JLPT December 2017 – Results

JLPT December 2017 – Results post image

For those of you who are lucky enough to have been able to register online at MyJLPT, you can now see your official results for the December 2017 JLPT. The official results will be mailed out next week and should be arriving sometime next week for those that took the test in Japan. It will probably take a few weeks longer for those that took the test outside of Japan. However, if you entered a 8 digit password on your application form, you should be able to check your results online now at the official jlpt.jp site (not the JEES site MyJLPT).

If you are outside of Japan, you may want to check with the organization that conducts the test in your country to see if they have another system for reporting the results to you. Different countries and organizations have different time frames for when your results will get to. To check and see what organization puts on the test in your country, you can check the official JLPT site as well.

Okay, Now What?

Okay, so you got your results back. Now is a good time to do a healthy self-evaluation of what your weaknesses and strengths are, so that you can focus your studies for the future. If you are anything like me, you were probably in a bit of a holding pattern while you waited for the official results to come back. At this point, you might be wondering what to do next. Not to worry, you just need to follow a few simple steps.

Step 1: Analyze your Results

Sit down and take an honest look at your score. Choose one particular category that seems to be a weakness. What score was lower than the others? Was reading a little weak this time? Did you struggle with listening? Unhappy with your kanji score?

Now, break that down into specifically what held you back. For listening, did you have trouble concentrating? If you had a good vocabulary score but had a hard time in the reading, you might have problems with overall comprehension. Try to isolate exactly what caused the problem so that you can target it. If you need more help with how to do this, be sure to check out the JLPT Study Guide Kit, which goes over how to identify these problems in more detail.

Step 2: Resolve to Improve the Specific Skill that Held you Back.

If you had trouble concentrating during the listening section, you might need to improve your listening stamina, which simply involves listening to more Japanese for longer periods of time. If you had trouble answering questions in the reading section, even though you knew all the words, you need to practice reading comprehension. Practicing a habit of reading on a daily basis for comprehension can really help you get a better score.

Decide on an initial study method that focuses on that weakness. Don’t worry about picking the perfect one. You can always change it later if it isn’t working out for you. The point is to get started on something while you have the motivation to change. You may also want to take it slow. Just add something that you can easily do every day or replace something you are already doing.

Step 3: Let us Know about it

Let us know how you did in the comments below. What level did you take? How did your score break down? Were you surprised by the results? Did you think you would get that score? What would you like to improve upon? What specifically are you going to focus on? Commit to it, by letting us know. You’ll be helping yourself and others.

Step 4: Get Started

This is the most important part. Start with your study plan focusing on your specific weakness. Starting is more important than doing right (at least at first). So, I’m giving you permission to stop reading my blog and head off to get started as long as you have commented below. If you haven’t, then stop what you are doing and let us know how you did below.

Step 5: Analyze your Studying

Every few months or even weeks, take a look at what you are doing and ask yourself if it is effective. Do you feel you are improving? Is it still motivating to study Japanese? If what you are doing is making you dread your study routine, it might be time to switch it up a bit.

Whatever you do, don’t stop. It might be tough at times, but speaking, listening, reading, and writing at a native level in another language is an amazing experience, and the JLPT can help you do that. Good luck with your studies and let me know how you are doing.

{ 49 comments… add one }
  • Karsten January 24, 2018, 8:10 am

    I failed N2 again for the third time… What makes me extremely frustrated is the fact that I only failed by one single point.
    I felt Grammar and Vocabulary was hard this time and also only got 25 points. Reading is my weak point, so I am okay with the 25 points there. Listening is normally my strength, but this time, I guessed a lot, but still got 39 points. Well, I guess it was just bad luck this time, a little bit more luck in only one single question and I would have passed. But I cannot change it, so back to square one, learn some more and beat it finally the next time.

    • Clayton MacKnight January 24, 2018, 2:00 pm

      What do you think was your weakness with reading? vocabulary? Or just reading speed?

      • Karsten January 24, 2018, 2:21 pm

        I think my weakness is my reading speed, I need longer to understand a text with a lot of Kanji and if I try to speed through it, i don’t get all the information. I just have to try to read more.

