Complete TOPIK Guideline (with Frequently Asked Questions)

Complete TOPIK Guideline (with Frequently Asked Questions)

TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) is a Korean language 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.

1. Objectives

- To guide non-native speakers of Korean and overseas Koreans to methods of learning Korean and to expand the use of Korean around the world.
- To evaluate the use of Korean performance and utilize the test results as a mean for overseas study and employment.

2. Target Applicant

For those who are non-native speakers of Korean, overseas Koreans, and overseas residential Koreans.
-      Korean language learners and international students who want to study in Korea and overseas.
-      Job seekers wishing to work at domestic and overseas-based Korean companies and public institutions
-      Students studying overseas and graduates from an overseas school (overseas residential Koreans)

3. Test schedule

TOPIK is held 5 times a year.

For detail schedule, please refer this page: TOPIK Schedule




Test schedule is subjected to be changed depending on regions and time differences. In general, the test will be held as below:

Period
Result announcement
Test centers
Jan
Feb
Korea
Feb
May
Korea/Overseas
Jul
Aug
Korea
Oct
Nov
Korea/Overseas
Nov
Dec
Korea


4. Exam levels and difficulties

- Exam difficulties: TOPIK I (beginner) & TOPIK II (Intermediate, Advanced)
- Exam levels: 6 levels (Level 1~6)

Proficiency guideline

TOPIK Level 1:
-      Can perform basic language skills needed for survival such as introducing oneself, shopping, and ordering at a restaurant. Can comprehend and express basic, personal and familiar topics such oneself, family, weather, ect. Can produce simple sentences using 800 basic vocabulary words and basic grammar. Additionally, can comprehend and produce simple sentences for daily life and practical writing.

TOPIK Level 2:
-      Can perform basic language functions such as making a phone call, asking a favor, and making a suggestion and can perform functions necessary for the use of public facilities such as post offices, banks, and hospitals.
-      Can understand and express familiar and personal topics such as daily schedules, hobbies and appointments by employing 1,500~2000 words.
-      Can use the Korean language appropriately according to formal and informal situations.

TOPIK Level 3:
-      Has little trouble leading one’s daily life in Korea. Can perform language functions such as using public facilities like the immigration office, travel agencies, etc. and perform functions needed for maintaining social relationships like explaining, describing, rejecting etc.
-      Can understand and express one’s opinion at the paragraph level on familiar social topics such as occupations, event, nations, cultures, etc as well as familiar personal topics.
-      Can understand the basic differences between written and spoken texts and produce them accordingly.

TOPIK Level 4:
-      Can perform most language functions needed for the use of public facilities and for the maintenance of social relationships and also can perform to some extent language functions needed for general business such as drawing up brief documents and reports
-      Can comprehend relatively easy news and newspaper articles, can understand and express one’s opinions on familiar social and abstract topics.
-      Based on the understand of high-frequency idiomatic expressions and Korean culture, can understand and describe social and cultural matters.

TOPIK Level 5:
-      Can perform to some extent language functions that are needed to carry out one’s specialized research and business such as summarizing, arguing, inferencing, and discussing.
-      Can understand and express one’s opinions on unfamiliar topics such as policy, economy, and culture
-      Can use the Korean language appropriately according to formal/informal and written/spoken contexts and can understand and construct argumentative texts, reports, literary works, interviews, and discussions.

TOPIK Level 6:
-      Can perform language functions requires to carry out one’s specialized research and business comparatively and fluently.
-      Can understand and express one’s opinions on unfamiliar topics concerning policy, economy, and culture.
-      Although imperfectly, can perform most language skills and does not have difficulties in expressing oneself.

5. Test scoring and test certificate

Test certificate of the TOPIK: Applicable to applicants who pass the test. In Korea, the test certificate was mailed out to individuals. In overseas, the test certificate was sent to the overseas institutes and then distributed to individuals.

Test score: In Korea, all applicants can check and print out the test score from the Topik website. In overseas, the test score was sent to the overseas institutes and then distributed to individuals.

6. Registration Procedure

In Korea:
-      Online registration must be completed within the test application window in the homepage.
-      Complete your application following the instructions in the website
-      The registration fee can be paid by credit card or bank transfer
-      After submitting the application fee, the examinee must print the examinee ID from the website and must take it to the test center on the test day.

In overseas:
-      Overseas test takers must apply through their corresponding test centers. Please refer to the TOPIK website and search for the test dates and test centers in your country.


