Can a JLPT N1 exam be applied to college credit?

I was wondering if I was able to present a high result on a JLPT N1 exam, could I apply that to credit at a university for a Japanese language major. In other words, is it possible to shorten the time that it takes to graduate as a Japanese language major by getting a high score on the JLPT N1 exam?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
Edited: 2017-10-04, 10:51 pm
The way it worked at both my university in my home country and at the university I was at in Japan, was that you took a placement test prior to taking courses to assess what level you were allowed to start at. At neither institution did you get credit for the lower level courses you skipped. You could only take courses at a lower level than your placement test results (and get credit) if you had permission (often because one area of the language was clearly weaker than the others). JLPT scores could be used at the university in my home country in case you felt your placement test score was too low but other than that it was of no real use. The university in Japan had a very rigorous placement test so the JLPT scores weren't accepted.

Of course, your milage may vary so it is worth checking with the department at your institution.
Probably not, as most colleges I know of use placement tests instead, but I would try emailing the head of your college Japanese department, or someone else fairly high ranking and see what they say.
You also may have better luck with the SAT II Japanese exam (I'm assuming you are American, like me, since you used the word "college". Might be wrong though.), even though that is much easier than N1. Again, check with your college Japanese department.
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Interesting question @mike12306

Universities typically require a certain number of credits (or class hours) to issue a degree. Rules and loopholes vary by university so you need to speak to the right people at your university. It can be a bit confusing so make sure you are 100% clear as I know a few people whose university plans extended an extra semester or year (and a lot of money) for trivial admin mistakes. Others just took graduate-level classes.

Also, I speculate N1 is significantly higher than the typical level of a US person who just graduated from a US university with a four-year degree majoring in Japanese language.

There were a lot (100+) US "junior year abroad" students passing through my Tokyo language school studying in Japan for a semester, the summer or the year. Vast majority of them left Tokyo closer to N4 or N3 level; that is deceptive as the JLPT does not test a lot of skills. I think most of these students had good kanji production, good vocab production, and their essay writing skills typically got pretty good. Plus, they were living in a quasi-immersed environment. Only a handful of those US students left at say the N2 level, and I think most had previously graduated from college.

I have met plenty of people who passed N2 with terrible Japanese communication skills (typically Chinese natives). But the few people I met who passed N1 has superb Japanese communication skills (including Chinese natives).

So I want to emphasize that Japanese is really tough. The N1 exam is really tough. And that typical foreign universtiy students are studying a much broader scope of Japanese so their language skills may be much better than the JLPT indicates.
Best bet if you want to get college credit is to take the AP Japanese exam and get a 5 on it. Getting a 5 at my college gave me credit for 3 classes (Beginner Japanese I and II, Intermediate Japanese I) and skipped me to the intermediate level. Obviously it depends per college, some will give you more but at the very least it'll get you into Upper Intermediate / Advanced classes. I've heard it's equivalent to 15~18 credit hours at most schools.

The AP Japanese test is somewhere between an N4~N3 level, where as the SAT II Japanese is N5~N4. I'd honestly advise taking both. If you can get a 5 on the AP Japanese test, SAT II Japanese is trivial beginner stuff.

As others have said presenting a high JLPT score will probably skip you out of classes but won't give you the credit for the previous classes.
Thanks for all the replies. I was asking because I passed the N2 exam last year and I am registered to take the N1 this December. Since the N1 exam is supposed to be the hardest Japanese proficiency exam and even found difficult by some Japanese, I would think it shows that I have mastered the language by scoring high on it. I'm curious if any further classes would even be of use. I've been studying Japanese since the age of 13 (self study) and I am now 32. I'm very confident in my Japanese ability. I fully understand the comments of Chinese speakers being able to pass JLPT easily based on their kanji knowledge as I am currently living in Taiwan working as an English teacher (I'm American). I have a friend who passed the N2 exam as well but can barely compose correct Japanese sentences and I have to slow down when talking Japanese to him. Is there any other exam I can use to show my ability better?
Edited: 2017-10-05, 9:55 pm
(2017-10-05, 9:54 pm)mike12306 Wrote: Since the N1 exam is supposed to be the hardest Japanese proficiency exam
It isn't, it's just the best known and most easily available to take.
Quote:and even found difficult by some Japanese
It isn't (except in the sense that any 3 hour test is 'difficult' for some people); there's a forum thread on this old chestnut.
Quote:I would think it shows that I have mastered the language by scoring high on it.
As somebody who's passed N1 with a decently high score I can safely say that it doesn't show anything near 'mastery' of the language (for instance I'm pretty sure I'd struggle initially in an all-Japanese office environment; and I couldn't write this comment in Japanese with the level of coherency and vocabulary choice that I can in English). Whether further organized class study is necessarily useful is a different question, but the N1 has no spoken component and no written composition component, so it's easy to pass while still being a bit weak in those areas, and even at N1 levels of vocab and reading comprehension you're still likely to find that complex texts are hard to understand.