        • Clayton MacKnight January 24, 2018, 2:29 pm

          Yeah, try to get in the habit of reading for say 20-30 minutes a day. You’ll start to see the difference in speed pretty quickly.

  • Andi Popp January 24, 2018, 9:46 am

    Contrary to my initial impression in December I actually passed N4 with 113 points (76 + 37). My impression that my reading speed is to slow was confirmed by a “B” though, so I will focus on reading in the coming months.
    I do not yet know where to go from here. My original goal was to pass N3 one day, but I do not know if I am confident enough to aim for it this December. Maybe I’ll skip this year’s JLPT or take another shot at N4 trying to get a better result to boost my confidence. Let’s see what my study partners think about that.

    • stanislawa January 24, 2018, 2:01 pm

      Go for N3! You might just pass, and if you won’t…. who cares?! Keep on trying! ^^ Ganbatte!

    • Clayton MacKnight January 24, 2018, 2:02 pm

      I would say you should take a look at a few N3 books (especially the Kanzen Master series) and see how difficult it is before making a decision. You might end up getting a pretty good score on the N3.

      Out of curiosity, why did you decide on N3 as your ultimate goal?

      • Andi Popp January 24, 2018, 2:19 pm

        For me, the whole idea of learning Japanese started when I was sitting together with a friend in a pub on a trip to Birmingham, UK. We both had been to Japan a few times in the past (one time together). He had been learning Japanese with a private teacher for a few years, at a pace which he described as rather slow. I had done a few rather unsuccessful attempts at self studying. We thought we could try together by aiming at the JLPT each year. We looked through the description of the different levels and we just thought N3 might be an achievable goal. I think we never even considered being able to pass the higher levels 😀

        • Clayton MacKnight January 24, 2018, 2:28 pm

          Well, N2 is a good healthy level. After you’ve passed that you can pretty much do anything you want in Japanese with more practice. N1 is amazing of course, but usually not worth the time investment.

  • Lucas January 24, 2018, 12:57 pm

    I got 60 language, 60 reading and 41 listening on the N3. I should have gone for the N2 after all.

    • Clayton MacKnight January 24, 2018, 2:03 pm

      Wow, yeah, seems like you could do N2 pretty easily. Did you try a practice test for that level?

  • stanislawa January 24, 2018, 1:58 pm

    well, I prayed to father Kolbe (saint missionary who worked in Japan) and the exam was in the day of Francis Xavier (probably the greatest missionary of Japan), and thus Merciful Jesus Christ gave me this miracle of passing N2 in my first try after 3 months of learning (including 2 month long influenza)3>

    I’m so happy I don’t need to go there again XD

  • Juanjosé Tenorio January 24, 2018, 2:19 pm

    Took N3 and N4 in December. . Passed both with 139/180 and 152/180 respectively. I was unsure in listening for N3, but surprisingly was my best section of the exam (50/60). I spent 6 months of study for every exam, so I think I did quite good.
    I was aiming for N3 because I want to apply for japanese scholarships, however, I want to try N2 this December. Is there are any particular suggestion for N2? Does the jump between N3-N2 is higher than N4-N3 jump?
    Thank you 🙂

    • Clayton MacKnight January 24, 2018, 2:39 pm

      It is definitely a bigger jump to N2 from N3. Mostly, you have to read a lot faster. The reading comprehension is also quite difficult for that level. They also have a tricky listening question where you have to take notes and then answer a question that they give you AFTER you have listened to everything. So you have to take decent notes. That can be tricky for some.

      • Juanjosé January 24, 2018, 3:06 pm

        Wow, thank you. It seems to be a fun ride for N2. I will start by polishing some flaws I found for N3 and then go all in for N2.
        I will post here my impressions if I manage to make it for the December test.

  • Hannah January 24, 2018, 4:14 pm

    Took N4 and got a perfect score for the vocab/grammar section. Did a little poorer for listening with 49/60; but it was understandable as I remember zoning out for a quarter of the time during the listening. I didn’t particularly put in much effort, only tried 2 full mock papers and focussed more on grammar (which I’m weakest in).
    Hoping to do N3 in July and hopefully I’ll be able to get such decent scores too!

