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BIG Upcoming Changes for the 2014 TOPIK Tests
This is the current homepage popup over at Looks like there are some BIG changes coming for the TOPIK test this year. To find out what the changes are, you 3 options:

  1. Go to the TOPIK site yourself and Download the “2014년도 한국어능력시험(TOPIK) 개편 체제 시행 계획 안내” posted on 12.27.2013 in (정보 마당) => (공지사항). There’s also a “Sample Exam” (샘플) that was posted just a few days after that (12.30.2013).
  2. Go to the site run by Satish for an extensive translation of the Announcement document referenced above.
  3. Or, read my abbreviated overview of the changes below. (The post on is quite extensive, so I read through it all and simplified it here.)

But, the first, most noticeable, and biggest change is:

There will no longer be 3 tests:
(초급 (1-2), 중급 (3-4), 고급 (5-6)) – only 2
(초급 (1-2), 중-고급 (3-6)).

I can’t say this is exciting news for me as an Intermediate Level student…

BIG Changes for the TOPIK (Translated Notice)

Division Currently Reformed system
Type 한국어능력시험(TOPIK) 한국어능력시험(TOPIK)
초급 (Level 1-2)
중급 (Level 3-4)
고급 (Level 5-6)
Level I (Level 1-2)
Level II (Level 3-6)
고급 (Level 5-6)
Assessment Area
초 • 중 • 고급
• Vocab/Grammar (30 Q)
• Writing (Free 4-6 / Choice 10)
• Listening (30 Q)
• Reading (30 Q)
Level I Level II
• Reading (40)
• Listening (30)
• Reading (50)
• Listening (50)
• Writing (4 Q)
Acceptance criteria • Split the grading score between sections
• Minimum score in each section required to pass
• Look at the overall grading score
• Section specific pass scores abolished

Satish at thinks that these are good changes, and for the most part I agree with him. He writes:

About Test Structure

Overall, we can say that the new format is more simplified and easier. Good news for all!

About Pass-Fail Score Rules

Currently in the old TOPIK structure, you have to get a minimum score of 40 in all 4 sections to get levels 1, 3 or 5 and a minimum of 50 marks in all sections to get levels 2, 4 or 6. It means that if you get 70 percent marks overall but 39 in one section you get Fail. it’s really a good news that now they have abolished this rule. Now they just see your overall score and you get your level and pass/fail on the basis of total score and marks in individual sections have nothing to do with it.

And while I agree that the new Pass/Fail rules are good, and that the STRUCTURE of the test looks better, I can’t say I think the CONTENT of the test will be any easier – in fact, for Intermediate students, it will (obviously) be harder because they are now testing for Advanced students WITH the Intermediate students.

A Look Inside the New TOPIK Sample Test

If you download the new test Sample, you’ll see what I mean. The Listening section starts off relatively smoothly with a 6 sentence conversation between 2 people (with pictures):

Listening Section

But it ends with a much longer, more vocabulary + grammar intensive question:
The Reading section is similar, and you should really check out the new Writing section. Here’s the sample:

Writing Section
So, I don’t know about you, but it looks to me like it will take a little longer and a lot more prep to walk into TOPIK II with confidence.

More Changes

  1. TOPIK will be offered 5 times per year (3 in Korea, 2 overseas) as opposed to the previous 4 times
  2. Test entrance times will be staggered based on your picture ID/nationality (Chinese students enter first, Koreans and Japanese enter last, with all other nationalities entering in the middle – obviously each group will be tested in separate rooms)

But don’t worry, the changes to TOPIK won’t happen until July.

2014 TOPIK testing schedule:

  1. TEST#33: Jan 19 (Sun) – Korea only
  2. TEST #34: Apr 20 (Sun) – ALL
  3. TEST #35: Jul 20 (Sun) – Korea only => NEW TOPIK BEGINS!
  4. TEST #36: Oct 12 (Sun) – ALL (New TOPIK)
  5. TEST #37: Nov 23 (Sun) – Korea only (New TOPIK)

So, what do you think of the changes to TOPIK? Like ’em? Hate ’em? How are you going to start preparing for the new test format?

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2 thoughts

    1. You’ll just have to find a time and make it a habit. Maybe wake up 30 minutes earlier, or go to bed 30 minutes later, or spend 30 minutes at lunch every day working on it. Mastering Korean is a long, challenging (but rewarding) process. Try to remind yourself that you’re in it for the long term (don’t think short term or quick).

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