TOPIK Introduction

TOPIK Introduction


A-1. Introduction

TOPIK(Test of Proficiency in Korean) is a Korean language test offered four times annually (in Jan, Apr, Jul, Sept) to foreigners in Korea and twice annually (Apr, Sept) to people studying Korean language in other countries. TOPIK is administered by the National Institute for International Education.

‣ 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


A-2. Test Subjects

‣ Exam Levels and Difficulties

– Exam Difficulties: Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced

– Exam Levels: 6 Levels (Level 1~6)

Difficulty Elementary Intermediate Advanced
Level 1 2 3 4 5 6
Determination of Level Level is determined according to test result within given difficulty

‣ Evaluation Area and Material Distribution

– Evaluation Areas : 4 areas (Grammar & Vocabulary / Writing / Listening / Reading)

– Score Distribution : 100 points per area, 400 total


‣ Question Composition by Area

Section 1st section 2nd section Total
Area Vocabulary/Grammar Writing Listening Reading 4 Areas
Type of questions Multiple Choice Written Answers Multiple Choice Multiple Choice Multiple Choice Multiple Choice / Written Answers
Number of Questions 30 4~6 10 30 30 104~106
Score 100 60 40 100 100 400


‣ Types of Problems

– Multiple Choice (4 Choices)

– Written Answers (Writing)

– Complete Sentence/Paragraph, Writing Sentences/Paragraphs: 4~6 questions

– Short Essay Writing (Elementary: 150~300 letters, Intermediate: 400~600 letters, Advanced: 700~800 letters) : 1 question


‣ Test Forms: 2 types (Type A and B)

– The answers of type A and B are different to an extent of 50% or more

Type Type A Type B
Area The Americas, Europe, Africa Korea, Asia, Australia
Day of Week Saturday Sunday


‣ Test Question Policy

– Test questions that are capable of measuring proficiency in modern Korean language usage

– Balanced composition of tested areas in testing material

– Test questions that will enhance the testee’s understanding of Korean culture and society

– Test questions that are based on a wide range of Korean and Foreign Language institutions’ curriculums

– Avoided Test questions that are not advantageous to any certain language/linguistic group


‣ Evaluation Content by Level

Level Qualification
Beginner Level1 • Able to basic language functions such as introducing oneself, purchasing products, ordering food, and expressing and understanding private and familiar topics.• Able to generate simple sentences using a 800-word basic vocabulary and beginner grammar.• Able to form and understand potential, everyday language.
Level2 • Able to express language functions such as phone calls, asking favors, and using public facilities such as post offices and banks.• Able to use a 1500~2000-word vocabulary to understand and express paragraphs involving private and friendly topics.• Know how to use language in separate situations – official and unofficial situations.
Intermediate Level3 • Having no difficulty in language functions needed in living an everyday life, using various public facilities and maintaining social relationships.• Able to understand and express familiar, specific social topics in units of paragraphs.• Able to understand and express basic characteristics of colloquial and written English.
Level4 • Able to perform functions needed in using public facilities, maintain social relationships and carry out normal functions.• Able to understand plain content in the new or newspaper columns.• Able to fluently understand and express social and abstract themes.• Able to understand and express social and cultural context based on an understanding of widely used idiomatic expressions and representative Korean culture.
Advanced Level5 • Able to express language functions needed in research and work in fields of expertise to a certain extent.• Able to use language skills in unfamiliar themes such as politics, economics, society and culture.• Adequately able to use language in official and unofficial context, and in colloquial and literary context.
Level6 • Able to fluently and perfectly express language functions needed in research and work in fields of expertise.• Able to use language skills in unfamiliar themes such as politics, economics, society and culture.• Has no difficulty in language functions or language expressions to a near-native extent.

A-3. Grading Method & Result Announcement


‣ Grading method

– Fair and exact grading done by grading committee composed with Korean language professors, education evaluation, and computation experts.

– Answer sheets requiring second grading (such as empty or multiple marking) are dealt with by principles and criteria by the grading committee.

– Written answers are graded by grading committee first, and then the rest is graded using an OMR.

– The entire grading process is computerized; all sheets are graded twice to minimize the possibility of grading error.


‣ Pass/Fail Decision

– Average score of all areas (Vocabulary, Grammar, Writing, Listening, Reading) must exceed passing score of each, and all individual areas much exceed a certain passing scores.


‣ Pass and Fail Scores

Difficulty Levels Pass Score Fail Score
Beginner Level1 50 or above Lower than 40
Level2 Over 70 Lower than 50
Intermediate Level3 50 or above Lower than 40
Level4 Over 70 Lower than 50
Advanced Level5 50 or above Lower than 40
Level6 Over 70 Lower than 50


‣ Test Result Announcements

– Test scores will be announced when application is received, TOPIK website

– Test results will be announced at the TOPIK website( 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 score report

Who All testees
Location Korea Individual mail sent out
Overseas All score reports sent to the affiliated institution of that nation, who will be responsible for distributing to each testee.

‣ Score report shipping

Those who took the test overseas can confirm their score on the website ( 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

The internet must be adaptable with Korea, and online payment must be possible.

