N2 and N1 require more intensive regiments.

Thanks for reading about the JLPT test and we welcome your comments and questions. Good luck with your studies!

Japanese Proficiency Test – What’s Changed and How to Handle It

Whether you’re a new student for the Japanese Proficiency Exam or have taken it in the past, the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) in 2010 has changed. Consequently, how to study and handle the exam has also changed.  This article will discuss the history of the exam and why changes were brought about, what’s new about the Japanese Proficiency Test for 2010, and how to best study to pass the JLPT.

The reason why the test was changed in 2010 was test takers and school administrators were complaining that the exam wasn’t adequate. What kind of exam, they wondered, measures language ability without any spoken component to it? Although there is still no speaking contained in the Japanese Proficiency Exam, it was rumoured that the exam’s setup was getting oboselete and predictable. The Japanese authorities responded with a new test.

The main changes in the exam are as follows:

2009 – there were 4 levels of the Japanese Proficiency Exam: 1-kyu, 2-kyu, 3-kyu, and 4-kyu. 1-kyu represents the highest level, “fluency” in the Japanese language. 1-kyu consists of obscure Japanese grammar patterns, insanely hard reading passages, and listening sections that sometimes make you wonder if the language you heard was actually Japanese. 4-kyu is the entry level part of the exam, “beginner.”

2010 – 5 levels 1-kyu, 2-kyu, 3-kyu, 4-kyu, 5-kyu. Here’s what happened with each level of the JLPT:

1-kyu got harder. This is because a lot of university students, embassy applicants, translators, etc. were mastering the exam at a faster rate. The Japanese government responded by making the content of 1-kyu harder.

2-kyu stays the same. This is actually very good for potential job seekers and ambitious employees who want to work in a Japanese company. 2-kyu represents “business fluency” and while studying to pass the 2-kyu level, students actually learn quite a lot of useful Japanese in the process.

3-kyu – a new level. The jump between the old 2-kyu and 3-kyu was too great, so there is now a new level of the Japanese proficiency exam. “intemediate”

4-kyu is the old 3-kyu level. Sorry 3-kyu holders, your level of Japanese has just been brought down a level.

5-kyu is the old 4-kyu level. Sorry 4-kyu holders, “.

The scoring system has changed. Gone are the days where test takers can get 100 on reading and vocabulary, a 50 on listening, and still pass the test with flying colors. Now every section needs a passing score to get a passing grade on the exam.

So for each level:

1-kyu you’ll need to get a 70% on the Vocabulary Section, Listening Section, and Reading / Grammar Sections. If you score below a 70 on any of these sections, you fail the exam.

2-kyu, 3-kyu, 4-kyu, and 5-kyu you’ll need to get a 60% “.

With each drop in difficulty, the length of the test shrinks. The vocabulary, reading, and listening sections also get easier.

What this means When studying for the Japanese Proficiency Test going forward, all test takers must be more cognizant of developing all their language skills. If a test taker fails to do the Reading, Listening, or vocab recognition sections properly, they fail the test overall.

Therefore when studying, please purchase a listening book, as well as a reading book and a grammar book. Look for the publishers Japan Times or ALC, both companies have great reputations in Japan, and write quite useful series. Any specific questions please feel free to ask on this article.

PS – If you haven’t started studying, please start now! Create a regiment, prepare to study at least 2 hours a week, and aim for on average 3 to 4 hours per week. The Japanese Proficiency Exam in New York City (and the rest of the U.S.) will happen less than 6 months from now, in December.

The JLPT in 2010

So it’s about that time of year where students are thinking about and preparing for the JLPT (The Japanese Proficiency Exam). Preparing for the exam this year will be different than last year, there have been a lot of changes to the exam. This article explores the Japanese proficiency exam with personal accounts of past failures and successes, and how this relates to the JLPT 2010.

For those readers who are not sure what I’m talking about by the “1-kyu” in the title of this article, there are 5 levels of the Japanese proficiency exam in 2010. 5-kyu is the beginner level, where as 1-kyu is the highest level.

Last year’s 1-kyu exam was quite difficult. It’s actually rumored that the Japanese proficiency exam is harder every “odd year”, and easier on the even years. The listening section in particular on the 1-kyu exam was much more difficult than the practice listening sections in textbooks, even though they tried to make it funny and interesting by adding an anime scene at the end of the test. The grammar section was also more difficult than it needed to be, having a variety of grammar structures included from the 2-kyu, and probably even 3-kyu structures.

The point of talking about the 1-kyu 2009 before moving to the JLPT and 1-kyu 2010 is don’t be textbook focused in your studies. The 1-kyu exam has a wide variety of 2-kyu grammar, insanely hard listening sections, and readings that fit much better in with a newspaper than a typical “1-kyu readings book.” When studying textbooks, you should use them to memorize grammar patterns and how the listening questions are structured. Then for real hard preparation for 1-kyu immerse yourself in Japanese by reading newspapers and novels, listening to Japanese podcasts and music, and of course watching movies and dramas.

Now for the rest of the Japanese test takers (5-kyu to 2-kyu) textbook focused studying is probably your best bet. Also if you’re really serious find a Japanese teacher who can teach you, check your progress, and also have enough English background to translate properly for you. Understanding the grammar patterns, especially with their English applications, makes it easier to memorize what you need to know and do well on the exam.

So in short, for 1-kyu studiers please don’t forget your real world language resources for studying Japanese. This might also be a good lesson for the other levels as well, although probably less so. For 2-kyu and below, focusing on the textbooks for the JLPT and having a teacher / Japanese class you’re attending should be a recipe for success.

PS – PLEASE BE AWARE if you’re reading this article now and you haven’t started studying for the JLPT, you must start studying asap. Build a regiment, study every weekend or at least 2-3 times a week, and don’t forget to include in your studies reading, vocab, and listening.