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Japanese Language: JLPT Certification

Resource guide for JPN 101 and 102


What is the JLPT?

"The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) was developed in Japan, and has been offered since 1984 in countries all around the world as a means of evaluating the proficiency of non-native learners of Japanese. In the beginning, there were approximately 7,000 examinees worldwide. By 2011, there were more than 600,000 examinees in more than 60 countries. In the United States, more than 7,000 people registered for the JLPT in 2019. In normal years the test is administered at 18 test sites located around the country, on the first Sunday of December." -- AATJ

If you are planning on working in Japan, need official evidence of Japanese language proficiency, or simply want to test your language skills, you should consider taking the JLPT.

JLPT Examinations

The JLPT is offered in five levels (N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5, in order from most difficult to least difficult). N4 and N5 measure understanding of basic Japanese that is mainly learned in the classroom. N1 and N2 measure understanding of Japanese used in a broad range of actual everyday scenes. N3 bridges the gap between N4/N5 and N1/N2.

The JLPT places importance not only on knowledge of Japanese-language vocabulary and grammar but also on the ability to use the knowledge in actual communication. In order to perform various "everyday tasks" that require language, not only language knowledge but also the ability to actually use it are necessary. Therefore, the JLPT measures comprehensive Japanese-language communicative competence through three elements: "Language Knowledge," "Reading," and "Listening."  -- AATJ

Important Links


  1. The American Association of Teachers of Japanese, administers the JLPT in the US. Read up on the timeline for applying, preparing/studying, and taking the exam.
  2. N1 is the most difficult level, N5 is the easiest.
  3. The JLPT is offered every December in the US.
  4. UH Mānoa is one of the official testing sites, which means you don't have to travel to take the exam!
  5. If you aren't sure what level you should take, look at some official sample questions from each level.

--Adapted from the JLPT Library Guide by Adam Gibson (University of Colorado)

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