Test Information (2014)

B-1. Exam Dates

‣ 2013 Exam Dates

Exam Korea The Americas, Europe, Africa Asia.Central Asia, Austrailia Remarks
33rd Exam 1.19(Sun) Korea Only
34th Exam 4.20(Sun)  4.19(Sat) 4.20(Sun)
35th Exam 7.20(Sun)   Korea Only
36th Exam 10.12(Sun) 10.11(Sat)  10.12(Sun)
37th Exam 11.23(Sun)   Korea Only

‣ Application Period (Korean dates)

Exam Date How to apply Remarks
33rd Exam ‘13.12.05(Thu)9:00 ~ 12.18(Wed)18:00(for 14days) · Korea : Online application, group application KoreaOnly
34th Exam ‘14.02.11(Tue)9:00 ~ 02.24(Mon)18:00
(for 14days)
· Korea : Online application, group application
· Overseas : Apply through the nation’s affiliated institution
35th Exam ‘14.06.09(Mon)9:00 ~ 06.18(Wed)18:00
(for 10days)
· Korea : Online application, group application KoreaOnly
36th Exam ‘14.08.16(Sat)9:00 ~ 08.25(Mon)18:00
(for 10days)
· Korea : Online application, group application
· Overseas : Apply through the nation’s affiliated institution
37th Exam ‘14.10.15(Wed)9:00 ~ 10.2(Fri)18:00
(for 10days)
· Korea : Online application, group application Koreaonly

※ Date may be different for application from overseas. Please check with the nation’s affiliated institution.

‣ Test Times (Korean dates)

Difficulty 1st half 2nd half Remarks
Vocabulary.Grammar/Writing Listening/Reading
Beginner 09:30~11:00(90min) 11:30~13:00(90min) • Morning(Beginner, Advanced)
• Afternoon(Intermediate)
Intermediate 14:30~16:00(90min) 16:30~18:00(90min)
Advanced 09:30~11:00(90min) 11:30~13:00(90min)

‣ Result Announcement Dates

Test number 33rd Exam 34th Exam 35th Exam 36th Exam 37th Exam
Announcement date ‘14.02.10(Mon) ‘14.05.30(Fri) ‘14.08.05(Tue) ‘14.11.10(Mon) ‘14.12.10(Wed)

Announcement will be at 15:00 on the above dates on the exam website (

B-2. Application and Payment Methods

‣ How to apply

Where Individual Application Group Application
Korea Apply online individually Apply onlineby the representative of the group
Overseas Visit the affiliate associationor by mail Comply with guidelinesof the affiliate association

※ Singapore : Singapore Korean International School (65-6741-0778/

‣ Application from Overseas

Application from overseas must be submitted to the affiliate institution in the region. Overseas applications cannot be submitted to the main branch in Korea

※ Singapore : Singapore Korean International School (65-6741-0778/


B-3. Other Important Details

‣ Enter and Exit time of Exam(Korean dates)

Difficulty Section Subject Entrance ExamStart Exam Ends Remarks
Beginner & Advanced 1st Section Vocabulary.Grammar/Writing 09:10 09:30 11:00 90min
2nd Section Listening/Reading 11:10 11:30 13:00 90min
Intermediate 1st Section Vocabulary.Grammar/Writing 14:10 14:30 16:00 90min
2nd Section Listening/Reading 16:10 16:30 18:00 90min

– Testee must be seated at his assigned seat 20 minutes prior to the starting time of the exam.

– Testee may not exit the room without a particular reason during the test, but may exit quietly 10 minutes prior to the end of the exam with the permission of the supervisor.

‣ Bring Exam Ticket and ID

– On the day of the exam the testee MUST bring his exam ticket and ID and place them on the upper left corner of his desk during the exam.

– ID: resident ID, passport, foreigner ID, driver’s license

– Testees in Korea can print their exam tickets at the TOPIK webpage during the specified period.

‣ How to Fill in the Answer Sheet

– Answers must be marked with a marking pen (“Computer Sign Pen”, as it is known in Korea). They MUST NOT be marked with a pencil or different type of pen, in which case the answers will be deemed invalid.

– Whiteout tape can be used to change an already marked answer.

– Written answers of the 1st section can be written with any pen (including a pencil). – When pencil is used by accident, you may erase it with an eraser. Other pen marks can be corrected by drawing two lines over the wrong answer, or by whiteout tape.

– Answers with two or more answers marked will be deemed invalid. Be careful not to do this.

– Information such as applicant number or applicant name should be filled in carefully so that none are missing.

– Complete-the-sentence and short-answer types on the writing component of the 1st section must be filled in the appropriate spaces on the front page, and the essay must be written on the back

– OMR answer sheets can be replaced at the testee’s demand, but must be submitted promptly at the end of the test regardless of whether the sheet is completed.

– Know and correctly use the below OMR marking methodology.


※ The responsibility of errors occurred by the usage of a wrong type of pen or poor marking of the answer sheet lies with the testee.

‣ Policies on Cheating

– At the end of the exam all pens must be set on the desk. Answer sheet must be set on the right of the desk and test booklet on the left. It will be considered cheating to continue to write after the end of the exam.

– Cheaters will be banned from the exam room and his test will be nullified.


‣ Types of Cheating

1. Looking at other testees’ answers or showing one’s answer to others.
2. Referring to prepared memos or test-related books during the test.
3. Possessing or using cell phones, MP3 players, radios, or any other electronic device.
4. Forging ID or paperwork such as the exam ticket to take the test.
5. Taking the test on behalf of another person, or having another person take the test for oneself.
6. Taking notes or recording sound about the exam problems, or passing on test material to other people.
7. Conducting actions that disturb the test, or not complying to legitimate orders of the supervisor.
8. Other violations (including violations that are discovered after the test)



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Ara Korean Language School
Korean Language School in Singapore

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May 2018
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