After studying Japanese for a while, you probably want to know:

  • What level is my Japanese?
  • Are there any Japanese language exams?
  • What's the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test)?
  • How do I prepare for a Japanese exam?

What is the Japanese Language Test?

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 Japanese language proficiency for non-native speakers. It covers language knowledge, reading ability, and listening ability. The test is held twice a year in Japan and selected countries (on the first Sunday of July and December), and once a year in other regions (on the first Sunday of December). Extract from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The JLPT consists of five levels.

Test Format

How to prepare for the JLPT N5 Test

The N5 is the first level of JLPT. You just started your Japanese learning journey.

Kanji and Vocabulary

Typically students can take the N5 test after about 250~500 hours of studying Japanese. To pass N5 you may need a vocabulary of about 500 to800 words. And about 100 kanji. You need to be able to read the hiragana alphabet and the katakana alphabet.


The JLPT does not publish any official lists of grammar points that will appear on the test. 

However, generally speaking, the grammar points that are covered are about the same as what was covered in the pre-tests, which did have a published list of grammar points. You can find lists of the grammar points on various sites around the web, including JLPT Sensei’s (very well-organized) JLPT N5 grammar list on this site.

JLPT Study Guide for the N5


1.Genki I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese

“Genki I” is a textbook for learners of the Japanese language that starts at an absolute beginner level.The textbook is divided into two volumes, containing 23 lessons focusing on Japanese grammar, vocabulary, and kanji。 It is used in many universities throughout the English-speaking world and also is often used as a self-study text.

You will have the introduction to nearly all of the vocabulary, kanji, and grammar that you need to pass the N5, after you complete the “Genki I” textbook.

2. Learning websites




How to prepare for the JLPT N4 Test

The N4 is the second level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

To pass the N4, you will need to know about 300 kanji and about 1,500 vocabulary words.

The grammar list:

·     JLPT N4 Grammar List

·     PDF

·     batch download

·     E-Book N4 Grammar Master Complete Study Guide (PDF)

The kanji list:

·     JLPT N4 kanji list

·     N4 Kanji List (PDF)

Vocabulary list:

·     JLPT N4 vocabulary list

·     Nouns List (PDF)

Other docs:

·     N4 Verbs List (PDF)

·     N4 adjectives list (PDF).

·     N4 adverbs list (PDF).

·     N4 particles list (PDF).

·     N4 katakana words list (PDF).


1. Genki II

2. Websites



·       Podcast section

How to prepare for the JLPT N3 Test

The N3 is the middle level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. It is an upper-intermediate level test. To pass the JLPT N3, the recommendation is 650 kanji and about 3,750 vocabulary words.

·      The grammar list: JLPT N3 Grammar List

·      The kanji list: JLPT N3 kanji list

·      Vocabulary list: JLPT N3 vocabulary list (work in progress)


·      Tobira: Gateway to Advanced Japanese” or “An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese.”

·      Disney songs and pop music: J-pop (or J-rock)

How to prepare for the JLPT N2 Test

The N2 is the Pre-Advanced Level: The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations, and in a variety of circumstances to a certain degree. To pass the N2, you will need to know about 1,000 kanji and about 6,000 vocabulary words total.

Native Japanese speakers enter middle school knowing approximately 1,000 kanji. So, using books and materials created for the final years of elementary school or the first years of middle school is most effective way to prepare for JLPT N2.

·      The grammar list: JLPT N2 Grammar List

·      The kanji list: JLPT N2 kanji list

·      Vocabulary list in: JLPT N2 Vocabulary list

How to prepare for the JLPT N1 Test

The JLPT N1 is the Advanced Level: The ability to understand Japanese used in a variety of circumstances. It’s the most difficult level of JLPT.

To pass the JLPT N1, you need to know about 2,000 kanji and 10,000 vocabulary words. At this level, you will be able to read most Japanese books and newspapers.

·      The grammar list: JLPT N1 Grammar List

References & Links

·      Wikipedia

·      JLPT Sensei

·      Kawa Kawa Learning Studio

italki brings professional Japanese language teachers directly to you. Practice your Japanese and prepare for the JLPT exam. Click on the link below to find the right teacher for you.