About the Japanese Language NAT-TEST

Overview of the Exam

写真The Japanese Language NAT-TEST is an examination that measures the Japanese language ability of students who are not native Japanese speakers. The tests are separated by difficulty (five levels) and general ability is measured in three categories: Grammar/Vocabulary, Listening and Reading Comprehension. The format of the exam and the types of questions are equivalent to those that appear on the Japanese Language Ability Test (JLPT).

Strengths of the NAT-TEST

A decades-long, worldwide record of success

The Japanese Language NAT-TEST is based on the Japanese Language Achievement Test for Non-Native Speakers, held twice a year since 1988 in Japan and other countries such as China, Taiwan and South Korea. The Japanese Language Achievement Test is used by many Japanese language schools and education centers as a proactive way of measuring students` performance and in guidance counseling.

The best way to prepare for the JLPT

The format of the Japanese Language NAT-TEST and questions that appear on it are based on the Japanese Language Achievement Test for Non-Native Speakers, which also conforms to the guidelines of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). When students are entering a Japanese university or applying for a college student visa, they often take the JLPT as a general way to measure their language ability. Because the NAT-TEST conforms to the guidelines of the JLPT, it is also an excellent way to prepare for that exam. (For example, Level 5 of the NAT-TEST is equivalent to N5 of the JLPT) One other advantage the NAT-TEST has is that while the JLPT is only held twice a year (once a year in select countries), our exam is held six times a year so you can use it to get a more detailed measure of the progress of your Japanese ability.

Quick and detailed test results

We issue the results of the test within three weeks of the examination date. On the score report will be printed not only your general score but also a detailed breakdown of the different sections and how you performed on them. Your strong suits and weak points on the test will be visible at a glance. For those who pass, a certificate will be issued as well.

For examples of the test results and passing certificate, please see this page.

An exam of the highest quality

The members of our administration committee, who create the questions and material that appear on the exam, are veteran Japanese language instructors as well as textbook writers and editors. We use reference materials that have an established reputation in the Japanese language education industry and guarantee high quality examination questions and material, as our basic guidelines that are used for creating questions.

Integrity of the exam

The administration committee of the Japanese Language NAT-TEST does not allow any improprieties concerning test taking. It is our duty to confirm the identities of all test takers of the NAT-TEST. To do this, we issue application tickets with the test taker's photo and identifying information. The proctors at each exam site also confirm the identities of each test taker by making sure they have identification that matches their application ticket.

In order to ensure the integrity of all parts of the examination process, all of our test takers, users and administrators have agreed to abide by the NAT-TEST Code of Honor, which helps ensure the honest behavior of all those involved with the exam. We thank you all for your cooperation.

Levels and sections of the exam

There are five levels of the Japanese Language NAT-TEST. Level 5 is the easiest followed by levels 4, 3, 2, and then level 1, which is the most difficult. The difficulty of each level corresponds to its respective level (from N5 to N1) on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

Levels 1 and 2 have a Language Knowledge section, which includes reading, grammar and vocabulary, a Reading Comprehension section and a Listening section. Levels 3, 4 and 5 have a Language Knowledge section, which includes kanji and vocabulary, a second Language Knowledge section with grammar and reading, and then a Listening section. On the day of the exam, it will take several hours for test takers to complete the test.

Comparison to the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

For more details about how the Japanese Language NAT-TEST compares to the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, please refer to our comparison guide.

The Score Report and Certificate of Proficiency

A score report will be sent to all test takers of the NAT-TEST. For those who pass the exam, a certificate of proficiency will be sent as well with the examinee’s picture attached. For more details, please see the page below.

From application to score report, an overview of the entire exam process

For a complete step-by-step overview of the entire examination process, from the time that you send in your application to the time you receive your score report, please see the page below.

Past Exam Results

For more details about the scores and other data from previous NAT-TESTs, please see the page below.

Test Development

This is how we create the questions and content that appear on the Japanese Language NAT-TEST:

  1. The NAT-TEST administration committee members responsible for creating questions and content for the exam create preliminary test questions.
  2. These preliminary questions are checked and organized by administration committee staff.
  3. The members then finalize these in groups of two, and create the preliminary questions that will appear on the exam.
  4. The testing administration committee meets as a full body and checks the questions that have been created, making any necessary corrections or alterations. These questions become the second drafts of the questions to appear on the exam.
  5. Members of our Standards and Practices Committee then check the questions and return them to the main committee along with any addendums, corrections, additions, etc. that they feel needs to be made to the questions to adhere to the standards of our examination process.
  6. Based on the feedback from the Standards and Practices Committee, the questions are revised and modified. As long as is necessary, steps 4 and 5 are repeated until the final drafts of the questions have been completed.
  7. Staff of the NAT-TEST Administration Committee make a final check of the questions and the ones that will ultimately appear on the exam are finalized.

Administration of the NAT-TEST

The administration of the NAT-TEST is handled entirely by the Administration Committee of Senmon Kyouiku Publishing Co. (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan). The tests are operated by the Regional Office of each country. The Committee provides Regional Offices technical assistance and support to operate the NAT-TEST correctly and ensure the integrity of testing.