Japanese

JLPT vs JPT

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I recently discovered through an acquaintance that the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) isn’t the only test you can take to measure your Japanese proficiency; there’s also the Japanese Proficiency Test (JPT)! These tests have similar names, but are slightly different, so I figured I would write about it here in case there are people who, like me, have never heard of it until now.

Let’s Start With What We Know: The JLPT

Of the two tests, the JLPT is mostly the most well-known globally. The JLPT is organized by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services. The JLPT tests your language knowledge through vocabulary and grammar, as well as your reading and listening skills. There are 5 levels, N5 through N1, with N5 testing beginner/basic Japanese and N1 being for more advanced learners.  

The test is administered once a year in December if you live outside of Japan and twice a year, in July and in December, if you live in Japan.

My Experience:

I have experience taking the N2 and N1, and I would say that N2 was a lot of everyday Japanese that I used in life and at work. I would say you can generally get by with understanding a variety of situations at N2 level, though there will still be things that go over your head. The gap between N2 and N1 felt pretty wide, but N1 seemed like you would have no issues being a functioning adult for the most part. 

The Japanese Proficiency Test (JPT)

Per their website, the test is “aimed at measuring and evaluating the advanced and functional communication abilities in everyday life, including business situations, objectively.” 

The JPT doesn’t have levels like the JLPT. This test is also not pass or fail like the JLPT, instead, the higher you score on the test is a reflection of your command of the language. Their website breaks down scoring and the corresponding JLPT level as follows:

JPT JLPT 
660 points more N1 
525 points more N2 
430 points more N3 
375 points more N4 
315 points more N5

Score descriptions can be found here.

The JPT is offered in Japan and mainly Asian countries. I would love to give this test a go, but being that I no longer live in Japan, I would have to time my trip around it and I can see that for this year, I’ll be visiting 3 days after the test is administered. 🙁

The Obvious Disadvantage of Both Tests:

Neither of these exams test your output. This means you can score really well on these exams but your ability to produce the language via writing or speaking could be terrible.

My Thoughts

I do not have experience taking the JPT, however I do find tests that are not strictly pass or fail and allow you to test your skills on a scale like this interesting. Because the test is administered so often, it would probably be great to take more than once in a year to judge your progression with your studies before giving your best (and possibly only) shot at the JLPT.

It seems the JLPT is more well-known worldwide, which is not surprising at this test is offered globally while the JPT is more Asia-centric. 

Regardless of the test you take, you would still need to work on your language output. For me, that means working with a tutor since I am living outside of Japan. While I was in Japan, that meant practicing as much as I could with friends and with teachers at my job. 

So there you have it. Have you taken or would you take the JPT? Are you taking the JLPT this year? Let me know your thoughts!

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