Korean Culture & Language

My KIIP Level Test Experience

Seoul has been my home for quite a long time already but I haven’t studied Korean language formally aside from my two-month experience at the university. I don’t get to use the language often since I speak English at work most of the time. Well, I do try to speak Korean with my husband and mother-in-law though. Few years ago, I heard about KIIP but I didn’t have the chance to give it a try due to time restrictions. Last year, I took the level test just to check my Korean communication skills and to meet new people as well.

S0, what is KIIP?

KIIP front

KIIP (Korean Immigration & Integration Program) is a state-funded program that aims to help the immigrants adapt and settle in the country by providing free lessons on Korean language, history and culture. Completion of the entire program also helps foreigners gain points for visa upgrade or naturalization.

Who can apply: All legal immigrants living in Korea

How to apply:

    • Register at the KIIP website and apply for the level test (사전 평가)
    • Print your registration form (응시표). You can see it at the “마이페이지” portion of the site.
    • The testing area is usually announced a day or two before the test. Check the “공지사항” portion of the site for updates.

On the examination day:

  • Bring your printed registration form, alien registration card and writing materials (컴퓨터용 펜). You are allowed to use a white corrector to erase your errors.
  • Be at the location early so you’ll have enough time to look for the building, testing room and your seat.
  • The test takers are grouped by birth year and ordered according to application date. The earlier you apply, the earlier you finish during the oral test.
  • The test has two parts: written & oral

Written test:

  • Time limit: 50 minutes
  • Coverage: 50 questions (48 multiple choice questions on vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension, and 2 short writing questions)
  • Points: 1.5 points each

Oral Test:

The oral test is done in a group discussion format. Two assessors will do the interview and check your speaking skills. You don’t need to feel pressured if you don’t understand or if you don’t know the answer. Besides, it is a level test, not a pageant. Its purpose is to place you on the right class. Just say  “죄송하지만 잘 모르겠습니다”(jesonghajiman, jal moreugessumnida) and the assessors will move on to the next person or question.

A short passage is posted on the desk; and all questions are based on it. The assessors ask each applicant to read the passage aloud. They assess the pronunciation and intonation at first. After that, they ask two simple questions about the main idea or content; then your opinion or experience related to the passage. If the applicant is fluent enough to answer the first few questions, the assessors ask other questions about Korean history, politics or economy. The oral test itself takes only around 10 minutes but it takes more time to wait for your turn especially if you are one of those who registered late.

Result:

In my experience, the test result was posted a week later on “마이페이지”. I got 98 points and was placed on level 5. I was pretty happy with it. I still find it hard to register for the actual class though. ㅋㅋ

KIIP level 5

I wonder if it’s okay to be on level 5 considering that I didn’t take the 중간평가 which should be taken after completing level 4. You can see on the image above that there are no scores recorded. Level 5 is a fresh new start for me.

KIIP Levels:
There are six levels in this program- from level 0 to level 5. Levels 1 to 4 are focused on Korean language and culture. Korean vocabulary, grammar and cultural inputs are the main points of study. Level 5 is about understanding the Korean society. It covers Korean history, law, economy, etc.

KIIP levels

Level 0: Basic 

  • Required attendance: 15 hours
  • Score below 3 on the oral test
  • If you write level 0 on the application, you don’t need to take the level test.

Level 1: Basic 1

  • Required attendance: 100 hours
  • Level test score: 3-20 points

Level 2: Basic 2

  • Required attendance: 100 hours
  • Level test score: 21-40 points

Level 3: Intermediate 1

  • Required attendance: 100 hours
  • Level test score: 41-60 points

Level 4: Intermediate 2

  • Required attendance: 100 hours
  • Level test score: 61-80 points

Level 5: Understanding of Korean Society

  • Required attendance: 50 hours (+ 20 hrs 심화)
  • Level test score: 81-100 points

The night before the level test, I did a self review with an updated KIIP reviewer which I’ll write about in a separate blog post soon.

It was indeed a good try but I still find it hard to join the actual class due to schedule conflict and limited slots. No worries, no pressure. Just enjoying every moment when I get the chance to teach myself. I have always been my own teacher and I’m loving this journey. ㅋㅋㅋ

Thank you for dropping by!

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