I decided to take the TOPIK.

So about a month ago I decided to take the TOPIK January 19, 2014 and signed up. Ever since, I have been intensively studying Korean grammar, Hanja, and the TOPIK test itself. On the bright side, I have been absorbing a lot of new vocabulary while being overwhelmed with the sheer amount of grammar I have been studying. Wow… Korean grammar is… ha…haha…. You know what I’m talking about, ammarite? Anyhow, a friend of mine and I decided to take the test together. She’s newer to Korean so she will be taking the Beginner level and I will be taking the Intermediate. I want to share some resources that I am using to prepare for the test, though. 

Useful Chinese Characters for Learners of Korean


If you have ever really studied Korean intensively, are good at recognizing patterns, or just were told about this, a lot of Korean words are built from Chinese root words. This isn’t that a far fetched concept to a native English speaker who has had to study Greek and Latin roots in school (and actually enjoyed them). Korean is much the same way in this regard. On top of this, you can see 한자 /han-ja/ in newspapers, on some signs, in commercials, and it certainly doesn’t make your life any harder here. I recommend using this strategy with studying. Often, you can know the meaning of words you haven’t seen before with a knowledge of 한자. For instance, 일출/월출 sunrise/moon rise. 일 means sun, day, etc. and 월 means month, moon. 출 means to depart, leave. 

I highly recommend this books when studying. 

Korean Grammar in Use (Beginner and Intermediate)


These are my definite go-to books. I use them on a daily basis. They give you examples first, explain the grammar, then give you rules to it, and finally make you practice. It’s clear, concise, practical, and is based on the grammar for the TOPIK’s levels. Cannot recommend these enough. My strategy for using them is to read them on the commute to and from work and at night after my wifely duties of dishes and cooking, I copy what I studied in a book. 



This is yet another book from the Darakwon Publishing family. It has a series of past test included as well as answers and explanations. There are BASIC, INTERMEDIATE, and ADVANCED levels available. I am using the Intermediate and after I have more time to work through it will explain more about it further. 

Applications, Dictionaries, Websites, etc. 

My favorite dictionary by far is Naver’s. It gives you the 한자 as well as the word’s meaning in several languages, and examples of how to use them. This really helps the meanings stick for me. I had been using it on the computer only or in an internet browser but recently found they had phone apps. Yay!

As for websites I really feel topikguide.com is an excellent resource. It has past test as well as tips and an explanation of how the grading, scoring, and test in general works. Naldaramjui has some self tests, but I don’t really use it.


Anyways, for those of you preparing for the TOPIK or have plans to take it…GOOD LUCK!


3 thoughts on “I decided to take the TOPIK.

    1. Thanks! I took it again this past summer and was only able to get level 4, January’s test only resulted in level 3.

      At first it was discouraging but I have taken a break from active studying to let what I know solidify and just try to live in Korean with no pressure.

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