My Korean Notebooks

To date, I have 4 notebooks for Korean. I started my notebook collection 1.5 years ago when I decided to really start studying Korean. I keep notebooks with all the information in it because I like to have things in one place rather than spread across many books.


My main notebook is my Korean grammar notebook. It is by far the largest notebook that I have. It has 400 pages in it. This notebook includes all of the grammar I have learned from the beginning to end. When you open it up to the first page, it starts with 은/는 and ends currently at (느)ㄴ 답시고. So right now I have about 255 grammar points in one place so that I can review at any time. I write down the grammar point, highlight it, then the explanation and all of its conjugation form. Then I write down all the practice problems and answers. Despite having several Korean books, I’ve never written in any of them as I remember more when I write it all down. Here are so more photos from inside my grammar book:

My notebook index. Its handwritten. It goes for 400 pages so I can easily find stuff. 

This is an inside page of my notebook.

Notice my handwritten numbers and highlighted grammar and practice problems. I probably could have saved so time had I just written stuff in the Darakwon books, but I like it this way.



Next up is my vocabulary book…..



This is my second favorite book for Korean. I’ve written nearly 4000 or so words in this book. Many people seem to discourage writing words down in a list and memorizing them that way because many people think that reading them in context is better. I agree, it’s easier to recall them in context, however, there are many words I’ve been able to learn long before ever reading them in context anywhere. A while ago I bought a vocabulary book with 3500 words in it and learned all of the parts of the body (inside and out) which wouldn’t come up in reading until the advanced level. Also, I can just carry this around if I want to review words rather than all the readings that include them. Here is a shot from my vocabulary book:

This a a page from the beginning part of my vocabulary book. 

I usually write down all of the words in groups. I number them to keep track of how many words or in a group and how many I study a day. I used to memorize about 50 or so a day when I was studying for the intermediate Topik.

20140430_102227Next in line there is my writing notebook…



Many people struggle with Korean writing and before the test I decided it was a good idea to start practicing writing. I put all of my writings in one notebook so that I could review them at anytime or look up sentence patterns and grammar I’d previously written but couldn’t remember well. I think that anyone studying Korean seriously should have a writing-only notebook. I love being able too look back on the things I’ve written and to see how far my writing abilities have come. Here is the inside:

This is a previous essay I’ve written. 

I usually write the essay in English. Then, I translate it into Korean. Then I have my tutor look at it and correct it. I re-write the entire essay and include all of the corrections in read so I can visually see what I did wrong and how many mistakes there were.



My final notebook is my Korean grammar practice book.



I started this book a long time ago. When I first started reviewing the beginner’s Darakwon book, I wanted to make sure I knew how to use all of the grammar points in that book correctly. So I started a new notebook in which I would just make practice sentences for every type of grammar conjugation. This helped me to practice grammar which helped me to remember them.


So those are my 4 notebooks. I like to keep everything Korean related in its own separate place so that I can focus on each part at one time. If I did combine them, I think it would be very hard to find stuff without leafing through half of the notebook. Also, if I want to practice writing and I need to look up the correct form of a grammar point I can do it easily with another book rather than trying to do it within the same. To some people, 4 notebooks might seem like a lot, but it sure beats the 6 books that I found all of this information in.

How do you keep track of your Korean studying?




By Charm

I am an American living in Korea, teaching English to Korean students, and Korean to myself. Topik here I come!

Comments (4)
  1. MyRussianNotebook May 1, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I was wondering if you have ever translated essays or articles from Korean to English- or is it usually better to translate from your native language to a foreign language?

    • Charm May 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      No. It’s best to go from foreign to native as you speak that one better. Some people do both if they were raised between two langauges but it usually takes a LONG time before someone who learns as a second language understands it well enough to translate into it. Actually I want to start practicing translating articles, essays, hell anything into Korean from English so that I can get a better understanding of how Korean works. If you think about it you spend like 12 year formally learning how to use your language so its really hard to be native level fluent in a language. For me, it might take a decade.

      I did have a Korean friend who moved to the US when she was 12 to attend boarding school. She lived there for 6 years and through being educated there picked it up to native level. This is why I refuse to call myself “fluent” in Korean. Fluent to me means “as good as a native speaker”.

  2. sweetangel May 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Wow. I’m impressed by your collection of Korean notebooks. As for me, I don’t often use notebooks. Instead, I write notes on many pieces of paper and then arrange them into categories. I use paper fasteners to keep the stack of paper neat. I think this is a very useful way to organize the notes. We can add or remove any notes easily. ^^

    • Charm May 20, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Thanks for the compliment! I would try the paper route except it would annoy me when I couldn’t find the exact some type of paper every time. Also, I a too messy for that, I misplace papers all the time. But you’re right, you can probably add and remove very easily. Thats the downside of my note books. I’m kinda stuck if I put something in and want to add to it. Though I have inserted sticky notes in the past. Anyway. Thanks for the comment. Also, thanks for thanking and following my other blog! Lol, I think you’re like the only person who reads me. I really appreciate it.


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