TOPIK for Filipinos: A Guide for Future EPS Workers in Korea

Contributed by ManilaxSeoul

If you want to work in Korea under the Employment Permit System or EPS, you are expected to know the basics of the Korean language. You should pass the Test of Proficiency in Korean or TOPIK, which is held multiple times every year. You are not expected to be fluent in Korean, but you should at least know how to communicate to your coworkers and employer. If this sounds difficult, don’t lose hope. Remember that hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have already done this, so you should be able to pass the test too if you prepare well.

Credit: Philippine Embassy in Seoul

Below you can find more information about TOPIK, but please read the following guides first if you haven’t yet.

Also, in the next few days, I will release Part 5 of this series called Guide to Working in Korea for Filipinos. If you would like to receive the guide, subscribe to our e-mail list below. We’ll send alerts when the materials are available.

What is TOPIK?

TOPIK, or Test of Proficiency in Korean, is a specialized language and culture exam for foreigners who would like to work in Korea under EPS. It evaluates proficiency and understanding of the Korean society so foreigners can adapt to country well.

The test will cover the following: Korean language ability, understanding of Korean culture, and occupational safety and health

The exam has 40 questions and will last for 50 minutes. It is evenly divided into two sets: 20 questions for listening skills (25 minutes) and 20 questions for reading skills (25 minutes). The two sets are worth 200 points in total, so, in effect, each question is worth 5 points.

The passing score will depend on the industry you’ll apply for: 95 points for manufacturing and 80 points for construction, agriculture, and fishery. This means that you should aspire to get at least 19 correct answers if you’ll work in manufacturing and at least 16 correct answers for the other industries.

How can I take the TOPIK?

Here are the qualifications if you would like to take the EPS-TOPIK:

  • Must be between 18-39 years old
  • No criminal history
  • No history of deportation in Korea

TOPIK is held 4x a year (2x for special and 2x for general) in the Philippines.

TOPIK Tips: How to Pass the Exam

There are many ways to study for and pass the TOPIK. Below are some of the ways, but know that if you have a different style of studying, it may work too:

1. Find a reputable language school

Credit: K-Wave

There are several language centers in the Philippines that offer an EPS-TOPIK course. Their program usually runs for 3-6 months, which should help you prepare well for the exam. But before you enroll in an EPS-TOPIK language center, make sure to do your research and see if they have students who passed TOPIK in the past.

2. Download apps that will help you prepare for life in Korea

Since we’re in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some language schools that may not be in operation right now (but feel free to check!). However, if you want to prepare for TOPIK and your future employment in Korea, you can do some self-study. There are many apps out there that can help you, but you can download these 3 apps that will teach you about the Korean language, culture, and workplace:

2.1 Duolingo (For Language)

This is a free app that will teach you the basics of Korean language. What I like about Duolingo is that it will not only teach you to read and listen to Korean words, but it can also help you write and speak the language. You can download the Android version of the app here and the iOS version here.

2.2 WAUG (For Culture)

Discover Korea with WAUG

As someone who’s working in Korea, I’ve realized that a lot of my conversations with my colleagues and friends revolve around Korean food and the destinations that I have to visit. When I was starting out, some of the questions that I got were: “Have you visited Gyeongbokgung?”, “What’s your favorite Korean food?”, and “What do you know about Jeju?” If you want to gain some knowledge about these things, you can download WAUG here (it’s free). It will help you know about the famous spots and dining locations in Korea.

2.3. Learn Korean EPS TOPIK

This app is a simulation of the EPS-TOPIK, but it’s suitable for someone who already has a background of the Korean language and culture. Once you start studying, you can get the app here so you can have a feel of the questions that you will encounter in the exam.

3. Watch EPS-TOPIK videos

A lot of online resources about the EPS-TOPIK are available, so make sure to take advantage of them. Here are some videos that you may watch:

3.1 Self-study EPS-TOPIK 1 in Filipino by Buhay Korea

3.2 Skills Test Interview for EPS TOPIK

Good luck on your EPS-TOPIK!

I hope you get to prepare well for the EPS-TOPIK exam! Remember that you can succeed on anything that you set your mind on, so just stay focused and disclipined.

Finally, if you haven’t done so yet, I hope you can sign up on WAUG by clicking here (It’s one way to support the travel industry!). You can use WAUG to find restaurants and activities in Korea, Singapore, Philippines and Dubai.

Thanks and good luck again!

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