All of the Sogang books follow the same structure so I will make an overall review rather than one for each set of books.
See, all of my Sogang books 🙂
How many books are there in the Sogang series?
Each level is split into two separate books: A and B. I know for sure that there 5 levels, but there might actually be 6.
For each level you find a student book, a workbook, and a grammar/vocabulary compendium. Furthermore, the student book and the workbook each comes with a CD with dialogues, readings, dictations etc.
What do you find in the “student books”?
In the beginning of the very first book, 1A, you will find overviews and games related to the Korean alphabet.
This is obviously skipped in the following levels. In all the books you find:
Dialogue incl. track on CD with natives reading them.
Reading incl. track on CD with a native reading it.
Listening incl. true/false exercises to test if you understood the dialogue.
An overview of new grammar and vocabulary at the end of the chapter.
What about the workbooks then?
In the work books you test the knowledge you’ve gotten from the student books through different types of excercises.
For instance matching words with the correct picture, completing sentences with the correct words, conjugating verbs, and rewriting sentences from one formality level to another.
Each chapter ends with a listening exercise and a dictation exercise – you find an answer key at the end of the book for these so no worries. Edit: answer key for level 1 books. See at the end of review for more info.
At the very end of each chapter you find a little piece of Korean culture explained.
But how do I get introduced to the new grammar? There was no picture of that in your explanation of the student book…
In the vocabulary and grammar compendium you will get introduced to the grammar points and vocabulary that is used in the student book and the work book.
At the top of each page in the student book, you can see which grammar point is studied in the upcoming dialogue, you can then look it up in your little grammar book.
The fist part of the grammar compendium gives an overview of the grammar points that are introduced in each chapter of the student book. The “units” in the grammar compendium corresponds to the “chapters” in the student book.
Next you find an overview of vocabulary and expressions sorted by chapter.
Then comes glossary sorted by page numbers in the student book.
Last but not least, there is a dictionary with all of the words sorted alphabetically.
Can I use these books when studying alone? I don’t follow a class…
I don’t follow a class and I use these books as a base-line for my self-study. Why I chose the Sogang books rather than some other system was because I happened to come across SOAS in London who use these books for their Korean classes and one of their teachers was kind enough to explain how much she would recommend me to go through in order to sit the TOPIK successfully.
You are probably going to miss out on the games unless you have a friend who also studies Korean or you don’t mind playing against yourself.
I do try to rewrite the dialogues as recommended, I just write them directly in the student book rather than going through them with a fellow student.
I don’t follow only the Sogang series, I like to spice up my studies with material from other sources as well.
I think that Sogang and TTMIK supplement each other quite well, because in TTMIK you get a bit more explanation for each grammar point and the lessons are fun and engaging, but I have no clue how many TTMIK lessons I would have to go through to pass TOPIK level 3 whereas I have a pretty clear idea of how the Sogang books correspond to the TOPIK levels.
I hope this review gives you a better idea of what to expect from the Sogang series 🙂
If you have any questions or comments, write them in the comments section below 🙂
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Sogang’s estimate: study hours per set of books (student book and work book): 75-100 hours.
Good for self-learners:
ㅇ The vocabulary/grammar books make it easy to find grammar points you have looked at before.
ㅇ The vocabulary/grammar books are easy to bring with you so you can bring books for the previous levels with you when you move on to the next level.
ㅇ The work books introduce additional vocabulary in the exercises. This means that the form of the exercises are similar to the student book, but you also learn something new in the work books.
Potential difficulties for self-learners:
ㅇ Lack of answer key from level 2. For the dictations and listening exercises this would be really nice. The answers for the other types of exercises you can fairly easily double check with the pages in the student book.