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Korean Language Tests

Korean Language Tests

Korean Language Tests

For those with a good command of Korean language, taking a TOPIK or KLPT qualification will lead to open doors to more education and career opportunities in Korea. Find out more details about the two Korean language tests that will help you assess your actual communication ability level in Korean language.

In the past, the motivation to study Korean was largely limited to a handful of foreign residents - largely western missionaries - living in Korea or a few scholars studying the country and the region. In the late 1990s, as Korea began to open its door to foreign workers, mainly for labor-intensive and other business sectors, a basic Korean skill became a prerequisite for those who wished to seek jobs in the country.

Foreigners taking a Korean Proficiency Test.(Yonhap News)

Another boost was the higher interest in Korea caused by Hallyu, or the popularity of Korean cultural content, as Korean movies, TV dramas, e-sports and other cultural products gained popularity across Asia and other regions. Korean language tests are being conducted in over 30 nations worldwide, with China topping the list with the most takers, followed by Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Myanmar and Russia.

There are two main kinds of Korean language test: TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) conducted by the Korean Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE) and KLPT (Korean Language Proficiency Test) by the Korean Language Society.TOPIK offers two kinds of tests: S-TOPIK (Standard Korean) and B-TOPIK (Business Korean). Each is evaluated in four main sections vocabulary, grammar, writing, listening and reading.

TOPIK takes place twice per year in April and September. The level of proficiency is divided into six grades. S-TOPIK is made up mostly of multiple questions and a composition that total up more then 100 questions which should be completed within 90 minutes. Its total score is 400. B-TOPIK which focuses on practical Korean is made up of 120 questions and given 90 minutes also. Its full score is 400, too.

KLPT is also divided into two kinds: KLPT and B-KLPT (Beginners' KLPT). The KLPT focuses more on practical communication skills needed to live in Korea. It is made up of listening, vocabulary, grammar and reading and conversation. Total score for KLPT is 500 and should be done in 110 minutes. The B-KLPT is especially targeted toward examinees who have studied Korean for 150-200 hours. This is largely made up of listening section with photographs and conversations and reading section with vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension and other practical information. It is 50 questions in total that should be completed in 90 minutes and its total score is 200.KLPT and B-KLPT respectively takes place twice a year, usually on the fourth Sunday of the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th month. Both TOPIK and KLPT receive online applications. One can also download sample tests from the related website.

While TOPIK and KLPT are both suitable for those seeking work or study opportunities in Korea, TOPIK can be viewed as more scholarly in nature, appropriate for academic goals. KLPT on the other hand is better for those seeking actual jobs in Korean-speaking businesses. This is because the former is presided by the Ministry of Education Ministry while the latter, the Justice Ministry in charge of immigration to Korea. Also, passing level 3 (out of 6) of the TOPIK is necessary for those wishing to obtain an F-5 visa if they are not married to a Korean citizen.

TOPIK and KLPT test
(Test of Proficiency in Korean)
(Korean Language Proficiency Test)
  • Ministry of Education, Science and Technology
  • Organs in charge: Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (until 2010) National Institute for International Education (from 2011)
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Ministry of Labor
Purpose Academic purposes particularly for students to enter Korean graduate school Employment purposes particularly for non-native Korean speakers
Evaluation Vocabulary & grammar, writing, listening and reading Listening, vocabulary, reading, grammar and conversation
Type of test
  • Total 400 points(100 points from each section)
  • 3 levels: Beginner, Intermediate,Advanced
  • Classified: 1~6
  • 100 questions, full score: 500
  • EPS-KLT: Specialized for migrant workers to Korea by Ministry of Labor
  • Basic-KLPT: Basic grammar, vocabulary
  • KLPT: For foreign students to Korea, etc
  • Korean language learners
  • International students who wish to study in Korea
  • Jobseekers who wish to work in domestic and overseas-based Korean companies and public institutions
Those who wish to work in Korea, to be able to carry out daily life in Korean, to communicate in their work and advance their careers.
Examination Center 152 centers located in 49 countries (in 2011) Find out the full list on the official website at   1. PBT (Paper based test)
  • Centers located in 66 cities across 29 countries (as of December 2010) Please visit the official website to find out more details and examination center locations inside and out of Korea at:
2. CBT (Computer based test)
Registration Date Visit the official website to find out more information Visit the official website to find out more information
Registration Fee Registration fee varies by country US$30

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