    • Clayton MacKnight January 24, 2018, 11:06 pm

      Do you use Japanese on a regular basis? A perfect score in the grammar and vocabulary section is amazing even at the N4 level.

      • Hannah January 25, 2018, 12:34 am

        No I don’t, unless watching Japanese dramas and listening to J-pop count? I was quite surprised by my score too, I thought I was going to barely pass since I didn’t feel I prepared much.

  • John January 24, 2018, 8:09 pm

    In Dec. 2016 after a six months preparation I got 58/180. This December I got 78/180. 26 (from 17) in listening and 52 (from 41) in the vocabulary/grammar/reading.
    It looks like I didn’t pass for 2 points. It is a bummer because supposedly I had a comfortable passing score on all four of my practice tests. I was studying 5-10 hours per week as my schedule allowed (I am working full time).

    At the test, I got confused and somehow I thought I had 10-15 minutes left during the grammar/reading part, and they suddenly announced 5 mins left and I had to scramble wrapping up and had to guess the last 4-5 answers. Next time, I am taking an analog stop watch with me.

    I was hoping to take N4 on Dec. 2019 but now I am thinking maybe is best to review the N5 material since even if I passed I would have been near the threshold anyway before I focus on the N4. What do you recommend?

    My low points are grammar and reading. It is hard to get practice on these since the material on the web are way more advanced and I cannot read them because of the unknown Kanji. Any ideas on how to practice these?

    • Clayton MacKnight January 24, 2018, 11:27 pm

      Yeah, the timing can be quite tricky. Always best to bring your clock. In Japan, they provide no warning and no clocks, so I’ve always had to bring my own.

      N5 listening does seem to have a lot more tricks to it than you would expect. Even I got caught off guard a little during that part.

      As for moving up, it is kind of up to you. I feel like there isn’t a big difference between the two tests. N4 has more grammar and vocabulary of course, but the listening questions follow a very similar pattern.

      As for grammar and reading, it is best to pick up a book on it. A lot of the material online isn’t really organized well for the JLPT. There is a pretty good book by ASK Publishing. And of course, my book is coming out soon with practice tests, reading tips, and listening practice. https://amzn.to/2Br99ID :p

      • John January 25, 2018, 12:18 am

        Thanks. Looking forward to your book. In the meantime, what’s the title of the ASK Publishing book that you are referring to?

  • Acricket January 24, 2018, 8:12 pm

    I passed the N4 with 128/180 (91+37). I really thought I was not going to score enough points in the listening part, but hey, guessing must have helped!
    I will definitely have to improve my listening skills. When I don’t understand the first few words in a dialogue, I tend to disconnect and my mind goes blank because I can’t make any sense of what follows (especially when you get to listen to that dialogue only once!). More exposure to spoken Japanese is needed, I just don’t know how to go about it. I found the long reading passage quite demanding as well since I kept reading some passages again and again without making any sense of them. I’ll have to concentrate on that, too.
    What next? I will definitely keep on learning Japanese. I am aiming for the N3 sometime in the future (definitely NOT in July, possibly in December or next year). First I’d like to do some studying without focusing on the exam skills required but just for the fun of learning new stuff. After all, it’s just a hobby and should remain a hobby, it’s not a race against the clock…

    • Clayton MacKnight January 24, 2018, 11:31 pm

      That’s a good attitude and a great idea. Studying specifically for the test too much can lead to some serious problems with your Japanese. I mean the end goal is to use it and not just answer questions about it. You’ll find that your score will improve a lot more that way. You still should do some drills before the next test, but studying more for fun can be a huge boost.

