Whether you are a student, want to work in Korea, or just looking to quantify your Korean language skills you are going to need to take the TOPIK exam. The TOPIK is an internationally accepted Korean exam and it is tough! Going in blind is a huge mistake. Here are 5 tips you’ll need to ace the TOPIK.
What is TOPIK exam?
TOPIK stands for Test-Of-Proficiency-In-Korean. It is a written test that is conducted by the South Korean government. The goal of the TOPIK exam is to evaluate the Korean proficiency of non-native Korean speakers in the areas of reading, writing, and listening comprehension. Additionally, a new separate speaking exam is now being offered as of winter 2021.
A wide range of people take the TOPIK exam to evaluate and quantify their Korean language abilities. The exam is used to help Korean-language learners understand where they stand in their language learning journey. It often helps both foreigner and overseas Koreans get admitted into Korean universities and increases their chances of getting scholarships.
Additionally, if you are looking to work in a Korean company, TOPIK can help. In certain professions, having a TOPIK score is a basic qualification. Some people may not be able to get the working visas they need without a government-accepted Korean language score. The TOPIK is not only needed to work in Korea, but may also be required to work abroad as well. It can help you get a job related to Korea or the Korean language anywhere in the world.
The results of the TOPIK exam are divided into 6 levels. TOPIK I covers levels one and two. Level 1, means that the test taker has the level of Korean necessary for survival. Level 2 requires a vocabulary of 1,500 to 2,000 words, meaning that you can form basic sentences in both informal and formal situations.
The TOPIK II exam covers intermediate and advanced Korean. In order to reach level 3, learners must be able to maintain social relationships and get by in everyday situations with ease. At level 4, students can read news articles and talk about abstract concepts. Level 5 is needed for professional research, you can easily carry conversations about politics, economics, and science. Level 6 is considered to be at the same level of fluency as a native speaker.
Top 5 Tips to Help You Ace the TOPIK
Past exams are your best friend
Do as many past exams as you can. If I had to choose between all the resources out there, the past exams are definitely the most helpful. They are the best resource to help you prepare if you only have a short amount of time before your test date. You can easily use them to see how much you have progressed.
Plus, it is easy to see the areas where you regularly make mistakes because the answer keys are publicly available and people often discuss the results online. Past papers will help you analyze questions and help you better understand the structure of the exam more than any other resource.
Do not use one source to study
If you have time, alternate between different study methods. Do not just stay at home and study the same thing day in and day out. Even though past exams are an amazing resource, if you use them to study every day for a month you are going to experience burn-out. Which means nothing is going to stick to your brain. Using only one resource is not a sustainable method of studying.
Instead, you can try to switch up your study routine. For example, stay home and take past exams one day, then take your smartphone and go to the park the next day. When you have school or work, you can take your flashcards with you and quiz yourself while you’re riding the bus or on the subway. With so many different study methods keeping your brain active, you’ll be sure to ace the TOPIK.
Simulate Testing Environments
I highly recommend simulating common testing environments as much as possible. It is really common to make mistakes on tests because of nerves.
Training your brain to be calm and focused in a testing environment is a method that has always helped me in my tests. Especially on a test with tight time restraints like the TOPIK, you can’t afford to get too nervous.
Additionally, when you arrive at the testing site on the day of your test, do not try to review your notes. For many people, this can actually trigger test anxiety and cause your mind to go blank just as the test starts. Instead, do something calming like listening to music or doodling to calm your nerves and help you relax.
Read the questions thoroughly
Re-read the questions until you are sure you understand what they are asking. Taking a couple of extra seconds is worth it. There are lots of trick questions, and if you don’t understand the directions, you can easily get the entire section wrong.
Even if you don’t finish the exam because you take your time, your final score will be higher than if you rush through the exam. The most important thing is to remain calm and answer what you do know.
Memorize as much vocabulary as you possibly can so that you can ace the TOPIK. Not understanding just one or two words in an entire passage can lead you to miss lots of questions. Perhaps most importantly, memorize vocabulary frequently in directions. Knowing if you need to choose the correct or incorrect answer, the main topic, or the topic not mentioned in the passage is extremely important.
Most people start their Korean learning journey by making a Korean name. Click Here to learn your Korean name now!
If you want to take the TOPIK exam, Click Here to learn how to register.