This 23rd January, I and many of my friends having a big day. According to the title, you might know what is our big day is about. Yeah.. it’s TOPIK, that many Korean language students aim to do it as for the Spring semester entrance of many universities in Korea this March. Since I came to Korea for 5 months already, it’s my first time to really feel a punch in my stomach and experience how the high school students in Korea feel once they taking the entrance exam to enter the college. I was both nervouse and panic. That day, I arrived 1 hour earlier as I don’t know whether I can find the building or the room of the exam as I have no clue of which building or which room number yet, in addition, I experienced 1 things before when I went to a competition of Bravo! ASEAN in Korea. The thing is, university in Korea mostly are so big and have many buildings. So it will need sometimes to find it.
Snow were falling so hard when I get off the Soonsil station. Luckily this time, I arrived 12.30pm, the time of Beginner and Advanced Level exam finish (Oh, I might havnt mentioned, only Intermediate Level was held in the afternoon, don’t be surprise that I’m taking the Intermediate Level even if I’m still a level 2 students). I met many of my friends, but not all, as some supposed to take at their home univ and some were taking at Kyunghee Univ. I found the building by seeing many people come out and to my surprised, I received many promotional gifts on the way to the room (some sweet candy,pen,…and of course plus the company name card, that how Korea give their promotion). I had some spare time to chat with my friends and found out it a tough exam, but a bored Listening section for the Beginner Level as it was very slow.
Some here and there walking under the snow to explore Soongsil University, I back to check out my class and be ready for the exam. The 3 controllers came in 20 mins before 2pm, doubtingly they took our picture too. They gave us a black marker, that will be used in multiple choice section ( Meanwhile, we can use eraser tap if we wanna change the answer we chose). Only the Writing section will be written in pencil.
I sat at 1 table a lone with 5 people per column and about 6 or 7 per row, so it’s around 30 in a room. Here are what I’m experienced from the exam, and I’m not a model yet to give such tips or advice cos I’m still not capable to Intermediate Level yet, (plus as I’m not sure if I pass or fail) However, it’s just I wanna share what I learn and knowing the weakness of myself which might provide me better state if I attempt to take the exam again. let’s start
1st 90 min – Grammar & Writing
1-Memorize Variety of Vocab
The Grammar section, of course we need to know many vocab a lot more than knowing the grammar structure cos it most likely to ask about which word is the same/different to which word. If you can master them, you will hit the point.
Writing section will be the last, but since they gave 30 points for essay writing, it’s considerable to budget your time to spend on the last minute to write and be able to read it before hand it over. I know I’m poor with writing as I always need more than 30 min to finish, so I left 4o mins to write.
3- Don’t miss any question
My friend told me, they can’t finish the filling blank gap of Writing Section, that’s a BIG mistake. In TOPIK that part got lots of points ( I can say, it can be a pass or fail section) if you got lot of score out of this part , you have a high chance to pass. So, please don’t miss it. It’s a very difficult part, but if you don’t know what to fill, you can just fill whatever you think it fit cos they gonna give the score from 1-6 if you got something correct.
2nd sesssion, Listening and Reading
1- Read the instruction carefully
I found the instruction very distractive. Sometimes, they ask to choose what the guy in the dialog think about or what the girl think about or something else. If you can’t understand what they want you to do, you might choose the answer that is not required. So, instruction must be understood. As for me, I have to check all the sample of previous exam instruction again, cos I had problem with this and since some words I still don’t understand.
2- Quickly scan the 4 choices answer before you listen
I found that they gave us too little time to spend on screening the answer before hand, which for me, it’s quite difficult to choose. Which different from reading section , that I mostly screen the the answer before reading the text, so I can stop at the point related to the question. So you must act fast and read fast!!
3- Imagine right
Again, in listening section, they need you to imagine or think right, example, there is a conversation and it finished, and they asked what the guy or the girl will response in this situation, and you have 4 choices to choose, so you should imagine right, not left ( In the exam they don’t care about your personality trait at all, they just care that you think the way other people think).
4- Vocab again
In reading section, mostly I guessed all the answer because 80% I don’t understand what the text are about as I’m poor with vocab. So make sure you memorize a lot of word before you taking Intermediate Level.
5- What if I understand nothing??
Since reading is the last section, and also the last minute of exam, most of students feeling tired or hurting their neck, since it’s 3 hours already that their brain working so hard. Therefore, when they see so many text and many tricky answers, plus time is running up too, it become so stressful. Then, my tips is follow your instinct! Screen the answer quickly and find the main words in the answer and look for them in the long text and screen that part. Or read only the main idea of the text if you don’t have time.
To sum up, vocab are the main source of passing Korean Language test. However, to remember another language it need times!!!! Whatever, it is, now I know what I need to improve, so I hope next exam I can do better. Hope this tips will be helpful for you guys too. Fighting!! ! ^^