Japanese Language Proficiency Test

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Japanese Language
Proficiency Test

Certificate of Proficiency awarded for passing the Level 3 JLPT conducted in 2005.
International exam sites[1]
East Asia
 Republic of Korea Seoul, Busan, Jeonju, Jeju, Incheon
 People's Republic of China Beijing, Shanghai, Changchun, Dalian, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Tianjin, Harbin, Xi'an, Chongqing, Jinan, Wuhan, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Hohhot, Luoyang, Suzhou, Qingdao, Changsha, Chengdu, Nanjing, Hefei, Shenzhen, Nanchang, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Ningbo, Wuxi, Guiyang, Ürümqi
 Hong Kong Hong Kong
 Mongolia Ulan Bator
 Republic of China Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung
Southeast Asia
 Indonesia Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan, Yogyakarta, Padang, Denpasar
 Cambodia Phnom Penh
 Singapore Singapore
 Thailand Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Songkhla, Khon Kaen
 Philippines Manila, Cebu, Davao
 Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan
 Vietnam Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh
 Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, Kota Kinabalu
 Myanmar Yangon
 Laos Vientiane
South and Central Asia
 India New Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai
 Sri Lanka Colombo
 Nepal Kathmandu
 Pakistan Islamabad, Karachi
 Bangladesh Dhaka
 Uzbekistan Tashkent
 Kazakhstan Almaty
 Kyrgyzstan Bishkek
 Australia Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide
 New Zealand Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch
North America
 Canada Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton
 United States Atlanta, Chicago, Fayetteville, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington D.C.
 Mexico Mexico City
South America
 Argentina Buenos Aires
 Paraguay Asunción
 Brazil São Paulo, Londrina, Belém, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Brasília, Salvador, Manaus
 Venezuela Caracas
 Peru Lima
 Bolivia Santa Cruz, La Paz
 Italy Rome, Milan
 United Kingdom London
 Greece Athens
 Switzerland Bern
 Spain Madrid, Barcelona
 Denmark Copenhagen
 Germany Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Berlin
 Finland Helsinki
 France Paris, Lyon
 Ukraine Kiev
 Hungary Budapest
 Bulgaria Sofia
 Poland Warsaw
 Romania Bucharest
 Russia Moscow, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Irkutsk, Saint Petersburg
Middle East and Africa
 Egypt Cairo
 Kenya Nairobi
 Turkey Ankara

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (日本語能力試験 nihongo nōryoku shiken?), or JLPT, is a standardized criterion-referenced test to evaluate and certify the Japanese language proficiency of non-native speakers. It is held twice a year in East Asia and once a year in other regions.[2] The JLPT has four levels, with Level 4 the most basic and Level 1 the most difficult. The Japan Foundation estimates that approximately 150 hours of study are necessary to pass the Level 4 exam and 900 hours of study are required to pass the Level 1 test,[3] although the figures may be significantly higher for native English speakers. In 2008, the Japanese government announced a plan under consideration to use the JLPT to screen applicants for long-term and permanent resident visas.[4]


[edit] History and statistics

The JLPT was first held in 1984 in response to growing demand for standardized Japanese language certification. Initially 7,000 people took the test.[5] Until 2003, the JLPT was one of the requirements for foreigners entering Japanese universities. Since 2003, the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) is used by most universities for this purpose;[6] unlike the JLPT, which is solely a multiple-choice exam, the EJU contains sections which require the examinee to write in Japanese.

In 2004, the JLPT was offered in 40 countries, including Japan. Of the 302,198 examinees in that year, 47% (around 140,000) were certified for their respective level.[7] The number of examinees continues to rise, as 523,958 examinees took the test in 2007,[8] while the percentage of candidates certified has fallen below 36%.[9]

[edit] Administration

In Japan, the JLPT is administered by the Ministry of Education[10] through the Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES). Overseas, the Japan Foundation co-sponsors the administration of the test with local cultural exchange and/or educational institutions, or with committees specially established for this purpose.[11][12]

[edit] Format

All instructions on the test are written in Japanese, although their difficulty is adjusted to remain appropriate to each test level.[13] The subject matter covered at each level of the examination is based upon the Test Content Specification (出題基準 Shutsudai kijun?). The Test Content Specification was first published in 1994 and revised in 2004; it serves as a reference for examiners to compile test questions, rather than as a study guide for students. The test specification consists of kanji lists, expression lists, vocabulary lists, and grammar lists for all four JLPT levels. However, about 20% of the kanji, vocabulary, and grammar in any one exam may be drawn from outside the prescribed lists at the discretion of exam compilers.[14]

Test content summary Numbers in brackets indicate the exact number in the Test Content Specification, 2004 edition.
Level Kanji Vocabulary Listening Hours of Study Pass Mark
4 ~100 (103) ~800 (728) Beginner 150 (estimated) 60%
3 ~300 (284) ~1,500 (1409) Basic 300 (estimated)
2 ~1000 (1023) ~6,000 (5035) Intermediate 600 (estimated)
1 ~2000 (1926) ~10,000 (8009) Advanced 900 (estimated) 70%

[edit] Test sections

The JLPT is divided into three sections: "Characters and Vocabulary" (100 points), "Listening Comprehension" (100 points), and "Reading Comprehension and Grammar" (200 points).

The first section (文字・語彙, moji, goi) tests knowledge of vocabulary and various aspects of the Japanese writing system. This includes identifying the correct kanji characters for given situations, selecting the correct hiragana readings for given kanji, choosing the appropriate terms for given sentences, and choosing the appropriate usage of given words.

