All you need to know to pass the EJU

Teacher preparing students to pass the EJU exam while writing on a whiteboard.

The Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) stands as a critical milestone for those aspiring to pursue higher education in Japan. International students wanting to go to a university in Japan will eventually need to learn how to pass the EJU as it is often a requirement for admission.

In this article, we will learn what the test is, how to prepare, and how to pass the EJU. Read on if you want to learn more!

pass the eju

About the EJU

The EJU is a standardized test, overseen by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). The test evaluates the Japanese proficiency and basic academic abilities of international students who wish to study at the undergraduate level in Japan at a university. The EJU is administered twice a year (June and November) and includes the following subjects: Japanese as a Foreign Language, Science (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology), Japan and the World, and Mathematics. 

Which subjects are tested depends on the university, educational institution, and also what university program the applicant is applying to. Because Japanese proficiency is a part of the EJU test, it is not required to also have a passing grade on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). 

Finally, it’s good to know that there is no limit on how many times the EJU test can be taken and that scores are valid for two years.

Applying to take the EJU

There are two main ways to apply for the EJU depending on if you currently live in Japan or not. If you are already studying at a language school in Japan chances are high that they will help you with the application and prepare for the test.

If you’re not a student but live in Japan, you can apply on your own. This is done online on the following JASSO website. Furthermore, it is also possible to take the EJU test abroad at select test sites around Asia. For more information and a list of abroad locations, see the following link.

How much does the test cost?

The EJU test cost depends on how many subjects you choose. How many subjects are required depends on what university program you are applying for. The application fee for one subject is 10000 Yen. Two or three subjects cost 18000 Yen.

* Note that the application fee is not refunded should the examinee change subjects after the payment has been made.

What subjects to choose?

The examinee can apply for 1 to 3 subjects out of 4 subjects in the following categories:

  • Japanese as a foreign language
  • Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)
  • Japan and the World (Liberal Arts)
  • Mathematics (Divided into Course 1 and Course 2)

Different schools require taking different test subjects to pass the EJU, and therefore, it is crucial to confirm with the educational institution which subjects to apply for beforehand. Now let’s look at the subjects in more detail:

Japanese as a foreign language

There are three different sections. Writing (記述, kijutsu), Reading Comprehension (読解, dokkai) and Listening and reading comprehension (聴読解, chōdokkai). Unlike the JLPT, there is a writing section where you need to select a couple of themes and write about them within the allotted time and number of characters.

Science

In the science section, you are required to select 2 out of the following 3 categories: Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. The content is what is taught within the curriculum of Japanese high schools, and this can be quite hard to grasp. Therefore, it is recommended that you brush up on your skills within these fields with study material in your language, and complement with buying EJU-preparation books and studying previous exams.

Japan and the World

Japan and the World is a subject that is unique to the EJU. It tests the examinees’ knowledge in subjects such as Politics, Economy, Contemporary Society, Geography and History. More than likely, this will be the first time you encounter many of these topics. JASSO addresses this issue by recommending that you study previous exams and get your hands on textbooks used by Japanese high school students in the above-mentioned subjects.

Mathematics

The mathematics part is divided into Course 1 and Course 2, and you have to decide beforehand which one to take. Course 2 is more comprehensive and aimed towards those who study engineering, programming, and other subjects that require a higher degree of mathematical knowledge.

For more information on the syllabus and exact requirements for each subject, see the syllabus on the JASSO homepage.

Students studying to pass the eju at their desks.

How to prepare for and pass the EJU

One thing to be aware of is that, as an international student, the contents of the high school subjects in your country and Japan are likely different in many ways. The EJU is based on the Japanese high school curriculum, therefore it’s a good idea to buy textbooks used in a Japanese high school and focus on parts unfamiliar to you. As two birds in one stone, this is also a great way to brush up your Japanese skills in new areas.

Another tip to pass the EJU is to crunch mock exams and previous exams. Mock exams can be bought in a bookstore, and previous exams for all subjects can be found on the following JASSO website. Doing this is also a great way to identify which areas you need to focus on more.

Finally, to pass the EJU, it is highly recommended to study the Japanese language itself. You need to be at a minimum, JLPT N2 level or equivalent, which roughly translates to being able to read Japanese newspapers and high school textbooks. You should also be able to write kanji because there is a writing section on the EJU where you need to answer questions in a small essay format.

Taking the test in English or Japanese?

It is possible to take the exam in English and Japanese (the Japanese Language part is obviously in Japanese only, though). Your Japanese language proficiency will be the deciding factor whether it’s better to take it in English or Japanese. One reason why taking the test in Japanese may be a good idea is that you’ve likely done all the preparation and encountered all the key terminology in Japanese. However, if you feel that your reading speed in Japanese is not quite there yet, it may be beneficial to take the test in English instead.

Studying at a Japanese university

Studying at a Japanese university is truly a life-changing experience and something that will boost your future career. Preparing for the EJU test may seem daunting, but it’s worth the effort, considering what doors it opens for you.

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