If you registered for 2015 December test in Japan online, you should now be able to view your results online. If you mailed in your registration, you should be receiving your test results in the mail next week. However, if you are anybody else who would like to check your results online, they should be available on the official site starting at 5PM JST on 3rd. Be aware that the link will not be ‘live’ until then, so if you click it and get a dead site, just hold on.
So now that you have your results from the test, what can you do with them? Your test results, although admittedly pretty sparse with information are the most valuable part of taking the exam. This where you get to see the valuable feedback from your study habits. You get to find out what really worked and what really didn’t.
It might be an easy time to sit back and take some weight off your feet for awhile. But, now, at the beginning of the year, and armed with your freshly-received results is the perfect time to lay out a sound study plan for 2016 so that you can achieve your goals.
Yes, for a lot of you, the next test might be in ten months or it might not even be in the foreseeable future. But in either case, you will want to have a plan so that you at least keep what you have spent so much time building up. Now is the time to lock all that Japanese goodness in.
Sticking to goals
So, I’ve already talked about SMART goals. And there are plenty of other resources on the interwebs about how to set a proper goal. So, I’m not going to elaborate that much on how to define a clear goal, other than to tell you that it is extremely important that you have one. Without one it can be difficult to really gauge how well you are doing, and your motivation might go down because you have no idea if you are even making progress toward something.
Some other people might be quite phobic of goals, or honestly don’t want to commit to something, because things change. A lot can happen in a year, and if you are using Japanese, or living in Japan, your goals can change quite quickly if you get a new job or meet someone special suddenly. In those cases, it might be better to decide on a smaller, more temporary goal for yourself instead of trying to set something massive.
Need more help? An entire section of my study guide is dedicated to setting good goals.
So let’s assume you set a goal, something that you want to move toward. What can you do to make sure you stick with that goal to the end? How can you guarantee that you hit that mark and that you are goal won’t end up discarded a few months in? There are a variety of ways to stick to something. A lot of the basic ideas I’ve gone over before but I’d like to talk about one more tool for your tool kit that you can use to keep you on target so that you can meet your goals in 2016.
Scientists have recently discovered something that people have known for awhile. If a strap a fun or pleasant thing to something that you don’t want to do, you are more likely to do that thing you don’t want to do.
The classic example of this is that you can only watch your favorite TV shows or listen to your favorite music at the gym. The idea being that you might not want to go to the gym to exercise, but if that TV show is addictive enough you will go to the gym for that and once you are at the gym, you are going to exercise.
What does this mean for Japanese study? Well, it can mean that you don’t drink your coffee in the morning unless you do it with your Japanese book cracked open. It could mean that you don’t turn on your heat in the morning until you have practiced a few vocabulary words.
In general, you want to pair something physical with your studies. You obviously can’t study Japanese while watching your favorite TV show, unless it is in Japanese of course. Basically it can’t take your attention away. So it can be food, drink, temperature control, a comfortable spot to sit, etc…
Another way to keep you studying is to find a study buddy that will keep you encouraged for the long haul. You just want someone to study with, not necessarily someone to compete with. Metrics like number of words studied can be useful for keeping you motivated, but too much concentration on these numbers can lead you to bad study practices.
You may even want to place a bet with your study buddy to keep the studying going. Make sure to make the conditions of the bet that you keep studying and not some arbitrary metric like number of hours studied or number of words learned/mastered. Again these kinds of metrics can lead you to bad practices that can ultimately demotivate you.
Try to setup a calendar reminder to force you to think about studying on a regular basis. Some apps like Memrise have built in systems that remind you to get going periodically.
How did you do?
So now is the time to let us know how you did. What went right? What went wrong? Let us know in the comments below.
N1 passed! 115/160
Nice, can you tell us a little something about your study methods?
Got my N4 results! Did better than the N5!
Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar) & Reading – 110/120
Listening – 41/60
Total score – 151/180
Very happy with that. 🙂
That is a very healthy score. Are you going to try N3 next time?
Yes, in December! Actually, I have applied for the JET programme and pending on the results of my interview I may end up taking it in Japan….
