The MEXT Scholarship is a full merit-based scholarship awarded by the Japanese Government for International Students wanting to study in Japan. 

We have written a lot of guides about the MEXT Scholarship so far: 

MEXT Scholarship 2022 | Master the Basics with This One Article
Studying in Japan as a MEXT Undergraduate Scholar
MEXT Scholarship for Research in Japan (Part 1: What is a Research Student?)
MEXT Scholarship for Research in Japan (Part 2: Stories from Research Students)

However today, we will be answering one of our most requested MEXT articles: 

How do you write and submit a scholarship-winning MEXT application?

Continue reading to find out Schoolynk’s Top 5 Tips and Tricks for a successful MEXT application!

Tip #1: Start working on your Field of Study and Research Program Plan EARLY! 

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The Field of Study and Research Program Plan is THE MOST IMPORTANT component of the MEXT Application. 

It gives students the opportunity to express their desire to study in Japan. At the same time, the Japanese Government will review these documents and consider if it is worthwhile investing in their research and awarding students the scholarship. 

To make a strong impression, it is really important to nail down the following key questions: 

Why Japan? 
What does your research hope to achieve? 
How does studying in Japan help you with your research? 
What contributions can your research make to the global community? 

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Students are advised to begin working on their Field of Study and Research Program Plan at least 3 months prior to submission. This will allow students to deeply consider their scope of research and contact potential professors in Japan for further research inspiration. 

Tip 2: Keep the documents you submit neat & clean

The presentation of documents is equally as important as the content. 

It is advised for students to type their answers on the PDF application form instead of writing it by hand. This way, it will be easier for the people at the embassy to review their application and it will seem more professional. 

Furthermore, it might be beneficial to have a clear outline and headers in both the Field of Study and the Research Program Plan. This way, MEXT will be able to get an idea of the student’s research plan just by skimming through it. 

Tip 3: Do not underestimate the written exams

The written exams, conducted by MEXT, are the next major obstacle students must clear after the document screening. 

It is important to know that the exam contents will differ depending on your major. Social Sciences and Humanities students will have to take English, Japanese, and Mathematics. Natural Science Students will have to take English, Japanese, Mathematics as well as two Science subjects. 

It is advised for students to begin studying for these tests ahead of time. There are usually past exam papers on the MEXT website so students should focus on getting used to the test format and learn to pace their time appropriately. 

To check our the MEXT Past Papers, see the link below: 
Ace the MEXT Scholarship Exam: Past Papers and Analysis

Tip 4: Be prepared for the Japanese Style Interview

Being familiar with the Japanese interview culture and etiquette is invaluable during the interview stage. 

For an onsite interview, it is advised to arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the interview and to dress well (school uniform or suit). For an online interview, students should practice speaking in front of a computer and remember to look at the camera instead of the screen. 

It is also to have a basic outline of how to answer the interview questions. 

Here is a list of questions that past Schoolynk MEXT Scholars were asked during their interviews: 

Why do you want to study in Japan?
Why do you want to study that topic?
What university do you want to study in Japan?
What do you know about Japan?
How do you think you will be able to handle living in Japan?
What do you plan to do after your studies?
What is your plan if you do not get this scholarship?

Ace the MEXT Scholarship Interview Questions

Tip 5: Be patient as you wait for the results

Finally, it is important for students to be patient after their interview process as the MEXT application can be quite time-consuming. 

First, the embassy of the student’s home country will screen the applicants and select a short-list of candidates that they will recommend to Japan. 

Next, all the students’ written documents, test results, and interview feedback will be sent to the Japanese MEXT office where they will make the final decision. This process can take anywhere from two to five months. 

It is only after the final decision is made from MEXT Japan can students start contacting universities to ask if certain professors will be able to supervise their research. 

As the MEXT Scholarship consists of the Embassy or MEXT as a middle figure between that of the student and the university, communication can often be direct and time-consuming. 

The best advice is to remain patient and to have a solid backup plan. It may also be a good time to travel or engage in an internship. 

Conclusion

We hope that this article has given you some tips and tricks to best prepare for the MEXT application! 

For more advice, check out the below interview with Arsen, a current MEXT Scholar

How to Maximize your Chances of Winning the MEXT Scholarship: Advice from a Past Recipient