May 2014

i passed topik

Pity Party Over

I was so upset about my grade. For like a whole 10 minutes. Once the feelings of disappointment started to fade, I started to get a clearer picture of my score.


I deserved the writing score I got.


I admit it. For some reason, I was under the (very false) impression that I’d studied for the Topik so much. That’s a lie. I studied like hell for the reading, drove myself crazy studying the listening, and spent countless hours studying the grammar/vocabulary section. If I had to put it on a percentage scale. I will say 30% went to reading, 30% went to listening, 30% went to grammar/vocabulary respectively. Which means only 10% of my time went into the writing portion. I can write quite well in Korean. I haven’t written a ton of essays but the ones that I do write don’t require very many corrections. However, I will say that I did not write the intermediate essay with much of the intermediate grammar. The reason for this is because even when I write most of the intermediate essays in English, I don’t feel like the topics are ever complex enough to warrant using more advanced grammar. I’m certain that took a lot of points out of my writing score.


However, I’m still happy I wrote it the way I did. Trying to add unnecessary grammar into a writing just to make it look intermediate is silly to me. The topics I’ve seen for the new intermediate/advanced test will require a lot of advanced grammar, but “Tell me about the best day of your life?”. You could probably write that well with nothing but beginner’s grammar and 3000 word under your belt. One thing I’ve never liked is how easy the intermediate exam topics were compared to the test. On the reading portion you have topics that seem like they are torn from a newspaper, and listening tracks ripped from a news broadcast and then on the writing they ask you what you like to do and why? I can’t get with that.

If not using enough intermediate grammar and vocabulary is what lowered the grade then so be it. I would probably do it the same. I’m stubborn like that.

I’ve also had time to really look at my other scores. I did disgustingly well on the reading section. For anyone who thinks my reading score is high, let me tell you it was my weakest skill just 5 months ago. In January, when I attempted a reading test I would literally get like 40% every single time. My vocabulary was so weak. I put so much into reading. I learned probably 2000-3000 new words in 5 months. I was shocked how easy the reading felt when I took the exam at the time. I understood every single passage and answer before me. I’m actually quite curious as to which 3-4 problems I got wrong on the reading. I’ll take the test later to determine which ones I got wrong and why.

I’m also a bit surprised at the listening score. The first time I took a listening test I got 40%. It was on par with reading. Even though I live in Korea and hear Korean every day, I sucked at solving many of the problems simply because I couldn’t hear them clearly and missed little nuances and changes throughout the conversation. However, when I took the test at the time, it too felt easy. However, since I got 25 points off, I probably again missed some of the nuances in the changes of the conversation because I can’t remember one listening track I didn’t fully understand.

Grammar and vocabulary doesn’t really surprise me. If you read my blog you will know I have a love affair especially with Korean grammar. I study it so much. I memorize it and creepily know which ones can sub out for other ones. Based on my score I’m assuming I got most of the “choose the incorrect/correct” problems right. Though I am curious as to which ones I got wrong.Curse you final idiom I didn’t know! Curse you to hell!


Overall it was pretty good. Most people who study Korean have low scores in reading, listening, and writing. I overcame my struggle with two. I’m glad I started doing reading and writing videos because this will force me to put more effort into writing, though I’m sure I will always prefer reading and grammar over writing essays.


I guess it’s on to the Topik intermediate-advanced.







Topik 34회 Results

I finally got through to the website 3 hours after the scores apparently went live.

topik results black out


I guess I should happy I passed. But the fact that I barely passed level 4 really pisses me off. I finished writing early and thought I did well in that section. But a 54 percent? All my scores are good but that one sucks. It would be one thing if I knew what I did wrong, but I will NEVER know. That’s the worst part.


This has just ruined my whole day. What a disappointment. Maybe I’ll write a more positive post later when I get over myself.








i just want my score

I would love to see my Topik 34회 results

First off, let me say I am typing this first sentence without even having seen my results. The reason for this is because despite being 3:03 pm here in South Korea, the Topik website is apparently overwhelmed with so many people logging in to see their score. I’ve been “checking” my score since like 9 am this morning. I wanted to see if there was some glitch in the system that accidentally made some score viewable before the allotted time.


