NAT: Nihongo Achievement Test

Are you a fervent admirer of the Japanese language, or perhaps aiming for a career boost? Either way, the Japanese NAT Test is a ticket to validating your proficiency. Think of it as the somewhat lesser-known cousin of the JLPT, but equally commendable. Buckle up as we take a closer journey into its depths!

What’s This Japanese NAT Test Anyway?

Originating as a proficiency test for foreign learners and aspirants aiming to study or work in Japan, the NAT (Nihongo Achievement Test) has been a game-changer for many. Unlike the JLPT, which is more academically angled, NAT focuses on real-world conversational scenarios. Simply put, it’s practicality meets proficiency.

Breaking Down the Exam Type

Alright, let’s dissect this beast!


Expect dialogues, monologues, and some real-world Japanese chit-chat to gauge your aural skills.


From advertisements to short articles, test your ability to glean the gist and details.

Vocabulary and Grammar

Can you distinguish ‘tabemasu’ from ‘tabemashita’? This section measures your ability to construct sentences!

Kanji Recognition

Those intricate characters? Yep, it’s time to recognize and read them correctly. This will test your ability to recognize the characters.

Know Your Levels

From Level 5 (our dear beginners, we see you!) to Level 1 (the advanced maestros), there’s a tier for every learner2. As you climb, the difficulty scales up, offering challenges tailored to your proficiency.


Equivalent to the N5 level of JLPT.
Designed for beginners who have a basic understanding of Japanese.
Covers basic grammar, vocabulary, and kanji.


Equivalent to the N4 level of JLPT.
For learners who can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases.
Covers more extensive grammar, vocabulary, and kanji compared to 5Q.


Roughly equivalent to the N3 level of JLPT, though there might be slight variations in content.
Aimed at intermediate learners.
Evaluates the ability to use Japanese in everyday scenarios and for academic purposes.


Somewhat equivalent to the N2 level of JLPT.
For advanced learners who can converse and read at a higher level.
Covers complex grammar, vocabulary, and kanji, and expects a deeper understanding of the language.


The highest level, similar to the N1 level of JLPT.
Designed for those with near-native fluency.
Evaluates the ability to understand and use the language in a wide range of situations, including complex written materials and conversations.

Mark Your Calendars: Frequency and Exam Dates

The NAT Test, gauging Japanese proficiency, is held six times yearly. Each session targets specific proficiency levels, catering to learners’ diverse needs. This approach offers test-takers both flexibility and strategic choices in their examination timeline, optimizing preparation and goal alignment.

Test DateApplication DeadlineAvailable Exams
February 19January 205Q-1Q
April 23March 244Q-1Q
June 11May 125Q-1Q
August 6July 74Q-1Q
October 15September 155Q-1Q
December 10November 104Q-1Q
NAT Exam dates and Application Deadlines

How much is NAT?

Nat test in the Philippines is 60USD, you must pay the fee for the exam via cash on the specified location on their website or you can go to a money changer, buy USD and deposit it to their specified bank account (yes it’s a hassle). If you don’t have the time you can always reach out to UNMEI NIHONGO CENTER and avail the service of paying the NAT test for you with a 500php service fee.

Tips for Nailing the NAT!

Here are some tips to help you, we know you know this but here it is.


Consistency is your BFF. Don’t just cram; make Japanese a daily dose. And for heaven’s sake, indulge in some mock tests!

Tune Those Ears

Podcasts, Japanese songs, or dramas – expose your ears to varied accents and conversational speeds. Remember, context is key. So, even if you miss a word or two, the overall meaning can be your savior.

Reading? More Like Speed-reading!

Skim, scan, and understand. Know the critical vocab, and you can master the art of quick reading.

Vocabulary, Grammar, and Those Tricky Kanji

Trust us, daily practice goes a long way. Dive into flashcards, or even better, there are apps for that! The more frequently you bump into a word, the better you remember it.

The Day Before D-Day

Scout the test location, prep your materials, and catch some zzz’s. Tomorrow’s a big day!

Game Day

First, deep breaths. Got your essentials? ID, pencil, eraser? Now, remember, it’s just a test. Pace yourself, and if you get stuck, move on and come back if time permits.

Wrapping It Up

The Japanese NAT Test isn’t just another exam; it’s a passport to opportunities and self-growth in the Japanese realm. Whether for personal or professional reasons, conquering this beast is a badge of honor in the linguistic world.

Dive Deeper: Additional Resources

Hungry for more? We recommend:

Japanese Classes: Enroll in one of UNMEI NIHONGO CENTER’s Japanese courses if you don’t want to self study
Textbooks: Dive into the classics like ‘Nihongo So-Matome’ or ‘Kanzen Master’ for comprehensive coverage
Online Platforms: Websites offer specific drills and practice materials. Bonus? They’re fun!
Official Website: And always, always keep tabs on the official NAT Test website for updated sample questions and resources.


There you have it, champ! The Japanese NAT Test, unraveled and served on a platter. Remember, it’s not about perfection, but progression. Embrace the journey, celebrate the small wins, and before you know it, you’ll be a NAT ninja!


  • 2011 GENKI I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese by Eri Banno (Author), Yoko Ikeda (Author), Yutaka Ohno (Author)
  • 2017 NIHONGO SO-MATOME N5 by Sasaki Hitoko (Author), Matsumoto Noriko (Author)
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