Tag Archives: N1

JLPT December 2012 Results Overview

14 Feb

Yesterday the Japan Foundation released its statistics for the JLPT held in December 2012. For those of you who are interested, the official data can be found here, but we are going to give you a quick run down of the results right here.

The first thing we noticed in the data was the much lower certification rate across all levels when compared to the July 2012 and December 2011 exams. This gives us the impression that this time the exam was much harder than previous exams, because strictly speaking, the percentage of certified applicants should be similar each time the exam is held. The greatest difference is in N1 – only 24.1% of all applicants (Japan and overseas) passed, compared to 37.4% in July 2012 and 31.6% in December 2011. That’s a pretty significant drop from last time, nearly 15% in fact.

The number of N2 applicants who passed also dropped from 44.0% in July 2012 to 37.5% in December 2012. This is likely because there is a higher ratio of test takers in Japan and Asian countries for the July exam. However the December 2012 figure was higher than in 2011, though only by 2% or so. For N3, N4 and N5 the situation is basically the same – all levels had a drop in certified applicants from the previous two exams. The total number of applicants who passed the exam was 33.7% (a third of all test takers) while in July 42.9% passed and 38.0% in December the year before.

Since the July JLPT isn’t held in some countries we compared the number of examinees who sat the December 2011 and 2012 exams. Last year 313,322 examinees sat the exam while in December 2011 numbers were about 10% higher at 346,023 examinees. We’d be interested to hear the reason why the number was down in 2012 compared to 2011 but unfortunately the Japan Foundation doesn’t shed much light on this.

In-depth data and charts aren’t available at the moment either, so there isn’t much we can do but wait until these are published. The average score and distribution of scores on the bell-curve chart are always great to look at because it gives you a good idea of how well you did compared to the other examinees. Even if you didn’t pass your exam you might have scored well above the average, which will definitely give you a nice confidence boost!

Let us know your thoughts on the exam statistics and why you think there was such a big drop in the pass rate this time. If you sat the exam in December did you think it was a lot harder than you expected? Or if you sat the exam previously was it easier that time than in December? We’d love to hear what you think!