I’ve checked 3 times today. So far, it hasn’t been possible.


So now I’ve managed to make it to the log-in area and I’ve typed in my name and password and it’s telling me it is being “encrypted” so the system is slow and to please wait a little while. I will say I am a bit disappointed by this wait as the website/server should be ready and equipped to handle such a large surge in traffic. Currently we are officially 8 minutes past the release and I have yet to actually see my score. I’m going to give it one more shot!


Now I can no longer log on to the site at all. It won’t display the page. It’s nearly 15 minutes past the release time. How utterly disappointing. They should just release the scores in waves rather than all at once. That, or get a better website and server. I am also wondering now if this is the only time this problem has occurred. I’ve not once seen anyone write about having trouble checking their scores. Everyone always made it seem so easy and hassle free. I’m going to bury my head in my Korean book and forget about it.


I guess I’ll check my score later.




fail or pass charm

Making Progress with Advanced Grammar and Topik 34th Results

So it has been a 10 day mini vacation in between getting burned out from advanced grammar to finally re-opening the book up again. Thankfully I was able to make it through about 6 or 7 grammar points yesterday with very relative ease. I feel like it definitely added a little bit more motivation to get finished before the end of June. So far I’ve made it through about 32 of the 83(?) grammar points of the book. I wanted to make it to the 40th grammar point in the book yesterday but I felt my brain getting a bit bored and preoccupied so I decided to just be happy with what I did yesterday.

Today is Sunday and I have to work on my essay writing video as well as go to work for a few hours so while I am hoping to get in a few hours of advanced Korean tonight, it may not be in the cards. I’ve been so busy working on things and teaching that I keep on forgetting that the days until the Topik results are announced are numbered. It’s Sunday today, and the exam grades will be announced on Friday of this week.

How crazy is that?

I was looking online at past exam grade announcements and noticed that all the past exams were announced within a 3 week period but this exam was announced in a 5 week period. I am going to go out on a limb and say it is because they had much higher numbers of people taking this exam compared to the past ones because it would be the last one before the format change? I was talking with my boss about my grade and were both certain I did well. I want to get crazy and say I did *really* well, but nothing would be a bigger shot to the ego than to click enter on the Topik site only to discover that I failed it.

If you read my Topik experience post you will know that I finished early and found the test overall quite easy. A breeze even. Now I’m kicking myself for being so confident. Anything could happen, right? Anyone who knows me knows that I am a “worse case scenario” preparer to the fullest degree so I’m sure Friday morning I will be wearing my “prepare yourself for failure” cap. I will be winching at the screen with my eyes nearly closed as I peak at the score. All I really care about is seeing level 4 합격! in the corner of the screen. Then after throwing some cold water on my face, I’ll likely re-open the tab to see the breakdown of my score.

I’d like to get an 85% overall with nothing lower than a 75-80% in every section. I worked ridiculously hard for that grade so I think my expectations are definitely reasonable. Despite having the 34th test in my Topik One app, I’ve not ventured one wink at it. To me, doing so is a curse. I know that a few people have already checked and ball parked their score, but I know I will give myself like 90% right (even if I got some wrong) and it’s already to late to check anyway. So now the true waiting game begins.



which books do you use

My Korean Bookshelf

Sorry about the lack of posts for the last 10 days. I hate not updating but I was working or CIIS and just all around busy being a teacher.


I decided to make this video about my Korean bookshelf. Until today I didn’t realize how many Korean books I have and how I need to stop dreaming about buying more. Many people are always so curious about what books other people use to learn Korean and here are all of mine. I haven’t used them all and I’ve definitely wasted money on more than a couple but overall, I’m happy with 95% of my Korean book purchases and having all of them have greatly contributed to improving my Korean ability!

Which books do you use to study?




p.s. There are 10 days left until the exam grades are announced. 10 days. I’m “excited” now, but I’ll be feeling dread leading up to it.



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