Test of Proficiency in Korean

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"TOPIK" redirects here. For the Armenian food, see Topik.
Test of Proficiency in Korean
Hangul 한국어능력시험
Hanja 韓國語能力試驗
Revised Romanization hangugeo neungnyeok siheom
McCune–Reischauer hangugŏ nŭngnyŏk sihŏm

The Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) is a Korean language test offered six times annually (in Jan, Mar, Apr, Jul, Oct, Nov) to foreigners in Korea and twice annually (Apr, Oct) to people studying Korean in other countries. The TOPIK is for non-natives whose first language is not Korean, overseas Koreans who are learning Korean, those wishing to study at a Korean university, and for those who want to be employed at Korean companies in and outside of Korea. 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
1997 2,692
2006 34,028
2012 151,166


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 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]


The test results are valid for two(2) years after the announcement of examination results.[7]


Consists of two levels: TOPIK I, TOPIK II Grades: 6 grades(1st to 6th grades) The evaluation is based on the total scores earned. Topik I is the basic level and Topik II is the intermediate/advanced level.[8]

                                                                      TOPIK I
Type 1st Grade 2nd Grade Ref
Determination of grade score over 80 score over 140 [8]
                                                                      TOPIK II
Type 3rd Grade 4th Grade 5th Grade 6th Grade Ref
Determination of grade score over 120 score over 150 score over 190 score over 230 [8]

Structure of questions[edit]

The test consists of mostly multiple-choice questions; however, the TOPIK II level writing examination will require a short-answer. TOPIK I consists of multiple-choice questions for listening (40 minutes long with 30 questions) and reading (60 minutes long with 40 questions). Both examination areas are worth a score of 100 with a combining score of 200. TOPIK II has two slots. The first slot is the listening examination (60 minutes long with 50 questions) and writing (50 minutes long with 4 short-answer questions). The second slot is for the reading examination (70 minutes long with 50 questions). All three examinations of TOPIK II are worth a score of 100 with a combining score of 300.

Use of the test result[edit]

  • Korean university admission for foreigners.[8]
  • Obtaining work visas for local Korean companies.[8]
  • Recognizing domestic practitioner license for foreigners with medical doctor qualifications.[8]
  • For the application of a Korean Language Teaching Qualification test (level 2 and 3) and acquisition of certificate.[8]
  • To apply for permanent residency.[8]
  • To obtain marriage based immigrant visa.[8]

Testing locations[edit]

In addition to Korea, TOPIK is available in the following countries: Bulgaria, Colombia, 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, Poland, Egypt, Belarus, Russia, Brazil, Cambodia and UAE.[9] [10] [11] 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).

2015 examination schedule[edit]

The 38th, 39th, 40th, 41st, 42nd, and 43rd TOPIK examinations will be held in 2015. The 38th examination will be held on the 18th of January and 41st examination will be held on the 19 of July only in South Korea. All the other examinations will be available throughout Asia, Americas, Europe and Africa. Further examination schedules are available at 2015 TOPIK Examination Schedule


  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. ^ "Korean language test-takers pass 1 mil.". The Korea Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Examination Guide". KICE. Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Complete Guide to New Changed TOPIK Format". TOPIK GUIDE. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "About the Examination". TOPIK. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  9. ^ TOPIK
  10. ^ TOPIK testing site at Venice Ca' Foscari University, Italy
  11. ^ TOPIK in Madrid

External links[edit]