Do you speak Korean? 한국어 할 줄 아세요? How good is your Korean? Find out your exact level by taking the TOPIK test, the most popular Korean language proficiency exam.
It is a unique opportunity to connect 75 million people worldwide. The career outlook is another fascinating reason many aspire to dive deep into an enthralling world of everything Korean. It is a unique opportunity to connect 75 million people worldwide.
Are you serious about studying Korean or already know to some extent but doubtful of your current strength?
In that case, taking the Korean TOPIK test could be an outstanding idea to gauge your current competency level.
And by doing this, you will also earn the official certification accepted and recognized across the planet.
Here in this article, you’ll find all the authentic information you need to know about various TOPIK exams.
You will also know the 2021 registration process, understanding the test structure, question format, marking system, preparation, and details about examination centers, fees, and dates.
What is TOPIK?
Test of Proficiency in Korean (한국어능력시험), i.e., TOPIK is the world’s most famous Korean language ability test for non-native Korean.
Established in 1997 by the Korea Research Foundation, the TOPIK, is a standardized internationally acknowledged qualification to measure Korean. It certifies the degree of competence and mastery of the Korean language of non-native speakers across the globe.
When the first TOPIK examination took place in 1997, only 2,274 candidates appeared for the test. By 2019, the number rose to a staggering 300,068. That is almost 132 times increase in just over two decades!
Who conducts the Korean TOPIK test?
The National Institute for International Education (NIIED, 국립국제교육원), conducts the TOPIK exam worldwide since 2011.
It is an organization under the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the Republic of Korea. (국립국제교육원.)
Acceptance & Recognition
TOPIK test is the most extensively used Korean proficiency test.
Different variants of TOPIK are official certifications awarded by South Korea’s Government institutions. It is globally trusted and approved by companies, public and private educational establishments, and governments.
Benefits & Importance of TOPIK Tests
There are several obvious advantages. Here are some important ones.
1. Study or work in Korea
South Korea is mostly a monolingual country, and for the vast majority of jobs there, you need to have a strong command of the Korean language.
If you’re planning to study or work in South Korea, then the TOPIK can be an excellent value-add to your profile. It will be helpful while applying to various Korean universities or companies.
While the requirement varies, many colleges and businesses expect you to pass a certain level of TOPIK, ranging from level 3 to 6.
2. Immigration to South Korea
In the late 1990s, Korea opened its door to foreign workers, mainly for labor-intensive and other business sectors. And then, elementary Korean skills became a prerequisite for those seeking jobs.
Suppose you intend to apply for a permanent residency, an opportunity to participate in the ‘Korea Immigration and Integration Program’ (KIIP) by the Ministry of Justice, or any other South Korea visa.
In all these situations, the different versions of the TOPIK score can play an indispensable role.
3. It helps you get scholarships
South Korea offers several scholarships like GKS (previously known as KGSP Korean Government Scholarship Program) to deserving international students.
Several top-ranked universities such as Seoul National University (SNU), Yonsei, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), POSTECH, EWU, Sogang, Kyung Hee, Hankuk, KAIST, Hanyang, Korea University (KU) offer individual grants and scholarships for a variety of programs.
As a Global Korea Scholarship (GKS) participant or any such program might not require the Korean level test score. However, it can boost your chances to gain these scholarships.
4. It opens many career opportunities worldwide
In addition to the positive reasons to learn a language, there are many notable benefits of studying to communicate in Korean.
For example, it opens a world of career possibilities requiring languages.
If you’re seeking jobs in Korean companies or organizations that deal with South Korea anywhere globally, the ability to speak Korean makes your CV stands out in the crowd.
Instead of asking, “Do you know Korean, the most likely question in the interview would be, “what TOPIK level did you succeed?”
It is as an outcome of your Korean language test document included in your resume.
Generally, you need to accomplish at least TOPIK level 5 if you endeavor to work as a Korean language specialist job like language teacher, translator, or interpreter, content writer, to name a few.
5. To know your exact level & motivates you
If you’re learning Korean for quite some time, you reasonably want to confirm your expertise. In that scenario, the TOPIK score gives you a precise competency level.
By taking the exam, you will know your current knowledge, and you will also focus on the parts you need to improve further and fill the gap. It will assist you in planning for the next exam in a better way.
It will also encourage you to continue to achieve more learning goals in the Korean language. It is, undoubtedly, a big confidence booster right when you pass.
Types of TOPIK exam
There are three kinds of Test of Proficiency in Korean: S-TOPIK, B-TOPIK, and EPS-TOPIK.
While all these exams are internationally-recognized, the selection depends on your personal or professional aspirations.
You need to pick the most appropriate one according to your need and better in terms of the availability of testing centers and privileges associated with it.
1. Test of Proficiency in Korean (Standard TOPIK)
The standard TOPIK is the most sought-after Korean fluency test for non-native Korean and overseas Korean.
What are the eligibility criteria?
There is no special requirement. Any overseas Korean or foreigner who does not speak Korean as a mother tongue can take the TOPIK test to check out their Korean knowledge.
A Breakdown of the TOPIK Test structure
The TOPIK tests the candidate’s Korean skills in reading, listening comprehension, and writing section during the 100 to 180 minutes examination.
TOPIK – I duration is 100 minutes and comprises a reading and listening section. The TOPIK – II consists of a 3-hour exam, including a break, and contains reading, listening, and writing parts.
The TOPIK comprises mostly multiple-choice questions. However, the TOPIK II level writing test also entails a short-answer.
What is the passing marks for TOPIK?
