JLPT Revision Updates

Musouka pointed to a PDF in a comment earlier about the changes to the JLPT in 2010.  See here. (Thanks Musouka!)

Some juicy information includes:

  • Starting in 2009, the current JLPT will be held twice a year
  • JLPT 1 and 2 (current levels) will be held in July 2009
  • JLPT 1-4 (current levels) will be held in December 2009 as it has in the past
  • Testing in July will be conducted in Japan as well as in a limited number of locations in China and elsewhere overseas
  • Apparently the test will be created with a more communicative approach in mind; one complaint some have with the JLPT is the student ends up studying for the test–but this is true for all tests, I’m sure.
  • To reduce the 3 to 2 gap and increase level 1 difficulty, the test levels will be reorganized into a 5-level format
  • The new test will have 5 levels: N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5; the “N” may stand for both “Nihongo” and “New.”

N1: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 1 test, but designed to
enable slightly more advanced abilities to be measured as well.
N2: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 2 test.
N3: Positioned at a level bridging existing Level 2 and Level 3 tests.
N4: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 3 test.
N5: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 4 test.

  • All the tests, N1 through N5, will consist of both a Reading Section (covering Writing-Vocabulary as well as Reading and Grammar) and a Listening Section.
  • This round of revisions will not extend to the introduction of tests of oral and compositional ability
    leaving it as future challenge.

I think a lot of people will be happy about the test being offered twice a year. Having it only once a year made failing all the more painful.  🙂

The test now has an official website: http://www.jlpt.jp I wasn’t aware of this website, but I could have just been a little behind the times on this one.

The Second $5 Download for JLPT 4 Vocabulary – DONE!

These two $5 downloads have been more work than all the other readers combined. Whew. But I hope they will be useful.

If you are studying for level 4 (the easiest) of the JLPT, check out the $5 download page for the two $5 packs.

HOWEVER, for a limited time (I haven’t decided how long), we will be offering the second new download 50% off (only $2.50) at TJP. So at least for the next few weeks, please purchase the download there. TJS accepts PayPal, major credit cards, checks, money orders, and Western Union.

(Unless, of course, you would like to tip Clay the extra $2.50–in that unlikely case, please purchase them here.)

Happy Test Day & Makoto’s B-Day Party

Another reason why I am not taking the JLPT this year is today is my son’s 2nd birthday party. He turned two yesterday and today we are holding a birthday bash with a Cars (the movie) theme. I’ll post pictures tonight.

Most of you who are taking the test have already taken it, but if you live in the US, the test is still a few hours away. If I catch you before you leave—がんばって! but you are probably reading this tonight and have already returned home in triumph or in a dazed cloud of confusion. Either way, If you survived—ご苦労さまでした. I felt the prior (triumph) after taking 3 kyuu (very much) and the latter (dazed and confused) after taking 2 kyuu.

I’d love to hear about your JLPT experience either here (by all means) or at TJP.

A Japanese Language Proficiency Test Story by Mairo

In the last post, I asked for other people’s JLPT stories. Mairo from Brazil was kind enough to send his story on why he is taking the JLPT level 2 tomorrow! Ganbatte Mairo!!


Mairo Cavalheiro Vergara

I took the JLPT level 3 in 2003 and now I will try the level 2 tomorrow! My history about Japanese language learning and the JLPT started because… Because when I moved to Londrina, the city where I am living until today, I did not have friends, internet or something similar. In other words I had not anything to do, it was so boring. Accidentally I found out a Japanese Language School near to my house! Wow! Let’s try the language of the anime, manga, video-games, etc, it seems cool. I went to the school and met a kawaii Japanese girl. I asked her about the course and the prices. Everything was going ok until she turns to an old Japanese man to say something in Japanese about the course. WOW! I got very surprised and exited, it was the first time I had listened to the Japanese language. At that moment I just could think of “I must study this language, it is so cool!”

I think I start studying it some days after. I studied it for about one and a half years. After that my teacher recommended to take level 3, because 4 was too easy for me. I did lots of previous level 3 texts, maybe 10 or more. In the grammar part I always got more then 150 points, kanji was also ok, but listening was a problem. I passed the exam with about 70%, not so much. After that I entered in university and stopped studying Japanese for 2 years. I forgot almost everything… But…

Last year I went to Okinawa as an exchange student. I spend ten months there. I improved a lot, but I thought just being in Japan would ensure I could pass level 2. I almost did not study kanji or grammar, mainly focusing on conversation. After I came back to Brazil I started preparing for level 2 late August when I found out the blog All Japanese All The Time. I improved my skills a lot, but I still don’t know if I will pass the text this year. Anyway, because of AJATT, Steve Kaufmann’s ideas and Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji (all things that I discovered this year) I changed my mind about language learning and now I know it is just a matter of time until I reach level 1.

Well, I am hoping my next story would be about “how I passed level 2”! See you all!

Visit Mairo’s Blog here

A Japanese Language Proficiency Test Story

I took level three of the JLPT in 1999. I passed easily (well, after studying hardly). I spent all of 2000 preparing for level two. Again I passed, but not as easily. Well, the test wasn’t bad, but taking the test was. That is, well… let me explain.


Yumi drove me to Kyoto to take the test. We were living in Fukui-ken and the drive took a few hours. We got to the university where the test was held safely and in two pieces—(one piece being me and the other her). I saw a man I had met the year before and we chatted while waiting for the first section of the test to begin.

The first section of the test began and I started out with confidence. The JLPT is all multiple choice where you have to pencil in the correct answer among four or five choices.


Then… horrors befell young Clay. Suddenly, I realized the past ten answers I answered were circled on the wrong line. I had somehow filled in question 5 on line 6 and thereafter all answers were marked on the next question’s line. I had to keep pace with the ongoing onslaught of questions whilest—and at the same time—going back to correct my mistakes.

I somehow managed to get it straight, but I had no confidence at all. That section of the test ended soon after, but as I stumbled out of my chair I realized I had a serious stress headache. I’ve never had a headache that bad before. I found Yumi and told her I needed to lie down. We found a nurse’s station and a bed. For a while I didn’t think I could continue with the test.


Five minutes before the next section I pulled myself together and headed out to find the classroom for the next section. My head was hurting bad, but I was determined to finish the test. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be in Japan December 2001 (I wasn’t) and knew this would be my last chance to take the once-a-year test in Japan for a while. Added to all this was Yumi tempting me to forsake all hope and take a rest in the car! No pressure at all.

The worst thing is the next section was… listening. With a head about to explode and Yumi saying I looked like I was about to pass out, I boldly entered the classroom.

I guess I could write about what happened, but I would be making it up then. I don’t really remember much after that.

I got the results a few months later and despite expecting the worst, I somehow passed! I did pretty poor on the listening, but my kanji and grammar was good enough to carry me through to victory.

I’d like to hear other people’s stories. If you have taken the test, please share your experiences! If you have a long enough story and would like it posted here (with a link to your site of course), please email me at clay AT thejapanshop.com.