It's that time of year again! - JLPT Registration

Tomorrow, August 22, will be the first day of registration for the December JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) in the US. After passing level 4 in December of 2009 and skipping the exam in 2010 (I didn’t think I was ready), tomorrow I will be registering for the N4 exam.

As those of you who are interested know, in 2010 the number of exam levels was increased from 4 to 5 with a new level being inserted between the old level 3 and level 2 exams. One of the reasons for the change was there was too wide a gap in language proficiency requirements between the level 3 and level 2 exams.

The old level 4 exam is now called N5, the old level 3 exam is now called N4, the new level 3 exam is called N3, the old level 2 exam is now called N2, and the old level 1 exam is now called N1.

That is not the only change, however. For a number of years, the administrators of the test have been researching ways to improve the test to more accurately evaluate the proficiency of the exam taker. The new levels incorporate significant changes to the content as well as the structure of the exam. One of the results is it is now more difficult to pass if one relies on memorization.

As far as the structure, the old exam was broken into 3 distinct sections; Writing/Vocab, Listening, and Reading/Grammar. The new exam consists of only 2 sections, as writing, vocabulary, reading, and grammar have been combined into one section called Language Knowledge. Listening remains in its own section.

Scoring of the exam has also changed. In the old exam, a perfect score in the writing/vocab section was 100 points, in the listening section 100 points, and in the reading/grammar section 200 points, for a total maximum score of 400 points. In the new exam, a perfect exam score is 180 points, with 120 for Language Knowledge, and 60 for Listening

The amount of time allotted to take the exam has been decreased. For the exam I’m taking this December, exam takers had a total of 140 minutes to complete the old exam. The new exam only allows 125 minutes.

I’m a little nervous, but I know the 300 kanji and 1500 vocabulary words in my sleep at this point, so I should do okay. Anyway, I have about 4 months to continue practicing and learning.

There was a rumor that part of the new exam would have a jikoshokai requirement, which I was partly looking forward to and partly in a subdued panic about. Happily, or sadly, depending on how I feel about it at the moment, it never became part of the exam. It would have been a real challenge. :slight_smile:

Good luck to all SDMB members who register for this year’s JLPT. 頑張りましょうね![spoiler] Let’s do our best![/spoiler]

I just completed my registration application for the JLPT and sent it off, with my check for 50 smackers, to the JLPT Administration Committee in the United States, AKA the Japan Foundation, in Los Angeles.

This year’s exam will be held on Sunday, December 4. I’ll be taking it at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Anyone else thinking of taking the JLPT this year? If so, what level, and at which site are you planning to take it?

What? It’s 50 bucks back home?? It’s 5000 yen here. I feel the Canadians’ pain of buying books now. :slight_smile:

I’ll be taking N3, after passing the 4 (not N4) 3 years ago. Wow, I’ve been bad about studying. Dammit.

And I’ll be taking it in Morioka again, hopefully.

Finally, something of equivalent value is cheaper in the US than Japan. :slight_smile:

So you’re skipping a level? Are you that confident?

I’m not confident that I can pass the 3, but I feel like the 4 would be a waste of time and money. Since passing tests doesn’t mean anything to employers until you can pass the 2 or 1, why bother taking a test I’m almost certain I can pass? It’s only for me. I already failed the 3 once last year-- hope it’s better this time around!

I’m envious. There’s no way I could pass the N3 at this point. Minimum requirements are 3750 vocabulary words and 650 kanji, which is more than double what I currently have under my belt. Also, at 650, many of the more complex kanji tend to look very similar.

If I may ask, what are your study materials? What have you found to be the most effective?

Is it ok to go ahead and send in the application?

This is my first time taking the JLPT and the website says registration begins on September 1st. I’m afraid if I send it now they won’t accept it because it’s before the registration period.

Also, if anyone has taken the test in Atlanta, do the seats usually fill up?

Seats tend to fill up pretty quickly, especially for exam levels 2 and 1, however, the Atlanta site is accepting 450 applicants, so if you hold off until next week to send in your application you’ll be fine.

Also, the application gives you an opportunity to select a second choice exam site so if the first fills up you’ll be offered your second choice.

So, what level exam are you taking? Are you taking classes, as I am, or doing self-study?

I took level 2 two years ago and failed it by 2 percentage points, but in those days you could fail an individual section and still pass the overall test. I did great on the listening section; that combined with my good test-taking skills almost got me through it.

I am pondering taking N2 this fall, even though it’s harder than it was before. My kanji knowledge is still pretty 微妙*, and my study skills are sloppier than Snooky on a Saturday, but shit it’s worth a shot.


I’m taking N2, been self-studying for around 2 years. I’ve been practicing by taking some of the exams from past years and can usually pass them, the main section I barely squeak by in is reading. Hopefully I can up my skills by December.

Wow. This is your first JLPT and you’re starting with N2? I’m impressed.

My stumbling block is the Listening section. I passed it last time, but barely.

Yeah, now that you have to pass each section on its own in order to pass the overall exam, you can no longer skate by with a great score in reading alone, which is pretty much what I did.

I’ve been working with Anki (on my phone mostly, which is awesome because if I have a spare 10 minutes I can study kanji) for a few weeks straight now, and seen a marked improvement in my recognition and retention abilities. Seeing kanji around on signs and print that I’m actually retaining is a really cool feeling. I’d highly recommend it if you’re not already using it. There’s still a long way to go of course, but if I improve nothing between now and then than my ability to power through the reading section faster, I’ll feel like I’ve actually gotten something done.

Do you enjoy illiteracy?? Study Japanese for 4 years and lack the reading skills of elementary school students!

As an ad campaign, perhaps that needs a bit of tweaking…