See the below links for our two-part “Ace the MEXT” series!

Ace the MEXT Scholarship Exam: Past Papers and Analysis
Ace the MEXT Scholarship Interview Questions

So you’ve already submitted your application documents for the first screening of the MEXT (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship and now you are thinking about the upcoming MEXT Scholarship English Test. Whether you’ve already passed the first screening or you’re still waiting for the results, here are some tips on how to prepare for the MEXT English Exam.

Still don’t know what the MEXT scholarship is all about? See the latest info for 2021.

Tip #1: Familiarize yourself with the test format by practicing on past MEXT Scholarship English Exams

Download past MEXT English Exams to test yourself

If you’ve already successfully gotten past the document screening, this means that you have a proper grasp of the English language. However, we all know that being able to read, write, and speak English properly doesn’t necessarily mean that we have already mastered English grammar rules, especially when it comes to tricky words and sentences that will come up in the MEXT English Test.

Moreover, another important thing to consider when preparing for a test is not just the content but also the format of the exam. The MEXT Scholarship English Test usually lasts for 60 minutes. The exam includes questions that test English proficiency through vocabulary checks, identifying mistakes in verb tenses and prepositions, as well as reading comprehension, among others.

The Ministry of Education Culture Sports and Technology (MEXT) has published previous exams on their website, which you can access here. Take the tests and time yourself. How long does it take for you to answer the test? Which items were difficult? What were your mistakes and why did you make them? Did you understand all of the instructions correctly?

Tip #2: Review English Grammar rules by enrolling in MOOCs

Enroll in online classes that target your weaknesses

Another helpful strategy to prepare for the MEXT English Test is to enroll in online courses focused on improving one’s English grammar skills. Websites like Coursera and edX host free and high-quality courses called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). These platforms have courses that focus on advanced English learners we want to improve their English grammar skills either for work or academic purposes.

Here are some of the best self-paced online courses that you can take, which specifically focus on tricky grammar and particular aspects of the English language.  These courses are particularly great if you already know what your weaknesses are when it comes to the English language.

Coursera: “Learn English: Intermediate Grammar Specialization”

Learn English: Intermediate Grammar Specialization,” which is available in the MOOC platform Coursera, is a “specialization” made of four different courses. You can take all four courses to complete the specialization or focus on just taking one or two courses that you think best suits your needs. The specialization is offered by the University of California, Irvine (UCI). UCI is one of the 10 campuses of the University of California, which is one of the top universities in the US and in the world. Some of the popular campuses of the university include UCLA and UC Berkeley.

To prepare for the MEXT Scholarship English Exam, check out the following courses included in this specialization:

  • Perfect Tenses and Modals
    • Course Description: This is the first course in the Learn English: Intermediate Grammar specialization. In this course, you will learn about important intermediate verb tenses, including present perfect, present perfect progressive, past perfect, and past perfect progressive. You will also learn about common modal verbs used in English. This course is designed for learners who have a basic understanding of English grammar but who want to learn more and improve their skills for everyday speaking or writing, as well as for academics. It will be a fun class with lots of entertaining and informative video lectures.
  • Tricky English Grammar
    • Course Description: English is a difficult language to learn because of its many obscure grammatical rules, which are fairly easy to mess up–even for native speakers. While it’s easy for non-native speakers to get overwhelmed by confusing grammar rules, in this course, we’ll provide you with tips that will help you understand the rules more easily and give you lots of practice with the tricky grammar of everyday English.

Tip #3: Install digital writing assistants like Grammarly and ProWriting Aid

Hover over your mistakes to learn more about how to improve

You can improve your English skills to prepare for the MEXT Scholarship English Exam by using app extensions that check your writing every day and provide you with real-time feedback.

If you do not have a lot of time to enroll in online classes, learning through your own mistakes is another great strategy. If you spend a lot of time in your everyday life writing–whether you are writing documents, posting on social media, or sending emails–programs such as Grammarly and ProWritingAid are designed to help with advanced grammar and style mistakes. Both applications are available for free with more advanced features when you subscribe to their services. Here are the ways you can use these apps to prepare for an English test.


Grammarly is a digital writing assistant that uses artificial intelligence or AI to check spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as provide style suggestions. You can use Grammarly online or install it on your computer. However, the best way to make the most of Grammarly’s features is to install it on your browser as an extension. If you have Grammarly as an extension in your browser, Grammarly will automatically check all your writing across a wide range of websites such as Google Docs, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook, Twitter, and even in Slack and LinkedIn.

Now, Grammarly doesn’t want you to become too dependent on its AI. In fact, the service wants you to learn from your mistakes and help improve your skills by providing more information about your language patters. If you hover over the words that are problematic in your writing, the software provides more information about the grammar rules which allows you to learn. Grammarly can also send you weekly emails to inform you of your progress by sending you data like how much writing you have accomplished, how many mistakes you’ve been making, and other statistics that indicate your improvement. 


In a lot of ways, ProWritingAid works the same way Grammarly does. One of the advantages of ProWritingAid is that the free version includes more advanced features. I personally use ProWritingAid if I am in a particular bind about a specific sentence or a piece of writing that Grammarly identifies as a mistake but won’t correct because corrections for that particular grammar mistake is only available in Grammarly’s paid version. I’ve found that using two free versions of these AI writing assistants together has been really helpful in improving my writing.

Acing the MEXT Scholarship English Test is another way to demonstrate your competence and your abilities. When applying for something as important as a scholarship to study abroad, always bring your A-game and do your best to prepare. If you do this, then you will have also improved your skills even just by going through the application process.

Ganbatte kudasai!