I want to mention one other thing: the JLPT is a very passive test – there’s no writing, and no speaking, only reading and listening – which makes it a lot easier than it could be, as writing Japanese is the fishbone in the throat of most native English speakers… However, there are other tests that involve a speaking component, and as such might give a better indication of a person’s actual communicative abilities than the JLPT does. (It’s frustrating to see someone who can make themselves understood in Japanese fail the test because their formal grammar skills are not so good…)
While of course we know that your Japanese improves when you study with us, we also think it’s important to be able to offer proof of your communicative skills that anyone else can look at and understand straight away. Just saying you’re at ‘intermediate level’ can mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people, right?
So, we’re working on offering a standardized, accepted interview test free to all our students as part of the intensive course package (and as an option for our non-intensive students!), and we’ll give more information as soon as we have it finalized. Watch this space!
On a side note, why is it so hard to find the official homepage of the JLPT in English on the net? And once you’ve found it, why is it so hard to find how to apply? It’s almost as if native English speakers constitute only a relatively small portion of their overall market… Oh. Fair enough. Well, we’re working to change that, little by little!
And another thing: why does it take them almost two months to get the results to people? I could understand if they had to hand-mark essays, but it’s a machine-readable answer sheet! If they really wanted, they could set up a machine by the door, and give you your score on the way out! Bureaucracy, bureaucracy…