July 2018 JLPT – First Impressions

July 2018 JLPT – First Impressions post image

For us here in Asia (and some places in Europe and North America), we are lucky enough to be able to take the JLPT in July.  Lucky for us, the rainy season ended just in time to give us a hot and humid weekend to take the test.  I hope everyone had a good test-taking experience.

At the moment, I’m putting the finishing touches on my JLPT Study Guide for the N5 that is coming out at the end of the year.  I’ve been busy creating a series of grammar and kanji videos to help everyone out with the N5 as well.  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the YouTube channel and let me know what you think of them.  Any feedback, good or bad would be a plus.


If this test is anything like the previous tests, online results should be available around Aug 21st or maybe 28th.  And if you didn’t register online, then you’ll get your certificates a about a week after that in the mail.

What to do Now?

First, be sure to let us all know about how you did on the test in the comments below.  It’s always incredibly valuable to hear from people who took the test.  Where did you take the test and what level?  What, if anything, took you by surprise?  Be sure to let us know.

You might be tempted at this point to simply take a break and stop studying Japanese, especially as you wait for your results, but why let a good study habit go to waste?  Now is a good time to rethink your study strategy a little and try something different.  For example, if you have never done a lot of speaking practice, now is a good time to do a little speaking practice.

Or if you feel like one section of the test was a little more difficult than the others, you can switch focus a little to that.  For example, if you weren’t able to get the reading section done in time, maybe it is a good time to start up a good reading habit, so that you can increase your reading speed for future tests.

It’s important to at least keep up the habit, if not the overall quantity of study.  Language learning takes regular practice in order to master, so if you’ve done all the work to setup a habit, it would be a shame to let it go now.

So, what are you going to do from now?  Let me know.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Michael Cheung July 2, 2018, 6:29 pm

    The JLPT in London was also a hot and sticky affair, on possibly the hottest day of the year so far (we’re in the middle of a heatwave and I think it reached around 32 degrees c)! At around 45 mins into the grammar section I got light headed and immediately thought 「飲みなさい」、 and emptied a bottle of water!
    Your timings (https://jlptbootcamp.com/2011/06/jlpt-time-time-management-for-the-test/) coupled with the tip on bringing a watch were crucial for me actually finishing the papers, so many many thanks for this advice.
    Although there was a screen at the front with a projected digital clock, not having to look up to check the time meant I could stay in hunched over mode with eyes down all the time, randomly glancing at my watch positioned to the left of my paper. I think not having to look up, break concentration, then look back down, refocus, meant I saved valuable minutes in concentration time.

    • Clayton MacKnight July 3, 2018, 12:33 am

      Glad I could help, and good to hear that London is offering the July test now. It seems like Japan is the only country where they don’t have a clock showing the time at the front. We don’t have the luxury of a clock or a 5 minute warning, so timing can be difficult.

      What level of the test did you take?

      • Michael Cheung July 3, 2018, 9:39 pm

        After reading peoples’ past experiences such as, the room being too large, people making too much noise, the audio being unclear, there was no clock and/or warnings etc., I feel as though I was given a lucky break with my first JLPT N4! The room I was in was just big enough for the 40 or so candidates, there was an excellent PA system, there was a digital clock projected at the front, the examiners were friendly and extremely happy to help with any problems (even lugged in a couple of fans to try and cool the room down), all candidates respected one another enough to keep noise to a minimum (I rarely noticed a page turn), sections began right on time and we were given 5 minute warnings. I guess you could say it was an optimal setting for an exam – if I fail I only have myself to blame!

        • Michael Cheung August 22, 2018, 7:13 pm

          Just to say thank you again for your ‘time management’ and ‘bring a watch’ tips; I passed (!) and am certain I wouldn’t have done if I didn’t have the section timings down to a tee 😀

      • Jei Yu December 2, 2018, 3:48 am

        We’ve had the July test in London for at least 5 years! I don’t think I’ll ever sit another July exam if I can help it as the last one I took was awfully hot and they waited ages to open the windows.