Failed N1 (first attempt)
Language Knowledge 29/60
I guess I deserve it because …well I procrastinated quite a fair bit until a couple of days before the exam. That said, I did expect my reading score to be better. Back to the anki and practice papers!
Not too shabby for a first try. What is your background? Do you live in Japan? Watch a lot of dramas?
Nope I don’t live in Japan but I can read and write Chinese so that helps with the Kanji. I self-studied for most of my Japanese learning journey and (perhaps because of that) I’m still very weak at grammar and particles. :-\
Tbh I thought I would have done better for reading (the section I was most worried about was listening) haha
Passed N2 127/180 !!!
Yey!! Very happy!!!
That’s an amazing score! Great work! Are you heading for N1 next?
Thanks Mac! Really surprised, I could’t finish the reading section properly… Good to learn to manage the time and pay attention to it!! Your books indication were really helpful as well as the test taking strategies. Yes, I intend to take N1, but as you once said, it is a totally different beast, so I am a little afraid to try this year…. Maybe just to have an idea of the beast, let’s see how it goes…
Are you planning to take it this year?
Language Knowledge 60/60
As far as studying goes, kanzen master was extremely helpful for grammar. For vocab/kanji I used the matome series + anki for review. I also made a goal to read at least 4000 words per day. Probably should have practiced listening more in retrospect haha.
Wow, that is an amazing reading score. I can see where reading 4000 words can be a huge boost to not only your reading but also your language skills. What kind of material did you read?
Yeah, setting a specific goal with the reading really helped a lot. I was mostly just reading stuff online related to news and current affairs. I’ll leave a few of my favorite sites here in case anyone’s interested.
An aggregator of topical web articles and blogs. Kind of like a Japanese version of digg.
Long form academic articles on current affairs
Blogs related to current affairs with a bit of a rightward slant (many of the contributors are politicians and news commentators)
Found this only recently but wish I did earlier. Collects editorials of major newspapers and compares them side by side.
Hope some people find this helpful! ^^
Also, used lingq.com to track my progress and save new vocabulary.
Wow, this is an amazing list. Thanks a lot for this. I’ll have to go through and digest all of these one by one.
Just passed N3 at the third time of asking. I found reading to be the hardest this time.
Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar) 28/60
Reading – 22/60
Listening – 47/60
I watched nihongonomori on You tube with Keito sensei. That really helped me.
Need to improve my vocabulary and reading skills if I want to pass N2…..
I almost forgot to include this site for free daily quizzes http://www.nihongo-pro.com
Yeah, the reading on N2 is a real beast. You have to not only understand a lot tougher material, you also have to read a lot faster. Your reading speed needs to almost be twice as fast.
Passed N2 !
Vocab / Grammar : 56 / 60
Reading : 36 / 60
Listening : 51 / 60
Total : 143 / 180
Listening section was really scary so I’m quite surprised at my score, tbh. But happy anyway ! 😀
Sometimes the listening section can be like that. There are times I swear I miss them all but I get a great score. There are other times I think I hit them all, and I failed the section.
Cleared my N2 this time! not a great score though 98/180…but happy given that I hardly had time to study this time.
Nice! A pass is a pass. That is nothing to be ashamed of. Are you going to try N1?
Thank you! My next goal is to visit Japan before appearing for N1 🙂
That’s probably a pretty good idea. Most people that pass the N1 are actually in Japan, but I know a lot who have done it without living here. Good luck!
I passed the N1 on the first try! Barely, but it counts!
Total score: 101/180
Vocab: A, Grammar: A
Not surprised with any of that, except maybe thought that listening would be a little higher. It seemed pretty easy (at least compared to what I was expecting from the N1, lol)…
The listening, like the reading can be very hit or miss at this level. It really comes down to how familiar you are with the topic. Sometimes the topics are in your favor, sometimes they aren’t. Great score though! A pass is a pass, and you got As in vocab and grammar!
N2 – Passed! Finally, this was my third go at it.
Vocab Grammar: 36/60
Reading: 19/60! (Barely made it, I need to read more)
I study Japanese, but mostly just in natural surroundings and a two hour/wk lesson…not really specifically for the test – which may explain my terrible reading score. Still, a pass is a pass!