7. The validity of TOPIK Test Certificate

The test certificate is valid for 2 years from the date of the results are announced.


8. Frequently asked questions and answers about the NEW TOPIK

Q1. What are the differences between the old and new TOPIK?

A. The ‘old’ TOPIK of three levels has been changed to the ‘new’ TOPIK with two levels (beginner level and intermediate/advance level) from the 35th TOPIK (Jul 2014). The beginner level is called TOPIK I and the intermediate/advance level is called TOPIK II. The test scores remain valid for 2 years from the result date are announced.


Q2. How are the TOPIK levels divided?

A. The former TOPIK was divided into 3 exams (beginner, intermediate, advance) covering 6 levels. The 6 levels will remain the same. However, the new test is divided into 2 exams (beginner and intermediate/advance).

TOPIK I covering levels 1~2 is the beginner level.
TOPIK II covering level 3~6 is a combination of the intermediate and advance levels.


Q3. Has the vocabulary/grammar section been dropped from the exam?

A. Yes. The former TOPIK evaluated 4 areas (vocabulary/grammar, writing, listening, and reading) but TOPIK I has been reduced to 2 areas (listening and reading) and TOPIK II has been reduced to 3 areas (listening, writing, and reading).

As with TOPIK I, TOPIK II has no vocabulary/grammar section, but a writing section has been added. Whereas writing ability was evaluated indirectly, the focus has been shifted to communication ability, so that the modified writing section evaluates the actual writing ability of the test taker. Although there is longer a vocabulary/grammar section, knowledge of vocabulary and grammar will be evaluated indirectly through the reading and writing sections.


Q4. How many questions and how much time is allotted for each section?

A. TOPIK I will have 30 listening questions and 40 reading questions, for a total of 70 questions. Regarding time, the listening section will last 40 minutes and the reading section is 60 minutes, for a total of 100 minutes. Although the number of questions has been reduced from 104 to 70, the test will last 1 hour and 40 minutes without a break.
TOPIK II will have 50 listening, 4 writing, and 50 reading questions for a total of 104 questions. The listening and writing sections will be held first, lasting 60 minutes and 50 minutes, respectively, for a total of 110 minutes. The reading section of 70 minutes will be held in class 2. Compared to the former test, the number of sections has been reduced but the number of questions remains similar. The duration of the time has lengthened as the number of questions for listening and reading section has increased.


Q5. How many points are allotted for each section?

A. The score for the old test was out of 400 points, with 100 points for each section. The score for TOPIK I will be out of 200 points, and 300 point for TOPIK II.

For TOPIK I reading section, there will be 20 level 1 questions (8 high, 8 mid, 4 low) that account for 50 points, and 20 level 2 questions (4 high, 8 mid, 8 low) that accounts for 50 points, for a total of 100 points.

For TOPIK I listening section, there will have 15 level 1 questions (6 high, 6 mid, 3 low) that accounts for 50 points and 15 level 2 questions (3 high, 6 mid, 6 low) that account for 50 points, for a total of 100 points.


TOPIK I reading
TOPIK I listening
Level
Question
Point
Question
Point
1
High
8
50
6
50
Med
8
6
Low
4
3
2
High
4
50
3
50
Med
8
6
Low
8
6


For TOPIK II listening and reading sections, each has 12 level 3 questions (4 high, 5 mid, 3 low), 13 level 4 question (4 high, 5 mid, 4 low), 12 level 5 question (4 4 high, 5 mid, 3 low) and 13 level 6 questions (4 high, 5 mid, 4 low). Each question is worth 2 points, for a total of 100 points for each section.

Level
Question
Point
Level
Number
3
High
4
8
Med
5
10
Low
3
6
4
High
4
8
Med
5
10
Low
4
8
5
High
4
8
Med
5
10
Low
3
6
6
High
4
8
Med
5
10
Low
4
8

For TOPIK II writing section, there are 4 questions adding up to a total of 100 points. Two questions at the beginner level of 3-4 are each worth 10 point; 1 question is at the intermediate level and worth 30 points; and 1 question is a the advanced level of 5-6 and worth 50 points.

Level
Question
Point
Level
Number
3~4
Low
2
20
4~3
Mid
1
30
6~5
High
1
50


Q6. How are the TOPIK levels determined?

A. The levels for the TOPIK will be based on the overall achieved score. The cut-off score for each section is no longer used as in the old TOPIK.

