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불합격 ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ

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February 10, 2014 | 08:40pm
Mood: ㅠㅠ x 57

Copy/pasted from my language log.

33rd TOPIK Test Results - 중급

Vocab/Grammar - 62
Writing - 34
Listening - 46
Reading - 61
Total - 203
Average - 50.75

A quick explanation: if your average score is +50 you can get a 1/3/5, as long as no section is under 40. If your average score is +70 you can get 2/4/6, as long as no section is under 50. (This is my understanding, at any rate.)

I did not pass, but just barely. I'm actually half-pissed off, half-depressed, and half-pleased. (I know that's more than a whole, but go with me here.) I treated this exam like a practice exam; I first looked at the format of the test the night before I took it. I kind of regret that now.

My overall score is passing but I failed it all because I bombed the writing section. I hadn't realized that I'd done so well on Vocab/Grammar and Reading. Those scores are approaching 4 합격 territory. Listening is pretty much exactly what I'd expected.

I'm 100% going to take the 34th TOPIK exam in April. I'm frustrated because I wanted a passing score to boost my graduate school/scholarship applications.

I only found out the results a little over 5 hours ago, but I'm trying to figure out how I could pass the writing section next time. In spite of my poor showing on this exam, my writing skills ARE quite strong. There are a few reasons why I failed, and none of them are insurmountable. I'd never written in diary form before, I'd never written a timed essay in Korean before, I'd never written on box-style paper before, and most importantly - my time management skills blew, royally and utterly. I gave myself too much time on the grammar/vocabulary section and not enough time for the essay, and then I changed my outline as I wrote.

How can I improve my writing skills? Well, first of all, I don't think my writing skills need to be improved. I need to improve my test-taking skills for this section. Next time I will write my essay at the beginning of the exam period instead of after the grammar/vocabulary section. When my tutor gives me essay homework assignments, I will time myself and not let myself use a dictionary. 30-40 minutes seems reasonable. If I do all of this I will get at least +40 next time, I am sure of it.

The thing that concerns me more right now is my listening score. I'm well aware that my listening skills are... lackluster. I do an Iyagi every week and my comprehension has improved, but I'm not quite as good at comprehending regular speech.

How can I improve my listening skills? I need to listen to ALL THE THINGS!!! I know, it's obvious, right? I think my reading and grammar scores are high because I've been reading books for ages now. But while I listen to the occasional song and do a weekly Iyagi, I don't watch TV and I don't listen to the radio. Honestly? That's pretty stupid on my part. The day I started reading Korean books was the day I should have started watching TV shows. Various people on these forums have mentioned the need to find a "hook" for their language, and I think that's absolutely correct. My hook is my life in Korea and my desire to study Korean Literature in the future. I think the hook theory needs an addendum: you need to find a hook for each aspect of your life. I have given up on TV shows and radio too easily in the past. I need to find a TV show that I actually enjoy - or, failing that, do what I do with western shows: bulldoze my way through until I've started to like it. Furthermore, if I don't like dramas, why not watch reality shows? If I don't like reality shows, why not watch the news? If I don't like the news, why not watch cartoons? Et cetera.

I also need to do intensive listening practice. What I mean by this is that I need to delete the subtitles, close my browsers, and maximize the screen while I watch whichever TV show. When I read a book in Korean or French I focus on the page and ignore external stimuli. I need to do the same thing while I listen. Iyagis are fine and dandy, but I need to toss myself into the deep end and force myself to learn how to swim if I want to get better. (Unfortunately, this is a bad comparison because I do not, in fact, know how to swim, and I would drown within moments. MINOR TECHNICALITY!!)

Grammar/vocabulary and reading were pretty baller, so I'm just going to continue what I'm doing and hope they improve naturally.

On the 34th TOPIK exam in April I am not going to aim for a 3. I am going to aim for a 4. Frankly? I think a 4 is within striking distance. (But if I get a 3 I'll be happy because hey, it was better than this time.) Even if I don't get a 4 in April, I am quite certain that I will be able to achieve it before the end of the year.

My original plan for 2014 was to pick up my next language in March. I'm going to put that on the back-burner because Korean is my priority. I'll still study French and spend about 5-10 minutes on Portuguese a day, but from here on out, I am doubling my effort in Korean. Imagine some chubby hipster stomping his foot on the ground to indicate his resolute determination. That would be me.

Time to study!

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