In the first part of this feature, we talked about how some of the basic points could be added up towards the final goal of 80 points. Age will get at least 23 points if you’re 25-29 years old, and 25 points if you’re 30-34 years old. If you completed university and a degree of some discipline was received, that earns a minimum of 26 points. You earn 28 points if the degree was in science or an engineering discipline. So, for example, that’s 49 points for a 25 year old with an arts degree. More points are awarded to those with higher level degrees. A master’s degree yields 30 points and a doctorate in Science and Engineering brings 35 points. (see the table below)
KOREAN LANGUAGE ABILITY As we’ve mentioned already, eighty (80) is the minimum number of points needed for the F2-7, so other points need to be earned from additional categories. One of the most important categories to earn points is the Korean Language section. Up to 20 points can be earned if you can master the TOPIK level 6, which is no easy task. Unless you have been studying Korean for a while, you’re going to have to take the longer route. (see the table below)
However, let’s say you’re in a higher age and education bracket; you could easily get 10-12 points by passing the basic TOPIK test; which is passable with only a month or two of studying. The test is offered 5 times a year in Korea, so chances are you’ll have more than enough time to prepare. Here is a great resource for the TOPIK, with test schedules and practice tests you can download to prepare with. However, many of you might find it difficult to pass the TOPIK test, so you’ll need to study in Korean classes. While this can be very helpful while living in Korea, there are some issues. The biggest issues with learning Korean are the time it takes and the amount of money it can cost to study. The Korean government realized this and fixed one of the problems. Signing up at (http://www.socinet.go.kr/) allows foreigners to register for FREE Korean classes offered through the immigration office. The classes are held all over the city, and have classes during the days, evenings and weekends. So it is easy to find the time to study. Before the classes start there is a “level test” that is given 3 times a year. The level test is pretty similar to the TOPIK test style. The test is broken up into listening, reading, writing and speaking. The first three are done in the classroom with a group of up to 30 other students. A 2 hour time limit is given for this portion of the test. Following the written section of the test, there is a “group” speaking test. It was a little awkward, but everyone reads a sample paragraph and then is asked to answer questions or make comments. After taking the level test, everyone is placed into one of the five available levels. Each of the first four courses is 100 hours in length and takes about 3 months to complete. After each level there is a test that must be passed with a score of 60% or higher. If a passing grade is received you will move onto the next level. Level 3 is worth 14 points and a completed level 4 will earn 16 extra points towards the 80 points needed for the F2-7 visa. Passing level 5, which only requires 50 hours of classroom time, nets an additional 10 points for completing the social integration program. Therefore passing levels 4 and 5 will net to a total of 26 points. Add 26 points to the original 49 received for age and education and your total stands at 75; so close you can taste it. Now, you are only 5 points away from the 80 points needed to acquire the F2-7 visa. Be on the lookout for the next issue, where I’ll let you know how to acquire those last 5 points!
*The TOPIK test has just changed, so we may see the point system change in the very near future.