What is the JLPT? How to take it and how to study

The JLPT, or Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken (日本語能力試験), is a Japanese language test aimed at foreign speakers. Through this test, you can obtain a certificate used for various purposes, such as facilitating entry into the country for study, enrollment in educational institutions, or employment opportunities.

This exam is administered worldwide, and once completed, its levels can be recognized by all Japanese institutions.

The test is held twice a year in Japan and once in some countries; in the United States, it is typically held once a year. Tests generally take place in December and July.

The cost of registration ranges from $150 to $240 depending on the level. Payment is typically made online through the CBLJ website (www.jlpt.org.br) using a credit card or other accepted payment methods.

The exams are usually conducted at JLPT partner institutions or Japanese Language Centers; you can check the list of locations by clicking here.

To take the exam, bring a No. 2 or HB pencil, an eraser without a cover, your registration receipt, and a photo ID. The use of pens of any color is not allowed; the exam must be completed in pencil. Electronic devices are not permitted during the exam; turn them off or set them to silent mode. There have been cases of participants being disqualified due to alarms going off during the exam.

To take the JLPT, you should also choose the desired proficiency level. You can assess your knowledge level through a test by clicking here or continue reading our post to review the exam's content and format to get an idea of what to expect.

For more information on dates, deadlines, and other details, click here.

What are the test contents? Here's a summary of the linguistic competence required for each level:

N5Reading and understanding typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji. Able to listen and understand conversations about topics commonly found in daily life and classroom situations, and to grasp necessary information from slowly spoken short conversations.
N4Reading and understanding passages on familiar daily topics written in basic vocabulary and kanji. Able to listen and understand daily life conversations and generally follow their content as long as they are spoken slowly.
N3Reading and understanding written materials with specific content about daily life topics. Able to grasp summarized information like newspaper headlines. Can read slightly difficult texts found in daily situations and understand the main points if some alternative phrases are available to aid comprehension. Able to listen and comprehend coherent conversations in daily situations spoken at almost natural speed and generally able to follow their content, as well as understand relationships between people involved.
N2Reading materials clearly written on a variety of topics, such as articles and comments in newspapers and magazines, as well as simple critiques, and understanding their content. Able to read materials on general topics and follow their narratives, as well as understand the writers' intentions. Able to comprehend orally presented materials, such as coherent conversations and reports, spoken at nearly natural speed in daily situations as well as in various settings, and can follow their ideas and understand their content. Also able to understand the relationships between people involved and the key points of the materials presented.
N1Reading texts with logical complexity and/or abstract texts on various topics, such as editorials and newspaper critiques, and understanding both their structures and contents. Able to read materials with profound content on various topics and follow their narratives, as well as understand the writers' intentions comprehensively. Able to comprehend orally presented materials, such as coherent conversations, reports, and lectures, spoken at natural speed in a wide range of settings, and can follow their ideas and understand their content comprehensively. Also able to understand the details of the materials presented, such as relationships between people involved, logical structures, and key points.
(Source: https://www.jlpt.jp/e/about/levelsummary.html)

The exam is in multiple-choice format, typically with 4 options, divided into sections. You can click on the image below to enlarge it (Content and exam time. Source: https://www.jlpt.jp/e/reference/pdf/guidebook_s_e.pdf).

You can study the contents through the materials indicated on the JLPT website. To access the recommended books sold by JLPT, click here.


There are various ways to study for the tests. Unfortunately, for those without basic knowledge of English and Japanese, it may be more challenging. Many of the popularly recommended materials are in English:

JLPT Simple Questions: These tests are available on the official JLPT website. They serve as a basis for assessing your level and studying possible generic questions that may appear on the test.

JLPT BootCamp: This website offers a variety of exercises and content. With so many useful resources, it's definitely worth checking out.


Many of the sites mentioned above are in English, but you can also purchase recommended books from CBLJ, available in other languages.

Minna no Nihongo (N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5): Known for its quality content for beginners and substantial vocabulary and material.

Kanzen Master (N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5): This series has good reviews and substantial content for study. However, if you're studying on your own, it may not be the ideal choice for some due to difficulty understanding certain content.

Be mindful of common cases that can invalidate your exam, such as using electronic devices during the exam, sharing answers, or attempting to take exam materials home.

After the exam, you can verify your score calculation and results on the JLPT website.