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Number of TOPIK test takers 1997-2020

In 2020, there were over 30 thousand test takers for the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK). TOPIK was first introduced and conducted in 1997. Since then, the scale of the test continued to grow both in size and frequency, with six tests conducted globally in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the second test scheduled in 2020 was canceled.

Global interest in Korean

According to a survey carried out in 2018, the leading reason for TOPIK applicants to take the test was to study in South Korea. The Korean government designated Korean language institutes worldwide to facilitate the education of the Korean language and culture for those that were interested. These institutes were named King Sejong Institutes, after the Korean king who created the language in 1443.

Studying abroad in South Korea

The number of foreign students pursuing their studies in South Korea nearly doubled in between 2010 and 2019. Various companies and agencies were offering programs or opportunities to study abroad in South Korea, usually in partnership with a Korean university. Statistics showed that foreign students in South Korea were mostly a part of an undergraduate or language program.

Number of Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) test takers from 1997 to 2020

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Release date

May 2020


Worldwide, South Korea

Survey time period

1997 to 2020

Supplementary notes

*Data for only the first test of 2020 is available.

Multiple tests conducted in one year have been totaled.

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