The JLPT has five levels: N1, N2, N3, N4 and N5. N5 is the easiest level, the most difficult level is N1.
Levels N5 and N4 focus on basic Japanese, like you normally have in classroom environment. Levels N1and N2 correspond to linguistic abilities to successfully manage in real life. N3 provides the transition between N1/N2 and N4/N5.
The competence required for the JLPT is expressed in terms of activities, such as Reading and Listening.
N5 requirements by activity are :
reading: understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji.
listening: comprehend topics of daily life and classroom situations, pick up necessary information from simple conversations spoken slowly.