The Ultimate Checklist: What to Bring to the JLPT Test Center

You’ve spend the last few months preparing for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test). You’ve reviewed everything you need to know the night before the test day. But now, you need to start packing — and now you’re wondering what to bring to the JLPT test center!

Taking the JLPT is an important step towards mastering the Japanese language. As you gear up for the big day, it’s crucial to ensure that you have everything you need to make your test experience a success. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate checklist of what to bring to the JLPT test center. From essential, we’ll guide you through the must-have items you should pack in your bag, along with some useful tips to help you stay calm and focused on the day of the test. So, let’s dive in and make sure you’re fully prepared and equipped to ace the JLPT!

Check out our guides for other JLPT levels as well:

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Checklist for Items to Bring to JLPT Test Center

To ensure a smooth test day experience, it’s important to have a checklist of items to bring to the JLPT test center. Here are the essential items you should pack in your bag — some required, some recommended.

What You Can Bring on The Desk

1. Your JLPT Test Voucher

If you are in Japan, you should have received a JLPT test voucher by mail. It’s a small slip that you can open, containing your JLPT test ID, your face (whch you need to submit when you registered for the JLPT online), and personal information. It also includes confirmation of the test site and map. Your JLPT test ID will also help you find your exact seat in the exam room. There’s the test number on each table and possibly a map of the room layout printed outside, so you can quickly locate where you need to sit. 

2. Valid ID

This is arguably the most important thing that you’ll need to have — otherwise, you might need to retake the test another time. A proper identification that shows your face and name allows the exam proctors to confirm if you are the right person to take the test. From personal experiences, they will usually double check your face during the course of the exam. If you are in Japan, it’s good to bring your residence card or passport. 

For those taking the JLPT outside Japan, check what kind of identification is accepted. Generally, driver’s license, passport or residence card should be okay.

3. Pencil (and extra pencils)

The JLPT answer sheet will be read on the computer, so you’ll have to make sure you’re bringing a pencil that is 2B or darker so the computer can scan it. 

One thing we recommend is instead of using a traditional wood pencil, opt for a mechanical pencil instead! You’ll be doing a lot of shading and note taking, so the tip of the pencils can get dull pretty quickly. It’s a hassle to sharpen them on your table!

Just make sure that even your mechanical pencils have extra leads. 

Keep in mind that using mechanical pencils may not be allowed on different countries or test sites, so make sure you confirm and have traditional wooden pencils as a space!

4. An eraser

This is a no brainer, but opt for good-quality eraser instead of relying on the eraser tip on top of your pencil. 

5. Wristwatch

This is the one tip we recommend for the actual JLPT test day. Exam rooms usually have wall clock somewhere — but that’s if they provide one at all. But be warned: these clocks can be placed at the back of the room, where you will need to turn your back every time to check the time. 

The JLPT proctors are very strict, so moving your head around will raise suspicions and possibly alert them of possible attempts to cheat.

When you’re rushing to answer the JLPT questions, time also becomes very critical. The proctors will not announce how many minutes you have left or give you any warnings. The proctors will only say, “Time’s up. Put your pencils down.” Time management is something you need to handle yourself. 

Do you want to spend every few minutes glancing at the wall clock and possibly lose focus?  After all, time is very critical when taking the JLP, especially on higher levels like N2 or N1 (where you have even less time to answer more questions)! 

The best way to handle this is by bringing your own wrist watch. With this, you can easily know how much time you have left. 

One thing, though: make sure that it’s an analog or traditional watch. Smart watches or anything digital or with alarms is not allowed. 

6. A water bottle with no label

Some test sites allow you to bring a water bottle and put it on the table as you take the tests, but this is only if the bottle has no label or writing on it.  

What You Need to Keep in Your Bag

The above items are allowed to be on your desk at all times. The rest of these items have to be in your bag, but they’re handy for rests in between test sections. 

1. Your Own Snacks

The JLPT usually last 3 hours, with a short break in between the vocabulary/reading sections and listening sections. Many of us use this time to fuel up, go to the toilet and do a last-minute review. You might be hungry (or just want to avoid your stomach rumbling in he exam room) then.

You can check if your test site has a close convenience store to grab a few food items. However, from personal experience, we noticed most exam takers will also be lining up at the konbini store. You can buy your snacks on the way in the morning or have them prepared beforehand just in case you don’t have enough time to buy food, eat them, and come back to the exam room. 

2. Spare stationeries

You never know when you’ll find a malfunctioning mechanical pen, or when you dropped your eraser. Carry a small pouch containing spare stationery items like extra pencils, pens, erasers, and a pencil sharpener. This will help you avoid any last-minute panic if your primary writing instrument fails or breaks during the test.

3. Sweater or jacket

Test centers can be chilly, so consider bringing a light jacket or sweater to stay comfortable. 

4. Textbook or pocket dictionary (for review)

This is an option if you are still anxious about a few vocabulary or grammar points. Before the test begins or during the break, take a quick look at a few grammar points as a quick review. Additionally, I find it helpful to have a pocket dictionary on hand during the test to look up answers (although we recommend this after you finish all test sections to keep a positive mindset).

We’ve seen some students bring their own flashcards, too, which is far lighter than heavy textbooks.

4. Positive Mindset!

Although not a tangible item, maintaining a positive mindset is crucial for success in any examination. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and approach the test with confidence. Remind yourself that you have prepared diligently and are ready to demonstrate your Japanese language skills.

Tips for a Successful JLPT test day

Now that you know what to bring and what not to bring, here are some additional tips to help you have a successful JLPT test day! For more practical tips for the JLPT test day, head to this article!

1. Arrive early

Plan to arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. This will give you enough time to check-in and get settled. You never know if you’ll have a hard time finding the test site, too. 

2. Get a good night’s sleep

Instead of attempting to cramp everything the night before, ensure you have a restful night’s sleep before the test to stay alert and focused. 

3. Don’t skip breakfast

You’re going be taking the JLPT for a few hours, so avoid getting hungry and out of focus by eating breakfast. Even if you’re not someone who eats breakfast, make the day an exception. 

4. Make sure your phone is silent and on airplane mode

Have you turned off any alarms? Put your phone on silent mode? We’ve seen cases where people forgot to turn off their phone completely and it disrupted test. During reading and vocabulary JLPT section, you might just get away with this with a warning.

However, on listening section, where audio clarity and time is crucial, the proctors may give you a red card: automatic expulsion that means you can no longer take the test and will fail the JLPT. 

4. Follow instructions carefully

Take the time to read the instructions thoroughly before starting each section of the test. In Japan,the proctors might speak in English and maybe some Japanese appropriate to your level.


Preparing for the JLPT requires careful planning and organization. By following this ultimate checklist of what to bring to the JLPT test center, you can ensure a stress-free test day experience. Remember, being well-prepared will give you the confidence you need to perform your best. Good luck on your JLPT journey!

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