What is the new level N3?

A new level N3 Ehas been created as a lot of students passed N4 but then weren’t able to pass N2. There are three test papers: vocabulary (30 minutes), reading/grammar (70 mintutes) and listening (40 minutes).


The vocabulary in these includes many more words/phrases that are frequently employed in daily life. Some of them are onomatopoeia, katakana-words, or related to science/school life/geography/business.


The reading/grammar test requires candidates to understand a 300-400 word-long text about things such as:

  1. one’s impression of trains in Tokyo
  2. an email to inform friends about a farewell party for their respectful teacher
  3. a simplified newspaper article about how urbanisation affects the waay childen play outside.


The listening test is summarised as testing the ‘skills to understand the gist of informal/formal conversations in everyday life at a natural speed’.

Some of these 30 or so conversations Eall of which last for about 40 minutes Eare listed below.:


  1. A conversation between two people who discuss how to get to a hotel to start a meeting at 9.30am when they are likely to get involved in a traffic jam.
  2. What to do first after listening to the message from a friend on a telephone answering machine.
  3. A conversation between a man and a woman at a supermarket as to why this man is buying a pre-cooked lunch box.
  4. An informal converstain between a student and the man in charge at a university as to why this student is not qualified to do a home-stay.
  5. What you should say to a hotel receptionist when the television in your room does not work.
  6. What you should say (in a polite way) to someone who is senior to you when you would like to open the window as you feel hot.
  7. What you should say when you are told not to be late for a group tour that starts at 8.30am the next day.