TOPIK PBT Complete Guideline with Format, Level, Timetable, Application and more

TOPIK PBT Complete Guideline with Format, Level, Timetable, Application and more

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 PBT (Paper-Based Test) is the conventional test method used to measures proficiency in reading, writing, and listening comprehension in the Korean language of the test-takers.

TOPIK Speaking is introduced in 2021 to help learners improve their ability to communicate in Korean. For details about TOPIK Speaking, please refer to this page:  2023 TOPIK Speaking Complete Guideline 

1. Objectives of TOPIK

- 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 Applicants

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. TOPIK PBT schedule

TOPIK PBT is held 5 times a year.

For detail schedule, please refer this page: TOPIK PBT Schedule
Test schedule is subjected to be changed depending on regions and time differences. In general, the test will be held as below:

Result announcement
Test centers

4. TOPIK PBT Test Format 

TOPIK PBT is divided into 2 exams:

- 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.

The total score is 200 points for TOPIK I, and 300 points for TOPIK II.

Test Category


Question number

Test time

Total score




40 min




60 min









50 min




70 min


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. The test lasts 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 the second section of the test after a break of ~10 min. 

5. TOPIK PBT Registration Fee 

- From the 71st TOPIK (Aug 23, 2020), the TOPIK registration fee is:

TOPIK I :  KRW 40,000   (previously 35,000 won)
TOPIK II :  KRW 55,000   (previously 40,000 won)

- If you wish to take the TOPIK exam, register online at and pay the registration fee by the due date.

- You can pay the registration fee either by credit card (domestic use) or by bank transfer (virtual account).

- If you cancel your registration after paying the registration fee, the amount of the refund will vary depending on the date of cancellation:
> During the registration period: full refund;
> Within 7 days from the end of the registration period: 50% refund;
> After 7 days from the end of the registration period until 1:00 p.m. the day before the exam date: 40% refund.

- If you do not take the exam, without canceling your registration, you will not be eligible for a refund.  

- A full refund may be provided in the event of special circumstances such as a national emergency, a natural disaster, or concerns of infectious diseases.

- In the case of test-takers outside Korea, the local refund policy shall be observed.

6. TOPIK PBT Timetable 

- The test time table is only valid for testing in Korea. If you are taking the test outside Korea, contact your local TOPIK registration center for the exact test time.







Must enter test room by





Listening & Reading







Listening & Writing











7. TOPIK PBT Test-day Attention and Answer Sheet Guide

What to bring on the day of the exam?

- Those wishing to take the TOPIK exam must arrive in the exam room by the designated time with an ID card (Foreign Registration Card, Passport, Driver's License,...). 

Information Related to the Answer Sheet

- Test-takers are responsible for failing to use the designated pen or fill out the circle completely, which will result in loss of marks.

For details, please refer this page:  TOPIK Test-day Attention & Answer Sheet Guide

8. TOPIK Levels Guideline 

The TOPIK levels is determined based on the overall achieved score. The cut-off score for each section is no longer used in TOPIK test from 2014.

Overall score
Level 1
80 ~139
Level 2
140 ~ 200
Level 3
120 ~ 149
Level 4
150 ~ 189
Level 5
190 ~ 229
Level 6
230 ~ 300

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.

9. TOPIK certificate and validity

- TOPIK certificate: Applicable to applicants who pass the test. 
> In Korea, all applicants can check and print out their test score certificate from the TOPIK website.
> In overseas, the test score certificate was sent to the overseas institutes and then distributed to individuals.

- The TOPIK certificate is valid for 2 years starting from the test-taking date.

10. TOPIK Registration Procedure

For details about TOPIK test registration, please refer to this page:

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 link for the test center locations in your country (Outside of Korea).

11. Frequently asked questions about the TOPIK PBT

Q1. What kind of TOPIK tests are currently available? 

A. The TOPIK tests are currently available in 3 formats as follows:
  • TOPIK PBT (Paper-Based Test)
  • TOPIK IBT (Internet-Based Test)
  • TOPIK Speaking
TOPIK PBT and TOPIK IBT are conducted using different means and have a slightly different format. However, their levels and certificates are equivalent.

Q2. How should I prepare for the TOPIK Test?

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.

Q3. 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.


saiful said...

pls send me topik 2 question bank any how, now iam bangladesh,no way to collect any books from my country.thans all.

Unknown said...

Do you know how to create virtual account in Korean bank to pay for the exam? Because I tried a lot and did not get results.
Thank you,

Korean Topik said...

The post is updated on 19th Aug 2023. Hope you find it helpful and interesting. Thank you.

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