If you’ve read my blog from the beginning, you would know that I lived in Korea for two years as an English teacher. While there, I was self-studying Korean – very poorly, I might add. Before that, I was studied Korean for a year in university, which was like thirteen years ago. Now, I’ve been trying to study Korean by self-studying again. I even took a class last fall to strengthen my Korean.
Why am I studying Korean? I have a goal to work in Korea again, but not as an English teacher. I want to try to work in a different field, preferably in travel or social media (the field that I’m working in right now). But in order to do that, I need to be at a certain level of Korean proficiency. For university classes and certain jobs you have to pass level 5 of the Korean proficiency test, TOPIK II.
Right now, even though I collectively been studying Korean for six years (I wasn’t studying Korean entirely since 2006), I can’t even pass Level 2. One of my goals this year is to pass the TOPIK I Level 2. Well, since last October, I’ve been self-studying using more materials to help me out. I’ve been using a book called Korean Made Simple 2 by Go Billy, which has been super helpful understanding grammar – my weak point. My other, much more problematic weak point is vocabulary, which I have been getting better at by studying through this list from an e-book I bought called Guide to TOPIK I – A Self-Study Package. It’s been very helpful because it provides lists of Korean verbs, adjectives, and nouns. It also comes with several video lectures on simple Korean grammar. The package also provides old TOPIK tests that people can use to prep for upcoming TOPIK exams.
This is what I wanted to share with you. I’ve been practicing the TOPIK I exam since October. And my overall score has improved to pass TOPIK Level II, but it’s still not good enough. I took the practice test three times:
- I took it casually whenever I had time – During my breaks at work, when I had time at home, when I actually set time to study. I also didn’t watch the video lectures from the package beforehand. I just jumped in.
- I practiced using a different version. I tried to time myself and listen carefully. This was after I started watching the video lectures and heard the tips the instructor gave.
- I took the test more recently yesterday. I actually had a lot of free time, so I took the test as if it were the actual test. Timed, no external sound. Just me and the test.
Below are my results of each:
Hopefully, I can find a method that works best for me. I know that I am not studying enough vocabulary, so I need to really try hard and work on that. I am making my flashcards now, so I’ll hopefully get better on that. I also am trying to speak more to my Korean coworkers in Korean. But I’m such a shy bunny that I cannot get passed one sentence without dropping the polite verb endings or stumbling. I’m so nervous!
Anyway, I’m aiming to take the TOPIK in May at the San Francisco testing center. But……I might push that back because I am actually considering moving back to Korea in August. I still haven’t decided if I want to do it yet or not. But it would be great to push back that test date so I can take Korean classes in Korea – like legitimate ones provided by language schools and universities. I used to do language exchanges, which didn’t do much for my learning. If I can just get myself to be surrounded by native speakers again AND take a class to improve my Korean, then I can hopefully take (and pass!) the TOPIK in Korea.