Prepare for the JLPT N3 and N2 exam with this JLPT guide! Learn all about the structure of the test, study techniques and more to successfully pass in 2024.

Are you ready to take the JLPT exam? This guide will help you understand the structure of the exam, prepare with effective study techniques and gain the confidence to pass this test, as well as what Toranomon Language School can offer you to help you with your studies.


What is the JLPT?

What exactly is the JLPT? The JLPT, also known as the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test or 日本語能力試験, is an exam designed to measure the Japanese proficiency of non-native Japanese speakers. It’s commonly used by universities and employers both in and outside Japan, and it’s offered twice a year within Japan, as well as in a few other countries. Those who plan on living, working, or studying in Japan often take the JLPT exams to demonstrate their Japanese language skills.

What are the levels for the JLPT?

There are five different levels of the JLPT: N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5, with N5 being the most basic and N1 being the most advanced. The N4 and N5 levels test basic Japanese learned from a textbook, while N1 and N2 are much more advanced and test takers can usually hold their own in the language by that point. The N3 level is somewhere in between.


Here’s a closer look at the intermediate levels, N3 and N2:


  • JLPT N3: Assesses intermediate skills for daily conversations, reading moderately complex texts, and solid grammar/vocabulary. It’s a stepping stone for further studies or work in Japanese-speaking environments.

  • JLPT N2: Signifies high proficiency, including comprehension of complex materials, detailed conversations, and nuanced grammar. It’s crucial for employment and daily interactions in Japan.

Why should I take the JLPT N3 and N2?

For those seeking employment in Japan, JLPT scores can be quite useful. Many jobs require N2 level minimum. Passing the N2 or N1 levels can even qualify individuals for preferential treatment when immigrating to Japan, or get you noticed by a potential employer.


While N2 certification is often required for jobs in Japan and international companies with Japanese ties, while N3 can open doors for various roles. 


Overall, achieving JLPT N3 and N2 certifications provides significant advantages, including enhanced employment prospects in Japan and international companies, streamlined immigration processes, improved cultural integration for long-term stays, opportunities for career growth within Japanese industries, and personal development through language mastery and increased self-confidence.


An overview of the JLPT N3 and N2



The JLPT N3 exam targets learners with intermediate proficiency. It assumes you’ve mastered basic concepts like days of the week and numbers but are still refining your conversational skills. The test content includes:

  • Reading passages on everyday topics with basic kanji usage.

  • Listening and responding to questions about daily situations at a slightly slower pace than natural speech.

  • Usage of vocabulary at the N3 level, which expands beyond basic terms.

The exam is structured into three sections:

  1. Vocabulary (including kanji, spelling, expressions, orthography, and paraphrasing).

  2. Grammar and Reading (ordering sentences correctly, using appropriate verb forms, and comprehending short to mid-length passages).

  3. Listening comprehension.


To succeed in the JLPT N3 exam, you’ll need to grasp around 3,000 vocabulary words and have knowledge of approximately 650 kanji characters.


This level encompasses everything covered in the N4 exam, with a broader vocabulary range that includes workplace, supermarket, and restaurant terms. If you’re seeking comprehensive preparation, consider TLS’s JLPT N3 course. For specific grammar help, explore our guide to Japanese particles and verb conjugations. 


Check out our JLPT Intensive Course for N3 


Here are some examples of grammar needed in order to nail the exam:



  • “~kurai” and “~” is a word used when you think lightly that “~” is not a big problem, it is a small thing
  • English: at least


  • “〜 kke” is used to confirm something the speaker can’t remember. This is also used when the speaker talks to theirself.
  • V (ordinary form) + ikke
  • A(normal form) + っけ
  • NaA (normal form) + っけ
  • N (normal form) + ikke

TLS offers a JLPT N3 preparation course which goes more in depth of grammatical points to consider– click here for details.


The JLPT N2 exam targets learners with advanced proficiency. It assumes you’re capable of engaging in sophisticated conversations, comprehending complex materials, and expressing ideas fluently. The test content includes:

  • Reading Comprehension: Analyzing and understanding various written materials, including essays, articles, and narratives, with advanced kanji usage.

  • Listening Comprehension: Listening to and comprehending spoken Japanese across different contexts and speeds, including formal speeches, interviews, and dialogues.

  • Grammar and Vocabulary: Demonstrating mastery of advanced grammar structures, idiomatic expressions, and nuanced vocabulary appropriate for professional and academic settings.

  • Understanding Cultural Context: Interpreting cultural nuances, formalities, and social etiquettes embedded within written and spoken content.

To succeed in the JLPT N2 exam, you’ll need to grasp around 6,000 vocabulary words and have knowledge of approximately 1,000 kanji characters.

The JLPT N2 exam is structured as follows:

  1. Listening Comprehension: About 50 minutes, 34-36 questions. Involves listening to conversations and answering comprehension questions.

  2. Language Knowledge: Around 70 minutes, 33-35 questions. Tests vocabulary and grammar proficiency.

  3. Reading Comprehension: Approximately 70 minutes, 6 passages with 5-7 questions each (35-40 questions in total). Requires understanding written materials and answering related questions.

