What is the SPI test, anyway? A Guide for International Students Job Hunting in Japan
When students studying abroad talk about the most difficult parts of job hunting in Japan, one thing that comes up repeatedly is the dreaded “aptitude test.” These written exams are often said to contain only general knowledge questions. For international students, though, being presented with detailed directions in their non-native Japanese can be a huge hurdle. A math question about splitting the cost of a meal may look simple on first glance, but for students from other countries who haven’t had an education in math in Japanese, it can seem very difficult.
These tests are far from breezy for Japanese students, either, however! Your Japanese peers have to prepare with booklets of practice questions and mock tests, too, before entering the exam room. If you need to take one of these tests, it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible.
At what point in the application process will I have to take a written test?
During the typical screening process, applicants will first submit their “entry sheet” (read more about entry sheets in our introduction to job hunting in Japan!), take a written exam, interview (usually several times), and then receive a job offer. Without passing the written exam, applicants won’t even have the opportunity to interview and show off their passion, so it’s very important to pass the test!
What’s the point of the written exam?
Many companies use exams as a tool to effectively move through the screening process, eliminating student applicants who receive a score less than a certain number. For students hoping to land an interview, then, the goal is to score higher than this set or minimum amount.