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Study Tips to Pass the JLPT N5 - N5 Study Guide

Do you want to know how to pass the JLPT N5? Are you starting Japanese from zero as a complete beginner?


This guide includes information about:

  • What is the JLPT N5?

  • Scoring sections for the JLPT N5 – What Sections is it divided into?

  • Registering for the JLPT N5

  • How to study to for the N5 Kanji and Vocabulary Section

  • How to study to for the N5 Grammar and Reading Section

What is the JLPT N5?


The JLPT N5 is the first level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test ( also known as the 日本語能力試験)


It is the standardized examination used by universities and employers inside and outside of Japan to test a persons Japanese language ability.


Recently – the JLPT N5 has become more necessary when applying for certain types of student visas to Japan – and in some cases it is actually required that you have a JLPT N5 passing certificate before you can apply.


As you can see from the graphic below (students who self reported their study hours) – it takes about 460 hours of study for a person to go from 0 – to passing the Jlpt N5 comfortably.


This should not scare you – that’s just around 2-3 hours a day of study for 6 months.


Important note: You should also keep in mind that studying for the N5 level includes learning the Japanese written alphabets of katakana and hiragana for the first time.


So it really depends whether or not you’re learning to actually write those characters by hand – or simply you just want to be able to read them for the purposes of passing the exam.


We definitely recommend that you learn to write them – as it also makes learning to read much easier – but if you have limited time before you need to pass the exam, you can consider that as a way to shorten the time it takes.

How is the JLPT N5 Scored? What sections appear on the JLPT N5


When you take the JLPT N5 – the test will be divided into two testing sections. This means that you will have a cumulative score for the Kanji, Vocabulary, Reading and Grammar. And you will be tested separately with a listening section.


During this listening section you will listen to audio segments that they play and have to answer questions given to you in those audio segments.


How to Register for the JLPT N5


Registering for the JLPT will depend on your country of residence – to find out where you can take the JLPT and where you can register for it – you can consult our registration guide.


Learning the JLPT N5 Kanji & Vocabulary


The N5 Contains roughly 100 or so Kanji that you need to memorize and around 800 vocabulary words. (Of course you can pass without fully knowing all of these – but there are no guarantees which words will be appearing on your exam.)

We have created a handy JLPT Mega list that you can download and track your progress with – it has all of the Kanji and Vocabulary that you will need to pass the exam. We would also recommend you check out our list of the top 100 japanese words.

We also have a JLPT N5 Kanji writing workbook that you can buy online and print at home.



This workbook contains stroke order diagrams that will teach you the strokes that you need in order to learn how to write the characters properly.


We have also provided several of the worksheets free of charge at the below links!


These are very useful as they cover many of the Kanji that you will be tested on during the N5 exam.


Unit 1. JLPT N5 Kanji – Numbers

Unit 2. JLPT N5 Kanji – Time

Unit 3. JLPT N5 Kanji – People and Body

Unit 4. JLPT N5 Kanji – Nature

Unit 5. JLPT N5 Kanji – Direction


Learning Grammar for the JLPT N5


Although there is no separation between the points scoring for the vocabulary and the grammar section – we would recommend that you study for them differently. A good way to get a head start on this grammar is to check out some of our handy basic grammar guides – as well as our te form conjugation guide. How to conjugate te form Basic Grammar Guides (1-4)


Feeling up for a challenge?  Check out our 30 Day JLPT N5 Grammar Listening Challenge!  It’s available here for free, and you are drilled on 2 phrases a day with flashcards and videos. 


JLPT Sensei also provides a handy n5 grammar list that you can use in your studies.

If you are studying for the JLPT N5 – we have online lessons that will help you to prepare! Do not hesitate to get in touch and good luck with your learning.


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