Material I went through before TOPIK

Yesterday I posted my scores and today I’m making a study plan for the next TOPIK exam that I will sit – the one held in April 2014.

For those who have not yet taken the exam and wonder how much I prepared considering the scores I got, here is an overview of the material I went through:

Sogang Korean books
2A chapter 1

TTMIK levels
Levels 1-3 (level 3 from TTMIK overlaps with the material covered in Sogang 2A to a fairly large extent).
Level 4: a few lessons.

Further material
Writing essays for my language exchange. When writing these essays, I did not respect the TOPIK rules ~ I did not time myself and I used a dictionary to look up all the words I needed.
When I got corrections from my language partners, I made sure to note down the right grammar patterns and glossary. I did not drill the corrections, but I did try to remember them, looking through my notes when writing new essays so I wouldn’t make the same mistake over and over.

These corrections are of course quite random compared to the syllabi of both Sogang and TTMIK because they are based on my actual mistakes and what would sound natural rather than “what a student should know at level X”.

Last minute
In the days before the exam I watched some drama every night to hear the language more. I kept my electronic dictionary next to me, paused and looked up whenever I caught a new word that seemed important to know. I saved the words in the dictionary for future reference.

4 thoughts on “Material I went through before TOPIK

  1. peterrodda

    How about any special vocab lists? A grammar book? (Like the Korean grammar in use – beginner) or any previous TOPIK test papers? Or even a TOPIK preparation book?

    I’m writing the next TOPIK here in Korea, in 7 weeks time, and I’m starting to feel a bit stressed. I’m feeling like I don’t have a proper “system”. Like I’m not sure how to make the most efficient use of my remaining time. And like I don’t know how to track my progress.

    I have plenty of resources available to me – books, language exchange, and I’m living in Korea – but with all these resources I feel very unfocused! I need focus!!! 🙂

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Of course! How could I forget to add previous TOPIK papers? I did go through them, but I did it for practicing the format rather than to learn specific vocab. At one point I did use them that way, but it made me incredibly frustrated to make lists of words based on past exams and it made me feel like I was lacking in so many ways while making lists of mistakes wasn’t going to fix it. After that I started using the old TOPIK papers as a way to check my progress and to become comfortable with their way of asking questions. E.g. do one every week until the week before the exam just to see how your score changes.

      As for TOPIK books:
      I have the “Complete Guide to the TOPIK” books for beginner and intermediate and I have looked through the beginner one – be aware that those questions are some of the more difficult ones from old exam papers. Going through those books is a bit like solving old exams, but the questions come from different papers. They do have problem solving tips and some key vocab in the margins, though.

      As for grammar:
      I practiced grammar through the Sogang work books and the TTMIK books. There are problems you can solve for each grammar point in these books, and Harukorean can be a good supplement as well. I do have a grammar book that I use for looking up patterns if I’m in doubt of something from Sogang/TTMIK/language partner meetings. It’s called “Korean – a comprehensive grammar” (all info about it is already in the book section) and it is possible to get workbooks for it as well if you feel more comfortable working that way. I have heard good things about the “Korean grammar in use” books too, though.

      If you already have books, I’m not sure it would be helpful for you to go out and buy new ones this close to the exam unless you feel confused by those you already have – or just dislike them… That’s a valid reason too.

      Some of the “book systems” can be quite time consuming to go through compared to TTMIK. For instance each Sogang book is estimated to take 75-100 hours to go through in a class setting. Me being me, I solve ALL the practice problems before moving on if I work in the Sogang books. If you feel pressured for time, you can always set a target for how many TTMIK lessons you MUST have completed before the exam and then just work through them one at the time and make some practice sentences at Harukorean. Then it’s entirely up to you how much time you spend on each grammar point and how many practice sentences you want to write. There is a natural overlap between the systems so that will be really decent solution too. At some point I also started focusing on TTMIK just to get through more grammar quickly.

  2. Chantelle

    It looks like you did a lot in preparation. Congrats on passing. 🙂 Posts like yours are inspiring and make me feel the need to get myself together and start seriously preparing for the TOPIK again. I want to take it in late 2013 or Jan 2014.

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Thank you! 🙂 I’m really glad you find my posts useful 🙂 wow, good luck! Will you sit it in Korea?
      I think I saw a pretty elaborate spreadsheet that you keep about your studies, no? That must be difficult to keep track off, but also a good motivator 🙂


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