This is a quick overview for those unfamiliar with the JLPT and who are following along with my Japanese in 6 Months blog posts.

The JLPT stands for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and is a biannual (twice a year) test to determine your language ability.

There are 5 levels ranked from easiest to hardest in descending order

  • N5 - Easiest
  • N4 - Easier
  • N3 - The "bridge"
  • N2 - The one I'm taking in December
  • N1 - Hardest

N5-N3

These are what I call "journey" tests. They're great tests to mark your progress through learning Japanese, but aren't rigorous enough to warrant your use of Japanese in a professional sense. Also befitting of the name though, if you journey to Japan you'd be able to survive, and probably get a good laugh or two from locals.

N2 (What I'm shooting for)

Says "I'm fluent, but in-depth topics aren't my forte". An easy example is thinking of a person we know who's learned English and they do a great job until you crack a joke that's a bit out there. They're fully functional but give away enough to say "not native".

N1 (2 year goal?)

Says "I'm fluent and I know in-depth topics". These are the people you go "whoa, didn't realize English was your second language". I hope to be here one day, but not for awhile.

This is a very quick and high-level overview but should give a clearer picture of what I'm aiming for with my Japanese goals.