Why I’m taking the N1 even though I won’t pass

Hey, guys! Two weeks sure passed by fast. It’s that time of year when work picks up, the weather cools down, and absolutely everyone wants to get together and Do Things. I’ve been going on adventures in my area and struggling with a big Will I or Won’t I question–will I take the JLPT this December?

The JLPT, or Japanese Language Proficiency Test, is exactly what it sounds like: an official test with which you can measure your abilities. The test contains multiple-choice questions in multiple sections, from kanji to reading to a long listening section. It’s generally about 4 hours long, with brief breaks in between the sections. You can start at N5, which involves greetings and survival-level Japanese, and work your way up to N1, which means you can theoretically read, understand, and discuss academic-level Japanese.


This post originally was a debate with myself as to whether or not I’d take the test this December. It’s been over two years since I attempted (and passed) the N2, or business-level Japanese, so I’m very much of a mindset of “why not?”

Do I have confidence I’ll pass? Ohoho, no, I’m definitely going to fail.

“So why bother wasting 5500 yen on a test you won’t pass?” I hear someone demand.

Excellent question.

  1. Quantifying progress. I want to see where I am. I haven’t taken classes in a couple years, so it’s hard to determine just how “good” I am at the language.
  2. Completion. Let’s say I somehow pass. Well then, I’m done with the JLPT! I can move on to other tests like the Kanji Kentei or others that focus on more practical, business usage of the lingo.
  3. Bragging rights. ‘Nuff said.
  4. For the sake of experience. If I don’t pass, I get to see what the test will be like at this level. Every level is different in terms of length of time, number of sections, and of course in difficulty. I’ll get to see what it’s like.

Everyone’s got their own reasons for trying this test. So I’m curious:

Have you taken a language test? For what, and at what level? Why did you do it? Did you pass?

Anyway, wish me luck while I try this, and also NaNoWriMo in a little over a month.

3 thoughts on “Why I’m taking the N1 even though I won’t pass

  1. I also passed the N2 a couple of years ago and was thinking about taking N1 for the same reasons! The main reason for me is to have a goal to work towards – I think I will give it a go next July.


  2. Pingback: What’s your JLPT strategy? – Stefanie, What?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s