Q&A about the changes of Topik


After the official announcement of the changes in Topik was released, there have been many questions about this new format. The Topik staff have collected the questions and answered in a pdf file.

You can download at this link (but the file is written entirely in Korean)


The most important answer is the timetable of the new Topik.

topik change time

According to this new timetable, I think that it will become more difficult for time management. In the old topik format, in the first period, I often make use of time by doing the vocabulary/grammar and 10 multiple choices of the writing part in 20 minutes, which means I have 70 minutes left for the short answers and the essay. In the second period, during the listening part, the recording plays twice and there is a short break between each question, so I make use of those time by doing the multiple choice of the reading part. However, now I cannot make use of time like that any more. In the first period of the new topik exam, we have to do listening and writing in 110 minutes. I cannot make use the short break between each listening questions to write. And in the 2nd period, I have 70 minutes for 50 reading questions. =.=

 There are also other Q& A statements in that file (I translate some statements into English)

 Question 1 :When is the new Topik exam applied?

Answer: The new Topik exam will be applied since July 20,2014

 Question 5: Why do you divide the Topik exam into Topik I(Beginner) and Topik II( Intermediate-Advanced)?

Answer: Firstly, nowadays thanks to the Hallyu wave, the number of people taking Topik is increasing, which reflects the diverse demand of the candidate.

For the sake of people who don’t have much experience in learning Korean, we make the Topik I(Beginner) easy to reduce their burden. For the sake of people who continue to learn Korean , we make the Topik II which combines Intermediate and Advanced level to foster their ability and also to evalute their Korean proficiency.

Secondly, we also solve some problems such as examination subjects, type of questions, failing system. With the main aims to evaluate the communication skill, the writing section together with other indirect methods will test the ability to write essays directly.

 Question 6: Why do you omit the vocabulary and grammar section?

Answer: The Topik exam aims to test your communication skill of Korean. To evaluate those skills, we need to evaluate speaking, listening, reading and writing skill, but evaluating skill has some limitations, so we only test the listening, reading and writing skill.

Vocabulary and Grammar can be tested indirectly through the listening, reading and writing section.

 Question 7: Are the questions in the new Topik different from the old ones?

Answer: Except for the writing part, there will be not much difference in the type of questions.

Another difference is that the reading section will test your vocabulary and grammar and the writing section will test your writing skill with 2 essays.

Question 8: How do you score the writing part of Topik II (Intermediate- Advanced)?

Answer: There are 4 writing questions in the Topik II (Intermediate- Advanced).  The first and second questions require the sentences that match the flow of the text. The third and fourth questions require two essays related to social life or critical thinking. 

Question 11: Why do you eliminate the cut marks for each level?

Answer: We want to solve the problems that there are many examinees have the high total score but still fails because one of the skills gets low marks.

 Question 12: What are the criteria for passing and failing each level?

Update on 2014 June 2014: the topik website uploaded the grading criteria for the passing score. More information, please click this link

Grading criteria for determining each level Source :http://www.topik.go.kr/usr/cmm/subLocation.do?menuSeq=2110101#none
Grading criteria for determining each level
Source :http://www.topik.go.kr/usr/cmm/subLocation.do?menuSeq=2110101#none
English translation of grading criteria for determining each level
English translation of grading criteria for determining each level

 Question 13: Because there is still no speaking section in the new Topik exam, do you have plans for adding the speaking section?

Answer : Because the speaking skill needs to be evaluated separately, we are planning to add that skill later.

 Question 14: What time does the new Topik take place?

Answer: TOPIK II( Intermediate-Advanced) takes place in the morning while TOPIK I (Beginner) takes places in the afternoon.

 Question 15: What is the validity of the new TOPIK Certificate?

Answer: 2 years

 Question 16: Who should I call if I have any queryquestions about the new Topik?

Answer: Telephone: ☎ 02-3668-1331 or e-mail : topik@moe.go.kr


17 thoughts on “Q&A about the changes of Topik

  1. So basically, if you’re new to Korean, “Oh come, come we have an easy test to encourage you to study Korean,” but if you’re in it for the long run, “Oh, you’re actually serious. Okay men, bring out the heavy artillery!”

    They kinda answered my main concern, but they kinda didn’t. Why would you put intermediate and advanced in one pot? (。・Д・)ゞ

    If the questions themselves are slightly easier, then maybe we’ll be able to manage our time well, but if not, we’ll have to become time lords, be strong in writing essays on critical thinking and society, and prepare a hefty side order of speaking skills… Okay, we got this! /runs/ 。゚゚(つД≦。)°゚。 


  2. Did you use TOPIK 빈도별 문법 book to prepare for TOPIK? What do you think of it compare to Korean Grammar in Use or Korean Grammar Practice for Foreigners? Maybe someday you’ll have time to blog a review? Thank you. ^^


    1. I use the TOPIK 빈도별 문법 book too. I just use that book to review the grammar points after studying “Topik grammar 150”. I don’t like “빈도별 문법 ” very much. First, it is written totally in Korean. Secondly, I don’t like the way they arrange the grammar points according to the frequency of appearing in the Topik test. I prefer grouping the grammar points according to the same usage and knowing how to distinguish the grammar points that have nearly the same usage.


  3. Somehow making the beginner TOPIK easier is not something I actually ‘appreciate’ hehe I want the burden to make me work harder and achieve more! XD but I guess maybe the Intermediate-Advanced will be the one that is best to take if you are in it for the long hall ^^ I am seriously glad they will think about adding a speaking skill. That is wonderful. And thanks for taking the time to post this 😀


    1. Thank you for your comment. I think they just want to attract more people into studying Korean and challenge the intermediate-advanced level, but I don’t agree when they eliminate the vocabulary-grammar part 😦


  4. I am amazed by this stroke of luck. I was having the dilemma of whether to take the intermediate or advanced test to attend university in the fall. I need a level 3, but I have been studying for the advanced test to pass level 5. The new test groups levels 3-6 together, making it much more convenient than before. I am glad that the new test places less focus on grammar. The number one problem I had with the old test was the complex grammar used for ordinary situations, so that despite having a huge vocabulary and being able to communciate fluently with Koreans in my daily life, the intermediate test was incredibly difficult for me. I am so glad for these adjustments.


    1. Hello Jason,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I passed the Topik 4, so I am working on the advanced paper. In the new topik exam, they combine intermediate and advanced level together, so it makes the advanced exam less difficult. I’m quite excited about this change.
      However, this combination will challenge the intermediate learners very much.


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