  • Estevan January 25, 2018, 7:28 am

    I failed the N2 for the second time lol. My score only slightly improved from the first time I took the test. I had taken 4 practice tests in the months leading up to the exam, and my score got better each time. I also timed myself with these tests, and the last one I took was the night before the exam, so i was really confident. I only got 20/60 for language knowledge, 8/60 for reading, but I was surprised that i got 38/60 for listening. I’ll admit that I did’t spend too much time on vocabulary this time around, so I know that hurt my score, especially on the reading. But since I like in Okinawa, I get to listen and talk a lot, but I don’t really read all that much. I feel confident about grammar, and conversational Japanese, so I intend to focus on Vocabulary and Reading for the next test. I just need to find a way to keep studying fresh and interesting…

    • Clayton MacKnight January 27, 2018, 1:30 pm

      Yeah, reading can be a bit of a grind if you are not use to it. I would recommend picking up something fun to read just to get into the habit. I started with Disney readers like this one:


      They aren’t the best for the test, but they will increase your speed and confidence with reading and are a fun and easy read if you have seen the movie. There is also NHK Web easy, which might be too easy, but could be useful practice:


  • amoon January 26, 2018, 1:26 am

    This was my second time taking the N4. I also took it in July and that time I got a 88/180. This time I passed it with a 100/180:

    Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar), Reading: 65/120 (A, B, B, as expected, I found Grammar and Reading specially hard compared to Vocabulary)
    Listening: 35/60

    I live in Japan, work full time in a Japanese company where everybody speaks the language, however, my speaking still stinks. I prepared the exam by myself with some N4 grammar and drill books, and I’m having a 1-hour weekly class with a volunteer teacher mainly for speaking and asking possible questions about JLPT exercises. Now I don’t know if aiming for the N3 or taking into account that I already “ensured” that I have a theoric base, focus my efforts on the practical use of the language (speaking/listening). What would you suggest?

    • Clayton MacKnight January 27, 2018, 1:33 pm

      Well, N4 grammar is all you need to communicate really, but N3 and N2 will help you improve your reading and listening skills (especially note taking). N3 is really just a mid-way point to N2. Once you have passed N2, you will know all the grammar you need to read / listen to anything and understand. Just need the vocab.

      So depends on what you need in your life. Do you need the reading skills? Can you stay motivated without the test?

      • amoon February 2, 2018, 9:40 am

        Thanks for your reply.

        I think I should focus on speaking and listening and stop priorizing my few study time just for JLPT. Let’s see if I can keep the motivation as that’s one of the reasons I was taking this tests for. Regarding listening, do you know if there’s any podcast with news or similar for somebody around N4 level (I mean, not exclusively study material), or I’m still far to it?

        • Clayton MacKnight February 2, 2018, 2:29 pm

          Yeah, you can’t really use native level material until N3 or N2. It’s best to stick to podcasts focused on Japanese learners like JapanesePod101.

  • Conor January 27, 2018, 2:50 pm

    Passed N5 with 106 (72+34). Thinking of N4 in July, do you think 6 months enough time to get from N5 to N4 level? I do flashcards and listen to podcasts everyday and a bit of grammar and some extra reading at least a couple of times a week.

    Also, what’s up with the “reference information” section with the letters at the end? Is it like a grade for each section? (JLPT newbie, sorry!)

    • Clayton MacKnight January 30, 2018, 12:22 am

      6 months should be enough time if you have a good hour or two a day to study. There is a good amount of grammar to cover, but N4 is where Japanese starts to get a lot less restricted. You can communicate and understand a lot more which makes it more fun to study and use.

      Yeah, those grades are meant to give you general idea of your weak points.

  • Astrakara January 29, 2018, 10:54 pm

    Passed N2 with
    Langauge 31/60
    Reading 36/60
    Listening 34/60
    Vocab B
    Grammar A
    Planning on taking N1 in the next December. Do you have any recommendation for textbooks during this? My daily Japanese exposure is rather limited; for academic reasons I sometimes read Meiji/Taisho era academic publication, but combined with games and some Yahoo News that’s all.

    • Clayton MacKnight January 30, 2018, 12:20 am

      The Kanzen Master series is particularly good to help you prepare, but realistically, you just need to read a lot of news, Yahoo News is a good start as well as news magazines like Aera. For listening, it can be quite difficult to get the kind of practice you need, but TV dramas and news would help there too. Stay away from Anime and manga at this level. 🙂

      You just need to make sure you get a variety of exposure. Don’t just stick to books or news, but change up your reading and make sure you have a good amount of exposure to vocabulary from a variety of sources from fiction to non-fiction books to magazines, to online news.