Yeah, this looks like a very “conversational” score. I see a lot of my English students get scores like this, nothing wrong with it. Of course, if you plan on working in Japan, having good reading skills really comes in handy.
N5 – Passed!
My story, because I am a solo learner, and want to tell someone.
I studied a semester of Japanese years ago in college, then fell out of it. I have regretted ever since that I did not stick with it. As I passed the 30 year mark, I began to realize that thinking about a thing does not make it so. I decided that even if progress were slow, I would rather progress slowly than find myself thinking the same sad thoughts five years hence.
In June of 2015 I decided that I was going to try and pass the JLPT N5 in December. One day, almost out of the blue, I simply started learning the kana again, and over time added more and more study tools to my routine. I rarely studied for more than 45 minutes a day during my lunch break, but I did it every day, and that’s the key. Instead of worrying about progress or failure, I just did it.
As for the test, thanks to Anki, the Heisig method, and the JLPT vocab deck provided by this site, I was 100% confident in my vocabulary, orthography, grammar, and to a lesser extent reading. But two weeks before the test, when I started taking practice tests, I found that my listening, which I had always thought was fairly good, was actually shockingly bad. I was missing questions on the test when I felt I had understood every word of the question and was certain of the answer. I knew going in that if anything were going to sink me, it would be the listening.
The test itself was harder than I had imagined. I’m the type of person who has breezed through every test he has ever taken, but the JLPT is the hardest test I’ve ever encountered. The timing was extremely strict. I had done no timed training, and was not quite prepared for the pace. The test assumes you will know the answers to the questions right away and not spend too much time deliberating. Even moving at a brisk pace through the vocab and grammer, I had less than two minutes left at the end of each. On the reading, I looked up on reaching the last question and realized I had less than 30 seconds remaining, and so filled in a random answer. The listening was even worse than I was expecting. The section is extremely fast paced, there are no breaks, and each dialogue is played only once. If you missed it, you missed it. By the mid point, I began to feel panicked, the words seemed to run together in my head, and I couldn’t seem to focus. By the end, I realized that a sort of detached resignation had set in, and it was an effort to continue trying to answer the questions. Still, I tried to rally myself.
Coming out of the test, I felt there was a good possibility I had failed. There were only 14 correct points on the listening section I could be sure of, and I wasn’t confident enough to say I had gotten even the 5 more required for a passing score. It’s been very frustrating waiting all this time, wondering which way things had fallen out during the test. Today, I was overjoyed to learn that I passed the exam, scoring a 29/60 on the listening section. I still can’t really believe it.
I know that a lot of Japanese learners don’t consider the N5 much of an accomplishment. When it comes to learning the language, it is only a small first stepping stone. Even so, knowing that, I wasn’t sure that I could do it on my own. There is a lot of mystique surrounding language learning, and Japanese especially. Could I study on my own well enough to pass even the N5? Yet, in 7 months, with a couple of lapses, I managed it. So to any other hopeful Japanese learners out there, I want to say: it can be done. Whether it’s that much of an accomplishment or not, I’m still proud of it. It doesn’t take hours of endless study, or an iron will. Just decide to do it, and don’t stop, and don’t worry about how fast you’re going or the mistakes you make, and you will make it.
I find your story particularly motivating since you managed to get past a slump and powered through. You did it!! Congrats, Nick ^^ I’m sure you’ll get far better in no time. がんばってね！
More than one slump, actually. I’m coming to realize it’s just something you have to learn to deal with mentally. I think the important thing is, even if you scale back new content for a while, it’s important not to stop entirely, and keep reviewing what you’ve learned.
This is a great comment. I love it. It is pretty amazing that you could pass in just 7 short months. And it is an accomplishment, no matter what others say. After all the race of life is only with yourself.
Seems like you have a good rhythm down. You could probably try for N4 next year in December. Good Luck!
I hope so. I certainly intend to give it a try! After all, I’m planning to visit Japan next June.
Hello!!! I also passed N5.
My score was 120/180 😀 !!!
Thanks for your great site that helped me achieve this.
What a great score! You are well on your way to passing N4 with that!
N4 (my first JLPT) passed ^^
Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar) & Reading – 106/120
Listening – 57/60
Total score – 163/180
All A’s dammit. I’m crying so much.
