The JLPT places importance not only on knowledge of Japanese-language vocabulary and grammar but also on the ability to use the knowledge in actual communication. In order to perform various everyday tasks that require language, not only language knowledge but also the ability to actually use it are necessary. Therefore, the JLPT measures comprehensive Japanese-language communicative competence through three elements: “Language Knowledge,””Reading,”and “Listening.” The JLPT is offered in five levels (N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, in order from most difficult to least difficult) N4 and N5 measure understanding of basic Japanese that is mainly learned in the classroom. N1 and N2 measure understanding of Japanese used in a broad range of actual everyday scenes. N3 briddges the gap between N4/N5 and N1/N2.
A summary of linguistic competence required for each level
(Reading) One is able to read writings with logical complexity and/or abstract writings on a variety of topics, such as newspaper editorials and critiques, and comprehend both their structures and contents.
-One is also able to read written materials with profound contents on various topics and follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers comprehensively.
(Listening) One is able to comprehend orally presented materials suc as coherent conersations, news reports, and lectures, spoken at natural speed in a broad variety of settings, and is able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents comprehensively. One is also able to understand the details of the presented materials such as the relationships among the people involved, the logical structures, and the essential points.
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