Well, finally after what feels like years of trying to book the JLPT, its now done and dusted. Oh, hang-on, it has been years! Since no examinations have been available in UK since 2020, due to Covid, there was clearly significant pent up demand to write this, and when the initial spaces opened up by SOAS they were snapped up rather quickly.

Exam Day – 3rd July 2022


JLPT Timetable for London exam

The exam took place in London at the SOAS campus near Russel Square.


London England – Russell Square London UK


NOTE: the results are only available in Sept! So this is my perspective without knowing my results 🙁

The N5 is broken into three parts (check timetable above) which cover vocabulary, grammar/reading and then ending with listening. You have a short break between these, but it is just enough time to zip to the toilet and then get ready for the next section – so depending on your exam location, do not dawdle.

All the answers are multiple choice, which are completed by marking (in pencil) on the provided answer sheets. I would suggest looking at previous exams or samples to get a feel for how the test questions are asked – else this can be quite strange to tackle on the day you take the test for the first time. I found the vocabulary section quite easy, likely thanks to my use of WaniKani and Anki flashcards – which I do daily. The grammar and reading I found a bit tricky at some points. Main reason for this is my reading speed is a just too slow, and you need to be quite proficient at reading easily through these texts- looking at the answers – and then choosing the most appropriate response. So, being able to scan through a paragraph or section quickly to verify your answers is probably a skill you should have – and definitely an area I need to focus on going forward. There were also sections which contained a sentence that was deconstructed into the various particles, nouns and verbs – and a small star icon showing which word/particle you would have to use to complete the sentence.

This was quite strange to see for the first time.

Listening (aka the great destroyer!) was tough for me. Even though I listen to podcasts in Japanese quite often, albeit with more simplistic language usage, I do usually feel I can get the gist of whats happening and comprehend ~80% of what I hear. Somehow though, the addition of one piece of unknown vocabulary in a dialogue, followed by a question relating to that would just throw me a bit. Certainly an area I need to improve on – and I think the way to approach this would be to painfully go through the Genki 1 and 2 audio sections a few more times, while reading the text. Two birds with one stone.

Also – do not be surprised in the listening section when there are no diagrams to refer too in the final questions – and you just get audio played, and have corresponding answer options to select from. I initially thought my test booklet had missing image. lol

To aid my poor ‘ear for Japanese’ – I bought Listening Course from SmileNihongo Academy, which is really excellent so far.

Whats Next…

Probably biggest change for me after the exam would be less reading about learning Japanese and ACTUALLY do some learning myself 🙂

Thanks to WaniKani, Anki and my iTalki lessons – I feel my vocabulary is on the right track. Its the reading that needs the attention, and improving this would have knock-on effect of helping me better understand grammar usage and all other domains. So more usage of the app ‘Todai’ to read news articles along with Tadoku free books can be solid grounding.

The plan is definitely do N4 in December 2022 – regardless of my N5 result. I now have the experience of the exam environment and feel like I can be ready and plan for what is expected.