Less than a year of self study won this one 😀
Less than a year! It usually takes around a year and a half or so for N4. Did you do a lot of listening? That is a great listening score.
What did you do day to day for your studies?
thank you for your reply 🙂
i started studying in february so it was about 10 months with an almost 3 months long interruption when i was working.
i was actually very lucky that my summer waiting job got me in touch with many foreigners some of which were Japanese. I volunteered to guide a lot of them around so I had the chance to practice both listening and speaking. It was a great experience ^^
The first week i only studied hiragana and katakana. Afterwards, I started off completely wrongly by only leaning the writings and various meanings of kanji, but evenually this helped me a great deal.
I mainly used the “Nihongo Challenge” books for grammar and reading. I also found the “Obenkyo” and “Tango master” apps very useful. My everyday goal was:
1. practice 100 kanji
2. learn the strokes/ different readings/meanings of 2-5 more kanji
3. study 2 chapters from nihongo challenge + the tests for yesterday’s chapters
4. watch some “nihongo no mori” or a “gaki no tsukai” episode ( — >i got little of what they were saying but it still helped and was lots of fun)
5. take notes, notes and notes and many many notes.
what to you know! my ridiculous plan worked 😀
Last year 90/180, this year 109/180, relieved that I passed, reading score is much improved, however grammar is still a weakpoint (C), I found N4 grammar to be straightforward in comparison.
Regarding grammar I found that with sample papers out of the four possible answers can usually get down to the 2 most likeliest of answers, then in the end pick wrong one, they all so similar, well plan to take n2 this year.
N3 grammar is a little weird. I think part of the problem is that a lot of textbook makers are still a little unsure what is covered on the test. N2 is a sizeable jump though. How is your reading?
I passed the N5 (90/180).
I began to study early October and then decided to try the N5. Having a full time job, I could study 2 hours a day. I finished 13 lessons of Minna no Nihongo 1, and then focused on the JLPT N5 two weeks before the test. It was quite difficult because I hadn’t studied all grammar required for N5 and I knew about 70% of the kanji.
To prepare for the tests, I read advices and used material in this website, used a book with 3 tests (useful to check my level and know what the test would be like). I also found other tests on YouTube, which were useful for the audio part.
The most difficult was the audio part, because they play the audio once, so you must be focused on the test. The reading was also a bit difficult, because I read slowly. The only way to have time to finish the last reading questions was first reading the questions and then scan the text to find the answer.
Now, I’m going to finish to study the volume 1 of Minna no Nihongo, and then I’ll study the volume 2. And prepare for the N4 on next December.
Great work on the N5! I think it is definitely possible to appear for the N4 in December.
Be sure to do a lot of review. I know I tried to race through the first two levels and made it in a little over a year, but found myself still unsure of a lot of grammar points that I should have focused on more.
N4 grammar is realistically all you need to communicate. Of course, N3 and N2 grammar is useful too for reading and to be more specific with your speaking, but N4 grammar is the foundation of the language. Good luck with your studies!
Passed N4! What a relief!
Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar) & Reading – 79/120
Listening – 33/60
Total score – 112/180
Very happy with that. I was very upset after taking the exam because very unlucky in the kanji part (meaning that for the Murphy’s law, every single kanji I didn’t study well, popped out at the exam!). Also, I found the listening very hard and gave lot of answer trusting my “sixth sense”.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to study properly.. let’s say that, after passing N5 last December, I studied again only from October with some intense pace. So I’m more than happy of passing the test with a reasonable (even if not very high) mark.
From now on, I will consider studying for the N3. But now, I have to plan it properly, taking the test not earlier than July 2017. The difference with N4 is sooo big…
That is still a really good score though! Kanji is really tricky at first I think. Once you get a good foundation down it just keeps getting easier and easier with the more reading you do.
I think you can make the jump to N3 a lot faster than July 2017. It’s not that much more difficult. The jump to N2 is the toughest by far. You need to do a lot of reading, and fast, too.
Good luck with your studies!
Well, good to know then.
