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TOPIK

A Note About TOPIK Registration in Korea

Warning: TOPIK II test locations fill up quickly! Less than 2 hours after registration opened, I was 17,878 in line. After 5 hours, everything that opened for registration today was full. Be early, or be sorry. (Or wait for IBT TOPIK from 2023.)

I hope everyone in Korea is surviving the typhoon well enough today.

Today is the first day of registration for the 85th TOPIK (in Korea). The last time (a year ago?) I tried to register for TOPIK, it wasn’t even the last day of the registration period and EVERY SINGLE available location for TOPIK II was already filled! (Except Jeju, which had a few spots left – but I had no capacity to take an airplane to such a test, I’d just take it later).

Warning: Test locations fill up quickly!

Previously, I’ve taken the KIIP (Korean Immigration and Integration Program) classes, both online and offline, and the online classes also fill up incredibly quickly. (Sometimes before 9am. The times I’ve been successful registering for the online classes, I was up at 6am to do so.)

For these reasons, this morning, I woke at 5am (yes, partially to see how strong the typhoon was in this area) in order to register for the TOPIK. However, I noticed on my tablet that there were no locations yet listed for selection. So I hopped on my computer and noticed the following popup message.

This is the first time I’ve seen such a message (but I don’t check often). It seems that the TOPIK people also realized how quickly things fill up, and so have broken registrations down by area (starting from 10am).

  1. 9.6 Tues = Capital Area (Seoul, Gyeonggi, Incheon)
  2. 9.7 Weds = Metro Cities (Daejeon, Gwangju, Daegu, Busan)
  3. 9.8 Thur = Provinces (Gangwon, Gyeongnam, Gyeongbuk, Jeonnam, Jeonbuk, Jeju, Chungnam, Chungbuk)
  4. 9.9 Fri = ALL

So, now I wait until Thursday at 10am to try again. And experience tells me you should not wait until Friday, the weekend, or early next week. If you wait for Monday, for example, expect all testing slots (except Jeju) to be filled.

I expect this style of registration will probably continue. So, wherever you live (in Korea), take note of which day your registration will begin for future reference (mine will always be the third day).

Good luck to all the TOPIK test takers!~

(This fall will also be the first official TOPIK Speaking test if anyone wants to try it.) I may be posting a little more frequently as I prepare for the test. Expect a few resources, hints, and testing strategies between now and test day on November 13.

Update: 9.6 @ 11:45am

Woah! I told you test locations will fill up quickly!

This is the notice on the TOPIK website as of Tuesday morning at 11:45am. I’m currently person number 17,878!

I was just curious if I could see the testing locations that are currently available in the Capital Area. But… I might just wait for Thursday when my region opens.

And… based on this waiting time, after only being opened less than 2 hours earlier, I think I’m going to have to check in at 10am exactly to try to be person number 100 or so, haha. Wow!

Update: 9.6 @ 3:00pm

And by 3pm on Day One, EVERYTHING for TOPIK II is already filled.

TOPIK I still has a few things available though…

Update: 9.6 @ 3:30pm

I just checked my TOPIK “My Page”. Looks like I was frustrated about this back in December 2021. I wrote a message to the TOPIK admin about this problem:

TOPIK II is ALWAYS full – throughout the country – in just a day or two.
When will i-TOPIK be available? I can’t even register (except Jeju island).
This is the third time (78th, 79th, 80th TOPIK) I tried to register for TOPIK II only 2 days after registration was made available.

TOPIK II는 하루나 이틀 만에 전국적으로 항상 마감입니다.
i-TOPIK은 언제부터 사용할 수 있어요? 등록조차 할 수 없습니다(제주도 제외).
세번이나 등록하려고 못했네요 (제80회, 제79회, 제78회).

And here’s their response:

안녕하세요.

한국어능력시험센터입니다.

접수에 불편을 드려 대단히 죄송합니다.

현재 매 회차별로 운영이 가능한 시험장에 한하여 최대의 수용 가능한 인원으로 접수를 진행하고 있습니다.

IBT TOPIK 의 경우 2023년 일반 시행 1회를 계획 중에 있습니다.

감사합니다.

So basically, “Sorry for the inconvenience. Availability is limited. If you want IBT TOPIK, wait for 2023.”

There were two “model” i-TOPIKs conducted in 2022 as a trial run, and nothing yet scheduled for 2023. But hopefully in the future this will become a good alternative to always missing a slot for the in-person tests.

Update: 9.7 @ 11:00am

Woah~ All the TOPIK II spots in all the metropolitan areas are already filled – ONE hour after registration opened for these locations. I’d better be sure to be EARLY tomorrow.

Update 9.8 @ 10:01am

Well, this is insane.

ONE minute after 10:00am when registration opened, I saw this screen.

I tried to enter the website at 9:56amfour minutes BEFORE it was to be opened – and the website wouldn’t load (it was overloaded with traffic). Finally, at 10:00am the website DID load for me – and queued me to position 6,492!

After 15 minutes, I’d moved up only halfway in the queue to position 3,248.

Finally, after 25 minutes, the website allowed me to log in and begin the 6-step registration process.

  1. Select Test Location
  2. Enter Information
  3. Submit Picture
  4. Confirm Information
  5. Pay
  6. Acceptance Result

On Step 1, I noticed there were only 3 possible locations available in my province (Jeonju University, Jeonbuk University, and Wongwang University) and the one I wanted already had 369 out of 400 slots filled! That meant I’d be number 370 of 400 if I made it on time!

In a rush, I quickly entered my information (I’d already added my picture to my account yesterday, thankfully), and made it past Step 4 (Confirm Information) when the following notice met my eyes.

Now, again, I was 445th in line for the automatic processing of my information before it sent me over to the payment page (another 5 minute wait). At last, I made it to the payment page and chose “Bank Transfer” (I’ll complete that today).

Update: 9.8 @ 12:30pm

EVERY. SINGLE. LOCATION. IN. KOREA. IS. FULL.

A mere 2 hours after registration opened for the final round, EVERY. SINGLE. LOCATION. IS. FULL. – including Jeju island! Crazy!

There are at least 3 possible explanations for this that come to mind.

  1. It’s the last TOPIK test of the year
  2. There seem to be somewhat fewer locations available than some previous tests (I thought Jeonbuk had 5 or 6 locations previously)
  3. Exchange students at universities probably want a score in order to apply for a scholarship before the next semester starts in March 2023

But, regardless, this whole process seems a bit crazy. The system looks overwhelmed and test location availability is greatly lacking.

Again, hopefully the IBT TOPIK will help alleviate some of these problems in 2023. OR hopefully, they’ll get to work on hiring more test proctors and opening more locations – because interest in the Korean language and the TOPIK test looks to be exploding right now.

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