What is TOPIK?

TOPIK stands for Test of Proficiency in Korean.  In Korean, it’s called 한국어능력시험.

TOPIK is administered four times per year in Korea, and twice per year internationally.  For specific information on test-center locations, check out the official website:

Test-takes may opt to take the TOPIK in one of three levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced.  Within each level, there are three possible grades:

High Pass: over 70%

Low Pass: over 50%

No Credit: under 50%

Obviously, the beginner test is much easier than the intermediate test, which is much easier than the advanced test.  Grades are often reported on a 6-point scale.  For instance, a high pass on the beginner test would be Level 2.  A low pass on the advanced test would be Level 5.

Is it worthwhile to take the TOPIK?

This depends entirely on your situation.  If you plan to pursue higher education in Korea or obtain certain types of visas, it may be required.  If you’re just in Korea to teach English, however, no knowledge of Korean is generally required or expected.  Nevertheless, if you’ve been studying Korean, a TOPIK certification can be a nice resume booster for pretty much any kind of work in Korea.  It not only demonstrates your ability in Korean, but also serves as proof that you are proactive, motivated, and intelligent.

How can I prepare?

Because the TOPIK measures profiency, you need to have some degree of proficiency in order to pass.  If you don’t know any Korean, you should forget about the test for now, and focus on learning the basics.  However, if you already know some Korean and plan to take the test, it will help you to be familiar with the format.

For helpful free resources, we recommend this website:


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