The passing marks differ depending on the level. For instance, for TOPIK level 1, one needs 80/200. In comparison, it goes to a minimum of 230/300 for TOPIK level 6.
Check the below image for the level and their corresponding scores required to pass.
Test Centers around the world in 2021
As of January 2021, there are 54 testing venues in South Korea and 50 overseas centers in the rest of the world. Overall, there are 314 TOPIK examination locations in 87 countries.
There are 5 test centers in India — Chennai, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Manipur, and Ranchi.
What is the validity of the TOPIK score?
Most popular exams like DELF & DALF, CILS & CELI, ZD & TestDaF diplomas never expire and valid for life. However, the TOPIK score is valid for only two (2) years from the date of examination result announcements.
Within the valid period, you can access your result online at the official TOPIK website and print it. Once it expires, you need to retake it to count officially.
What are the TOPIK levels?
It has three broad categories — Beginner (초급), Intermediate (중급), and Advanced (고급), and further subdivided into six distinct levels.
TOPIK I is the Korean test for beginners and comprises two sublevels (level 1 and 2).
TOPIK II combines intermediate and advanced groups and has four sublevels (level 3, 4, 5, and 6).
2021 TOPIK Test Dates
NIIED organizes TOPIK 6 times a year. The January test is only held in Korea, whereas April, May, July, October, and November are conducted in Korea and overseas.
In India, they organize TOPIK twice a year, in April and October.
Usually, they conduct two sublevels of TOPIK-I in the morning. In contrast, from level 3 to 6 of TOPIK-II is administered in the morning and afternoon, including a break.
Due to COVID-19, the 2021 test schedule might be canceled or changed.
Check the 2021 TOPIK test dates below.
|TOPIK||TEST Dates||Registration Period||Result Dates||Locations|
|74th||January 10, 2021||12.8.2020 – 14.12.2020||February 3||Korea|
|75th||April 11, 2021||29.01.2021 – 04.02.2021||May 20||Korea/Overseas|
|76th||May 16, 2021||09.03.2021 – 15.03.2021||June 30||Korea|
|77th||July 11, 2021||21.05.2021 – 27.05.2021||August 19||Korea/Overseas|
|78th||October 17, 2021||03.08.2021 – 09.08.2021||November 25||Korea/Overseas|
|79th||November 14 2021||07.09.2021 – 13.09.2021||December 23||Korea|
What is the examination fee?
The exam fees will depend on the TOPIK level you sign up for and the country you select to do it.
For example, the cost is $20 to $30 in the USA. In India and Vietnam, it varies between ₹ 800 to 1000 and 250,000 to 350,000 VND, respectively.
How can I register for the TOPIK Test?
In most countries, the embassy of the Republic of Korea administers the TOPIK examinations. The Korean cultural center or King Sejong Institute also facilitates and accepts the applications.
You can get in touch with the nearest centers. You can carry two passport-sized photographs, the registration fee, and a photo-identity card like a driving license, passport. Finally, fill the complete application form.
How to prepare for TOPIK?
Self-study, perseverance, interest, and consistent practice is the key to success in TOPIK.
You can take the help of language apps, books, and online sources. But don’t expect eloquence or assistance to clear a higher level of TOPIK. A vast majority of these resources are geared more towards novice learners.
You can surely learn Hangul in only a few days. But since Korean is one of the difficult languages, it takes a few years of time and dedication to reach any meaningful fluency.
It will be more beneficial to enroll in any Korean courses near you or find an experienced teacher. There are plenty of Korean learning centers in different parts of the world, thanks to a surge in demand.
2. B-TOPIK (Business TOPIK)
In addition to S-TOPIK (standard one), there is another one, i.e., B-TOPIK (the Business TOPIK). It is precisely for candidates who aim to work in South Korea.
Composition of Test sections for B-TOPIK
There are four compulsory sections — writing, reading, listening, and vocabulary & grammar. There are two 90-minute sessions. Each segment provides a maximum of 100 marks, and all questions are MCQs.
It is a fail-proof exam, and you will score between 0 to 400, resulting from the sum of your points from each of the four tests.
So without passing or failing or getting any specific grade, you only find out your total number.
They have specially designed EPS-TOPIK to assesses the Korean proficiency of the migrant workers wanting to work in Korean manufacturing units, agriculture sector, or any labor-related industry work.
The Employment Permit System, i.e., EPS-TOPIK, covers the applicant’s Korean language through reading and listening sections. It also involves a fundamental understanding of Korean culture and occupational safety and health-related topics.
Eligibility, exam format, and validity
The age acceptability is between 18 and 39. The validity of EPS-TOPIK is two years from the release date of the test result. Once the actual term expires, you have to give the EPS-TOPIK again.
The test paper comprises 20 questions each in listening and reading comprehension. All questions are MCQs, and the total time is 70 minutes.
You need to earn a minimum of 80 out of 200 maximum marks to pass. They also list a curated one consisting of the highest score from the top.
You can check the free e-book and questions for EPS-TOPIK → Download.
The EPS-TOPIK scores help you gain the required qualification to be registered in EPS Pool through Job application. Still, it does not guarantee employment in Korea. You have to find one on your own.
Test Centers, Dates, and Fees for EPS-TOPIK
As per EPS TOPIK January 2021, the exam is conducted only once a year at 26 centers in 16 countries, mostly in the east and south Asia. There is no EPS TOPIK test center in India.
Most Common Frequently Asked Questions
Which Korean Proficiency Test Should I take?
While all three have their pros and cons, the standard TOPIK test is most widely accepted, demanded, and suitable for academic and career goals.
Do you have any questions or perplexed about something? Let the comments flow like Korean calligraphy Seoye (서예).