Exams you can take to check your Japanese language proficiency.

Japan gives importance to competitive exams that place emphasis on learning the native language, Japanese. There are primarily 2 examinations that the Japanese consider mandatory to attempt to start working in Japan – the JLPT and NAT.

An Introduction to the JLPT

The Nihongo Noryoku Shiken (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) is a standardized criterion-referenced test, that sets benchmarks on the language learning proficiency of non-native speakers. It assesses reading and listening abilities, along with comprehension of the language. The test is categorized into different levels, with N5 being the easiest and N1, being the toughest level. Most companies in Japan require applicants to possess a minimum certification in the N2 level. The entrance fees of the test stand at 5000 yen, and you can give the exam in a designated centre near you.

Advantages of taking the JLPT

  1. Get preferential treatment on your immigration to Japan- Japan follows a point-based system on the JLPT that gives preferential treatment to immigrants based on their JLPT score. Total marks secured in the JLPT are categorized into points; passing an N1 can guarantee you 15 points and an N2- 10 points. Obtaining a score of greater than 70 in the government’s “Point-based Preferential Immigration Treatment System for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals” can land you an easy and effortless immigration experience to Japan.
  2. Waiving off a test subject- Examinees of foreign citizenship who pass the JLPT N1 or N2 need not attempt the Japanese-language test as a part of their accreditation exam.

An Introduction to NAT

NAT is an examination designed to test the language proficiency of non-native speakers of Japanese. The test aims at assessing the Reading, Grammar and Verbal abilities of candidates. 

NAT comprises of 5 levels (5Q-1Q), with the level of difficulty advancing from 5Q to 1Q. Levels 1Q-3Q test Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar and Listening while 4Q and 5Q primarily assess Kanji, Vocabulary, and Second language knowledge. NAT is conducted 6 times each year. Passing the test requires securing a minimum of 25 percent in each section and an overall 60 percent on the total test score. Generally, the NAT is considered to be highly advanced compared to the JLPT, however taking the NAT comes with its own set of benefits.

Advantages of taking NAT:

  1. A Guide to cracking the JLPT- NAT follows the same test format as that of JLPT, making it a great way to test your knowledge and preparing for the exam.
  2. Quick and Comprehensive results- NAT scores are available 3 weeks within taking the test, and provide a section-wise breakdown on correct and incorrect answers. It highlights the strong and weak points in your attempt and offers tips on how to develop your skills in the area.
  3. A decent success rate and recognition in different parts of the world- Corresponding strongly to the JLPT test design, NAT is recognized in countries like China, Taiwan, and South Korea. 
  4. A standardized, well-measured form of assessment- The Administration Committee in charge of preparing the test comply with guidelines and standards set and are veterans in the language. Test questions are prepared using quality reference and research materials to maintain the significance of the test.

Taking both the JLPT and NAT can prove to be significant in learning the Japanese language to the best of your ability. We hope that this article was a helpful guide in understanding the type of examinations and the advantages that come with taking it. We wish you luck in your journey of discovering and learning Nihongo.

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