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What Japanese Language Learners Need to Know to Pass JLPT N1

  • I’d like to know if JLPT N1 is a level at which I can work without problems in actual business situations.
  • What kind of measures do I need to take to pass the JLPT N1?
  • I want to know more about JLPT N1 so that I can pass N1!
A detailed overview of the JLPT N1, its difficulty level and passing rate, and the actual Japanese language level of those who have passed the N1, explained in an easy-to-understand manner!

Table of Contents

Tips for Reading the JLPT

Why don't test takers score well in reading comprehension?

In reading comprehension, you have to read a number of sentences speedily within a limited time, understand the contents accurately, and answer the questions precisely. It is an exam that tests your overall Japanese language ability, so to speak, as it contains all kinds of elements such as vocabulary, grammar, and expressions. Here are eight tips to help you get a good score in reading comprehension.

Tip 1: "Questions that ask for the reason or content of the underlined part have a clue right before and after."  

It is rare that the clue to the answer lies far from the underlined part. In most cases, the answer can be found by reading “immediately before and after”. Please read “immediately before and after” carefully.

Tip 2: "Negative questions ("Isn't it...?") If you see "A", check it.  

“Isn’t it A? means “I think it’s A.” It means “I think A.” It is an expression to express one’s opinion in a modest (understated) way.  I think he’s smiling, but I think he’s actually very sad.  →I think he is very sad.  It is in this understatement that the author’s true feelings and assertions are found. Of course, it is often involved in exam questions.  

Tip 3: "When you see the adversative conjunction 'but', the sentence that follows is super important."  

Why should the author dare to use “but” to change the flow of the sentence?  Because there is something that must be said even if the flow of the sentence is changed, namely, the author’s argument or opinion.  That’s why the sentence after “but” is super important.

Tip 4: "Look at the source first before reading. It will help you understand the theme of the text and improve your comprehension."  

When you read a text, which is easier to understand, reading it without knowing its theme or reading it with knowing its theme?  Of course it’s easier to understand if you know the theme.  If you read the source before you read the text, you will know the general theme before you read the question.  It only takes a second or two to read the source. It will make all the difference in your understanding.

Tip 5: "The purpose of reading comprehension is to accurately read the author's arguments and opinions."

The purpose of reading comprehension is exactly this.  The purpose of reading comprehension is exactly this: to read the author’s arguments and opinions.  This is especially important for sentences that contain sentence-final expressions such as “-should,” “-must,” “-isn’t,” “-think,” “-think/thinkable,” and “-nothing but.  

Tip 6: "'~ means...'" Check for sentences that express definitions."

The definition of a word is the starting point for the writer’s speculation and subsequent logical development.  For this reason, writers also pay close attention to the definitions of words.  Some definitions are dictionary definitions, while others are the writer’s own definitions. Both are important, of course.  They can also give you great hints when solving a problem.  

Tip 7: "Whenever you see a figurative expression, check the part that explains it."  

Figurative expressions are indirect expressions.  Figurative expressions are indirect expressions, so there is a big possibility of misunderstanding if you interpret them based on your own image.  When the test asks about the content of a figurative expression, there is always a part that explains the content before and after the expression. Make sure you grasp that part and grasp the meaning accurately.  

Tip 8: "Words that appear repeatedly are keywords. Check the sentences with keywords."  

Words that appear repeatedly are words that the author is always thinking about.  In other words, they are keywords that are at the center of the author’s thoughts.  Therefore, sentences containing keywords are often explanations of the keywords (i.e., explanations of the author’s thoughts) or the author’s arguments.  That is why you should never miss them.  

JLPT N1 Test Outline

日本語能力試験N1〈試験概要〉

Language knowledge (letters, vocabulary, grammar), reading comprehension
言語知識(文字・語彙・文法)・読解

110分

listening comprehension
聴解

60分

Refer to the JLPT official website.

  • All questions are in mark-sheet format.
  • The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a test that measures knowledge of Japanese vocabulary and grammar, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension.
  • Of the four skills, there is no part that directly measures speaking and writing skills.

