JLPT for Jobs in Japan: Should I take N2 or N1? Recommended Resources and Tools
The JLPT is a standardized test used as reference to objectively measure one's Japanese proficiency. Here are some online resources and tools for you to pass the JLPT!
The Japanese Language Proficiency Test, or JLPT, is a standardized test used to measure one’s ability in Japanese. This test has 5 levels: N5/N4 are used to test basic Japanese, N3 to test Japanese in everyday situations, and N2/N1 to test Japanese over a wide range of situations.
Companies would be looking for candidates who are able to communicate well in Japanese to be able to cooperate with their colleagues. JLPT may not be a completely accurate depiction of a person’s communication skill, but employers need to go through document screening to narrow down their prospective hires. Hence, JLPT is a common reference to objectively measure the candidate's skill.
For job-hunting, the minimum requirement is often JLPT N2. A passing score on JLPT N2 and a good impression in the interview process would be enough to land you a job. However, JLPT N1 is still the most prestigious and can open up more opportunities for you. This can give a good impression to employers, especially if the competition is high or you are applying for positions related to consulting or the medical field. Additionally, for companies that have a lot of exchange in Japanese, whether it be in meetings or reports, an N1 certification would show that your Japanese skill is enough to keep up with the pace.
Textbooks are a valuable resource as they often give in-depth explanations for grammar, comprehensive vocabulary lists, and numerous practice tests. These are often available at university libraries so you don’t have to worry about spending too much on the books.
The most recommended books are:
• Kanzen Master （新刊全マスター）- The content is well-organized, concise and includes a lot of practice tests.
• Nihongo Sou Matome （日本語総まとめ）- These books were designed for daily practice over the course of a few months, with plenty of illustrations, easily understandable content, and short quizzes.
• JLPT Official Workbook (Workbook) - This is a collection of a set of questions from past years. This content is also available for free online on the official JLPT website.
Utilizing these resources is enough for lower levels like N5, N4, and N3. However, these are also good for a quick grammar search or additional practice tests.
• Nihongo Kyoshi - This is a good reference for N2 and N1 grammar. The explanations are written in simple Japanese and they also list sample sentences.
• JLPT Sensei - This website has explanations in English and has photo “cards” that you can download and use as flashcards for grammar.
• Tanos - This website provides an extensive array of resources from kanji and vocabulary lists to practice tests.
• Attain Online Japanese - As an alternative to reading text to study, AOJ offers online courses to prepare for JLPT. However, this is a paid service with a monthly subscription fee.
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