  • Mary January 30, 2018, 5:29 am

    I didn’t pass the N4. I have a tutor and covered Genki I/II and we went through the official study guide, but some kanji and questions still stumped me. I want to try take it again in December. I have 10 months and I am wondering what is the most effective tools to study for the N4 as I gear up for my second try. I used Memrise and Anki too, but I think I was all over the place studying from too many different websites and books. On Memrise, I downloaded 4 courses and on Anki I was going through 3. This time I’m going to streamline and stick to just a few good tools that cover the kanji, vocab and grammar. I’m exploring what material to use for the N4. Thoughts anyone?

    • Clayton MacKnight February 2, 2018, 2:32 pm

      The Kanzen Master N4 grammar book is quite good:


      I’ve been using recently for research and it has a lot of good practice in it as well as review from N5.

  • Roberto January 30, 2018, 9:48 am

    After failing last year for few points, this time I have passed the N3 with 113/180:
    Grammar 33/60
    Reading 42/60
    Listening 38/60

    I would like to ask you if is possible to do the N2 in December 2018 and what kind of materials do you raccomend to improve the reading skills.

    Thank you 🙂

    • Clayton MacKnight February 2, 2018, 2:38 pm

      I think it depends on how much time you have. You will need to increase your reading speed and really improve your listening skills to make it, but it is possible to do it and such a short amount of time. You’ll have to bring up your grammar score and even though you have a pretty high reading score, you’ll need to practice reading too.

      I’ve always recommended the Kanzen Master series and So-Matome books for N2, Start with So-Matome, then move on to Kanzen, which are tougher.


      Kanzen Master:

      You don’t need the full set really just Reading, Listening and Grammar. That’s all I used. The Kanji and vocab you can pick up with Memrise or Anki, etc..

  • paul January 30, 2018, 11:37 am

    July 2017 70/180 in N2 (20,20,30), Vocab/Reading/Listening
    Dec 2017 70/180 in N2 (17,10,43) Vocab/Reading/Listening

    Both results was due to lack of motivation. Any alternatives to Kanzen Master/ Sou matome? I think something new may help jog my interest

    • Clayton MacKnight February 2, 2018, 2:43 pm

      Huh, well, TRY! is a nice book to work through:


      But looking at your scores, it looks like you just need to do some serious reading. So I would recommend looking for some kind of reading material on something that interests you. I worked through a few movie adaptions of Disney films (they tend be quite visual and easy to read if you’ve seen the movie) and a few non-fiction titles when I was at the N2 level.

      The novels won’t help your reading comprehension that much but will improve speed. The non-fiction titles and news magazines and such will help your comprehension. Often times material for the N2 is lifted from stuff like Aera.

      • paul February 12, 2018, 4:39 pm

        thanks for the tip, part of the problem is that I don’t have an interest in reading (don’t read books) but Ill try something soon.

  • Richard January 30, 2018, 12:11 pm

    Passed N4! It was my first attempt at JLPT. I found the vocabulary really easy especially the 漢字 part in which I literally “speed” through the questions without a blink of an eye. The grammar was pretty straight-forward the first part and the word order and easy-medium difficulty the second part, I found reading a bit difficult only the last text but still manageable. So for the 2/3 of the JLPT I was confident about my answers. The listening part was hell in earth, it seemed to me like speed-up compared to the practice tests I did with my Japanese teacher and what I did by myself on sites like japanesetest4you . I was sure about how I answered 6-8 questions over 28… anyway I scored
    Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/ Grammar) and Reading 84/120 , Listening 26/60 for a total of 110/180. Vocabulary A, Grammar A, Reading B. I want to specify that I’m only 19 years old, Italian and I’ve never been to Japan but I’m planning to do it in the near future, so I’m still really happy about my results. I’m not going to take N3 this december I want to get better at listening first and to speed up my reading comprehension that is still good but can be improved. Do you have any recommendations for Japanese programs in order to get better at listening? J-drama, live-actions and/or movies?

    • Clayton MacKnight February 2, 2018, 2:48 pm

      Um, at your level, it might be too soon to start with j-Dramas and native level materials. JapanesePod101 has a good variety of levels to listen to:


      For the N4 / N3 level you will still need to read / listen “prepared” materials. At the N2 level, you can start working with native materials. Also just getting a conversation partner and practicing is good as well.

