Overview of the EIKEN tests

What is EIKEN?

EIKEN is an abbreviation of Jitsuyo Eigo Gino Kentei (Test in Practical English Proficiency), one of the most widely used English-language testing programs in Japan. It is offered at 7 levels: Grade 1, Grade Pre-1, Grade 2, Grade Pre-2, Grade 3, Grade 4, and Grade 5. The total number of examinees since 1963 exceeds 95 million. EIKEN can be used as a language skills certificate for study abroad as it is recognized in approximately 400 universities and educational institutions in North America, Australia, and throughout the world.

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.

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. However, from 2016, a new online speaking test where examinees answers are recorded has been introduced for both grades.

What is the EIKEN CSE Score?

The EIKEN CSE score is based on the CSE (Common Scale for English) which is a universal scoring scale. The EIKEN CSE score is used to record scores for all grades of the EIKEN test. Through the EIKEN CSE score, you can see exactly where your English skills are. Not only can you see how far you have to go until you can pass the next EIKEN grade, but you can also use it as a guide throughout your English studies. The scale is linked to the international standard framework, CEFR, and it shows scores for the four skills (reading, listening, speaking, and writing) and a composite score. From 2016, the new and improved CSE 2.0 score is shown on your grade report.

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 Honolulu, New York, Los Angeles, and London. 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.

Are sample test materials available?

As a service to learners, first-stage EIKEN materials are disclosed after the 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.

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.

How do EIKEN results compare with other international standards?

In order to facilitate the interpretation of EIKEN test results in international contexts and to increase the usefulness of certificates for stakeholders, the Eiken Foundation of Japan has conducted studies investigating the comparability of EIKEN grades with widely recognized international criterion measures such as the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment), the TOEFL®PBT test, and the TOEFL®iBT test. Results of these studies are presented in the comparison table below.

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.