Last night, I was checking Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines’ website to check the enrolment schedule of their culture classes. I saw an announcement regarding the distribution of 32nd TOPIK results so I clicked on the web post. There, I clicked TOPIK’s official website to print another copies of my 32nd TOPIK certificate. I was surprised when I checked the site! Tadaaaaah! They have already uploaded the guidelines for the new TOPIK!
I was very excited yet nervous to check the post but I did click the link anyways. According to the official announcement, the new type of exam will be used starting JULY 2014. Therefore, the 33th and the 34th TOPIK on January and April respectively will use the old format.
The old format has THREE LEVELS: Beginner (Level 1 and 2), Intermediate (Level 3 and 4) and Advanced (Level 5 and 6). Now, there will still be three levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) but the exam will only be categorized as TOPIK I(for the beginner Level 1 and 2) and TOPIK II (for both intermediate and advanced levels 3 to 6).
For the test questions, the old format has FOUR SECTIONS: Grammar and Vocabulary, Writing, Listening and Reading. While the new format differs if you’re taking the TOPIK I or TOPIK II:
- TOPIK I for Beginners has only TWO SECTIONS: Listening(30 items for 40 minutes) and Reading (40 items for 60 minutes). They removed the Grammar and Vocabulary section and the Writing part hence the exam time is also reduced from 180 minutes to 100 minutes and the number of items is also reduced from 104 to 70.
- TOPIK II for Intermediate and Advanced has THREE SECTIONS: Listening (50 items for 110 minutes + writing part) Writing (4 essays for 110 minutes + listening part) and Reading (50 items for 70 minutes). They also removed the Grammar and Vocabulary part. The exam time is same as the old format which is 180 minutes and the number of items is still 104. The main difference will be the essays! We need to answer FOUR writing exercises in which two of them are paragraph completion and the other two are essay writing.
TOPIK’s website also provided a sample test questionnaire for students who are currently preparing for the new type of exam. Here’s the sample exam for TOPIK I:
As what I have noticed, TOPIK I’s questions are still easy(well, in my case) yet they are more challenging compared to the old one. This format needs thorough reading and thorough thinking especially for the reading part. If I understood their announcement correctly, one of the main reasons why they changed the TOPIK format is the influx of TOPIK takers because of the Hallyu or Korean Wave. They want to encourage more beginner students to take the TOPIK without worrying about the essay writing part. They fused the grammar and vocabulary exam with the reading and listening part too! I guess the test officials were like “You need to be knowledgeable about the grammar and vocabs to be able to understand the listening and reading sections so let us just abolish the grammar and vocabs section! So if you lack grammar and vocabs skills, you’re DOOOOOOMED!”.
For TOPIK II, no more Grammar and Vocabulary exam only the Listening, Writing and Reading:
I haven’t tried answering all of the test questions but I noticed some easy ones and a lot of difficult questions. The real challenge for TOPIK II takers is the vocabulary and writing skills. If you lack in both areas, then I think you need to work harder to get a TOPIK II certificate.
They also fused the grammar and vocabulary section with the reading, listening and writing sections. Here’s some sample reading questions:
The photo below shows the first part of the Writing test. This is like items 43 and 44 of the old writing exam. You need to fill in the blanks by putting a grammatical and logical sentence or phrase to make the paragraph correct.
For items 53 and 54 of the new type, you need to write essays! Tadaaaaah, essssaaaaaaysssss! The good thing about item number 53 is that the important points of the essay are already provided. All you need to do is write supporting sentences and arrange them logically.
Now, for Item 54, this is a REAL CHALLENGE! Now, write a 600-700 character essay about environmental pollution! Well, I might be able to write few sentences about this but my vocabs is really lacking to make a logical paragraph. This changes in the TOPIK really calls for a major change in my study habits! I need to focus more on my weaknesses which are vocabs and writing for mw to survive this exam. I guess in the next few months, there will be new TOPIK review books that will be available in the market.
There have also been rumors about the speaking part in TOPIK but I guess they are still going to try this new format before adding a speaking section. Also, I really encourage those TOPIK takers to take the 34th exam on April 20 before trying the new format. It will be good if you will have an idea about the old format and it can also be a form of review in preparation for the new one.
I still have a lot of questions about this new TOPIK exam like why did they combined the Intermediate and Advanced level? I am not sure if this question is already answered in their Q and A because I haven’t really finished translating the announcement. If you want to get the pdf files of the official announcement, Q and A and the sample exam, click this.
I am looking forward to study the first ever test questionnaire on July and also looking forward to take this exam on October. Whew! Work hard! Work harder!
Share your thoughts about the new TOPIK! What do you think about the exam?^^