Is the World your Oyster?

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TOPIK Syllabus (Beginners) 한국어 능력 시험 교과 (초급) 韩国语能力测试教学大纲 (初学者)

on July 22, 2011

For readers of ‘Is the World your Oyster?’ who have been actively learning the Korean language, you would have thought of taking an exam to certify your proficiency in the language. TOPIK, also known as the Test of Proficiency in the Korean Language, is similar to TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

There are 3 general levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced; and 6 sub-levels: Levels 1 to 6. Each paper consists of 2 sections. Section A includes questions on Vocabulary & Grammar and Writing, while Section B includes questions on Listening and Reading (not oral, more of comprehension).

I’ll be introducing the proficiency guidelines and question types of each level, starting from Beginners’ level in this post.


Proficiency Guideline

Level 1:

-Can perform basic language skills needed for survival such as introducing oneself, shopping, and ordering at a restaurant.

-Can comprehend and express basic, personal and familiar topics such as oneself, family, weather, etc.

-Can produce simple sentences using 800 basic vocabulary words and basic grammar.

-Additionally, can comprehend and produce simple sentences for daily life and practical writing.


Level 2:

-Can perform basic language functions such as making a phone call, asking a favor, and making a suggestion and can perform functions necessary for the use of public facilities such as post offices, banks and hospitals.

-Can understand and express familiar and personal topics such as daily schedules, hobbies appointments by employing 1500 – 2000 words.

-Can use the Korean language approximately according to formal and informal situations.


Question Types

Section A:

-Vocabulary & Grammar


Adapted from 22th TOPIK (Beginners) Paper




Adapted from 22th TOPIK (Beginners) Paper


Section B:



Adapted from 22th TOPIK (Beginners) Paper




Adapted from 22th TOPIK (Beginners) Paper


Just a note, all instructions are given in Korean, thus it’s most important to familiarize with the standard instructional terms.

The Beginners’ level paper already seems tough. Aren’t you curious of how much tougher the Intermediate and Advanced papers are?


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