  • Dec July 4, 2018, 7:48 pm

    Took N2 at the same location as Michael Cheung above, apparently. There were a lot of people there! A few hundred, at least, by my reckoning.
    The day was indeed hot and sticky London, but I didn’t mind that. If anything, I think it might have helped me to relax. I’d already had plenty of fluids in the morning, so I only needed to drink sparingly in the exam.
    There were a couple of surprising questions in the vocab and grammar. There were some words that I don’t think I’ve seen in any JLPT N2 lists. As an example, one of the distractors was ガンガン(進む), which seemed like it could mean going ahead at a breakneck pace, at least judging by the sound of it, but on closer examination, 着々 (which is in N2 lists) was also there. There was also some verb, which I don’t recall now, that you had to paraphrase.
    I’m still not fast enough to complete the exam paper in the available time, so after practising with mock tests, I decided to spend around 60-65 minutes on reading and the remainder on vocab and the first two grammar questions (ignoring the “wall of text”). I did 3/5 of the first reading questions, 2/3 of the next ones, and all the rest of the reading section in the time I had allotted. I feel pretty good about most of those questions, but there were a few where I didn’t think that any of the options were right. IIRC, that was the IR question that gives 4 statements about the text and you have to pick one that’s right. I think I plumped for the option that had まとめ in it, on the basis that it probably meant something like 一括 in this context; you can have a repeat consultation, but you can’t organise the follow-on at the same time as your first session. I also started worrying that an underlined こうした was actually referring to something described later, rather than previously. Stuff like that. Overall, though, I’m fairly happy about the reading comprehension. I only got 11/60 the last time and I was fairly confident that I’d done well enough then, too. This time, I guess that my confidence could also be misplaced, but due to all the practice I put in, plus being able to answer more questions in this section, I hope to at least get a sectional pass grade here, and hopefully even a pass grade in it (I was mostly getting 50%+ in the mocks I took, and most of those were harder than the actual test).
    As Michael mentioned, the sound quality for the listening section was excellent. It was night and day compared to the last time I took the listening in Dublin. There, pretty much everything that could go wrong with the sound did: the player went to sleep every few minutes until they got a new one, there was sibilance/distortion at high volume, the invigilator was making distracting noise, and I’m sure that the CD even skipped at one point. In London, by contrast, they seemed to have a proper mixing desk and there was no distortion, even at high volume. Last year, I did get a high score in listening (38/60) despite the problems, but I suspected that was a fluke–down to a series of lucky guesses. Subjectively, I felt like I was completely losing track of what was going on in too many questions due to the noise irritations. By contrast, again, this time in London was a totally pleasant listening experience. I only got completely lost in a few questions, but was able to guess anyway from the notes that I had made and picking up the general gist. I was in a good, positive mood going into the last long questions (after 即時理解) and actually even found them surprisingly short and easy.
    Last December, I got 11/60 in reading and 90/180 overall, so if the minimum I achieve this time is to get 19/60 in reading and keep the average of my other two scores the same, I should pass. I believe that I did well enough on the day to have probably surpassed that, but obviously we won’t have results for a while yet. それまで待望しています!

  • Steven Gonzálvez July 10, 2018, 9:09 am

    Sat N5 in Düsseldorf on July 1st. They said there were 118 of us, all five levels ltogether, mostly young people obviosuly still at school or college, big crowd packing the venue’s entrance hall. Also here the weather was too warm for comfort and the exam room had no air conditioning -how can they not have not thought about it? There was a little welcome speech, including a Japanese guy from the Consulate or maybe Japan Foundation. I left my bag in one of the lockers at the rail station next door, but that turned out to be unnecessary as everyone else brought their bags into the exam room and simply left on the floor next to their table. The invigilators were a lot less forbidding than the application forms had made me imagine -they were actually friendly and dressed very casually, no ties or business dress at all. I expect it must all have been very different (more strict) in Japan. Time management was an issue for me. I found most questions easy but ran out of time, so couldn’t answer the last few on both written sections. I would say bringing a pencil sharpener as per the test instructions is ridiculous. You are really pressed for time, so the thing to do is bring several pencils and if one needs sharpening, swap it quickly with a new one. Contrary to my expectations, the listening was the easiest part. In general I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the December test later this year.

