A Complete Guide To JLPT N1


JLPT N1 is the highest achievement of the JLPT, and many foreigners would like to pass the test to have more education and employment opportunities in Japan. The new version of JLPT N1 is more difficult than the old tests, as it introduced more advanced and complex concepts in the new test. You will need to study a lot, approximately more than 1000 hours to pass this test. Just like other JLPT test, you can take the N1 twice a year, in July and December, and the result of your test will be sent to your address a month later. The next N1 test date for this year is on December 4, 2016.

Test Qualification

N1 is the highest level of JLPT, and it covers advanced Japanese. The test is divided into three parts: vocabulary/grammar, reading, and listening. You should be able to read and understand the main points of the sentences, passages, and conversations to pass this test. In this case, I would say that you should be able to read the newspapers or watch the news on TV without having any issues in understanding the contents and the logic of the news.
The test is designed to measure your ability in understanding and communicating in Japanese as a foreign language, and after passing this test you should have no issues in taking classes in Japanese and working in a complete Japanese business environment. The table below shows the linguistic competence requirement of N1.


Test Structure & Scoring System

The table below shows the test structure and the score range of N1.


The table below shows the test items included in N1


N1 Vocabulary/Grammar



The grammar of the N1 will be very similar as the old level 1, but N1 added more complex grammar into the test. The grammar of N1 will be more formal compare to the N2, with some new structures and nuances. Indeed, N1 will really tests you on identifying the differences of the nuances of each grammar point. I would suggest you to use the Kanzen Master Series or the Mimi Kara Oboeru Series to learn the grammar of N1.
The vocabulary part of N1 will not be very easy, as you need to know and understand at least 18,000 vocabulary words to pass this test. To solve this problem, I would suggest you to practice by using books such Nihongo Soumatome Goi and Nihongo Power Drill Moji & Goi published by ASK. In addition, you still need to supplement this by studying at least an hour a day and do a lot of readings.

N1 Kanji



You need to know at least 2000 kanji to pass the N1, which includes all general kanji (常用漢字). In addition, you have to understand the meaning of each kanji to understand words that combine several kanji together. I would suggest you to read a lot of newspapers and magazines to practice your kanji. In addition, you should get a good electronic dictionary that has handwriting input features, so you can practice writing the kanji and find the meaning of it easily.

N1 Listening



The listening part of N1 is way harder than the N2, as it includes more difficult vocabulary words and complex language expression. The speed of the conversations is also faster than N2, so you have to get used to listening and understanding conversations and speeches in Japanese. I would suggest you to use the Mimi Kara Oboeru Series to brush up both your listening and writing skills. In addition to the books, I would suggest you to have more interactions and conversations with your friends, and also to listen to public speech. Watching news, drama, and movies will also help brushing up your listening skill.


N1 is definitely not easy to pass, but you should definitely prepare yourself for this test, as you will get many benefits from passing it. With the N1 certificate, you can apply for college and jobs easily as most of the universities and companies include N1 as one of the requirements. Passing N1 also shows that you have high proficiency in Japanese, and this will give you more employment opportunities, both part time and full time.

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