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.






By Charm

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

Comments (1)
  1. sweetangel June 3, 2014 at 12:14 am

    The topik results can help us realize our strength and weakness. That’s why I often take the Topik exam to check my improvement. Anyway, getting Topik 4 is a big achievement. You should hold a special celebration ^^

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