Wednesday, February 18, 2009

JLPT 1 Results

I got the results from the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) level 1 that I took in December. Results are pretty much what I expected, if a little low: 170 out of 400, with 280 as the passing grade.

Not bad. Remember, I took this test before I started studying level 1 material; this is the baseline of what I already know on the test before doing any preparation or studying whatsoever. Since you can expect to score about 100 points by pure chance, I was effectively able to answer 93 points out of 400, with the needed "real" points at 240.1

I'll be taking the test again in December. As I'm not specifically studying for the JLPT I'm not likely to pass on that attempt either, but I should see a nice bump in the score.


#1 For those not so mathematically inclined, it's easy to figure out: Let's say the score we got is s, or 170 points. Then, let's say the number of points we actually knew, not guessed, is k. This is what we want to find out. There's four answers to choose from, so about 1/4 of answers we guess at will be correct.

We know that the score s we got (170 points) consists of answers k we actually knew plus 1/4 of the remaining answers (400-k) that we guessed at. we get:

Which comes out to 93 points I knew with a score of 170, and as level 1 requires a 280 point score to pass we'd need to know 240 points worth of answers to have an even chance of passing. For comparison, the passing score is 240 for level 2-4, and that implies you need to know about 187 points to pass. That means the level 1 test actually requires you to know about 28% more of the test material than the lower levels do, a pretty significant difference.


  1. I passed level 2 within a few months of arriving in Japan (I had studied overseas), but despite taking level 1 a half a dozen times, I never passed it. In the beginning I took cram classes for foreigners, and I got really close once, but then they started to make it harder, while at the same time I stopped studying for it, so the gap increased and increased.

    I could ace the listening, and do well on the reading, but the grammer and especially the kanji killed me.

  2. surely the point is to learn the language, not to blagg the percentages and pick up the piece of paper

  3. Anonymous, note what I wrote: "As I'm not specifically studying for the JLPT [...]".

    But one does not exclude the other. You can study for the language and still crunch test statistics. You can love photography and still obsess about camera gear

  4. Hi,

    Is there a site where we can view JPLT results?

  5. "Is there a site where we can view JPLT results"

    I have no idea.

  6. Why don't you just take level 2 instead of doing math gymnastics to find out how badly you failed level 1?

    Or just study more?

  7. Anonymous, I have taken level 2, and I've passed it. Also, I like math gymnastics. Half my job involves doing math in one form or another. I do math for fun. Also, If I went around succeeding at everything the first time around, then where would the fun be? I couldn't very well track my improvement from year to year could I?

  8. *chuckle* Why am I not surprised to see the spiteful turds come out with their negative comments every time someone mentions anything about Japanese language ability? It's a total fixation among some people, as if it makes someone any more entitled to live in Japan. ^_^ I like your blog, btw!

  9. Re your comment of 5 July: that's an excellent attitude to have. You sound like an admirable student. おめでとうございます、頑張ってください。

  10. Your score was not bad, as you started studying Japanese quite recently...

    I thought your formula is interesting. However don't you simply too much by omitting the numerous cases where you guess the answer randomly AFTER ruling out one or two candidates that are obviously wrong?

    Good luck for next session


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