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TOPIK Exam:

Everything You Need to Know

What is the TOPIK Exam?

The Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) exam is the internationally recognised standard for assessing the Korean language abilities of non-native speakers. The test contains reading, writing and listening elements and is comes in 3 levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each level has 2 attainable grades so you can score, intermediate upper or intermediate lower for example. 

To make things a little more complicated, the exam is split into 2 exams: TOPIK I, which is beginner upper and lower and TOPIK II, which is a combined intermediate/advanced exam testing intermediate upper and lower and advanced upper and lower.

What are the Benefits of Taking the TOPIK Exam?

TOPIK scores are used as entrance criteria for many Universities in Korea and for many jobs that involve Korean language. It also looks great on your CV and provides a way for students to keep track of their learning as well as giving them target material for efficient study.

How Much Does it Cost to Take the TOPIK Exam?

The TOPIK exam fee in the UK is £35 for TOPIK I and £40 for TOPIK II.

When and Where can I Book the TOPIK Exam?

The TOPIK exam is available in 2 locations in the UK: London Westminister Kingsway College and The University of Central Lancashire, Preston.

The exam is held on 2 dates each year. For 2019 those dates were the 20th of April (with a January application window) and the 16th of November (with an August application window). Booking for the November exam is now closed but you will be able to book yourself into the April 2020 exam in January by clicking the below link. You can also find more information on exam timings by visiting the Korean Education Centre website.

How Long Does a TOPIK Certificate Last?

A TOPIK certificate lasts up to 2 years, after which you will need to renew it in order to apply to higher education institutions.

What is Required for Each Level and What Score Do I Need to Pass?

Different levels have different passing requirements. The below table shows the current pass grade and evaluation criteria broken down by section.

Tables adapted from topik.co.kr. 

How Long Does the TOPIK Exam Take?

Different levels of the exam have different timings and varying numbers of marks up for grabs. The below table breaks down each section against these dimensions. 

Where Can I Find the Best Online Study Resources for TOPIK?

The internet is full of useful study resources and the bets material will vary by student. We recommend searching for language elements you find most difficult, such as the Korean alphabet (find out how to learn it in just 2 hours here!) on Google or YouTube. You will be surprised how many other students have the same questions and how many people out there have provided answers. There are however, several resources that are universally useful in passing the TOPIK. We have provided some links to our favourite resources below.

TOPIK Guide: TOPIK Guide is a great website for learning about the TOPIK exam, gathering study tips from existing students and downloading useful resources. One of the most useful things they offer are detailed grammar lists for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, allowing students to easily understand what it is they should know and what they still need to study.

Matthew's Korean Study and Reference Guide: Matthew, whoever he might be, has helpfully compiled a wealth of Korean learning material both specifically related to the TOPIK exam and for everyday use. His site has links to many of these resources and is built from a student's perspective, making it easy to use and understand. Mock tests, past papers, exam answer keys, Matthew has it all.

Where Can I Download TOPIK Past Papers?

Once you're comfortable using Korean language at your current level, taking past papers under exam conditions is the best way to prepare for the test.

What are the Best Books to Help Prepare for the TOPIK Exam?

Surprisingly there aren't that many TOPIK books out there to help you prepare for the exam. At LingoClass, we use a book called "Talk to Me in Korean" to get beginners started in the language. The book contains lots of useful grammar, vocabulary and exercises for beginners and undoubtedly applies to the TOPIK exam, although isn't specifically related to it.

One book that is specific to TOPIK is the "Pass New TOPIK Plus" series. This book is available in TOPIK I and TOPIK II versions but can sometimes be difficult to get hold of in the UK.

How Long Does it Take to Get My TOPIK Results and Where Can I View Them?

TOPIK results can be accessed on the TOPIK website here, to view your results card you will need to enter your test number, application number and date of birth. Your score card will show you your average score, score by section and (most importantly) whether you have passed or failed.

Now you know everything you need to know about the TOPIK exam, why not book some lessons with one of our expert teaching team.

We have extensive experience helping students of all different levels pass the TOPIK. It's also a great way to meet other people who are interested in learning and speaking Korean.

Good luck!