JLPT N4 - Furigana on Exam


I have a question with regards to the use of Furigana during the JLPT exam (I will be writing the N4 exam on Sunday), specifically for vocabulary words which are made up of several kanji characters.

For the vocabulary words (out of the ~1,500 required for the N4) that are made up of a number of kanji that we should know (out of the ~300), will there be furigana on top of those during the exam?

If not, does that mean that when I am studying the ~1,500 vocabulary words, that I would need to cross-check every single kanji used to check if all the kanji included in each word are part of the N4/N5 kanji lists?

As a further example, let's say one vocabulary word in the N4 curriculum is formed of 3 different kanji characters (2 included in the N4 or N5, and 1 included in the N3). I am therefore assuming that during the N4 exam, there will be full furigana on this vocabulary word (since I am not expected to know that N3 kanji character). But what about if I write the N3 exam next year and now I need to know that last Kanji I need to back to the N4 & N5 vocabulary lists and cross-check, so that I would need to identify that N4 word and newly learn the kanji sequence?

Hope that my question is clear.

Many thanks to all,

I believe that if you are not expected to know a kanji, then they simply write that part of the word in hiragana rather than using a kanji that you don't know + furigana.

As far as I know there are no official lists of kanji or vocab. So wherever you are getting your vocab from ought to use the correct kanji for the test, if the list is intended to be used for studying jlpt.
Edited: 2016-11-28, 4:52 pm
Thanks Zar.

My problem is that I have focused on the kanji used alone...

Even for something simple like sensei from the N5, I have not up until now paid much attention to Kanji compounds....argh, a few days left to go to cross-check the 1,500 vocab words...
I wouldn't spend too much time cross-checking kanji. As far as I know there are no official kanji or vocab lists that you are expected to know. The lists that exist are comprised of kanji and vocab which have appeared in previous tests. But there is no assurance that new kanji or vocab won't appear in this year's test.

But more importantly, even if those lists were 100% accurate, I'm not sure the time spent cross-checking kanji vs vocabulary would be as productive as making sure you know the vocab well.

edit: I guess you could simply use something like the japanese text analysis tool to quickly find kanji which exist in the vocab but not in the kanji list.
Edited: 2016-11-28, 5:41 pm
But even with such tool, the cross-checking would be heavy (I would need to search for every kanji in compounds).

You're right this point I will focus on knowing the vocabulary (in hiragana), although I do see the kanji characters when I use anki.

Thanks for the tips.

I  think that I will practice and practice with the Pattern Betsu Tettei N4 book I ordered, and I will see which kanji compounds don't have furigana (such as sensei, and it would be terrible to not recognize that one in reading comprehension passages...).
Edited: 2016-11-28, 5:49 pm
It should be pretty easy:

1.  run jtat on your vocab list to generate a list of the kanji used
2.  use jtat to compare the generated kanji list to your jlpt kanji list
3.  if any kanji exist in the vocab list and not in the jlp list, open the list in a text editor an search that kanji to find words containing the kanji.

Here is a link to the Japanese Text Analysis Tool

But yeah, if you only have less than a week to study, it probably makes sense to solidify what you already know rather than cramming new material.  Luckily a passing grade is somewhere down in the mid 60 something percentage level.  So not knowing a few kanji won't hurt you too bad.  Better to miss a question based on a kanji that you don't know rather than miss a question you "should" know if you'd have studied it a few more times.
Edited: 2016-11-28, 5:59 pm
Thanks a lot for that Yogert I will definitely try it out!
(2016-11-28, 4:50 pm)Zarxrax Wrote: I believe that if you are not expected to know a kanji, then they simply write that part of the word in hiragana rather than using a kanji that you don't know + furigana.

Looking at the N4 workbook, it does seem correct, or at least most of the time. Even on the common stuff accross all JLPTs (instructions, the first page...) they flattened out kanjis to hiragana instead of kanji+furigana.
(Disclaimer though, I never took N4, just quickly glanced at it.)
Edited: 2016-11-29, 6:41 am
Hi @Rousso,

I realize I'm a little late to this party, but I passed N4 in December 2014.

My recollection is that I was surprised at just how much furigana was on the exam.

I was also surprised at how little it helped me Smile

I did well on the vocab part, but struggled on all the other parts of the exam.

I wouldn't worry about altering your study habits based on lists of N4 this or N3 that. If you want to invest in exam prep, I would go to amazon and buy an N3 specific prep book rather than modifying any of your flashcards.

For reference, I failed N3 the year after passing N4. And I'm still hoping to retake and pass N3 at some point. The biggest change in my study habits since passing N4 are that I now read and watch more native material (simple manga and anime).

I hope this helps!
Hi Ariariari,

Thanks for your post.

Furigana would help me out, because a long series of hiragana usuallly confuses me more than having unknown kanji with furigana.

I did have to adjust the way I studied vocabulary; I now look at the various kanji that form the vocab words (hoping my brain will remember some of it), instead of just considering the hiragana as if I were doing the listening section.

At least you passed N4, which gives you a reference point (got the basics down). I've been studying for only two months, so I'm going in expecting to have a hard time at the exam (but, and I try saying this modestly, I am pretty strong at standardized tests GRE, GMAT, I'm hoping to pass but likely barely).

Edited: 2016-11-29, 11:46 am
Also, I really liked this textbook:

There are very few N4 specific prep books out there. And I only discovered this one after taking the N4. But I still found it useful, so I wanted to pass it along.

Good luck on the exam today!