JLPT N5 Guidelines

Course Content


  N5 is the base level exam in the JLPT ladder. The syllabus of this exam is equal to a 1st-grade Japanese student (6-year-old). Though it looks very simple, N5 requires about 500 to 600 hours of committed learning and practice. Not to worry,  we will be your guide from learning to practice.

All the materials required (Grammar, vocabulary, Kanji) to top this level of exam are available here. Also, there are several tests and quizes which will help you boost your confidence.

What can You achieve from JLPT N5?

By taking this exam one can achieve the following objectives:

1.Ability to read hiragana, katakana, and a few basic kanji (about 100 kanji)
2.Ability to greet in Japanese and make a good impression.
3.Ability to make simple sentences with basic grammar such as:
    formal and casual conjugations of verbs and adjectives for past and non-past forms.
4.Approximately 800 vocabularies in your arsenal.
5.Able to listen and understand basic conversations in daily life.


About JLPT N5 Exam

It has 2 sections, the language knowledge section and the listening section. The language knowledge section into 2 subsections, vocabulary section and the grammar-reading section. The total duration of the exam is about 105 min.


The exam begins with language knowledge [vocabulary] section, and it is for 25 minutes. After a small break, language knowledge [grammar-reading] section will start and the time limit for this section is 50 minutes. Again after a small interval, the listening section which is the final section of the exam has the time limit of 30min. An exact breakdown of the time duration is shown in the table below.

language knowledge (Vocabulary) language knowledge (Grammar-Reading) listening section.
25 min 50 min 30 min
Total = 105 min


Total Score and Passing score

All the JLPT exams have a section cut off (minimum score to pass) and total score cutoff. Thus, to pass the JLPT exam following 3 criteria should be achieved.
1. Score 38 points of 120 points in language knowledge (Vocabulary, Grammar-Reading) section.
2. Score 19 points out 60 points in the listening section.
3. The total score should be 80 or more out of 180 points.
Overall pass marks language knowledge(Vocabulary, Grammar-Reading) listening section.
80 out of 180 38 out of 120 19 out of 60


Question paper outline

Following table will give a brief idea about the question pattern likely to be seen in this exam. The  table will help you prepare strategies to tackle these questions.

Section   Type of Test Questions
Language knowledge Vocabulary  Kanji Reading
 Contextually -defined  expressions
Grammar Grammar form 1
(Selecting Grammar form)
Grammar 2
(sentence Composition)
Text grammar.
Reading Comprehenssion
(Short Passage)
(Medium Passage)
Information Retrival
Listening Task-based comprehenssion
Comprehenssion of key points
Quick response



Recommended books for JLPT N5

To be frank, all the material required to clear JLPT N5 is already available for free on various websites. However, having a textbook or reference book by your side will definitely reduce the pain of searching  the contents online and organizing them into notes.

We have listed out a few of the popular books that can help you in JLPT . To get a detailed review of the book, please click on the title of the book.   

Category  Book title
Reference book  Minna no Nihongo volume 1
Reference book Genki volume 1 
 Textbook Nihongo Sou matoume N5 
Kanji practice book   Basic Kanji book volume1
 kanji reference book Nihongo challenge kanji 
 Practice Exam papers Official JLPT N5 practice exam papers 


Baby steps

Sometimes, achieving bigger goals is not that easy, but dividing those goals into smaller pieces will give more chances for success. Learning Japanese is a long-term goal which requires years of study, and N5 is a baby step for achieving that goal. Also, with smaller goals such as JLPT N5, it will be easier to monitor the progress and self evaluate the interest in the language, so why not try with N5 exam first?