Complete Guide to New TOPIK Test: All You Need to Know!

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

Applicant Qualification

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.

How can I register for the TOPIK Test?

In Korea: 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.
In Other Countries: 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).
Watch the video below to see the complete registration process.

When is the test conducted?

TOPIK test is conducted 5 times in a year inside Korea (January, April, July, October, and 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 Saturdays as well). You can check all important dates of TOPIK test in 2014 HERE.

What is the tests structure?
  • The New Changed TOPIK Format has been implemented from the 35th TOPIK, which was held in July, 2014. So you should change your preparation strategy accordingly.
  • Changes to TOPIK Level Structure: In the old format, we had 3 levels – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced and every level had 2 sub-levels ranging from 1 to 6. Now in the new format, we still have 6 levels but there is a slight change in the structure. Now, instead of 3 tests we have only 2 which they call TOPIK I(Level 1-2) [한국어능력시험Ⅰ(1~2급)] & TOPIK II (Level 3-6) [한국어능력시험 Ⅱ(3~6급)]. Intermediate and Advanced Test is combined now.
  • Changes to Sections of TOPIK test: As we know, in the old format the test had 4 sections – Grammar & Vocabulary, Writing, Listening and Reading. Now they have removed Grammar & Vocabulary, Writing from Level 1 & 2 (i.e. TOPIK I). Now the beginner levels 1 and 2 have just two sections – Reading and Listening. In TOPIK II (Level 3-6), which is the new combined Intermediate-Advanced test, they have kept 3 sections – Reading, Listening and Writing and removed Grammar & Vocabulary. So overall, we can say that the new format is more simplified. Good news, right? But for some of the test takers it’s not a good change. Grammar and Vocabulary was a section in which many people got a high score easily. For them, it’s going to make the test more difficult. The beginner level test has definitely become easier as you don’t need to write anything – just mark the multiple choice answers. But the Intermediate-Advanced level test has become much more difficult, especially for the Intermediate level test takers. The reading section has got too lengthy and in the writing section, you have to write two essays instead of one. I will write a separate post on the possible impact of the changes to topik. Let’s stick to understanding the changes in this post.
  • Changes to Question Composition, Time and Marks: In the old format we used to have 30 Multiple Choice Questions in Grammar-Vocab, Listening and Reading sections and writing sections had 10  Multiple Choice Questions and 4-6 Short-answer/essay questions. In the new TOPIK structure, TOPIK I (Level 1-2) has a total of 70 Multiple Choice Questions – Reading (40 Questions) and Listening (30 Questions). TOPIK I has a total of 200 marks and the Test Time is 100 Minutes. TOPIK II (Level 3-6) has a total of 104 Questions – Reading (50 Multiple Choice Questions) and Listening (50 Multiple Choice Questions) and Writing (4 Short-answer/Essay Questions). TOPIK II has a total of 300 marks and the Test Time is 180 Minutes.
TOPIK I (1-2) – 70 Questions- Reading(40), Listening(30)- 200 Marks – 100 Minutes
TOPIK II (3-6) – 104 Ques.- Reading(50), Listening(50),Writing (4)- 300 Marks – 180 Min. 
  • Changes to Pass-Fail Score Rules: In the old TOPIK structure, you had to get a minimum score of 40 in all 4 sections to get levels 1, 3 or 5 and a minimum of 50 marks in all sections to get levels 2, 4 or 6. It meant if you get 70 percent marks overall but 39 in one section you get Fail. it’s really a good news that now they have removed this rule. Now they will just see your overall score and you get your level and pass/fail on the basis of total score. Low marks in any one or more individual sections will not influence your overall result (pass/fail).  
  • Change to frequency of TOPIK Test: Till 2013, TOPIK was held twice a year (April & October) overseas and 4 times a year (January, April, July & October)in Korea. Now they will hold the test 5 times in a year in Korea (January, April, July,  October & November). Overseas  there will be two tests in a year as before.
  • New Changed TOPIK Exam Structure and Test Timing:

Section Questions Time (Minutes) Remarks
Beginner(1-2) Listening 30 40 100 1st Sitting
Reading 40 60
Intermediate-Advanced(3-6) Listening 50 60 110 1st Sitting
Writing 4 50
Reading 50 70 70 2nd Sitting
  • Changes to Writing section in Intermediate-Advanced Level: Now the writing section has just 4 questions – 2 short answer questions where you have to make a sentence and two essay questions. One essay will be related to everyday life topics and will be easier to write while the other essay will be a logical one where you will have t write your opinion on some issue or something like that. The first essay will be 200-300 characters long while the second one will be 600-700 characters.
  • How will the decide the levels? What will be the passing score for different Levels?
  • Any Specific changes to question pattern? Will they get difficult? Yes.  There has been many changes in the question patterns. As far as the difficulty level is concerned, it seems like Intermediate-Advanced level TOPIK has got more difficult while  the beginner level TOPIK has been really easier. Check the Sample papers to understand the new test structure and question pattern or if you have our Guide, watch the video lectures for all the sections while refering to the sample papers and TOPIK – Self Study Guide eBook.
  • Validity of TOPIK Certificate: 2 years.

Test Result Announcements
- Test results are announced at the TOPIK website (www.topik.go.kr) and individual score reports are sent to all test takers regardless of pass or fail.
- 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.
- Level applied, area-specific score, total score, average score, and pass or fail are declared on score report

 Score report shipping

Score reports are sent out through individual mail to test takers in Korea.
For people who appeared in the test overseas, all score reports are sent to the affiliated institution of that nation, who will be responsible for distributing to each test taker.
Those who took the test overseas can also 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 any time after paying a minimal fee.

Who should I contact if I have any query? 

( 02-3668-1331 or e-mail: topik@moe.go.kr) 


Credited to : topikguide