Earlier this month I had the pleasure of taking the TOPIK II test. After taking TOPIK I last spring I was happy to know that my comprehension skills were surprisingly high for the TOPIK I test. My score was actually above average range for level 2 (score earners) giving me a strong idea that my level could be placed within level 3. In my last year post Language Learning, TOPIK, & Translation Interest (언어 학습, 토픽, 번역 관심사) I talked more in detail about what the TOPIK test is and how I have been upkeeping my language studies and retention through a variety of personal language exposure ways.
Compared with last year and now I have up-kept my self-study and immersed language learning experiences both in and outside of work as well as in my daily life in the city I reside in. Presently, having received twice more exposure and opportunities to hear, listen, speak, observe, and practice Korean I decided to register for TOPIK II earlier this year to see where my language comprehension currently is and also to see how much more I have improved in my language knowledge.
Unlike TOPIK I, I found TOPIK II to be quite challenging in nearly all areas evaluated(i.e. writing, reading, and listening). My challenge with the test overall was matching the context of dialogues, stories, and even reports featuring graphs appropriately. Like many language certification tests the TOPIK I & II test is used to evaluate non-native language users skills in writing, reading, and listening. The evaluation scale used in all three sections are arranged to measure language comprehension via language dialogues, vocabulary knowledge, reading capability, and proper grammar differentiation and usage. However, compared to the TOPIK I test, which evaluated basic Korean language understanding for levels 1 – 2 the TOPIK II evaluates non-native language users for levels 3-6(*(5&6 if you complete the writing paragraph/essay section). Due to the 4 level evaluation the TOPIK II test itself would be hard for language learners who are at basic or intermediate levels in the language. Even though I found the TOPIK II test to be quite challenging I am glad to have been able to take the test and plan to take it once again sometime later this year. Having completed all segments of the test I’ll see whether or not I fall into the level 3-4 or 5-6 range.
For anyone planning to take the TOPIK test in the US or abroad and not Korea there is very little to no difference. Test protocols and procedures are basically the same. However, be forewarned that it may be harder to register for a seat for a test location you prefer in Korea vs abroad test locations. It was unfortunate to have to register to take the TOPIK II test two hours away from the city I live in and outside of Seoul due to the higher number of test-takers registered for TOPIK in Korea vs abroad.
If you or anyone you know is interested in taking a certified language test here are some study tips. First, I highly recommend building up ones’ vocabulary in addition to learning more grammar points prior to taking the test. Secondly, I recommend taking time to read articles in ones’ desired target language, and more specifically reading various topics including opinion articles. This will help diversify your vocabulary knowledge and will allow you to see the language your learning in broad contexts.
As I too continue to learn Korean I plan to focus more on learning via broad context outlets such as Korean news rather than Korean language books to help prepare for the next time I register for the test again. Until test day again I will be happily studying (⌒∇⌒)