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Hangul 한국어능력시험
Hanja 韓國語能力試驗
Revised Romanization hangugeo neungnyeok siheom
McCune–Reischauer hangugŏ nŭngnyŏk sihŏm
For the Armenian food, see Topik.

TOPIK, or Test of Proficiency in Korean is a Korean language test offered five times annually (in Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct, Nov) to foreigners in Korea and twice annually (Apr, Oct) to people studying Korean in other countries. TOPIK is administered by the National Institute for International Education - NIIED. (Hangul: 국립국제교육원.)


The test was first administered in 1997 and taken by 2274 people. Initially the test was held only once a year.[1] In 2009, 180,000 people took the test.[2] The Korean government introduced a law in 2007 that required Chinese workers of Korean descent who have no relatives in Korea to take the test so they could be entered in a lottery for visas.[3][4]

In 2012, more than 150,000 candidates took the TOPIK, and the total number of people who have taken the test since its date of inception surpassed 1 million.[5]

Year Number of candidates Ref
1997 2,692 [5]
2006 34,028 [5]
2012 151,166 [5]


Old format[edit]

In previous years, the test was divided into four parts: vocabulary and grammar, writing, listening, and reading. Two versions of the test were offered: standard (S)-TOPIK and the business (B)-TOPIK. There were three different levels of S-TOPIK: beginner (초급), intermediate (중급), and advanced (고급). Depending on the average score and minimum marks in each section it was possible to obtain grades 1-2 in beginner, 3-4 in intermediate and 5-6 in advanced S-TOPIK. In B-TOPIK the scores in each section (out of 100) were added together to give a score out of 400.[6]

New format[edit]

A new format of the TOPIK took effect from the 35th TOPIK test, held in July 2014. Instead of Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level tests, there are now only two level tests- TOPIK I & TOPIK II. TOPIK I will has sub levels 1 and 2 while TOPIK II has 4 levels from 3 to 6. Another important change is that now the TOPIK I has only two sections - Reading and Listening, instead of 4 sections in the old format. TOPIK II has 3 sections - Reading, Listening and Writing. [7]

Testing locations[edit]

In addition to Korea, TOPIK is available in the following countries: Bulgaria, Japan, Taiwan, China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Paraguay, Argentina, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, Hungary, Czech Republic, Egypt, Belarus, Russia, Brazil and Cambodia.[8] [9] [10] Examination times are divided into three time zones: China and marginal states (China including Hong Kong, Mongolia, Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore and Brunei; which shares the same timezone of GMT+8h), Korea and Japan (which shares the same timezone of GMT+9h), and other countries (which follows local time of a specific country).


  1. ^ "Applications for Int'l Korean-Language Test Double". The Chosun Ilbo. 17 September 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  2. ^ Kim Hong-jin (11 September 2009). "The Growing Popularity of the Korean Language". The Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  3. ^ Bae Ji-sook (12 April 2009). "Korean Proficiency Test Getting More Popularity". Korea Times. Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "Test Standard Set for Korean-Chinese Workers". Korea Times. 22 April 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Korean language test-takers pass 1 mil.". The Korea Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Examination Guide". KICE. Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Complete Guide to New Changed TOPIK Format". TOPIK GUIDE. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  8. ^ TOPIK
  9. ^ TOPIK testing site at Venice Ca' Foscari University, Italy
  10. ^ TOPIK in Madrid

External links[edit]