The second section (聴解, chōkai) comprises two sub-sections that test listening comprehension. The first involves choosing the picture which best represents the situation presented by a prerecorded conversation. The second is of a similar format but presents no visual cues.

Section three (読解・文法, dokkai, bunpō) uses authentic or semi-authentic reading passages of various lengths to test reading comprehension. Questions include prompts to fill in blank parts of the text and requests to paraphrase key points. Grammar questions request that examinees select the correct grammar structure to convey a given point or test conjugations and postpositional particle agreement.

Exam duration
Level Kanji and
Reading Comprehension
and Grammar
Total Duration
4 25 min 25 min 50 min 100 min
3 35 min 35 min 70 min 140 min
2 35 min 40 min 70 min 145 min
1 45 min 45 min 90 min 180 min

[edit] Results

All examinees receive a report including a breakdown of their score for each section of the test. Those who pass also receive a Certificate of Proficiency. Exams take several months to process, hence results are announced the following February for examinees in Japan, and March for overseas candidates. Test results are given to the examinee through the testing organization or centre to which they applied.[15]

Results of the 2007 JLPT in Japan[9]
Level Applicants Examinees Certified  % Certified
1 47,761 42,923 14,338 33.4%
2 34,782 31,805 11,884 37.4%
3 16,808 15,710 8,664 55.1%
4 3,908 3,383 2,332 68.9%
Results of the 2007 JLPT overseas
Level Applicants Examinees Certified  % Certified
1 135,616 110,937 28,550 25.7%
2 186,226 152,198 40,975 26.9%
3 143,252 113,526 53,806 47.4%
4 64,127 53,476 27,767 51.9%

[edit] Revised test

A new and revised test pattern, originally scheduled to be implemented from December 2009, has been postponed until 2010. The revised test will consist of five levels: N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5, with N1 being the highest level and N5 the easiest.

  • N1: the same passing level as the original level 1, but able to gauge slightly more advanced skills, possibly through equating of test scores[16]
  • N2: the same as the original level 2
  • N3: in between the original level 2 and level 3
  • N4: the same as the original level 3
  • N5: the same as the original level 4

The revised test will continue to test the same categories as the original, but the first and third sections of the test will be combined into a single section.[17] It will not test oral or writing skills.[5]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "List of Local Host Institutions of JLPT". Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. http://momo.jpf.go.jp/jlpt/overseas/e/list_e.html. Retrieved on January 31, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Official overseas JLPT homepage". Japan Foundation. http://www.jlpt.jp/e/. Retrieved on February 18, 2009. 
  3. ^ "What is the JLPT?". Japan Foundation. http://www.jlpt.jp/e/about/content.html. Retrieved on February 18, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Japan Mulls Easing Conditions For Skilled Foreign Workers". Malaysian National News Agency. http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_world.php?id=310894. Retrieved on February 9, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "第2回 日本語能力試験改訂 中間報告" (PDF). Japan Foundation. 2008-05-25. http://www.jees.or.jp/jlpt/pdf/20080525_jlpt_kaitei_report_pre01_0718.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-06-13.  (Japanese)
  6. ^ "What is EJU?". Japan Student Services Organisation. http://www.jasso.go.jp/eju/whats_eju_e.html. Retrieved on May 30, 2006. 
  7. ^ The 2005 Language Proficiency Test Level 1 and 2 Questions and Correct Answers, JEES & The Japan Foundation, Japan, 2006, pages 88 and 99. ISBN 4-89358-609-2
  8. ^ "2007 examination results, part 5 (PDF)". JEES. http://www.jees.or.jp/jlpt/pdf/2007/jlpt_result_2007_5.pdf. Retrieved on February 18, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "2007 examination results, part 3 (PDF)". JEES. http://www.jees.or.jp/jlpt/pdf/2007/jlpt_result_2007_3.pdf. Retrieved on February 18, 2009. 
  10. ^ Chen, Ping and Nanette Gottlieb. Language Planning and Language Policy: East Asian Perspectives, Routledge, 2001, page 43.
  11. ^ "Japanese Language Proficiency Test guidelines, 2006 (PDF), page 1". JEES and The Japan Foundation. http://www.jpf.org.au/03_language/jlpt/guidelines_english.pdf. Retrieved on February 18, 2009. 
  12. ^ The 2005 Language Proficiency Test Level 1 and 2 Questions and Correct Answers, page 122.
  13. ^ Noda, Hiroshi and Mari Noda. Acts of Reading: Exploring Connections in Pedagogy of Japanese, University of Hawaii Press, 2003, page 219.
  14. ^ Japanese Language Proficiency Test: Test Content Specifications (Revised Edition), The Japan Foundation and Association of International Education, Japan, 2004. ISBN 4-89358-281-X
  15. ^ "Japanese Language Proficiency Test guidelines, 2006 (PDF), page 3". JEES and The Japan Foundation. http://www.jpf.org.au/03_language/jlpt/guidelines_english.pdf. Retrieved on February 18, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Revision of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test: Second Progress Report, 2008 (PDF), pages 4-5". Committee for Revision of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test, JEES and The Japan Foundation. http://www.jlpt.jp/e/info/pdf/2008_report.pdf. Retrieved on February 21, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Points for Revision". The Japan Foundation. http://www.jlpt.jp/e/info/index.html. Retrieved on February 21, 2009. 

[edit] External links

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