All About TOPIK Test 2021

Do you want to know your accurate Korean language level? If so, take the TOPIK test.

How good is your Korean language? You can get an exact level by taking the 2021 TOPIK test, the most famous Korean language proficiency exam worldwide.

The unmatched popularity of K-pop, K-drama, and other cultural aspects of Korea inspire a global increase in learning the Korean language.

If you are one of the Korean language learners, you may desire to find your current capability. The TOPIK test can be a fabulous choice for a variety of reasons.

Here in this article, you can also find out about fees, dates, centers, understanding the test structure, question format, marking system, preparation, and much more.

What is TOPIK?

The Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK exam) is a standardized examination that evaluates Korean language skills.

The Korea Research Foundation started in 1997 to verify the strength of the candidates’ Korean language fluency.

This exam is only for non-native populations.

Test of Proficiency in Korean

The types of TOPIK test

There are three. The standard TOPIK (S-TOPIK) is the most popular one. However, the candidates have two more alternatives — B-TOPIK (Business TOPIK) and EPS-TOPIK (Employment Permit System).

In addition to this, there is another one — the KLAT test, which I’ll cover in the next article.

These two examinations serve specific purposes, like working in South Korea as a professional or migrant laborer. I’ll cover more on these later.

Who conducts the exam?

The National Institute for International Education (NIIED — 국립국제교육원) administers the TOPIK globally since 2011.

NIIED, part of the government, with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology of the Republic of Korea, manages different aspects of the test.

Recognition of TOPIK worldwide

TOPIK (한국어능력시험), i.e., Test of Proficiency in Korean, is the most popular Korean ability exam across the globe.

From a comfortable stay in South Korea to jobs requiring the Korean language, TOPIK is an excellent value-add to your profile.

Nearly all the organizations, public and private universities, and government bodies accept and trust TOPIK certification.

Should you take the TOPIK Test?

There are several advantages associated with TOPIK. This is an international exam designed to help non-natives to certify their talents.

It is useful for foreigners who want to work or study in South Korea but do not speak Korean as their mother tongue.

The Korean knowledge alone might not show your language skills to your potential employers.

Most companies expect documentary evidence before the interview. In that scenario, TOPIK credentials can help you cross the initial hurdles of short-listing.

This boosts scholarship opportunities, getting visas, and permanent residency in South Korea.

Plus, this confirms your current understanding and motivates you to improve more. That raises your confidence.

All About Test of Proficiency in Korean

The TOPIK (한국어능력시험) is the most sought-after Korean ability test for non-native Koreans speakers and Korean diasporas.

Let’s find everything about it.

Korean topik

Eligibility criteria & who can take it?

There are no special prerequisite qualifications and guidelines.

Any foreigner who does not speak Korean as a native or overseas Korean can appear for the TOPIK to check the current competency level.

There is no minimum age limit either.

What are the various levels?

It has two broad categories — levels 1 and 2, and further subdivided into six distinct groups.

TOPIK I is the Korean test for beginners and comprises two sublevels (levels 1 and 2).

TOPIK II includes intermediate and advanced levels and has four sublevels (levels 3, 4, 5, and 6).

Syllabus for different levels

Level 1 covers elementary Korean, like basic linguistic terminology, simple sentence formations, and roughly 800 vocabularies.

Conversely, level 6, i.e., the most difficult one, is for those who have achieved a near-native level of fluency.

The below-mentioned are linguistic competence for individual levels you need to prepare.

TOPIK test structure
Korea.go.kr

You can also check the last few years’ question papers and sample materials to get an overall idea.

TOPIK test structure

TOPIK test covers the Korean language in listening, reading, and writing skills on different levels: beginner, intermediate or advanced.

The TOPIK-I duration is 100 minutes and contains a reading (60 minutes) and listening comprehension part (40 minutes).

The TOPIK–II comprises a 3-hour examing a break. It has 3 sections — writing (70 minutes), reading, and listening (110 minutes combined).

TOPIK test has no speaking section, but from 2023, they will introduce the speaking part.

Question formats

The format is primarily an MCQ (multiple-choice questions). However, the written test that requires brief answers is there at the TOPIK II level.

TOPIK exam format

TOPIK I (Level 1-2) has 70 MCQs, including 30 in listening and 40 in reading. The total mark is 200, and the test duration is 100 Minutes.

TOPIK II (Level 3-6) has 104 questions that include 50 MCQ in listening, 50 MCQ in reading, and 4 essay-type short-answer. The total mark is 300, and the test time is 180 Minutes.

Passing marks for TOPIK

The passing score varies as per the level.

For levels 1 and 2, you need 80 and 140 out of 200. In contrast, it ranges between 120 and 230 for levels 3 to 6.

You can check the table below for the score you need to earn for your target levels.

TOPIK LevelsPassing Points (Range)
Level 180 – 139
Level 2140 – 200
Level 3120 – 149
Level 4150 – 189
Level 5190 – 229
Level 6230 – 300
0 to 79 fails for TOPIK- I, whereas for TOPIK II, 0 to 119 fails.

How to register for the TOPIK exam?

The Embassy of the Republic of Korea operates the TOPIK test in most countries.

The King Sejong Institute, Korean cultural center, and other collaborated institutions also facilitate and take the applications.

