As you know, a new TOPIK format came into effect in July 2014.

Here are some important things to know:

  1. The total score determines the grade achieved. A student will not fail the entire exam on the basis of scoring below a certain threshold on any one element of the exam.
  2. The cut-off points needed for each grade are not published before the exam.
  3. In the listening section you will only get to hear the tape play ONCE. You listen, you mark your answer, you move on. (Thank you to Lan from swanlake for pointing this out). Some test preparation books allow you to listen to the same question twice, don’t get used to that!
  4. Intermediate test takers will have to be more strategic when taking the test. E.g. the listening questions become more difficult as the test progresses so that the advanced listening questions are placed at the end of the section. At some point, it might be more beneficial for an intermediate test taker to stop paying attention to the tape and start writing on the essays instead due to the time constraint.
  5. In TOPIK II, question 4 in the writing section will be crucial in distinguishing between intermediate and advanced learners. If not aware of this beforehand, it might be somewhat traumatising for the intermediate learner to suddenly face this one.

Here is an official guideline, but be prepared for deviations:

TOPIK I Grading Criteria (maximum of 200 points)
Level 1 ~ 80 points or above
Level 2 ~ 140 points or above

TOPIK II  Grading Criteria (maximum of 300 points)
Level 3 ~ 120 points or above
Level 4 ~ 150 points or above
Level 5 ~ 190 points or above
Level 6 ~ 230 points or above

Quick overview of the exam:
TOPIK I: 100 minutes, no break
TOPIK II: 110 minutes for part 1 (listening 60 min and writing 50 min) + break + 70 min for part 2 (reading)

Questions I have faced:
Can I use my old TOPIK books?
Yes and no.
Yes: You can use the books to gauge your level. The requirements for each level have not changed from the old format to the new format. If you need a quick home-exam to figure out how far you still have to go in terms of knowledge, the old books can still help you.
No: By following the old books, you practice an exam format which is no longer valid. By getting a new book, you can practice sections as they look in the new format. Being used to the exam format will allow you to spend more energy on the actual questions than the exam format itself.

Can I download the old exams for the new format?
No. Sadly that is not possible for the new format.

For a great overview, make sure to also check out these posts on swanlake1701:
Table with comparison of the old TOPIK and the new TOPIK: Click here
More on grading criteria: Click here

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