  • Dec January 30, 2018, 8:03 pm

    Second time trying N2. In 2016, I got 21/17/21 (total 59/180) in the three sections (language knowledge/reading/listening).

    This time, I got 41/11/38 (total 90/180). Didn’t pass because I didn’t reach the sectional pass mark in the reading section (got 11, needed 19).

    I was very surprised at how badly I did in reading, to be honest. I did know going into the exam that I probably wouldn’t have time to answer all the questions, so I planned to answer a certain number of reading questions (working from the back of the question book) and then do all of the language knowledge part except the last “wall of text” grammar question.

    I made a mistake and didn’t answer as many reading questions as I had planned, and only discovered the problem with about 10~15 minutes to go. I actually “finished” my reading question quota with time to spare and I think I slowed down a bit for the rest of the test, pleased with myself because I thought I was ahead of schedule. If I had spotted my mistake earlier, I think I could have had done the missing reading question and still had time to answer all the vocabulary and grammar questions that I had planned to do.

    Very disappointed that I did so badly in reading. After the paper, I felt confident I’d get at least 50-55% in that section, but obviously it didn’t work out like that. There are probably a few reasons: I didn’t answer the questions as well as I thought; I lost more marks for having to guess the question I planned to do; and, maybe, the weighting system favours correct answers in the questions I guessed (as opposed to the ones I actually read and answered).

    On the plus side …
    * got required 90/180 in overall score
    * nearly doubled my 2016 score in language knowledge and listening
    * Got “A” in both parts of the language knowledge section (vocabulary and grammar), despite not having time to answer last grammar question
    * I’m always telling myself I should read more, so failing so spectacularly (worse than randomly guessing each question) can be a good kick up the backside for me (plus, reading is quite a bit more enjoyable than memorising vocabulary and grammar or trying to practise listening)

    * listening was nowhere near as bad as I thought it had been after finishing the test (I guess I was being too hard on myself)

    Until the next time, 頑張ります!

    • Clayton MacKnight February 2, 2018, 2:52 pm

      Reading, at least for me, is a lot of fun in a foreign language. It’s like continually piecing together a big puzzle. I hate reading English (my native language) but I really get into reading Japanese. As long as it is material that is of interest to you it’s great.

      My advice is start with a softball and don’t look for something that is going to be the very best material for the N2. Just find something fun to read at first, then bump up the difficulty.

  • snaima March 11, 2018, 2:29 pm

    I passed N4 with luck. I couldn’t believe myself when I see the word ‘koukai’ in the test result, although the score was very, very ‘giri-giri’ hahaha.
    Does the scoring means something in this JLPT thing? I mean if I passed N4, no matter how small the score I get, does that mean that my Japanese proficiency is better than those who passed N5 with a perfect score? I just wanted to know if I have the right to feel proud because I didn’t take any classes and I learn Japanese only by watching dramas and tv shows lol xD

    • Clayton MacKnight March 12, 2018, 8:03 am

      Do you mean 合格(goukaku)? Basically, ever since they revised the scoring method in 2010, the scores have varied quite widely. In general though a pass is a pass, the higher level, usually has completely different kinds of questions and a different target, so yes, passing N4 is, in theory, better than getting a full score on N5. But, technically, the person that got the full score on N5 has absolutely mastered N5 grammar/vocab/kanji/listening/reading. Now, they may be pretty good at N4 too but the test didn’t cover any of that, so we’ll never know. The person that passed N4 with a giri-giri score knows a convenient amount of N4 material, enough to communicate at the level with some small, but not fatal mistakes. So, according to the test, you are more proficient, but the person that passed with full marks might be more proficient in real life. I mean I’m N2ish~N1ish and a passed the N5 with full-marks when I was doing research for my book, soo…

      Anyway, getting to N4 by yourself is a huge accomplishment. Great work!

      • snaima March 13, 2018, 12:30 am

        Oops sorry… yes I mean goukaku, hahaha
        ahhh I see. Thanks for explaining it to me!
        yeah I’m still surprised I could pass the test, I’m so happy it’s like I’m getting awarded by just doing my hobby (watching jdramas lol)

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