Indeed, the reading section was the most difficult in the mock tests, while at the end it was pretty much reasonable at the exam. But lot of people tell me the same about how difficult is the reading section in N3…
If you think that the jump is not THAT impossible, I will try a first attempt in December maybe…
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Okay so while I wasn’t among those of you taking this exam in December, but I’m still trying to figure out the grading system all the same. From what I can tell, you really don’t need that many points to pass per section or overall, seeing as how some people barely got over half their answers correct. This realization leads me to my next concern: what shows up on your certificate besides 合格? Do your scores show up? How big of an effect do the scores have on job potential as a result, if the former is true? I’m just curious since I’m looking to take the N2 in December and start picking up part-time translation and interpretation work locally after I receive my certification.
In general, the scores don’t really impact your job potential. A pass is a pass. Now, of course, some companies might ask to see the certificate and judge you based on scores, but I’ve heard of that.
Actually, I know more than a handful of people who have passed N2, but didn’t need to ‘show’ it to their employers in order to do translation. I’ve done a lot of translation and nobody ever asked me for mine. However, going through the work to pass it helped prepare me for my work.
N3 Failed – just !
Reading: 18/60 (oooops. )
Wrong technique. Spent too much time on Grammar.
And left not much time for Reading. 🙁
That’s really heart-breaking to see. You just missed it.
I think reading gets overlooked a lot because it is hard to find material and it can be difficult at first. But, once you get the hang of it, it is a great way to pick up new words and phrases when you have the free time.
Good luck with the next test!
Hi Mac, thanks. Probably will be doing N2 next. And start to read online news (NHK, etc) and magazines, short story books, articles etc.
Passed N1 on the first try with 165.
No study. No prep.
Tha’ts the best answer of all time! JMHO
Failed (miserably) N1 – 1st attempt.
Kanji/Vocabulary – 18/60
I have no excuse. I have to study more. I started preparing for this exam in October last year. 2 months are not enough, but I wanted to see how it is. I used (but not finished) kanzen master books, I have to increase my reading speed. I will try again in July, but I’m afraid that I won’t pass then either. I need more time now that I know how difficult it is.
Good luck with your study!
As someone who has failed the N1 miserably, I can tell you that with a score like that, you still have a good way to go. You can definitely do it, just need to increase your reading speed and confidence with your comprehension. Your listening seems to be okay, so just find a good book (or magazine) that you can get into. It’s pretty simple actually, so don’t worry, you’ll pass!
I passed the n4 in 2007. a long time ago. i kept studying on my own since then. i can read fairly serious novels and i can understand n2-n1 grammar, although not always remember it when speaking. so, i’m planning to do n2 this december. i think my strong point is kanji, at least do an educated guess if i don’t know the word. listening might be my weak point, not in the sense of not understanding a phrase more like not knowing a word and thus getting lost in the overall meaning. i don’t care if i pass it by 1 point, a pass is a pass. i’ll do my best til december.
Sounds like you have a great chance. Just need to get some practice in. Go over the test questions, either with a practice test or with one of the Kanzen Master books just to get a feel for it, and maybe review some vocabulary as well with Anki or Memrise. It is totally do-able.
Passed N3 with 144/180
Language knowledge: 40/60
Quite surprised by the listening score. This was my weak point for N4. During the mock tests I would get about 70% of the questions right, but this time the dreaded 3 questions of 問題３ seemed easier than ever, and the sound was crystal clear in the room. I also did efforts to keep focus this time.
Not a lot of issues for reading. Same difficulty that I am used to, except the long test (easier). I used the Speed Master book series for my study, which often uses texts from external sources (hard vocab!).
My weak point is now grammar (B). As it was said, it is hard to know what is covered. From N2, I’ll make a card deck in Anki so I don’t forget the points I learned and have to start over again constantly.
Yeah, N2 Grammar is significantly easier to study for. That level has been around for quite some time and it is easy to find new and old textbooks that cover it quite well. I think you can make a healthy deck of N2 grammar points and drill them. The real key at this level is to try to look at as many examples of the grammar point as possible. You really have to ‘feel’ them. You can get a lot of hints from the English translation but it just doesn’t cover it all.
Passed N3. It was my first JLPT experience.
Total score: 138/180
Language Knowledge: 60/60
Actually, in reading section I failed to finish all the tasks in time and marked answers for the last questions in a random way.
Need to increase reading speed before moving to N2.
