Open Sidebar

120 TOPIK #20 – TOPIK Reading Strategies


Since I posted last time about Extensive Reading using familiar texts, here’s some helpful advice I found recently about how to effectively read UNfamiliar texts, like on TOPIK.

Reading passages. THREE stratgies:

  1. Read to find information (charts/graphs/images)
  2. Basic comprehension (gist/main idea)
  3. Reading to learn (details)

Question types on TOPIK (in increasing difficulty):

  1. Read the (short) sentences & find the topic/subject
  2. Fill in the blank with the correct word (particle/noun/verb/adj)
  3. Read the chart/image and find the true/false statement
  4. Fill in the blank (in a paragraph) with the best word/phrase
  5. Put the sentences in the best order (가 – 나 – 다 – 라) to form a paragraph
  6. Choose the best place in a paragraph(ㄱ / ㄴ / ㄷ / ㄹ) to place a new sentence
  7. Read the News headline and choose the best description (TOPIK II)


  1. Spend too long on any one question
    1. Learn to read faster – practice skimming for the gist and main details
  2. Use all your energy on the easy questions at the beginning
    1. Most test-takers lose concentration/interest at around 70% and just fill in random answers in the final 5-10 minutes
    2. The final 5-10 minutes would be BETTER spent reviewing the questions you had difficulty with and double-checking them


  1. Practice reading A LOT (and increase your vocab as much as possible) – storybooks, news, short passages about Korea, Korean culture, Korean society
  2. Learn to quickly find the purpose/gist of the passage
    1. Does it EXPLAIN? (contains lots of FACTS)
    2. Does it PRESENT A SOLUTION? (opposing views in the passage)
    3. Does it PERSUADE? (lost of OPINIONS and supporting evidence)
  3. Take notes everywhere – you must get the main point and details quickly and can’t go searching for them again (not enough time)
  4. Skim quickly first (a few seconds), take notes, understand the question, re-read in more depth (10+ seconds). What is the passage type?
    1. Classification
    2. Cause/effect
    3. Compare/contrast
    4. Problem/solution
    5. Etc.
  5. Guess the meaning of unfamiliar words IN CONTEXT – make inferences & conclusions based on what’s implied
  6. (IMAGES) Read the question FIRST, then view the image/graphic/chart to find the info

About TOPIK Reading:

  1. Period 2 (2교시)
  2. 70 minutes
  3. 50 questions
  4. 100 points

Obviously, questions are weighted, so later (harder) questions are worth more points. Get those right, and you automatically improve your score – but spend too much time on them and you will run out of time (decreasing your score).

  • Estimate 1 minute per question for at least the first 25.
  • After that you have almost 2 minutes (1:48) per question for the last 25.


I will later post some more strategies for Reading, Listening, and Writing (an extended series), but for now, start forming your OWN strategies for how you will prepare for and attack the TOPIK on test day. After all, the better prepared you are, the better you’ll do.

Over to you:

How are you preparing for TOPIK? Are you reading a lot? Writing? Working on vocab and grammar? Let me know in the Comments or with #120TOPIK on social media.

Liked it? Take a second to support Aaron on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Written by




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

schedule <