Prep Time for JLPT

Hello! My name is Azumi, and I teach Japanese on Verbling. I’ve been teaching Japanese since 2005 in Canada, in Colombia and in Brazil. I also have students from all around the world online. I have prepared many students for JLPT. Last year, all three of my students passed! Today, I want to talk about the average prep time for JLPT based on my experience.

Prep time for students who are not native speakers of languages that use Chinese characters


Pre-JLPT: minimum 20-60 hours of lessons = 10-30 weeks of lessons at twice a week (1 hour each).

= roughly 2.5-7.5 months

  • Even JLPT N5 prep books would assume you have some basic knowledge of Japanese (hiragana, katakana, some basic grammar with です verb, あります/いますverbs and normal verbs, some adjectives, some greetings, some particles, etc). If you are starting from 0, you should include this phase in your plans before starting your JLPT prep.


N5: at least 18 hours of lessons for studying the contents + 20 hours of lessons for test prep + a couple of mock exams (distributed over a month).

= 19 weeks of lessons at twice a week (1 hour each) + 4 weeks of mock exams
= roughly 6 months

  • N5 is the lower beginner’s level. You need about 18 hours of lessons to digest the grammar points, kanji, vocabulary, reading comprehension and listening content, then additional 20 hours of lessons to actually practice applying this knowledge in the JLPT context. It’s always good to leave a month at the end just to work on mock exams and reviewing any contents that you may have missed or want to double-check.

N4: at least 32 hours of lessons for explanation + 40 hours of lessons for test prep book + a couple of mock exams (distributed over a month).

= 36 weeks of lessons at twice a week (1 hour each) + 4 weeks of mock exams
= roughly 10 months

  • N4 is the upper beginner’s level, and the level with highest failure rate of all JLPT levels! This is where you start getting into the real nitty-gritty of the language, which is a big jump from N5. You need about 32 hours of lessons to digest the grammar points, kanji, vocabulary, reading comprehension and listening content, then additional 40 hours of lessons to actually practice applying this knowledge in the JLPT context. It’s always good to leave a month at the end just to work on mock exams and reviewing any contents that you may have missed or want to double-check.

N3: at least 56 hours of lessons for explanation and test prep book + a couple of mock exams (distributed over a month).

= 28 weeks of lessons at twice a week (1 hour each) + 4 weeks of mock exams
= roughly 8 months

  • N3 is the intermediate level. By this level, students have usually become more familiar with the general structure of the language as well as the dynamics of the JLPT itself. The prep for this level is more about learning more natural expressions and structures than learning all the basic conjugations. Keep in mind, though, that the volume of kanji and vocabulary you have to learn for this level is greater. If you aren’t very good at memorizing, you may only want to take 1 hour per week instead of 2. In that case, the prep process will take almost 1.5 year instead of 8 months!

N2: at least 56 hours of lessons for explanation and test prep book + a couple of mock exams (distributed over a month).

= 34 weeks of lessons at twice a week (1 hour each) + 4 weeks of mock exams
= roughly 9.5 months

  • N2 is the lower-advanced level. We start learning lots of expressions to speak more naturally and function well not only in daily conversation but also in professional and academic environments. As in N3, you may want to consider taking only 1 hour per week instead of 2 if you are not the best at memorizing, due to the sheer volume of information you will have to stomach. In that case, the prep process will take 19 months (almost two years if you plan to go on vacation, etc)!

N1: at least 56 hours of lessons for explanation and test prep book + a couple of mock exams (distributed over a month).

= 34 weeks of lessons at twice a week (1 hour each) + 4 weeks of mock exams
= roughly 9.5 months

  • N1 is the upper-advanced level. This is the level you should have if you want to study at a Japanese university. You will be reading academic/philosophical texts to prep for this level! As in N3 and N2, you may want to consider taking only 1 hour per week instead of 2 if you are not the best at memorizing, due to the sheer volume of information you will have to stomach. In that case, the prep process will take 19 months (almost two years if you plan to go on vacation, etc)!

Over the course of my 15-year career, I’ve prepped students for N5-N1. Many have even passed N2 and N1, which are super hard! This time is the minimum time required I calculated based on the experience of my students. Of course, if you are a dedicated learner, you may be able to finish it much faster, or you may require more time if you are always busy working and have little time to study. This is the calculation of lesson time and not the self-study time you need. In my experience, those who pass N2 & N1 usually spend at least 10 hours a week on self-study.

I hope this helps you plan your studies! And remember, the important thing is to learn well, not to learn fast :) がんばって!
March 13, 2020
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Azumi Ohara

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(Español abajo/Português em baixo) Hi, I'm Azumi from Yokohama, Japan. I can teach you Japanese in English, Spanish and Portuguese! I was born in Tokyo, raised in Yokohama and schooled in Vancouver, Canada. I have taught Japanese since 2004 in 3 different countries: Canada, Colombia and Brasil. I teach from beginner's levels to preps for Japanese Language Proficiency Exam (JLPT) levels N5-N1 or the exams for the scholarships offered by the Japanese Embassy, called MEXT. I have many students who have passed N1 and N2, won the MEXT scholarships and are studying or working in Japan! I also worked in Colombia as a Japanese-English-Spanish translator and interpreter for 10 years, mainly in international technical cooperation projects. The strength in my teaching is that I can explain Japanese grammar with comparisons to English, Spanish or Portuguese. When a student asks a question about Japanese, seldom do I say "because that's how it works". I can provide you a clear explanation for ev...
Flag
Japanese
globe
Japan
time
1.375
Speaks:
English
Native
,
Portuguese
C2
,
Spanish
C2
,
German
B1
(Español abajo/Português em baixo) Hi, I'm Azumi from Yokohama, Japan. I can teach you Japanese in English, Spanish and Portuguese! I was born in Tokyo, raised in Yokohama and schooled in Vancouver, Canada. I have taught Japanese since 2004 in 3 different countries: Canada, Colombia and Brasil. I teach from beginner's levels to preps for Japanese Language Proficiency Exam (JLPT) levels N5-N1 or the exams for the scholarships offered by the Japanese Embassy, called MEXT. I have many students who have passed N1 and N2, won the MEXT scholarships and are studying or working in Japan! I also worked in Colombia as a Japanese-English-Spanish translator and interpreter for 10 years, mainly in international technical cooperation projects. The strength in my teaching is that I can explain Japanese grammar with comparisons to English, Spanish or Portuguese. When a student asks a question about Japanese, seldom do I say "because that's how it works". I can provide you a clear explanation for ev...
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