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Japanese Language Tests for PhD Study

by Dr Nathalie Mather-L'Huillier

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) has been offered by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services since 1984 and is the only recognised test which evaluates and certifies the Japanese language skills of non-native speakers.

More than just an educational assessment tool, JLPT is also used by the private sector for employment screening and promotion processes. The current test is a revised version, introduced in 2010, which incorporates novel pedagogy methods and decades of research.

The JLPT is available worldwide to evaluate and certify proficiency in Japanese of non-native speakers. Outside Japan, the Japan Foundation administers the test in cooperation with local institutions. In Japan, Japan Educational Exchanges and Services administers the test.

The JLPT measures comprehensive Japanese language communication competence through three elements: "Language Knowledge" to measure vocabulary and grammar knowledge and "Reading & Listening" to measure the actual use of known vocabulary and grammar. In Japan the test is held in July and December. Outside of Japan, the test may be held only once annually, you can find details here.

The JLPT determines your level of proficiency according to 5 levels N1-N5, N1 being the most competent. As for French and Spanish tests, each level is determined by an individual exam with different sections and times allocated for the different tasks.  You can check the JLPT website for detailed information.

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