JETRO have a Business Japanese Test which is scored from 0 to 800, and they reckon that JLPT N1 is about 400-600, for instance. But it's really only available in Japan, whether anybody cares about your score in it is uncertain, and it might be overly skewed to business situations for your taste (I don't know anybody who's taken it.)

I think most people post-N1 rate themselves in terms of whether they can practically use their language skill or not in various situations.
Edited: 2017-10-06, 5:10 am
So to sum it up; if one was able to actually converse and write at the same level of coherency in Japanese as they could in English, there is no credible exam to take? If that's true, it's quite disappointing. You see, I actually could write this comment in Japanese. That's why I worry further classes wouldn't be productive as I've been studying for over half of my life already.
I know this probably isn't the best place to ask but I'm really trying to get myself back over to Japan because I really miss living there. I did a home stay in Otaru during high school and I also was a student in a Japanese language school in Sapporo for a year.
I have 8 years experience teaching English as a second language here in Taiwan and I also have teaching certification. I have some (mostly off and on) translation experience for a company I cooperated with here in Taiwan as well. I'm already 32 years old and don't have much time for college since I have to work. Would really love it if there was a way to apply my skills to work in Japan. I've been asking on several Japanese immigration sites as well.
Thanks everyone for all the replies.
Edited: 2017-10-16, 9:48 pm
It depends on the program, I think. I'm pushing UMUC right now on getting the JLPT used as a substitute for the DoD language exams to exempt out of the Japanese requirement for their Asian Studies program (fingers crossed). If accepted, they will actually award credit as part of a degree program.

Here in Seattle, University of Washington accepts the N1 as proof of Japanese proficiency for entrance into the Japanese Literature or Linguistics Masters programs, and accepts the ACTFL if you want to show spoken proficiency:

Generally agreed with pm215 on the JLPT N1 - it's the fluency starting line, not the end game.
Edited: 2017-10-17, 6:08 am
(2017-10-16, 9:34 pm)mike12306 Wrote: So to sum it up; if one was able to actually converse and write at the same level of coherency in Japanese as they could in English, there is no credible exam to take? If that's true, it's quite disappointing.

For reading/writing ability, you can take exams for native speakers such as 漢検 (up to 準2級 or 2級) and 文章検.

I'm not aware of anything comparable for listening/speaking.
(2017-10-16, 9:34 pm)mike12306 Wrote: So to sum it up; if one was able to actually converse and write at the same level of coherency in Japanese as they could in English, there is no credible exam to take?
I guess my answer to that question would depend on the answer to "why do you want to take an exam"? Is it for personal satisfaction and goal setting, or as something to put on your resume to help in landing a job with a Japanese company, or for extra points on the 'preferential immigration treatment system', or to skip part of a specific college course in the US, or to get into a particular college course in Japan? The answer to what and whether there's anything suitable (ie worth the time, effort and money and will make a useful difference) will differ, and in at least half of these cases is driven as much by bureaucratic decisions about what to accept as the actual utility of the test in sorting the fluent from the just-scraping-by.

For that matter I have no idea if there's a test like that for English proficiency. If you apply for a job in the UK for instance and your application form is in English we aren't going to look for TOEIC scores or anything -- we'll simply make a judgement based on your application and performance at an interview -- an hour or two of interview will give us a much better idea of whether you can use the language well enough to do the job or not.
Edited: 2017-10-17, 2:40 pm