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Common Exams Used When Studying in Japan

If the thought of studying in Japan has ever crossed your mind, expect that there will be examinations that await you. So, it is best if you prepare beforehand to be more ready and more confident during the tests.

There are ways of preparing for these certain tests but the first step in getting ready should be knowing what kind of examinations you are bound to take while studying in Japan.

Luckily for you, we’ll be helping out with the first stage of your preparation by introducing you to the list of tests that are to be anticipated as a foreign student in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

The Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) or Nihon Ryūgaku Shiken is an examination that assesses foreign students’ proficiency in the Japanese language and in general academics.

In the EJU test, examinees can tackle certain courses such as General Science like Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. They can also cover questions from subjects like Japan and the world, as well as Mathematics. And naturally, a section of the exam will be about the Japanese language.

Students will choose which courses to tackle depending on the requirements of their university and their chosen program. All of the exams will be available in either Japanese or English, except for the Japanese Language portion of the test, which will only be available in Japanese.

Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test or Nihongo Nо̄ryoku Shiken evaluates a person’s skills when it comes to the Japanese language. JLPT will test a foreign individual’s proficiency through exams that emphasize knowledge of the language, as well as reading and listening abilities.

The test has three sections. These three sections are Characters and Vocabulary, Listening Comprehension, and Reading Comprehension and Grammar.

Results can range from:

N5 (regarded as the basic level)

The examinees that take this exam have the ability to read an

N4 (elementary level)

The examinees are able to read and understand basic Japanese. To pass the N4, you will need to know about 300 kanji and about 1,500 vocabulary words.

N3 (intermediate level)

Examinees use Japanese in everyday situations to a certain degree. To pass the N3, you will need to know about 650 kanji and about 3,700 vocabulary words.

N2 (pre-advanced level)

The examinees use the language every day and in different situations. To pass the N2, you will need to know about 1,000 kanji and about 6,000 vocabulary words.

N1 (the advanced level)

The examinees are fluent in Japanese and have the ability to understand Japanese, no matter the situation. To pass the N1, you will need to know about 2,000 kanji and about 10,000 vocabulary words.

Moreover, students can use their results in the JLPT to further advance their standing for a Japanese school application.

Other Tests

The National Center Test

The National Center for University Entrance Examinations, simply known as the National Center Test, is an examination that is only required for foreigners who want to enroll in undergraduate programs like medicine and dentistry.

English-Based Examinations

Almost every Japanese university requires applicants a proof or certificate of proficiency in the English language during application. These are some of the examinations that evaluate an individual’s abilities to comprehend the English language.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL test provides universities to gauge how proficient in English an applicant is. A lot of Japanese schools, especially those whose primary medium of instruction is in English, require students to take this exam.

There are two types of exams, the internet-based test and the paper-based one. In both types, students will need to answer listening, writing, speaking, and reading portions.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is an exam to test one’s English language proficiency. IELTS tests the ability to read, write, speak, and listen in the English language.

Applicants are required to finish the test in 2 hours and 45 minutes. The reading test takes 60 minutes, writing is good for another 60, speaking takes under 15 minutes, and listening can be done in 30 minutes.

The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)

The Test of English for International Communication or TOEIC is meant to evaluate an applicant’s capabilities to engage in English, especially in a working environment that needs constant communication like schools or offices. TOEIC is aware of the necessity of English and how communication can be easier by using the language in a global setting.
In the TOEIC exam, there are 200 questions to answer in two hours. The listening portion has 100 questions and should take 45 minutes while it is advised that you spare 75 minutes for the 100-question reading section.

The Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency

Backed by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and all 47 prefectural boards of education, the Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency, administered by the Eiken Foundation of Japan, is one of the more common English-language tests in Japan.

The EIKEN exam consists of seven levels or grades. The lower grades evaluate listening and reading. The higher grades assess abilities when it comes to aspects like speaking and writing.

Other than the exams mentioned above, Japanese institutions will also require students to submit Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), American College Test (ACT), and International Baccalaureate Exams results from the students’ respective home countries.


These tests and exams are meant to determine how well you can read, write, listen, and speak in both the Japanese and English language and also evaluate your knowledge in other major subjects. So if you are planning to take these exams, ample time and preparation are needed in order to ace them.

Now that you know what exams to expect, we wish you the best and good luck with your educational endeavors. Until next time. Too-da-loo!

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