If you find yourself on this page, then you must have heard about the MEXT scholarship application. It is either you seek a proper guide on how to apply without making mistakes or you have already applied and sought guidance on how to go about your interview. Neither the case, we will properly guide you to make it right this time. We have spoken to some scholars of the MEXT scholarship and they shared their experiences and how to prepare for the MEXT scholarship (from their point). So ensure you carefully read through to learn all you need to do to win the MEXT scholarship.
Remember that the Japanese government MEXT scholarship is a fully funded program. So winning this scholarship is a leading edge to any student’s career path. Meanwhile, the application process is a rigorous one. As you will partake in a series of exams and interviews. What more do you expect?
Furthermore, the MEXT interview comes after the applicants undergo an online examination. Selected candidates are contacted for the interview. Meanwhile, also know that the application for the MEXT scholarship is a two-way process. While each intending applicant must involve in both of them. All student has to fill out the online application while they also submit all their documents to MEXT via mail (courier service).
Meanwhile, we recommend you keep reading to make the best use of this article. Our group of professionals put in a lot of effort to make it a reality.
Refer to How To Apply for the Japanese Government MEXT Scholarship. To see proper application guidelines and scholarship benefits.
What is the MEXT Scholarship?
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) Scholarship is an agreement-free scholarship for foreign students who wish to pursue their studies in Japan. Students who want to enroll in undergraduate or graduate programs can apply for the MEXT Scholarships.
Furthermore, the MEXT undergraduate Scholars spend their first year of study at either Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (social sciences and humanities majors) or Osaka University (natural sciences majors). Here, they will take intensive Japanese lessons as well as subject programs related to their majors. After going through this preparatory course, the students will then go to their actual university for the 4-year undergraduate course. The scholarship body majorly gives preferences to students in the STEM courses field.
What Are The benefits?
The scholarship is a fully funded scholarship program. So, it covers all the 1-year preparatory course fees plus the 4 years of university tuition fees for students. Additionally, scholars are given a monthly stipend for upkeep. Also a round-trip ticket from their country to Japan.
120,000 yen for Undergraduate students and also Japanese Studies exchange students
147,000 yen for Graduate (master) students
148,000 yen for Doctoral (Ph.D.) students
We recommend you also see the German Government Scholarship Program
7 Tips On How To Prepare For The MEXT Scholarship
We’ve prepared 7 resourceful tips that will help you successfully apply for the Japanese government MEXT scholarship program. Carefully read them and also see the relevant interview questions you’d encounter on the interview date.
#1. Choose Your Field Of Study
First things first, you have to consider what you intend to study in Japan while on the MEXT scholarship. You need to be specific about what you intend to study. Whether business, medicine, engineering, etc.
You also need to the prospect of your career path and how this scholarship will be valuable to you. Because you’d need it to fill out your application form.
Meanwhile, in every country little requirements may differ. So, if you have any questions about the field of study and filling your forms with the field of study, we recommend you ask your local Japanese embassy or consulate. You can do this either by email Or phone.
#2. Prepare For The Mext Scholarship Exams
You know after your application you’d have to seat for the MEXT scholarship exam. Different category of students will answer their respective subjects on that day. The subject by categories includes
–Undergraduate students: English, Mathematics (A or B), Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Japanese.
–Specialized Training College students (STC): English, Mathematics, Japanese.
–College of Technology students (CT): English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Japanese.
–Research students: English and Japanese
We advise you to go through MEXT past exams to see the question formats they use. There exist several places you can obtain the scholarship question online. While you can also find it on our page on how to apply for the MEXT scholarship. Use the past question to prepare for the exam properly.
Furthermore, better tips for this preparation involve testing your level for each subject and aiming for at least an 80% score for each test. While you study harder for subjects where your score is below 80%.
Note that for undergraduate students, the MATH test is crucial. Ensure to properly prepare yourself for the maths test by solving many numerical problems. If you can, hire a tutor to help you prepare.
#3. Put Together Your Application Documents
Another important tip to note while applying for the Japanese government MEXT scholarship includes ensuring to gather your application documents beforehand. This will prevent a lot of things including late submission and make you feel more organized. Some of the documents you must ensure to make ready include;
Ensure you fill out the forms by yourself. Do not let someone do this for you. You can ask the embassy if you have any questions about filling out your forms. As the embassy or consulate must answer all your questions.
