Throughout your journey of learning Korean, you would’ve come across TOPIK. This articles helps you to understand everything about this significant exam!
So what exactly is TOPIK?
Test of Proficiency in Korean or better known as TOPIK is a written test to measure non-native speakers’ understanding and proficiency of the Korean language.
If you are a Malaysian looking to take TOPIK, here are some of the things you should know.
TOPIK tests generally focus on 3 main aspects of the Korean language; reading, writing and listening. The exam is also divided based on 6 different levels of proficiency.
In this post, we will relate these levels to uBitto’s 5S Approach for a better understanding.
What does Sprout, Survival, Solid and Significant mean?
Before we dive deep into each stage, let us explain what they are.
Sprout, Survival, Solid and Significant are a big part of Penang Korean Class’s approach to teaching languages.
Called the 4S, it focuses on agricultural learning which basically means we’re making learning an organic process that is more meaningful and purpose-driven.
The 4S are our milestone to see what a person has completed on their Korean language learning journey.
For someone on the Sprout stage, you will be able to read, write and count in Korean. You’ll also be able to form basic sentences and hold basic conversations like greeting someone, ordering or buying items in Korean confidently, etc.
Level 1 TOPIK tests all these skills including the skill to distinguish formal and informal situations. You’ll need 6 months to complete your Sprout stage.
If you are on the Survival stage you should be able to use 5W1H questions in day-to-day conversation, make transactions in social settings as well as maintain social relationships with people in Korean.
You should also be able to give reasons to explain your decision to others.
These skills will be tested in Level 2 & 3 of TOPIK. You’ll need 6 months to complete your Survival stage.
When you’re under Solid stage, you’ll be able to understand and convey various expressions such as attempts, purpose of visit or action.
You’ll also be able to speak in formal and casual form, recommend, reassure, remind and make plans. You’re required to understand various topics, general social issues, abstract topics and idioms accurately. You must understand the usage of appropriate expressions and be able to distinguish formal and informal language in both written and spoken form.
These aspects will be tested in Level 4 & 5 of the TOPIK examinations. Our Solid stage requires 12 months to complete.
For the Significant stage, you should have high fluency in using the Korean language in professional research or work as well as understand and discuss topics like politics and economics, etc.
You’ll also need to understand the usage of appropriate expressions and be able to distinguish formal and informal language in both written and spoken form. All these skills will be tested in Level 6 of TOPIK.
You will need 6 months to complete the Significant stage. Want to know where you stand in terms of your Korean language proficiency? Take our Challenge Your Knowledge quiz!
TOPIK Levels and Passing Marks
In order to assign a TOPIK level, only your overall score is taken into account. Therefore, your marks for the individual sections of the test do not matter.
The final level or the pass/fail are decided on the basis of the total score.
When can I take TOPIK?
If you are able to read, write, exchange greetings and have a conversation in basic Korean, you are already eligible to sit for the Beginner or Intermediate level in the exam.
You can register for TOPIK exam in Malaysia if you are a Korean language learner, an international student who wants to study in Korea or someone who uses Korean in their careers
As long as you’re a non-native Korean speaker who wants a formal certification, you can sit for the exam.
Who is monitoring TOPIK in Malaysia?
In case you were wondering, in Malaysia, TOPIK tests are monitored by National Institute for International Education (NIIED), which operates directly under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
How can I register for TOPIK in Malaysia?
Here’s 3 easy steps on how you can register and sit for TOPIK Exam in Malaysia.
1) Make sure to download the application form.
You can download your TOPIK exam form here.
Fill in the form and attach 2 photos before sending it back.
EXCLAIMER: Remember to use your IC or ID picture.
No casual photos allowed.
Yes, that sadly included your extensive selfie collection too.
2) After filling in the form, bank in the fee to the person in charge.
Fee: RM 100
Bank: CIMB Bank
Account number: 1218-0010518-05-3
Account name: ROU SEUNG YOAN
3) Send in your application (Word Document only) and your bank-in slip (either scan or photo works) to [email protected]
Your registration will be confirmed via Email or SMS upon receiving your form.
Reminder! Both the form and the bank slip needs to be sent before the mentioned date to make sure your registration is successful.
Where should I take my TOPIK exam?
Heads up that you’re supposed to take your TOPIK exam in person.
In Malaysia you can sit for your exam at:
Pusat Pengajian Bahasa & Linguistik, FSSK, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, UKM,
Bangi 43600, Selangor Darul Ehsan. Malaysia.
Have more enquiries? You can also get in touch with the person in charge via phone:
Prof. Ryu Seung Wan 03-8921-6556(O) 018-399-6688(H/P)
Do give a call during office hours: 9am to 5pm.
How many intakes for TOPIK exam is there in a year in Malaysia?
TOPIK exams are conducted twice a year, once in April and another in October. You should register for the exam 2 months in advance.
Where can I check for intakes?
How long is my certificate valid?
Your TOPIK certificate is valid for 2 years.
Pros And Cons Of Taking TOPIK
Can’t make up your mind whether you’d like to sit for TOPIK or not?
It can be a little overwhelming but don’t worry, let us give you a hand.
Here are some pros and cons that just might help you decide.
When you successfully pass your TOPIK, you’ll be officially certified and be acknowledged by the Korean government as a non-native Korean speaker, based on your level of proficiency.
This certification can be used for universities and job applications, giving you an added leverage compared to others.
In the era we live in, we have to use all our skill as an advantage.
If knowing a new language helps you climb that corporate ladder, hey kudos to you!
You can even expand your horizon and find new ventures, be it a new job opportunity in a Korean organization or even a new life in Korea.
Like most things, your TOPIK certificate expires too.
The certificates are valid for 2 years only which means you’ll have to take the test again after your certificate expires.
This is probably why we would suggest that you register and sit for the exam a couple of months before you need the certificate in the near future.
No speaking test
Some people might say that this is a pro but is it though?
Speaking is an important part of language learning, just like reading, writing or listening.
By not testing a very big part of the language, you are unable to validate if the way you speak a language and its pronunciations are correct or not so bear that in mind.
As all things, TOPIK has its pros and cons too.
Ultimately it boils down to you.
Is it something that you need?
If your answer is yes, then we hope what we’ve said so far works as a guide for you to understand what TOPIK is as well as how to register for it in Malaysia.
Now all that’s left to say is good luck! Hope you ace your TOPIK test!