The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N2 is known to be particularly important for those interested in working in Japan, as most companies will require at least this level of language proficiency in order to offer employment.

As a matter of fact, according to the JLPT’s official website, in summer 2017, the N2 Test had the highest number of applicants, with a total of over 145,000 applicants. However, as popular as it may be, passing the JLPT N2 is quite challenging, with 40% of total applicants successfully passing it.

What does the JLPT consist of?

The JLPT N2 is divided into three main sections :

1. Listening

2. Grammar and Vocabulary

3. Reading

Each section is worth 60 points, and at least 19 points should be obtained in each section, as well as a total of at least 100 points should be obtained overall in order to pass the test.

This system makes it a bit easier to pass the exam as students can obtain more points in one section – whichever one they feel comfortable in, and still pass the exam even if they didn’t do so well in other sections (as long as the above requirement is met).

studying Japanese with a dictionary

JLPT N2 Kanji

The test covers around 1,000 Kanji characters, including those from previous levels (JLPT N3, N4 and N5). Therefore, it is very important to find a good way of memorizing them. For example, using kanji flashcards is a popular learning technique. Alternatively, or in addition, practicing and reviewing a couple of kanji a day is a good method to properly learn, not to forget the stroke orders too.

JLPT N2 Grammar

The test covers around 200 Japanese grammar forms, including those from previous levels (JLPT N3, N4 and N5). There are several efficient ways to learn grammar. The standard way being through a JLPT Textbook, where students can practice grammar points by practicing the exercises. An alternative yet effective way is for students to read Japanese novels, where grammar points are used in a context, and thus easier to remember.

For example, Murakami Haruki’s novels are a good starting point. Murakami’s writing style is considered to be simple and unadorned, using comparisons to everyday things rather than referring to uncommon terms which would require some looking up. Thus, his novels are approachable by intermediate level students.

a student reading a book

JLPT N2 Reading

Reading books as a way of practicing and memorizing grammar is also useful for the reading section of the test. Many students focus mainly on grammar and kanji, and do dedicate enough time to practice for the reading section. Reading novels, articles, or newspapers is the perfect revision as all sections (kanji, grammar, and reading) are included. The more students read, the more they will get used to grammar structures, and even if they will not be able to understand the entire sentence, they will know what to look for in order to grasp the basic meaning.

JLPT N2 Listening

The test also covers a listening part. The best way to prepare for this is to watch movies, listen to songs, or generally engage in conversations with native speakers. There are four to five sections within the listening test, and students can practice these online, as there is a wide selection of online listening practice tests.


Although the JLPT N2 Test is quite challenging, preparing for it in the best way will increase the chances of passing it. This article has provided some useful tips for students to consider while preparing for the test.