  • Vertis Davis July 16, 2018, 10:03 pm

    Took the test in Aomori City.
    Funny thing was the male to female ratio was crazy. Possibly 80/20, the 80 being females. A lot of Chinese, Philippino, Korean and more.
    Only 9 of us took the N5, while the other 200 or so were at the upper levels.
    As for the administering of the test, the 2 Japanese ladies were cutthroat.
    Maybe that is normal as I am sure in Japan, but prior to each section of the test and after the rules, one of the proctors went around and verified our face with their list and our test voucher, every time.
    They were VERY precise and read through the rules before each section, and waited to the EXACT time they announced for the exam section.
    No 5 minute warnings also, no clock like I guess is a thing other countries. Not really strict, but extremely straight foreword, and not once did either of the 2 proctors smile, not once, as expectant of a true Japanese professor who has no time for emotions in such a serious environment.
    Since it was my first time taking it I started at N5 which was a breeze, but still had some tricky questions, mostly on the DAMM WORD ORDER section, OOOH that section make you second guess your answers!
    One guy’s watch beeped, and they made him take it off and as we were on the 3rd floor, the proctor took it down to the first floor and said he could have it back after the exam.
    All the directions and instructions were of course in Japanese.
    Do the tests administered in other countries have the class rules spoken to them in their native language or in Japanese? I really wonder. Plus it was spoken native speed, native level and my Japanese is ok, but it was obvious that most did not catch a lot of what they were saying for some words spoken and it was the N5 exam.
    The yellow card and red cards were interesting, never heard of anyone talking about those before. No one was caught making nosie or having anything out not allowed, so no red or yellow cards were handed out.

    My biggest takeaway, was the test not only tests your Japanese ability, but they way the rules were forced so strongly and precisely made me feel like it was also testing you basic ability to just take a test.

    • Clayton MacKnight July 22, 2018, 1:00 am

      Yeah, there is a lot of cheating that goes on, at least in Japan, so they have to be fairly strict. They seem to change the rules every year though. The red and yellow cards used to be explained in the test packet they sent out. I think they go over them at the beginning, but of course it is all in Japanese.

  • réda August 1, 2018, 6:14 am

    I Took the N2 for the second time in Kyoto after failing the first time:
    no 5-minute warning and no clock as usual, unfriendly female staff who had better off working as a prison guard; as the room was packed with 99% noisy Asians (sorry, but it has to be said), cracking their fingers, sniffing, coughing, etc, I wanted to use my earplugs to be able to focus, but I was banned from doing so since it is not written in the rules (!): typical Japanese unflexibility (I know what I am talking about as I work here in Engineering).
    as usual, the reading section is extremely long, time-management was of the essence; I did better than last time though, where I had 7 questions unanswered, against 3 this time; but it seems, no one was able to answer all the questions in time. Although the first time I knew 1200 kanji (+200 more than required), I did not know a single kanji in the test; this time, I took the exam knowing 1330 kanji, and I was finally able to answer 90% of them. Vocabulary: as usual, you know it or you don’t.
    Listening: it is all about “nuances” and it was also more towards “business Japanese” this time; although I could understand all the explications for the test (and there were many, repeated over and over again), they were “tricky” passages; you have to extremely focus on what is being said, to-the-word, if you wish to answer right; which is a challenge with the “disrespectful-of-others noisy students” (refer to the beginning of the text).
    I hope this time I will pass, as I do not wish to go through this again. In Japan anyway…
    note: took N4 in France, N3 in Korea, and N2 in Japan (twice).

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