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The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (or simply JLPT), is a standardized test to validate a person's Japanese language proficiency (listening, reading, and writing). It was created in 1984, in response to growing demand for standardized Japanese language certification for primarily non-native speakers. Up until 2003 it was one of the requirements for entry by foreigners into Japanese Universities. The Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) is now used for this purpose.

Level Kanji Words Conversation Hours of study
4 ~100 ~800 Simple ~150
3 ~300 ~1,500 Everyday ~300
2 ~1000 ~6,000 Near-native ~600
1 ~2000 ~10,000 Native ~900

The JLPT is offered by the Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) inside of Japan, and the Japan Foundation outside of Japan. As of 2001, the JLPT was offered in 37 countries, including Japan. Of the 227,593 examinees, 46.8%, or 106,613 were certified for their respective level.

The test itself has four levels of difficulty, ranging from level one (native speaking level) to level four (reached after approximately 150 hours of study). A level four vocabulary is roughly equivalent to an early elementary school education, level three to late elementary school, level two to middle school, and level one to a high school graduate.

The test takes place every first Sunday in December. In 2005 the test is on December 4.

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