Ace the TOPIK Test: Essential Guide for Self-Learners

Are you curious about your Korean language level? As a Korean learner, you may have asked yourself: “how good am I at Korean now?” Luckily, taking the TOPIK test can provide you with an objective result that is also valuable for applying to schools and jobs in South Korea. If you have been learning Korean for a while, you may even want to consider signing up for the test to stay motivated.

But what exactly is the TOPIK test, and what do you need to know before taking it? In this article, we’ll provide you with all the essential information you need to prepare for the TOPIK test. So, buckle up and let’s get started!

What is TOPIK?

TOPIK stands for Test of Proficiency in Korean, which is a standardized test for assessing the proficiency of non-native speakers in the Korean language. It is the official language proficiency test for Korean language in South Korea, and it is also recognized by many universities and employers worldwide.

TOPIK is administered by the National Institute for International Education (NIIED), which is part of the Ministry of Education of South Korea. The test is usually conducted twice a year in April and October. in various test centers around the world.

What does TOPIK consist of?

The test consists of two sections: the first section evaluates input skills (listening and reading), while the second section assesses output skills (writing and speaking).

TOPIK includes TOPIK-I (beginner level 1 and 2) and TOPIK-II (intermediate level 3 to 6). The passing marks for each level of TOPIK are as follows:

Beginner Level TOPIK-I

  • TOPIK Level 1:  a score of 80 out of 200 points or higher is required to pass. Able to use basic survival commands in Korean. Able to understand and express simple everyday sentences. Master approximately 800 basic vocabulary.
  • TOPIK Level 2:  a score of 140 out of 200 points or higher is required to pass. Able to discuss familiar topics and distinguish between different speech levels. Master approximately 1,500∼2,000 words.

Intermediate Level TOPIK-II

  • TOPIK Level 3: a score of 120 out of 300 points or higher is required to pass. Able to maintain social relations in Korean and understand correct word usage.
  • TOPIK Level 4:  a score of 150 out of 300 points or higher is required to pass. Understand news, social issues, and other abstract topics with accuracy in Korean. Familiar with Korean culture and idioms.
  • TOPIK Level 5:  a score of 190 out of 300 points or higher is required to pass. High fluency in professional research or work. Able to understand and discuss difficult and unfamiliar topics.
  • TOPIK Level 6:  a score of 230 out of 300 points or higher is required to pass. Absolute fluency in professional research and work.

How Long does it Take to Pass TOPIK

How long do you need to learn Korean in order to pass TOPIK? It depends. For beginners, it can take several months to a year to reach the level required to pass TOPIK-I, while intermediate and advanced learners may need 2-3 years of study or even more to pass TOPIK-II.

However, this timeline is not set in stone, and the actual time it takes to pass the TOPIK can vary greatly based on your personal study habits, language learning experience, dedication, etc. Consistent and focused practice, immersion in the language, and using effective study materials can all help you speed up the learning process and improve your chances of passing the TOPIK in a shorter amount of time.

Who Should Take the TOPIK Test?

The TOPIK test is designed for non-native speakers of the Korean language who want to evaluate and demonstrate their proficiency in Korean. There is no age limit or educational requirement to take the test, and you can take it as many times as you want.

If you fall into one of the groups below, you might want to consider taking the TOPIK test :

  1. Students who want to study in South Korea: Many universities in South Korea require international students to submit their TOPIK scores as part of the admissions process. Typically if you wish to apply to a Korean university, passing TOPIK 3 or 4 is a requirement.
  2. Professionals who work in South Korea: Many employers in South Korea require foreign workers to have a certain level of Korean language proficiency, usually TOPIK 4, 5 or higher.
  3. People who want to immigrate to South Korea: The TOPIK test results can be used as proof of Korean language proficiency when applying for a visa or permanent residency in South Korea.
  4. Korean language learners who want to assess their proficiency: TOPIK can provide you with a clear indication of your language proficiency level and help you identify weak spots.

Steps for Taking the TOPIK Test

Now I know I need to take the TOPIK test. What should I do?

If you are interested in taking or preparing for the TOPIK test, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Check the test dates and registration deadlines: The TOPIK test is conducted twice a year, usually in April and October. You can check the official website of the National Institute for International Education (NIIED) for the exact dates and registration deadlines.
  2. Register for the test: Register for the TOPIK test online through the official website of NIIED or through a designated overseas registration agency.
  3. Pay the test fee: Pay a registration fee to take the TOPIK test. The fee may vary depending on the country and the test level you choose. In the US, the fee ranges from 20 to 30 USD.
  4. Prepare for the test: You can prepare for the TOPIK test by using textbooks, study guides, and online resources. You can also take practice tests to familiarize yourself with the test format and content.
  5. Take the test and check your results.

Overall, taking the TOPIK test requires careful planning and preparation. In the next part, we’ll show you some useful resources for preparing for the TOPIK test.

Resources for Preparing for the TOPIK Test

Official TOPIK Website: This is the official website of the test and has information on test dates, test locations, how to apply, and more. It also provides sample test papers and previous year’s test papers for practice.

Official TOPIK website logo

TOPIK Guide: This website provides a more detailed introduction to the TOPIK as well as more useful tips and info on taking the test.

LingoDeer: Among the many language-learning apps, LingoDeer is the go-to choice for Korean. The app offers structured lessons covering all aspects of the Korean language, including grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. This makes it an excellent resource for Korean beginners, taking you through a gradual learning process that solid up your skills over time.

Online Practice Tests: There are several online practice tests available that help you get an idea of the types of questions asked in the test. Doing mock tests can help you better understand the test structure and get a feel of the actual test.

Tutors: If you prefer one-on-one attention, private tutors are a great option. They can help you tailor your learning experience to your specific needs and help you prepare for the test in a personalized way.


Remember, learning a language is a continuous process, and it takes time and practice to improve. So, if you’re preparing for the TOPIK test, keep up the good work and stay motivated.

And if you’re looking for a comprehensive language learning app to help you along the way, be sure to check out LingoDeer. With its specialized courses, structured lessons, and extensive practice exercises, LingoDeer can be an excellent resource for anyone looking to learn Korean or prepare for the TOPIK test. Good luck with your language learning journey!


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4 months ago

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3 months ago

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2 months ago