The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (Japanese: 日本語能力試験), or JLPT, is a standardized test to evaluate and certify the Japanese proficiency of the non-native Japanese speakers. Footnotes The test is organized by The Japan Foundation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services. Therefore, the scores examinees have got in JLPT are recognized worldwide, especially in the academic field. In Hong Kong, many university students whose major are Japanese will sit for this test. Since 1984, Society of Japanese Language Education of Hong Kong has been working for the Japan Foundation to organize JLPT in Hong Kong. Nowadays (2010), the Society hosts the test twice a year and the application schedules for the test are as follows:
In April 2019, Japan established a new status of residence called "Specified Skilled Worker (SSW)" to welcome foreign specialists to work in Japan without prior training. In order to facilitate their lives in Japan, the Japan Foundation introduce another Japanese Language Test called JFT-Basic for them. Different from semiannual JLPT, JFT Basic is taken place every 2 months. Passing JFT Basic is same as passing JLPT N4.
The First JLPT (for all Levels) will be hosted on the first Sunday in July every year. Interested candidates should submit their application from the middle to the end of March of the respective year.
JLPT in Jul and Dec are mutually independent and covering the same syllabi. Therefore sit for the JLPT accordingly.
The Second JLPT (for all Levels) will be hosted on the first Sunday in December every year. Interested candidates should submit their application from the end of August to the middle of September of the respective year.
Formats & Positionings:
There are 5 levels of difficulty in JLPT, namely from N5 to N1. While N5 is a basic level, N1 is a professional level which is also the most demanding level. However the test formats of all these levels are the same. They are all made up of 3 sections: (1) Language Knowledge (Vocabulary / Grammar); (2) Reading Comprehension & (3) Listening. In fact all these sections are testing the comprehensiveness of use of Japanese of the examinees. Official Workbooks (ver 2018, PDF & MP3) for all levels can be downloaded on JLPT webpage here: https://www.jlpt.jp/e/samples/sampleindex.html
Apply for JLPT
Basically, all non-native speakers of Japanese can apply for whichever level of the test. However, in order to effectively measure one's proficiency, BRNG.JP strongly recommend all examinees sit for the test level by level (i.e. gradually from N5 to N1). Because getting a pass in a lower level is buying an insurance for the failure in the more advanced level. So many examinees (not ours) don't even understand this logic that they sit for N4 without having a pass in N5 first. Unfortunately they then failed in N4. That kind of tragedy is called “眼高手低” or in English “overestimating one’s ability makes failure”. Risking for the same level of the test next year will be their only next choice. What a pity! Maybe fail again. #(T_T)\ Therefore step by step, level by level is extremely important.