TOPIK Level
Score
TOPIK I
Level 1
80 ~139
Level 2
140 or above
TOPIK II
Level 3
120 ~ 149
Level 4
150 ~ 189
Level 5
190 ~ 229
Level 6
230 or above


Q7. How should I prepare for the new TOPIK?

A. Some strategies to prepare for TOPIK I:

TOPIK I only consists of 2 sections, listening and reading. As the vocabulary/grammar section has been taken out, the test may feel easier. However, it's not that the vocabulary/grammar is completely gone, because there are a few questions in the reading section. Furthermore, a good grasp of vocabulary/grammar will help you do well in the listening and reading sections. Therefore, it doesn't mean you should rule out vocabulary/grammar study altogether. The most difficult part of the new TOPIK I is the reading. There are more questions than the old test, meaning test takers will have to read 40 longer texts. The question types haven't changed from the old test; only the number of questions has increased. Thus, it is necessary to practice answering all 40 questions in 60 minutes. You can check how many questions you answered in 1 hour by doing the practice tests in this book. If you can't finish the questions in time, practice reading the texts faster. For those of you who take longer to read a text, first read the questions, then the text. In this way, you will be able to answer the question while reading the text and thereby save time.

Some strategies to prepare for TOPIK II:

TOPIK II is for test takers in the intermediary-advanced level, so it may be difficult for those in the intermediary level. The most difficult thing is to answer the large number of questions within the given time. In case of the listening section, you must answer 50 questions in 60 minutes. What you need most is the ability to remain focused throughout the 60 minutes. As the listening questions continue for 1 hour without a break, you could become tired of listening and lose focus. For this reason, it is important to practice answering the listening questions for 1 hour. Test takers in the intermediary level should take the listening practice tests in this book.

Also, make your own listening strategy. Question 30 and onward are all at the advanced level, so some test takers could give up answering the questions from here. But because the test time is set, you must listen to the questions to the end. If you give up answering the advanced questions, you could use this time to start the writing section. As both the listening and the writing sections are worth 100 points each, if you find the advanced listening questions to be too difficult, you could spend more time on the writing section to bring up your score in writing. As the listening and the writing sections, lasting 60 minutes and 50 minutes respectively, are taken together for a total of 110 minutes in class 1, it will be strategic for test takers to spend more time on the writing section. However, keep in mind that this strategy is only valid if you haven't made any mistakes in the first part of the listening section. The reading section of 50 questions must also be answered in 70 minutes. As the reading texts in the intermediary/advanced level become longer and deal with unfamiliar themes, you will find the questions increasingly difficult as you answer them. But don't give up and answer them with perseverance to the end. The key to intermediary level test takers receiving an advanced level result lies in the reading section. Therefore, intermediary level test takers must spend a lot of time practicing reading long texts and answering questions in 70 minutes. Practice answering the questions in this book multiple times.


Q8. How to prepare for the TOPIK II writing?

A. There are 4 questions in the TOPIK II writing section.

The question 1 is 'writing in the given format'. This requires writing a sentence according to different standardized forms that have contents related to everyday life. The given text gives many clues, so you can write the appropriate expression using them. Aim to receive a good score as the question is comparatively easy. You don't have to write a long sentence.
The question 2 was also given in the old TOPIK that requires writing the appropriate sentence in the blank. It is important to understand the content and to write a sentence that flows with the sentences that come before and after it. This question will be familiar because it is similar to the question in the former test.

Questions 3 and 4 both require writing long answers. Question 3 provides contents for a graph. The aim is to complete a single paragraph by connecting the contents, so you must make sure the writing has logical flow by filling in the appropriate connecting expressions. Also, based on the given contents in the graph, you must complete the writing with your own thought. Test takers in the intermediary level won't find the writing section up to question 3 to be difficult. The advanced level test takers are distinguished from the intermediary level test takers in question 4 because those in the intermediary level aren't able to answer question 4 using ample content and expressions. The question provides the content that must be included in the writing. You must answer the question based on the given content, using the appropriate information, vocabulary, and grammar to support your writing. With sufficient practice, intermediary level test takers can answer the question, so practice hard with the questions in this book. Writing accurately is important, but the right content and usage of good expressions are even more important, so practice these in your writing.

Complete TOPIK Guideline (with Frequently Asked Questions) Complete TOPIK Guideline (with Frequently Asked Questions) Reviewed by Korean Topik on 6/02/2020 Rating: 5

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