General Tips for TOPIK Intermediate
Anyway, let’s get back to the TOPIK stuffs. TOPIK has similar pattern over years, and it doesn’t seem to change in the next few years (there’s a rumor though that they will put Speaking into test). Because of that, understanding the pattern is very important. TOPIK has 4 sections: a) 어휘 및 문법 b) 쓰기 c) 듣기 and d) 읽기. The first two comes in one package for the first session during the test, taking 90 minutes. Then after 30 minutes of break (and briefing), then the second session starts: for 듣기 and 읽기, for the other 90 minutes. Each section also has its similar pattern over many tests (we will talk about this in every section, as we move forward).
Besides the “Writing” part, every question in TOPIK is multiple choice with four alternative answers. Among those, 2/3 of the questions worth “3” points while the other 1/3 worth “4” points. That is, for every 30 questions (in Vocabularies and Grammar, Listening, and Reading), 20 of the questions have 3 points and 10 of them will give 4 points for each correct answer. The points are shown in every questions. Normally questions with 4 point are harder than those with 3 points.
The other fascinating fact of TOPIK is that the test makers give out very fair distribution of answer for each alternative options. For example, in the 29th TOPIK test, in the listening section, among 30 answer, 7 correct answers are (1), 7 are for (2), other 8 correct answers of (3) and the rest 8 answers are on (4) alternative. This fact could be a nice guideline if you really need to guess your answers, not blindly and randomly, but based on trusted basis. Since there is no penalty of wrong answer, then certainly you cannot leave any answer blank. Even if you really do not know what in the world the question is, just pick up some guess. Who knows if you are lucky enough and get some extra points for that.
Another thing is that normally for each part of the test (i.e. Vocabulary first part: questions number 1-5, second part: 6-9) is organized based on common difficulty level. Meaning that questions number 1-3 are somehow easier than those of number 4-5, which are harder. Then for question number 6, it tends to be easier than number 5. You do not need to answer every questions right, for the sake of the time keeping and boosting of self confident, try to work on questions that you’re comfortable with. Moreover, even if you really want to pass level 4, then you need to get 70% of them right, or about 21-22 questions, meaning that you can still pass level 4 even if you miss 8 or 9 of them.
For those who have Android phone, I really recommend you to buy “TOPIK One Intermediate” application from Android market. Not only can you practice a lot with the TOPIK, it gives you translation of every Korean words in the TOPIK, either those in the questions or within the alternative answers. Just click on them and then you’ll get the result right away (it needs Internet connection though). Moreover, it also can measure how many scores you get after doing the test. It also has the listening part, just exactly as what we get in the TOPIK test. One major lack of the application is that it still does not provide space for the last 5 questions in the Writing section.
Personally, I believe practice makes perfect. Apart of reading TOPIK tips and memorizing those words, putting into real-life practice is really great help. Try to read online news papers from Naver or Daum, watch some Korean news, try practice more writings on your blog, and most importantly, speak to your Korean friends in Korean.
Good luck guys with your TOPIK preparations. See you soon in next article.