Yes, you will likely see plenty of materials about the forms online and people offering plenty of answers. Still, do you want to put your future and chances in the hands of random strangers? Therefore, you should ensure to only seek answers to these questions from official sources. Do this by calling or emailing your local embassy.
#4. The Importance Of The Research Plan And Justification Answers
Students have to also prepare either their research plan or justification answers. Research plans relate to research students. While justification answers relate to undergraduate students. Students/applicants will need to include it in their forms.
Significantly, ensure to portray clarity in your writing, either regarding the research plan or the justification questions. Irrespective of the option you apply for. Either the undergraduate, CT, or STC MEXT scholarships.
Know that you may fail your application if the quality of your writing is low. Many students don’t know what to write, so they either copy ideas online or write illogical things that come to their minds without cross-checking them. No wonder many applications fail to pass the first screening. So, you have to present a very organized piece of writing expressing your plan in Japan. Also, why you want to study there, and why it is important for you and your community.
#5. Keep In Touch With The Embassy Where You Apply
Another point you have to note is ensuring to stay in touch with the embassy where you will apply. “I started visiting the I applied embassy two years before I applied for the scholarship,” said one of the scholars we engaged.
Why is this important?
You will encounter issues and will have questions about the scholarship while filling out your forms. The scholars said, “I had more than ten questions, and everybody I knew who won this scholarship had questions”. Although they all had special situations, their embassies have different requirements. As earlier mentioned things vary slightly from country to country, so you have to ask your questions directly to the embassy.
#6. Be Organized
More importantly, you have to maintain organization during your application. Yes, the application and procedure are easy, but it is essential to organize all documents must in order. Also, you must pay close attention to details.
Furthermore, always remember the application for the MEXT scholarship is FREE. They do not require you to pay any taxes or fees. So, if anybody asks for money, then there is something very wrong there.
#7. Keep A Positive Attitude
Whatever you do, always ensure to put on a positive attitude and mindset. Also, avoid discussing your plans with people who might have a negative influence. Another thing, avoid reading negative things about other people’s failed experiences. You may have a better experience as your is your own.
Therefore to make it more fun! Make a list of why you want to go to Japan, and the places you want to visit, eat, or experience. Also, note down the things that attract you most to Japan.
Why all these you may ask?
It is important to be confident and focused on your goal. Because the very moment you start doubting yourself, you will be off your path. So, to turn to your path, you have to remind yourself of those things you love about Japan and why you wish to go there. This will serve as an inspiration and motivation to study, and also to write your research plan or answer the justification questions. It will also give you the exuberance you need during your interview. Hence, you’d be able to transmit your passion for this country and your future as a MEXT student.
You can also apply for the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University for International Students
MEXT Interview Process
When applying for the Embassy-recommended MEXT scholarship, you must remember that after passing the document screening and (maybe) the tests, you’d have to pass the embassy MEXT scholarship interview next.
So, here we have revealed the kinds of questions you should expect. We also revealed what the interviewers are looking for. Plus other preparation recommendations. This will further enrich you on how to prepare for the MEXT scholarship.
Depending on your country, students may write the exams and the interview on separate days. Or they can be different events altogether. So we still recommend you visit the embassy in your locality of application for details.
Mext Scholarship Tests
We have started it on and on that, you have to seat for the MEXT scholarship test. Research students applying to the MEXT scholarship will take up to two tests (i.e. as a graduate student);
Graduate students should note that taking the Japanese language proficiency is a mandate. Whether you have Japanese language ability or not. However, provided you apply for a program taught in English, it won’t hurt your application opportunities if you score a zero on it.
Meanwhile, If you have Japanese language proficiency, then this test will help you escape the six-month Japanese language program. Most Embassy-recommended MEXT scholars go through this phase before they start their degrees if they don’t have Japanese proficiency.
Note For Undergraduate MEXT Scholarship Applicants
Undergraduate students will have to take several subjects in addition to the Japanese and English tests. However, this depends on the major you specified in your application. You can find the subjects specific list in the official application guidelines on MEXT’s website.
Are you looking for sample questions so you can be better-practice for the MEXT scholarship? This is a very unique way to prepare for the MEXT scholarship exam and even interview. Meanwhile, you can see past test questions for language proficiency and undergraduate subject tests on JASSO’s website.
