When trying to measure the level of language knowledge, there are tools to do so. One of them is acquiring an international language certificate. Japanese language certificate is called JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) or Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken in Japanese. Passing the test is rewarded with a certificate of one of the five levels of Japanese language proficiency.
The N5 level is the elementary level, usually first one to be passed by students. On the other hand, N1 level is a proof of perfect knowledge, nearly reaching the native speaker level. Each level of exam does not necessarily need to be passed one by one. For instance, an intermediate student can directly move to N3. The test concentrates on testing knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, Kanji characters, listening and reading skills.
|JLPT exam||Approximate CEFR level||Test sections and test time|
|Level N5||～ A1 / A2||Language Knowledge (25 min) | Reading (50 min) | Listening (30 min)|
|Level N4||～ A2 / B1||Language Knowledge (30 min) | Reading (60 min) | Listening (35 min)|
|Level N3||～ B1 / B2||Language Knowledge (30 min) | Reading (70 min) | Listening (40 min)|
|Level N2||～ B2 / C1||Language Knowledge + Reading (105 min) | Listening (50 min)|
|Level N1||～ C1 / C2||Language Knowledge + Reading (110 min) | Listening (60 min)|
It is not easy to guess the adequate level of the exam, so if possible, let an experienced Japanese teacher advise you on the right difficulty of the exam. Passing any level of the exam is an advantage for anyone who plans to study or work in Japan or with Japanese people. Reaching one level or improving to another is also a great long-term motivation to study.
In the Czech Republic the testing takes place once a year in early December in the town of Brno. The test can also be undertaken in July in other countries in Europe, such as Germany, Austria, Hungary, England etc.