How difficult is the JLPT N1?

N1, the most difficult level, can be certified as the following level according to the official website of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

Guidelines for JLPT N1 Certification
Understand the Japanese language used in a wide range of situations
Reading   
  • Be able to read and understand the structure and content of sentences, such as editorials and critiques in newspapers on a wide range of topics, which are logically somewhat complex or highly abstract.
  • To be able to understand the flow of a story and the intent of detailed expressions by reading texts with depth on a variety of topics.
Listening   Listen to coherent conversations, news, and lectures at a natural speed in a wide range of situations, and understand the flow and content of the conversation, the relationships among characters, and the logical structure of the content in detail, as well as grasp the gist.

Refer to the JLPT official website.

Passing Score and Pass Rate

  • The score is 180 points, and the scores are distributed as follows.

JLPT N2 Passing Score (JLPT N1の合格点)   

Score Classification
得点区分

Score Range
得点の範囲

Language knowledge 言語知識(文字・語彙・文法)

0~60

Reading comprehension  読解

0~60

Listening comprehension   聴解

0~60

総合得点

0~180

  • The passing score is 100 points (out of 180 points).
  • The passing score includes a minimum of 19 points in all parts of language knowledge, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension.
  • The pass rate varies from year to year, but it is usually between 34% and 40% every year.

Take the JLPT N1 practice test now

Let’s try a JLPT N1 mock test.

Vocabulary & Reading: 110min, Listening: 60min

This practice test is slightly different from the actual number of exam questions and question format on the actual N1 test. Please purchase the latest practice exam questions to make sure. Source: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test Worldwide Official Website

What is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)?

Overview of the JLPT

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a language proficiency test for non-native speakers of Japanese (Japanese nationals are also eligible to take the test).

  • Sponsored by: Japan Educational Exchanges and Services and The Japan Foundation
  • It has been conducted since 1984.
  • Can be taken in Japan and in 87 countries and regions around the world
  • Date of administration: Basically July and December (twice a year)
  • English name: “Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

Features of the JLPT exam

There are a total of five levels in this exam. There are five levels: N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5, with N1 being the highest level.

The test is divided into three parts:
1) language knowledge (characters, vocabulary, grammar),
2) reading comprehension
3) listening comprehension.

There are no written questions, all questions are mark-response type.

Why Foreigners Take the JLPT|Advantages

More than half of the people who take the JLPT do so for the following reasons: “To enter a graduate school or university when studying abroad” or “To get a job or a raise in salary.
Specifically, many people take the test for the following purposes and advantages

  • To meet the requirements for admission to a Japanese university.
  • To meet the requirements for employment or to show off their language skills
  • To meet the requirements for salary increase or promotion in the company
  • To obtain points to receive preferential treatment for “advanced foreign human resources” visas (N1 and N2 only)
  • To meet the requirements for taking the Japanese national examination (N1)
  • To be exempted from some subjects of the Japanese Junior High School Graduation Certificate Examination (N1, N2)
  • One of the conditions for selecting nurse and care worker candidates for the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) (N5~N3)
Attributes of JLPT test takers

Attributes of JLPT test takers

Refer to the JLPT official website

How to take the exam

If you would like to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in Japan, please apply online.

How to apply: After registering for MyJLPT on the JLPT homepage of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JESS), you need to log in to MyJLPT and apply from the “JLPT application” screen.
For details, see the website of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
My JLPT registration login website

How do you know the result of JLPT?

Those who took the exam in Japan: Please log in to MyJLPT to apply, or apply from your transcript application ID. You can check your JLPT results by logging in to MyJLPT.

Summary [Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1 level]

  • The JLPT is taken for the purpose of studying abroad, finding a job, getting a raise in salary or promotion, obtaining a visa, etc.
  • There are levels from N1 to N5, with N1 being the most difficult.
  • The passing score for N1 is 100 out of 180 points.
  • Pass rate for N1 is 34~40