Overview of the EIKEN tests



Follow the descriptions and links to learn all about Japan's national English test.



What is EIKEN?


EIKEN is an abbreviation of Jitsuyō Eigo Ginō Kentei (Test in Practical English Proficiency), Japan’s most widely used English-language testing program. More than 2 million people take the EIKEN tests each year at 18,000 locations in Japan and 45 other countries. The total number of examinees since 1963 exceeds 80 million.


> Learn more about the history of EIKEN



What are the EIKEN grades?


There are seven tests within the EIKEN framework, each representing a different ability level. The levels are called grades and are given on a pass-or-fail basis. Each EIKEN grade is a separate test with a unique set of test items and tasks designed for that level.


> Learn more about the EIKEN grades



What are the first and second stages?


The EIKEN grades are given in two stages. The first stage is a paper-and-pencil test that evaluates reading, listening, and writing ability. The second stage is a speaking test in the format of a face-to-face interview. An examinee must pass both stages of a grade in order to receive certification. The second stage is not given for the two beginner levels, Grades 4 and 5.


> Learn more about the EIKEN speaking tests



When and where is EIKEN offered?


EIKEN is offered three times annually on fixed dates. The tests can be taken at approximately 400 public sites in Japan and at international locations in London, Los Angeles, and New York. Except for the two advanced levels (Grades Pre-1 and 1), the first stage is also offered at approximately 18,000 junior high schools, high schools, colleges, and other institutions that have been approved to administer the test.


> Learn more about EIKEN test dates, locations, and application procedures



Are sample test materials available?


As a service to learners, all first-stage EIKEN materials are disclosed after test day. Examinees can keep their test booklets and use them for personal study. Recent tests are open to the general public via free download.


> Download recent EIKEN tests



Who recognizes EIKEN results?


EIKEN is backed by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and all 47 prefectural boards of education. Test results are accepted for admissions and course credit at approximately 2,200 high schools, colleges, and universities. Outside Japan, a growing number of institutions recognize EIKEN test results for international admissions.


> Learn more about EIKEN recognition



How do EIKEN results compare with other international standards?


> See a comparison table


Who makes EIKEN?


EIKEN is produced and administered by the Eiken Foundation of Japan (formerly the Society for Testing English Proficiency, Inc.), a public-interest incorporated foundation based in Tokyo.


> Learn more about the history of STEP/Eiken