In Korea, you can register online on the official website TOPIK.go.kr. Visit the site, choose the level and test center, and, last, make the payment.

The documents required for application may differ.

So you can get in touch with the nearby center. In most cases, you need two passport-sized photos, an identity card, and the registration fee.

What is the validity of TOPIK?

TOPIK is valid for 2 years only from the date of test result notifications.

Once this expires, you require retaking it to count officially.

2021 TOPIK exam dates

They hold the examination six times a year, mainly on Sunday, with no scheduled date changes.

January, May, and November are only for Korea, whereas April, July, and October are for all countries, including South Korea.

ExamTest DatesRegistration PeriodResult DatesLocations
74th TOPIKJanuary 10, 202112.08.2020 – 14.12.2020February 3Korea
75th TOPIKApril 10-11, 202129.01.2021 – 04.02.2021May 20Korea/Overseas
76th TOPIKMay 16, 202109.03.2021 – 15.03.2021June 30Korea
77th TOPIKJuly 11, 202121.05.2021 – 27.05.2021August 19Korea/Overseas
78th TOPIKOctober 16-17, 202103.08.2021 – 09.08.2021November 25Korea/Overseas
79th TOPIKNovember 14, 202107.09.2021 – 13.09.2021December 23Korea

The dates vary depending on the country. Check with your local testing centers.

They conduct two sublevels of TOPIK-I in the morning and four of TOPIK-II in the morning and afternoon. Thus, this enables you to take both on the same day if you wish.

TOPIK test centers in 2021

As of February 2021, there are 314 testing centers, with 54 in South Korea and the remaining exam centers in 87 different nations.

What is the fee?

The cost depends on the level you sign up for and the country you choose to do it.

The registration price is KRW 35,000 for TOPIK I (level 1-2) and KRW 40,000 for TOPIK II (level 3-6) in South Korea.

In the USA, the fee is $20 to $30. In comparison, it ranges between ₹ 800 to 1000 in India.

Test result announcements

You can check your test result at the TOPIK website. They also send the score reports to all candidates, irrespective of success and failure. You can also print the scores within a 2-year valid period.

You need to input the test number, application number, and birth date to know your precise scores.

The report also comprises the total, average, and individual scores and whether you pass or fail.

Contact details

If you have more questions about TOPIK, you can call 02-3668-1331 (Korea), e-mail: topik@korea.kr, or visit their site.

How to prepare for the TOPIK test?

TOPIK exam

Many consider Korean as one of the most challenging languages to learn. The USA’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has likewise added it in category IV (Super-hard languages).

The good news is that there are ways to make is more straightforward.

There is an abundance of books, teachers, audio and video tutoring, language apps, websites, and online lessons. The list goes on.

The bad news is that you still have to dedicate time to study.

There are no magic wands that will quickly make all those vocabularies, connectors, pronunciation, varying verb ending forms, and honorifics appear in your brain.

First, making a proper study plan and finding a teacher or enrolling in any language school as an experienced tutor will enhance your progress more efficiently.

Don’t get stuck. Be consistent with your learning approaches. You can also watch some movies to learn Korean.

To check your current abilities, you can try some practice tests readily available on the internet.

You can also attempt plenty of previous year’s question papers and samples to help you out in the goal.

Of course, it requires lots of hard work and perseverance, but that’s the route it is with most worthwhile studies.

The TOPIK test certification can add meaningful value to your C.V. and assist you with immense success in all of your personal and professional endeavors!

Are you planning to take the exam? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Vikash Gupta
I’m a linguist, lifelong learner, educator, blogger, and fun-loving guy. I write at studyfrenchspanish.com, languagenext.com, and joyofkorean.com.

29 Comments

  1. Thanks a lot for this guide. Now I have an idea of how to study on topik 1 vocabularies target. Do you idea for an impossible topik question this year?

    • You can find previous year’s question papers on the official and other learning sites. I might upload it here later.

  2. I am trying to apply for the Posco fellowship program for Asian students. They required a Language test. But this year, no Korean language test is going to be held. Suggest me something.

    • I haven’t checked all. You can refer to any books that cover TOPIK 1, and you can find them on Amazon. Soon, I will write a detailed article for the same.

    • According to the Korean culture center (Philippines), the 77th TOPIK in July has been postponed. The next test will be conducted on 17th October 2021.

      • Noted on this. Just to clarify, by saying it will not be conducted on the 17th of October 2021. It means all TOPIK for the Philippines this 2021 has been postponed? Even for the October schedule?

        Thank you.

        • There was a typo error of “not” instead of “now.” Sorry for the confusion. I rectified it. Only the July exam has been canceled, and the October test will be conducted as per schedule.

  3. Hi Sir, thank you for this information. By the way, do you have any idea if there will be an EPS – TOPIK exam for the Philippines this 2021?

    Thank you.

    • There are many like KGSP, KARTS, and POSCO. In addition, many separate undergraduate scholarships are offered by individual universities like SNU, Yonsei, KU, KAIST, Hanyang, KHU, etc.

    • You can apply for it when the forms are available. I have written a detailed article on the EPS-TOPIK.

    • They have just canceled the Oct test in India. So, most likely, they will conduct the next topik exam in April 2022.

  4. I understand there is an age limit for taking the exam. What other alternative do I have to get certified? Please suggest.

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