Preparing For The MEXT Scholarship Interview
It looks simpler if you can understand the structure and conduct of any interview you want to attend. So we have helped out on helping you prepare for your MEXT scholarship interview. Thus, knowing the structure and conducts of the interview will most likely, leave you with the only option to figure out how you will approach it to optimize your chances.
After gathering some experience from scholars who have been seated for the MEXT scholarship interview. We have tabled the variation in the setup, of a typical, Japanese-style interview. Let’s have a scenario of how it looks like;
A typical Japanese-style interview will have a panel of three interviewers seated behind desks facing you while you enter the room. Then, you’d often see a chair (but no desk) for you located in the center of the room. The seat is located around 2-3 m (6-10 feet) away from the interviewers.
Yes, the interview background set-up and distance can seem somewhat intimidating, but you can pull through.
Ensure to stay confident and focused on your goals. If you approach the interview with confidence and remain straightforward, then you stand a good chance that you will perform better.
As of 2023, some countries still hold interviews online. Remember, the format varies from country to country. So ensure to check the details for your specific country.
Interview Panel Members
After collections of comments from past applicants, on this blog and other sites, we already disclosed that the embassy MEXT scholarship interview panels typically seem to comprise three interviewers. Among them includes two embassy officials and one often a professor from a neighborhood university. Past reports show that the professor is usually someone from your general field of research. For example social science, engineering, etc. . But may not have much verse intellect in your particular area.
In previous experience, we have heard of a Buddhist studies professor on a panel for an applicant in policy studies. While a mechanical engineering professor is in the panel for a software engineering candidate.
What does this tell you? It means you should plan to avoid intense, technical speech in your research. Rather, you have to communicate the purpose, desired results, and significance of your research to a person outside of your field. So, keep this in mind while practicing for your interview questions.
Practical Considerations (Wears)
A great idea and plan considering what you should put on before your interview date. Thus, this will boost your self-confidence knowing you dress smart and the right way. Simple wear more like a professional suit looks good to put on for the interview. More so, the equivalent of a suit in your national dress can still do the job.
Furthermore, you know you’d attend your interview at the embassy or consulate, so, you’ll have to leave all of your electronics behind at the entrance. Nevertheless, if you took it in, including a digital watch, ensure to put it on silent mode or even off.
You should be expecting about a 20-minute interview session.
How To Conduct Yourself In The Interview Room
On entering the interview room, you first have to bow to the interview panel. If you have confidence in your Japanese, you can also like to use the Japanese word よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu). The panel will direct you to sit.
While a question is thrown at you, address your answers to the panel member who asked the question. However, try making eye contact with the others, as well, while speaking. When you are asked a multi-part question and forgot the second piece halfway through your answer, kindly ask the questioner to reiterate the second half.
If you indicated to have met the Japanese language proficiency test, it has a Japanese speaking ability then, we recommend you answer in the language the question is asked. Questions like that try to evaluate your ability than the quality of the answer. Therefore, do not worry much about them.
Finally, once you are done with your interview, you also have to stop at the door, bow again, and appreciate them for the interview. (ありがとうございます arigato gozaimasu).
However, if you cannot convey the greetings in Japanese, then you can do that in English (both on entry and departure).
Conduct In An Online Interview
If your MEXT scholarship interview is the online version, some tips above still hold. You have to prepare yourself and sit in front of the Camera on time. While of course, you should still bow to the camera at the start.
Significantly, ensure your background of the interview video is free from distractions and clean. A white wall is preferred or a even bookshelf. You do not want a cluttered living space. Also, make sure that no one else passes through the video area/room or even makes noise around you during the video. Remember to dress as you would for a physical interview.
Furthermore, making eye contact in an online interview means looking at the camera lens, and not at the screen. So keep your camera as close as possible to the screen. Thus imagine your camera is in a different location, like far above or below, or off to the side, then every time you look at your screen, it will look weird to the interview panel.
MEXT Interview Strategy
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for the MEXT scholarship interview includes maintaining a clear focus on the academic and practical goals of your research.
Note that the panel body could immediately tell when an applicant appears prepared, confident, and competent. The difference in the impression is the key!
Work On Your Basic Selling Points
You’d need to have key points probably three top selling points that you want to convey during the interview. Our suggestion includes having one sales point for each of the categories below;
Follow Interview Strategy
You need to use every question asked strategically. So, you have to answer to the interviewer’s satisfaction while still making it flow with one of your sales points.
