Test FAQ

Q1. I want to take a Korean class at Penn and have previous experience with the Korean language. What should I do?

  • Take the Korean Placement Test to find out the most suitable class that fits your needs.
  • Prior experiences may include:
    • You have been exposed to Korean informally at home and speak Korean at home.
    • You have attended Saturday Korean schools.
    • You have lived in Korea for more than six months and used Korean regularly.
    • You learned Korean at an institution other than Penn, including summer programs in Korea.
    • You have self-studied Korean, and you can read and write in Korean.

Q2. What classes are available for those who have previous experience with Korean?

  • If you can speak Korean to some degree and want to refine your speaking, reading, and writing skills, you may sign up for KORN 131 (Korean for Heritage Speakers I) and take the test later to confirm your level.
  • If you are placed into KORN 132 (Korean for Heritage Speakers II), KORN 211 (Advanced Korean I) or other upper-level courses, drop KORN 131 and register for the class that you are placed into. Please note that KORN 132 is offered during the spring semester only.

Q3. I want to take a Korean class at Penn, but I do not have much previous experience with the Korean language. Do I need to take the Placement Test?

  • No, you do not need to take the Korean Placement Test. You can sign up for one of the courses for novice learners.

Q4. What classes are available for novice learners?

  • You may register for KORN 011 (Elementary Korean I), which will count toward the language requirement (4 semesters of language study from the beginning level) or major/minor requirement.
  • If you want to focus on Korean conversational skills, you may register for KORN 001 (Spoken Korean I). Note that this course does not count toward the language requirement or major/minor requirement.

Q5. I want to be exempt from the foreign language requirement with Korean. What should I do?

  • You need to take the Korean Proficiency Test. It is offered ONCE A YEAR in late August during the New Student Orientation period. (NOTE: Read the above guidelines about the 2020 test.)

Q6. Can I use my SAT Subject Test or other Korean language test scores to get exempt from the language requirement?

  • As the SAT subject score does not evaluate your production skills, we DO NOT ACCEPT any other Korean language test scores (i.e. TOPIK or SAT Subject Test) as proof of language proficiency. However, if your SAT Subject score is over 700, you have the option to take the writing and speaking tests only.  You need to send the proof of your score to Ms. Haewon Cho at haewcho@sas.upenn.edu.

Q7: What is the format of the Placement and Proficiency Tests and how can I prepare for the test?

  • Both tests consist of an online multiple-choice test (vocabulary, grammar, reading, and listening), a writing test, and an oral interview exam.
  • The test is designed to evaluate your language proficiency, so you do not need to prepare for the test. Thus, an example test is not provided.

Q8. Should I sign up to take the Proficiency or Placement Tests? 

  • You do not need to sign up for the multiple-choice and writing parts of the test, but you need to take the survey, which will direct you to the test. Please complete the multiple-choice part of the test before you take the written and the speaking tests.
  • For the 2020 tests only, you will need to sign up for the speaking test.

Q9. I graduated from a high school where the main instructional language is Korean, can I be exempt from the language requirement?  

  • You may be exempt from the language requirement. Please arrange a meeting with Ms. Haewon Cho (haewcho@sas.upenn.edu) and submit a physical copy of your transcript (성적증명서) and certificate of graduation (졸업증명서).
  • You may be asked to take the Proficiency Test to prove your language proficiency if needed (e.g. if you graduated from국제 고등학교, international high schools, etc.)
  • NOTE: Due to COVID-19, we cannot accept the required documents in person, and we recommend that you wait until our offices are physically open. You may take the Proficiency Test to get exempt from the language requirement instead.

Q10. I passed the Korean Proficiency Test. What should I do?

  • Your test result will be sent to the College. Please allow 4-8 weeks to process.
  • Check Penn In Touch to see if your language requirement has been cleared. If not, contact the program director (haewcho@sas.upenn.edu).

Q11. Can I take Korean classes after passing the Korean Proficiency Test?

  • Yes, we normally recommend classes suitable for your level along with the test result.
  • Please check the course listings here and register for the class that you are recommended. Send an email to the instructor if you have any questions about the course.

Q12. I did not pass the Proficiency Test. May I take it again?

  • No, you cannot take the Proficiency Test more than once. Please consider taking the recommended Korean classes to fulfill the language requirement.

Q13. If I have more questions, whom should I contact?