Late notice on this---and it turns out I won't even be in the country to take this *grumble* ---but the Test of Proficiency in Korean will be held in Korea on September 13th, with registration open through July 15th. If you want to sign up you'll have to first create a login ID on the Korean-language website. More information, in Korean, is available via the .pdf file posted here.
The test for beginners will run from 9:00 to 12:30, the intermediate exam from 14:00 to 17:30, and for advanced . . . well, if you're taking the advanced exam you can make sense of the .pdf file yourself. There are eleven testing centers in Korea, listed both here and on page four of the aforementioned .pdf; the one nearest us is the at the Language Education Center at Chonnam National University in Gwangju.
There are six levels, but three tests. A couple of years ago there were six separate exams, but now there are three. Those who take the beginner exam (초급) and score over 70% will finish with Level 2; those earning between 40% and 69% below will get Level 1. The same pattern follows for both intermediate and advanced levels. One result is that those who see themselves as a Level 3 will have to contend with questions on the higher level. A person who earns below the lower threshold---40% on the lower level, 50% on the upper---on any of the four portions will earn the lower level. The example given on page 5 says that a person who takes the beginner level test and scores 82% on vocab/grammar, 48% on writing, 76% on listening, and 80% on reading will have an average of 71.5%, but because the test taker scored below 50% on the writing portion, s/he will earn Level 1. There is a breakdown, in Korean, of expectations for each level here.
If anyone has any resources they found particularly useful in preparing for the exam, feel free to share them below. You can view previous exams and their results on this forum on the TOPIK page, a website that is extremely irritating to navigate, and which I guess is in and of itself a test of Korean proficiency because there is no meaningful information provided in English. I was under the assumption the fall exams were in October, but since it is during the time I planned to spend back home, I'm debating whether I should come back to Korea a week earlier to take it, or simply wait until the next time. I took it in April, 2008, and earned Level 2. My scores were above 90% for all areas except writing, which was in the 70s. John B said in an earlier post about TOPIK that
It's worth noting that the Korea Foundation supposedly gives preference to grant and fellowship applicants who have TOPIK or KEPT scores to demonstrate their language proficiency, as opposed to university transcripts or language school certificates.
For me, I want to take the exam again because language proficiency is something I can take home with me. Sure, if I ever get good at Korean my language skills will speak for themselves, but in the meantime it's nice to have a tangible record of my time overseas and my time spent studying, even if my Korean is only a modest high-beginner level.