TOPIK – THE COMPLETE GUIDE
What is TOPIK?
TOPIK, Test of Proficiency in Korean, is a written test designed to measure the ability of non-native speakers for expression and comprehension in the Korean language.
TOPIK test measures proficiency in reading, writing, and listening comprehension in the Korean language. The test has three different levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Further accuracy is expressed through six grades, two matched to each level to evaluate proficiency.
Purpose of Exam
- To propagate and set direction for learning Korea for non-native Korean speakers and overseas Koreans.
- To measure and evaluate their Korean language skills and utilize the results for in-Korea colleges and job-seeking
Overseas Koreans and foreigners for whom Korean is a second language and who:
- Aim to learn the language and enter in-Korea universities
- Seek jobs in companies and public institutions in Korea and overseas
- Reside overseas or are attending/graduated from a foreign school
Who administers the TOPIK Test?
National Institute for International Education (NIIED), which operates directly under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, is responsible for the general management of the test, such as supervising institutions administering the test in domestic and overseas locations.
For Whom is the TOPIK intended?
This comprehensive test is intended for non-native speakers of Korean, such as Korean language learners, international students who want to study in Korea as well as individuals who would like to work in Korean companies and public institutions.
The test also serves as an excellent opportunity to receive formal certification for those who expect to use Korean in their careers. Students of Korean who take the test will also learn which aspects of the language they need to concentrate on in future study.
TOPIK Test Structure
**** Recently they have announced some major changes in the structure of TOPIK Test. I will update these details very soon. The changes will be implemented from 35th TOPIK (in July). So you don’t need to panic now.
TOPIK is divided into four sections: Vocabulary & Grammar, Writing, Listening and Reading, Each section is graded out of 100 points with a possible total of 400 points for the total exam. The test includes composition, listening and multiple choice sections.
The test consists of two 90-minute sessions with a 30-minute break in between. The first session tests vocabulary & grammar, and writing, and the second session tests listening and reading.
There are three different levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Test takers who meet the requirements will be issued a formal certificate with one of six possible grades: low beginner (level 1), high beginner (level 2), low intermediate (level 3), high intermediate (level 4), low advanced (level 5), high advanced (level 6).
TOPIK Pass and Fail Scores
In order to score grades 1, 3 or 5 you need to get an average score over 50% and not less than 40% in any one section. To achieve grades 2,4 or 6 you need to get an average score over 70% and not less than 50% in any one section.
The following is the brief description of the language skills demanded of each grade.
1st Grade Use of basic commands of Korean for survival, such as greeting, purchasing, ordering, etc. Expressing and understanding oneself in simple everyday conversation by making simple sentences from 800 basic words.
2nd Grade Discussion of familiar topics employing a vocabulary of about 1,500∼2,000 words. Distinguishing correctly between formal and informal situations.
3rd Grade Carrying out transactions with people in public spaces and maintaining social relationships. Understanding the correct usage of words and speech. Command of fundamental characteristics of Korean.
4th Grade Comprehension of news articles, general social issues and abstract topics with accuracy and fluency. Comprehension of Korean social and cultural contents relying on essential idioms and understanding of representative aspects of Korean culture.
5th Grade High fluency in using the Korean language in professional research or work. Understanding and discussing less unfamiliar topics in politics, economics and other fields. Usage of appropriate expressions, distinguishing formal and informal, written and spoken, by context.
6th Grade Absolutely fluent in the Korean language for professional research or work
Capacity to understand and express oneself without problem, although without the full fluency of a native speaker.
How can I register for the TOPIK Test?
In most of the countries, the Korean Embassies administer the TOPIK tests. You have to visit the embassy with 2 passport size photographs and a registration fee (which varies country to country). If you are in Korea, you can register for the test online on www.topik.go.kr. The registration fee is KRW40000 which can be paid through debit/credit card, online banking or direct bank transfer.
When is the test conducted?
TOPIK test is conducted 5 times in a year inside Korea (January, April, July, October, November) and twice a year overseas (April and October). In most countries, the beginner and advanced level TOPIK papers are in the morning and the intermediate papers are held in the afternoon. Test is always held on Sundays (in some countries on Saturday as well).
How is the exam structured?
TOPIK is a 3-hour exam, which is split into two 90-minute papers.
- Paper 1 contains two sections: vocabulary and grammar and writing
- Paper 2 also contains two sections: listening and reading comprehension.
Is there any special eligibility criteria for the exam?
No. Anyone who is studying or have studied Korean Language can sit in the exam.
What will be the validity period of my TOPIK score ?
Test Result Announcements
- Test scores will be announced when application is received, TOPIK website
- Test results will be announced at the TOPIK website(www.topik.go.kr) and individual score reports
- When checking through the website, you must know the test number (e.g. if you took the 4th test, 4); application number and birth date.
Score Report Issuance
Score reports will be sent to all testees regardless of pass or fail.
- Level applied, area-specific score, total score, average score, and pass or fail will be declared on scroe report
Score report shipping
Individual mail sent out to testees in Korea.
For people who appeared in the test overseas, all score reports sent to the affiliated institution of that nation, who will be responsible for distributing to each testee.
Those who took the test overseas can confirm their score on the website (www.topik.go.kr).
Printing the Score Report
- For the purpose of submitting score reports to institutions such as colleges or companies, score reports can be printed out on the website print page
**For more information on the TOPIK test you can visit the official sitehttp://www.topik.go.kr.