Language Information

Japanese Placement Test Information

To access your results, or to take a test, scroll to the bottom of this page. The following information is excerpted from the department's website and provides guidance on taking placement tests, interpreting your results, and next steps. Consult the original department page for additional information.

Language Placement

Japanese Language Placement Test 2024-2025

Japanese placement test information 2024-2025 pdf

Who needs to take the Japanese placement test?

  1. Students who want to use Japanese to satisfy Weinberg’s two-year language requirement or other schools’ requirements by passing the placement test.
  2. Students who want to study Japanese at Northwestern and have prior knowledge of Japanese. Students who know some Japanese must take the Japanese placement test.
  3. Students returning from study abroad who need to be placed into the appropriate Japanese class or earn specific Japanese language credits.

The above apply to all students in all schools and programs, including graduate and professional schools. Transfer students who took Japanese courses in their previous schools also must take the Japanese placement exam before registering for Japanese classes. 

Placement test is not required if you are an absolute beginner who does not know Hiragana or Katakana.  

Notes for students with AP/IB scores

Please consult the AP/IB Language Credit Table.

What will the Japanese placement test look like?

The Japanese placement test consists of four sections: the Kanji, Grammar, Reading Comprehension, and Speaking. The first three sections are taken online on the dates specified below, and if you are on campus, you can take them at Kresge Hall 2510 when the MAD Studio is open. A short Speaking test is conducted via Zoom, and the link will become available once you have completed the online tests.

Students who intend to use Japanese to fulfill their school’s language requirement or are interested in taking upper-level courses may be required to take the validation test. It includes a longer oral test and a short essay. Those interested in taking the upper-level courses (Japanese III and Japanese IV) will also have to take the Level II reading comprehension test. This year, the validation test and upper-level course placement tests will be administered on campus on September 19th. 

How do I take the Japanese online placement test?

Be sure to follow the Academic Integrity policies and complete the test without any kind of help.

  1. Go to the online placement test site at one of the specified times below. If you took JAPANESE 121-3 at Northwestern University and passed it, choose the Level II test. Otherwise, start with the Level I test. While taking the test, save it as often as you can. After filling out the questionnaires, you will have two hours to complete the entire Level I test and one and a half hours for the Level II test. You may not receive a placement if you spend more than the specified time on each test. Be mindful of the time. You can take the test only once.
  2. Once you finish the online portion of the placement test, you will be contacted by Professor Sato by email within 24 hours. Follow the instructions in the message closely.

By when do I need to complete the online placement test?

Level I and Level II online tests will be available remotely:

7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (CDT) on the following dates:

Sunday, July 14, 2024 (CDT)

Monday, July 15, 2024 (CDT)

Tuesday, July 16, 2024 (CDT)

Wednesday, July 17, 2024 (CDT)

Thursday, July 18, 2024 (CDT)

Friday, July 19, 2024 (CDT)

Saturday, July 20, 2024 (CDT) 

Then, the short Speaking test will be conducted on July 25-27, 2024. The signup sheet for the test will become available via Canvas

What are the next steps after the online test?

The proficiency validation and upper-level placement tests will be conducted in person from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on September 19, 2024. The place will be announced as soon as it is assigned.

When how can I access the test results?

The placement results will be posted online by August 1, 2024, at the same site where you took the online exam. If you take the validation or upper-level placement tests on September 19th, the placement results will be available online by 11:59 p.m. on the same day.

How often is the placement test administered?

Another Japanese placement test may be administered during the advanced registration period for the winter quarter in November. You need to contact Professor Sato well in advance to take this option.

How many times can I take the placement test?

You can take the Japanese placement test once per year.

How long are the placement test results valid?

They are valid for one year.

Contact information

If you have any questions, contact Professor Junko Sato at