Japanese Language Proficiency Test

10 Major Japanese Language Proficiency Tests (Update 2024)

Do you know that Japanese is considered one of the top 5 most difficult languages to learn if you are a native English speaker? Whether you want to study in Japan or apply to work in any Japanese company, having a credible Japanese language proficiency test result will earn you a spike of opportunities. There are several standardized tests of the Japanese language across the globe. So, it can be quite confusing what to choose and which one to not. 

Here is your ultimate guide to the Japanese language proficiency test! 


The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is one of the most recognized Japanese tests for npn-natovei speakers around the globe. Starting from 1984, this language test is currently held in more than 87 countries. Held twice annually, every year millions of test takers sit for the exam in July and December. There are 5 levels and the candidates choose the right level depending on their language skills. Regardless of age or nationality, people can apply for the JLPT and most Japanese companies and institutes accept the test results. The most advanced test is the N1, which tests your comprehensive understanding of the language and questions more advanced grammar and vocabulary. If you get a good score at the JLPT, you can apply for most Japanese places. 

2. J.Test 

The Practical Japanese Language Test or J.Test is also known as Jitsuyou Nihongo Kentei. There are 3 types of this test and they are divided into sections where you would need to write Japanese and read the Kanji. N1 is the advanced version which tests your comprehension and communication skills. Offered twice a year, this test costs 5,200 yen. Based on its N level, it correlates to the JLPT. You can sit for the beginner, intermediate or advanced levels and if you can score at least 900 points out of 1000, you are considered a near native Japanese speaker. 


The NAT-TEST stands for Nihongo Achievement Test.  is considered an equivalent to the JLPT in terms of format, as there are 5 levels that you can take which correlate directly to the JLPT levels. For English natives, it is claimed to be the best way to prepare for the JLPT. It is offered 6 times annually so you have chances to take it and overseas testing is also allowed. For each exam, it costs 5,500 yen.

Try out these Japanese tongue twisters.

4. JPT 

Although similar names, JPT is different from JLPT. JPT is known as the Japanese Proficiency Test. You can consider it as an alternative to JLPT. It is approved by the Ministry of Justice Immigration Services Agency of Japan on the website. Through the certification of this test, you can apply for the Japanese language education institutions. You need to score at least 315 points. Offred 6 times a year, the format of the test varies according to levels.

5. J-CAT

J-CAT stands for Japanese Computerized Adaptive Test. It is one of the most rare online options you will find in this list of the Japanese proficiency tests. You cannot register for the test on an individual basis, rather you would need to belong to an academic institution where you need to be a part of the group to apply for the test. There are 3 tests,  the J-Cat Challenge, Performance or Certificate and you can take any 1 of them. First two are online exams but the Certificate one is an in-person test that is held by an accredited host institution. 


TOPJ, or the Jitsuyou Nihongo Unei Nouryoku Shiken is one of the least known overseas tests. It is limited to only selective Asian countries. Besides the language skills in Japanese, the test also tests your understanding of the culture and customs of Japan. There are three tests and the results are determined between three grades- A, B and C. Based on levels- beginner, intermediate and advanced, you can apply for your test. 

7. BJT 

The BJT stands for Business Japanese Proficiency Test. It is considered one of the best alternatives to higher level JLPT scores. For those who are applying for business purposes, this test is accurate for business level Japanese skills. The test has a more practical approach to work life communication and language. There are several sections and you need to be on N2 or N1 level to test your Japanese proficiency. 

8. Kanji Kentei

Kanji Kentei is also known as the Japanese Kanji Aptitude Test. It is a challenging language test  for non-native speakers. There are 10 levels and 1 is the most difficult one. Equivalent to the grade standard system as level 10 being first-grade, the test takes place thrice a year. You need to register 3 months prior for the test and it takes place in February, June, and October.


STBJ test stands for Standard Test for Business Japanese. It is also known as Hyoujun Business Nihongo Test in Japanese. It is comparatively not as well known in many places as other places because this test has its limitations. Offered 6 times annually, this test only takes place in Vietnam, China and Sri Lanka. The costing and exam details varies from country to country. 

10. JSST 

The Japanese Standard Speaking Test (JSST) tests only have 10 questions allocated for you. You would need to answer them and record them. Based on your test, you will be judged with respect to 15 minutes of time answering the questions. Scoring in between 10 levels, the test randomly asks for information in Japanese to test your natural grip on the language. 

Japanese is a colorful and beautiful language. Starting from Anime fans to job seekers, there are a lot of Japanese language learners around the world. With any of the listed Japanese language proficiency tests, you can get the chance to have a credible certification. 

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