Vocab and kanji are foremost the important factor, then grammar in the N2 Level

TLS offers a specialized JLPT N2 preparation course tailored to help you navigate the exam’s complexities and challenges. For further assistance with advanced grammar structures, verb conjugations, and comprehensive study materials, consider enrolling in our private lessons for targeted and personalized guidance.

How is the JLPT N3 & N2 scored? What’s the pass mark?

JLPT N3 Scoring:

  • Total Score Range: 0 to 180 points

  • Sections:

    • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar): 0-120 points

    • Reading Comprehension: 0-60 points

  • Passing Score: 95 points (at least 19 points in each section)

JLPT N2 Scoring:

  • Total Score Range: 0 to 180 points

  • Sections:

    • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar): 0-120 points

    • Reading Comprehension: 0-60 points

    • Listening Comprehension: 0-60 points

  • Passing Score: 90 points (at least 19 points in each section)

How long is the exam?

JLPT N3 Duration:

  • Listening Comprehension: Approximately 30 minutes

  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar): Approximately 60 minutes

  • Reading Comprehension: Approximately 70 minutes

Total Exam Duration: Around 160 minutes (2 hours and 40 minutes)

JLPT N2 Duration:

  • Listening Comprehension: Approximately 40 minutes

  • Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar): Approximately 60 minutes

  • Reading Comprehension: Approximately 70 minutes

Total Exam Duration: Around 170 minutes (2 hours and 50 minutes)


Here are Some Common Issues to Keep in Mind

(1) difficulty with Kanji

(2) not knowing vocabulary

(3) not knowing grammar

(4) not being used to long sentences / not being used to written language

(5) not knowing how to solve puzzles.

Here are the main points to remember when revising for the JLPT N4

Get familiar with the JLPT structure and content

Before starting to study for the JLPT exam, you should first be familiar with the structure and types of questions it will include. The test is divided into multiple sections that assess your knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension and listening ability. Each section consists of multiple-choice and written pieces that range in difficulty level.



  • Kanji reading (How to read the kanji)

  • Orthography (test kanji for words written in hiragana)

  • Contextually-defined expressions (test words whose meaning is defined by context)

  • Paraphrases (test of words and expressions with similar meanings)

  • Usage (Are you using the correct word?)


  • Select the correct grammar form

  • Create the correct sentence composition

  • Use the correct grammar in a sentence

  • Short-passage comprehension (100-200 characters involving topics like study, life and work)

  • Mid-length passage comprehension (450 characters on everyday topics)

  • Information retrieval (Can you retrieve the relevant information from materials such as notices, about 400 characters)


  • Task-based comprehension (testing ability to extract the necessary information from the listening in order to answer the question)

  • Comprehension of key points (testing if you can narrow down the correct answer based on the listening)

  • Verbal expressions (test ability to select appropriate verbal expressions by listening to circumstances while looking at illustrations)

  • Quick response (test ability to select appropriate responses by listening to short utterances such as questions)

We recommend doing many practice tests in order to be properly familiar with the structure.

If you want help from a Japanese teacher in your preparation, TLS has ample experience in JLPT preparation. 


Learn essential grammar and vocabulary

Japanese grammar and vocabulary are essential components of the exam. To prepare for the test, make sure to review basic vocabulary for topics such as pronouns, nouns, question words, adjectives and modifiers. There are plenty of resources for this on the Web, such as this list.


Utilize JLPT preparation materials effectively

When preparing for the JLPT exam, utilize flashcards, practice tests, worksheets and grammar books specifically tailored to the exam level you are pursuing. If you are studying hard but find yourself stuck on a certain concept or vocabulary word, consider an online resource or forum for additional help. Additionally, many online courses now offer access to virtual classrooms which can be beneficial for learning with peers, asking questions and getting feedback from an instructor.

We can make special materials for you based on your weaknesses and what you most need to work on. 


Develop strategies for each kind of question in advance of the test day

Developing a set of strategies for each type of question helps to ensure that you approach the exam with an effective plan. Take the time to review all types of questions and use practice tests to practice different approaches, such as memorizing kanji or vocab words faster, understanding grammar patterns quickly and efficiently, or finding information quickly in a passage. For example, you could read the questions before reading the passage, so that you know what the key points are when reading the text.

Your course teacher at Toranomon Language School can help you strategize if you enroll in a course. 


On the day

Remember to arrive early (any time from 11:45 am) and bring your pencils, erasers, test voucher, and a watch. When you arrive, show your voucher and staff will direct you to a room.


How to register for 2024:

Next Test Date: Sunday July 7, 2024


Application Method: Apply using the MyJLPT JLPT Application page after registering with MyJLPT on the JLPT website of Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES).


Test Fee: 6,500 yen


Payment Methods: Credit card, bank transfer, payment at a convenience store.

After you register, you will receive more information in the post.


For more information, visit the JLPT Official Website.


This was the TLS guide to the JLPT N4 exam. Good luck in 2024, we hope you pass!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top