Published: Dec. 7, 2017

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) was developed in Japan, and has been offered since 1984 in countries all around the world as a means of evaluating the proficiency of non-native learners of Japanese.

In the beginning, there were approximately 7,000 examinees worldwide. By 2011, there were more than 600,000 examinees in more than 60 countries. This is the Center for Asian Studies’ fourth year administering the Boulder/Denver area test. We are one of seventeen testing locations throughout the US. This year more than six thousand people measured their skills in written Japanese grammar and vocabulary, as well as their capacity to understand spoken Japanese.

The JLPT places importance not only on knowledge of Japanese-language vocabulary and grammar but also on the ability to use the knowledge in actual communication. In order to perform various "everyday tasks" that require language, not only language knowledge but also the ability to actually use it are necessary. Therefore, the JLPT measures comprehensive Japanese-language communicative competence through three elements: "Language Knowledge," "Reading," and "Listening." The JLPT is offered in five levels (N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5, in order from most difficult to least difficult). N4 and N5 measure understanding of basic Japanese that is mainly learned in the classroom. N1 and N2 measure understanding of Japanese used in a broad range of actual everyday scenes. N3 bridges the gap between N4/N5 and N1/N2.

For American learners of Japanese, the JLPT offers a way to test your language skills and evidence of achievement that is comparable with other Japanese learners around the country and the world. The test is given only one time per year on the same day across the country. This year, the test was on Sunday, December 3, 2017.

Testing in Boulder takes place in the Wolf Law Building on the CU campus, which is large enough to test many students of different levels all in one location. This year 186 test-takers were registered in Boulder. Each testing room had 2 proctors made up of a combination of CU faculty and graduate students, UNC faculty, and there were several teachers from the Japanese Academy of the Rockies. Our youngest test taker was 11 years old, and our oldest test taker was 63.

Next year’s test will take place on December 2, 2018, and registration will close in late September, 2018. More information can be found at