AP Prep

Published February 16, 2024

Everything You Need to get a 5 on AP Japanese Language and Culture


Natasha Potter

MSU Alumni, Creative Advertising Major, Marketing Associate at Knowt 😃

Hello! This article provides insights and exam tips on how to prepare for the AP Japanese Language and Culture exam to secure a strong score of 5. I'll dissect key strategies and recommend resources, making the path and learning how to ace the AP Japanese exam is entirely achievable!

Free AP Japanese Language and Culture Resources

No need to stress if you find yourself in a last-minute cramming session for the AP Japanese Language exam! We understand the situation, as we've all been there. If you're looking for effective strategies to excel in the AP Japanese Language exam when time is tight, check out these fantastic resources and tips crafted by fellow students on how to pass the AP Japanese exam. They'll guide you in cramming like a pro!

What Do I Need to Memorize for the AP Japanese Language and Culture Exam?

So, the AP Japanese Language and Culture course is all about nailing those real communication skills—being able to get your point across and understand others. They throw you into the thick of it with three main communication modes: talking with folks (interpersonal), understanding stuff (interpretive), and presenting ideas (presentational). And guess what? While they cover things like vocab, language finesse, and how to talk effectively, they're not all about drowning you in grammar. That's not everything you need to know for AP Japanese, the whole class is mainly in Japanese, so let's talk about how to study for the AP Japanese exam.

But wait, there's more! Besides getting you to chat like a pro in Japanese, they take a deep dive into Japanese culture. We're talking about everything—what's happening now, what went down in history, and even digging into the nitty-gritty of social, political, and educational stuff. They cover cool things like how religion fits into society, the whole traditional versus modern gender vibe, and the classics like arts, customs, and history. So, it's not just language lessons; it's a full-on journey into Japan's language and culture scene. 

AP Japanese Language and Culture Exam Format

Exam Duration:

2 Hours and 15 minutes

Number of Sections 


Weightage of Sections

MCQ: 50%

FRQ: 50%

Section 1: Multiple Choice Section

Number of Questions:


Time Allotted 

90 Minutes 



Types of Stimulus 

Written and Auditory 

Section 2: Free Response Sections 

Number of Tasks:


Time Allotted:

45 Minutes


50 Minutes 

Types of Tasks:

Written Japanese Communication 

Oral Japanese Communication 

Exam Breakdown:

  • The exam has a total of 70 multiple-choice questions, administered over 90 minutes, making up half (50%) of the total score. This section assesses both written and auditory skills.

  • The free-response section, accounting for the remaining 50% of the score, consists of four tasks. These tasks evaluate both written and oral Japanese communication skills and are completed within a 45-minute timeframe.

  • This breakdown provides a structured overview of the AP Japanese Language and Culture exam format, allowing you to better plan and manage your time during the test.

How should I study for the AP Japanese Language and Culture Exam?

If you're serious about getting the hang of a foreign language, the real deal is diving headfirst into it and learning what exam tips work for you. Sure, it might be a bit of a struggle to be surrounded by native Japanese speakers, especially if you don't know any. But the good news? You can easily grab Japanese content from all over the internet. YouTube's got Japanese videos, iTunes and the app store host cool podcasts, and there are tons of websites flaunting Japanese text and audio. Comics, novels, blogs – you name it. Sure, finding Japanese stuff might not be as simple as grabbing Spanish content, but trust me, it's not rocket science. Plus, your hustle will pay off big time, making the learning process way quicker.

Now, when it comes to acing that AP exam, it's not just about flipping through Japanese comics. Nope, you gotta zero in on the stuff they're testing you on. For the AP Japanese Language and Culture exam, it boils down to being kinda good at three communication modes: chatting with folks, understanding what you read, and presenting stuff. Here's the rundown of what you should be able to do and AP Japanese test tips:

1. Shoot the breeze in spoken convos

2. Nail written back-and-forths

3. Mix info from all sorts of audio, visual, and audiovisual sources

4. Juggle info from various written and print materials

5. Plan, create, and throw out spoken presentations

6. Draft and drop written presentations

Being a communication whiz means you gotta tackle tasks like asking and confirming details, giving and following directions, and being a social butterfly with invites. Plus, flexing those language muscles with fancy skills like comparing things, sharing opinions, and chatting about life experiences. Oh, and you better get comfy with those kanji characters and typing skills – the whole test goes down on a computer. Schools might tweak things a bit, but the basics are laid out on page five of the course description. Oh, and if you're curious about the kanji characters they'll throw at you, check page eight.

When do AP Japanese Language and Culture scores come out?

Scores will typically come out in July every year, but you can also refer to the official CollegeBoard Annual calendar to monitor any chances.

Is AP Japanese Language and Culture Hard? 

The AP Japanese Exam gets a rep for being pretty tough, and here's the lowdown:

They're checking your skills in reading, writing, and speaking Japanese. There's a listening part too, where you've got to get what's being said in Japanese.

It's not just about language chops; they're also sizing up how well you know Japanese culture and society.

Before diving into this, make sure your Japanese game is strong. Checking out past AP Japanese exams and looking at AP Japanese exam tips can help, but having a Japanese tutor is the real ace move.

Explaining the AP Japanese Language and Culture Exam Scores

Back in 2016, almost half of the folks tackling the AP Japanese Language and Culture exam were either native speakers or had some serious outside-the-classroom exposure to the language. No shocker, they totally aced it, with a whopping 79.1% snagging a score of three or better. And get this, over half of them rocked the top score of five. Now, the non-native speaking crew had a bit of a tougher time. While 63.5% managed to pass with a three or above, a chunky 25% hit the bottom with a score of one. Tough break, right?

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