Yes, you have to read a lot faster to pass the N2 exam. I’ve estimated that your reading speed needs to be close to twice that of N3. No problems though. All you need to do is get into the habit of reading regularly. You can do it!
Passed N3 with 150/180, reading was my weakest with 45/60… even though I was able to read the pieces pretty fast, I just hesitated and second guessed myself when choosing the answers.
With that kind of a score, it seems like you could easily take the N2 next year. That reading score isn’t that weak. Great work!
I passed my JLPT N5!
Listening 60/60 (which I am convinced is a mistake but I’m not arguing!)
I do need to thank you guys a whole bunch. I listened to/viewed a load of your videos and they were really really helpful. At good few of the points came up in the exam and I did smile a bit when I remembered your videos.
Thanks a massive bundle. Found your site a bit late for a subscription last time but I’m going to continue with N4 so watch this space….
That is an amazing score! Great work on the first level.
I’m glad the videos helped! I hope to see you next time with some good news!
I passed the N4. Barely, but I did.
I’m really happy about this since the listening section was very difficult in my opinion. I had no problem with it in the mock test but during the actual test it was very difficult.
My plan is to use the current year to review everything I’ve learned so far. I don’t want to rush through the tests. After reviewing I’ll start learning for the N3.
Since I know reading and listening are my weak point, it’d be great if you could recommend some reading and listening material for the N3. I watch some anime and listen to/read the NKH News Web Easy.
NHK’s Web Easy is an excellent source of content. The only issue I have with it is the artificial voice they use for the audio.
Other than that you really need to choose from learning material like books (Kanzen Master series is pretty good) or JapanesePod101. N3 reading seems to be easier than native materials but more difficult than your regular learning material so you still need hand-picked stuff.
I’ll definitely check out the Kanzen Master and JapanesePod101. I’ve heard of both but never used them.
Passed N3 at first attempt. Scores are not too bright though: 102/180
Language knowledge (vocabulary/grammar): 36/60
Vocabulary A / Grammar B
The reading test was a true killer for me – I didn’t manage to read everything in the given time, so I just had to use one of the survival techniques I have read about on your site: read the question, identify the related passage in the text and try to give the right answer. Thanks!
I was sure I didn’t make it to 19 points, so it was a true relief to see “passed” on my test result sheet.
I now have N2 December session in focus, but I really need to work a whole lot harder to stand a chance, especially at my reading skills.
Thanks for everything you share with us, truly useful!
That’s a good score for your first attempt. Even better if it was your first JLPT.
Reading speed is huge factor in these tests that knocks people off guard. You really need to get your reading speed up for N2. At that level, you need to have about double the reading speed of N3.
Try to make a habit of reading something every day. It is hard at first but it just gets easier and easier.
Late to the party but I passed N2 with 139/180.
My first try at a JLPT and I’ve largely been studying just by myself, so pretty pleased.
I enjoy studying Japanese so never found any need for the “temptation bundling”. Best self-study methods IMO are chatting with Japanese friends online (mostly via text chat in my case) and listening practice from watching dramas.
Good day Mac,
This is my first time took N3 exam with the result below: Passed
Vocab/ Grammer 41/60
Vocab: A and Grammer: B
I actually studying part time at a language school (recently just stopped due to no more further japanese class in my school anymore), using Minanonihongo chuukyu I as our text book, listining some N3 level japanese audio CD while driving. Reading some japanese primary school story book sometime as it attached furigana above kanji. My environment does not required using japanese in malaysia, my purpose of study japanese is just because i like to read japanese books.
For the N3 exam, the listening part is the most worry for me because it was very tricky and abit faster than my normal practise (listening also is my weakness of the language). Reading part i did all the question just in time with the speed faster than normal i read japanese sentences.
Still finding the suitable way of study method, i think the method i used is not so efficient, wish i can found the way to improve japanese with luck.
I always follow and read your articles, it is very helpful and encouragement, thank you Mac.
Thanks Hendry for commenting. A lot of people feel that listening is a tough part of the test. If you are not used to it, it can come as a surprise. In real life, you have the option of asking questions and clarifying but you only have one shot on the test. Good luck with N2 if you are thinking about taking it.