Overview of the Annual Entrance Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students

University entrance exams may be the start of the dream; thus one should be careful and ready for the famous exams of Japan. Preparation is the key, and when retaking is not an option, we must do all that we can to up the chances of passing!

University entrance exams for international students 

Entering tertiary level education comes with huge expectations from the students. Along with their personal motivations, competency and eligibility are two of the crucial expectations that entering college brings about. The assessment of these expectations is done primarily through the university entrance examination. It is used to determine the competency and academic aptitude of any prospective students. Countries around the world, especially those with an esteemed educational public system, are known to have a high-profile university entrance examination. Japan is definitely one of them. 

The National Center Test is an annual college entrance examination held in Japan to determine the aptitude of secondary-level students to enter the tertiary level. This applies to students who may opt to enter public universities in the country. Although it is a centralized examination that caters hundreds of thousands of students every year, each university may hold their respective entrance examination after the release of results by The National Center Test.

However, international students can enter Japanese universities by taking another standardized examination. This is called the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students or EJU.

EJU is a centralized evaluation system to determine an international student’s competency to pursue tertiary level education in Japan. Proficiency in the Japanese language is a must for such an examination. Secondary level students who graduated from schools outside Japan may take the examination that is scheduled for every June and November. The location may vary as it is offered in Japan and countries outside Japan. 

How the exam will be held 

Applying for EJU can be done in two ways: in Japan and outside Japan. For the former, applications can be carried out via mail and online application. Students who live outside Japan should have someone in Japan to manage the physical application because EJU application forms can be accessed through the EJU Bulletin that is sold in various bookstores in the country. After filling out the necessary information, the person should submit the application forms, attached with a photo of the applicant, to the office designated in the EJU bulletin.

Meanwhile, online applications can be done through the EJU website. Applicants may sign up on the online website to be able to register his or her application. Take note that this choice of application in Japan means that the applicant will take the examinations in the country as well. 

On the other hand, an application process done outside Japan can be done through direct coordination with a partner institution in such a country referred to as Overseas Representatives. For instance, a university in India may receive applications in the country.

Here are the countries that administer EJU - Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

For students who do not live in one of these countries, they can still go on with the application process by having a representative living in such a country or in Japan manage the application for them. Similar to the previous reminder, students who applied overseas should take the examination in the country of application. For instance, a non-citizen of the mentioned countries intends to apply for EJU. He or she has two choices to consider: apply for and take the examinations in Japan or apply for and take it in one of the mentioned countries.

EJU is divided into four distinct fields which are the basic categories by which Japanese universities can assess their prospective students. Here are the four fields: 

  • Japan and the World: includes assessment on topics such as logic and liberal arts 
  • Japanese as a Foreign Language: assess the student’s proficiency with the Japanese language 
  • Mathematics: assessment for mathematical aptitude 
  • Science: assessment of skills in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics 

Generally, each subject, excluding Japanese as a Foreign Language, has 200 points each that can be taken within 80 minutes. Japanese as a Foreign Language has 450 points and can be answered in 125 minutes.

※ Japan Student Services Organization, "Examination Subjects" 

Students may select specific categories, a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3 (since tests of Science and Japan and the World may not be taken altogether) they wish to pursue in the examination. For applications in Japan, the fee costs ¥7,700 for 1 subject and ¥14,300 for 2 to 3 subjects. Overseas applications, on the other hand, vary from one country to another. However, just to give an average, examination fees overseas may cost an equivalent of around ¥1500 - ¥6,000 for one subject, depending on the country. 

※ Japan Student Services Organization, "Examination Fee"
※ Japan Student Services Organization, "EJU Overseas Representatives in Asia"

Things to remember during and after exams

Examinees are given with a questionnaire and answer sheet. It is expected that these two shall be treated carefully. Students should come to the testing center with a sharpened pencil that will be used for shading the choices in the answer sheets. Ballpoint pens and other inked-based writing materials are prohibited in the examination. All throughout, it is important to follow the instructions provided by the proctor. Otherwise, any actions other than those given instructions for can be considered prohibited behaviors.  

The examinations, excluding Japanese as a Foreign Language, are provided in either English or Japanese language. The assessment for proficiency, on the other hand, is composed of reading and listening comprehension that will help the examiners assess the overall aptitude of the examinee on the Japanese language. This subject is composed of a 400-point reading comprehension part and a 50-point writing part. In each component, instructions and questions are given in either audio or written. An examinee can take this subject for 2 hours.  

When doing the examination, it is always important to take your time not to rush things. A slow but careful execution is always better than a fast but reckless one.

EJU brings about other sets of benefits such as scholarships. Once an applicant completed and passed the examination, they are eligible for Japanese university admission. However, this isn’t the only ticket for university admission. Applicants should also check for specific entrance exam information in their university of choice, as well as if they accept EJU as an entrance exam score. After completing this stage, the applicant can now file for a scholarship grant. For instance, the Japanese government issue scholarship programs such as MEXT scholarship or the Japan Student Services Organization scholarships. Scholarship application comes after university admission because admission notice is a requirement for an application for scholarships.


The promise of studying in Japan is always as attractive as it was. Passing the EJU is the first step towards realizing it. Having all the basic background on how to apply for and handle the examination in its preliminary and actual process, now it is up to the student on how they do it. Always be reminded of the words from anonymous that “it is not about how bad you want it, it is about hard you are willing to work for it”. 

※Japan Student Services Organization

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