MEXT Scholarship Interview Questions
Now you can see some of the typical questions past applicants have faced. We included an interpretation of what the interviewers sought. So, this will prepare you at the very least to be ready for any question. Endeavor to practice and prepare for your MEXT scholarship interview.
What do you want to study?
This question comes in to ensure you have a clear research focus and know your field. Know that the interview panel has read (or at least skimmed) your Field of Study and Research Program Plan. Therefore, you need to expand on particularly connecting your studies to your academic and practical results.
What are the limitations of your research?
This question often comes after you explain your research. It is constructed to see if you have thought through your research topic and know your procedure. One tricky thing about this question is that an interviewer may ask it even if he/she does not understand your research topic.
Therefore, prepare yourself to explain one or two limitations. Also, how you will subdue them or even why your research is still valuable despite the limitations.
Why do you want to study that topic?
The panel wants you to describe what you want to achieve with your outcomes. More like what you want to achieve in the future.
Meanwhile, remember the panel sees you as an investment in favorable relations between your country and Japan. To discuss results that will benefit both countries or bring them closer together.
What university do you want to study at in Japan?
They also ask if you are in contact with the universities you selected. The goal of this question is to examine how prepared and assertive you are.
Furthermore, you should at least be able to explain your reason for choosing the universities and professors on your list based on their relevant research, and practical goals.
Why do you want to study in Japan?
This particular question was added to the application form of the 2020 Application cycle as an essay.
So it may less likely to come up in the interview. Meanwhile, some other questions that will follow include;
Tell us about your academic background.
The important thing here includes focusing and using this to your advantage. If you tell any stories about your past, make sure they connect to one of your sales points.
What do you plan to do after your studies?
Many may wonder if the best way to answer this question includes saying that they want to work in Japan or go back to their home country. But it is a wrong impression.
The best path involves having a clear plan to contribute to the relationship between your country and Japan. Whether that includes working in Japan, or your home country it does not really important.
What is your plan if you do not get this scholarship?
Straight to the point, however, do not let this question intimidate you. The interviewing panel is not indicating failure. Rather, they want you to prove that you have a commitment to the goals you described and not just seek a free degree.
Why do you deserve this scholarship?
This seems like another tricky question however, we recommend you mention your past academic accomplishments and practical contributions. An example includes work experience or community service, etc. Elaborating your track record of success and contribution, shows them you deserve to be a MEXT scholar. Through this, you are trying to convince them that awarding you the scholarship will better achieve the government’s goals of enhancing the link between the countries.
Ensure to see the Top 10+ Canadian Scholarships for Developing Countries
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Prepare For The MEXT Scholarship | Interview Guide
How do I prepare for MEXT scholarship?
To learn how to properly prepare for the MEXT scholarship kindly read through it above on this page.
How difficult is it to get a MEXT scholarship?
It is very difficult to get the MEXT scholarship. The tests are challenging and also long. You need to be prepared to focus for a few hours in a row, particularly for the undergraduate MEXT scholarship. All examinations have multiple-choice questions, except for the math tests and some aspects of the Japanese tests.
What is the syllabus for MEXT?
Its curriculum mainly includes education in the Japanese language and other subjects such as Japanese affairs, mathematics, English, and social studies. That is for those majoring in Social Science and Humanities. While those majoring in Natural sciences include physics, chemistry, and biology.
How do you answer the MEXT application question?
To answer the MEXT scholarship application, you need to prepare for the questions properly by solving previous questions.
Can you apply for MEXT twice?
Anyone who has received a Japanese government (MEXT) Scholarship in the past can not apply again. Until they have completed 3 years of education or research after the end of the previous scholarship award.
Is MEXT scholarship enough?
Simply yes, it should be enough. Unless you plan to live in an extravagant flat or eat in a costly restaurant for every meal, what MEXT gives its scholars is more than enough.
Finally, everything you need to win the Japanese government MEXT scholarship is 100% in your hands. You need to study well, put your documents together, and ready your mind to win the scholarship. So, with an optimistic attitude and clarity of mind, you can communicate these in your interview and make a great impression. Know that Japan is ready to welcome you, so ensure you do the needful until you arrive.
Meanwhile, If you have other questions on how to prepare for the MEXT scholarship or life in Japan for a MEXT student, kindly use the comment box below or send a message through the contact form.
Ensure to keep your eyes on the goal okay? Wish you the best of luck to all applying this year!