I took the beginner TOPIK last 2010. Despite getting a grade 2, the intermediate TOPIK is still difficult for me. Unlike for the beginner TOPIK, I don’t have a textbook for the intermediate TOPIK. I borrowed one book before – KLPT Intermediate (and I liked it), but I think I’d rather go straight to the TOPIK papers instead. When I attempted to take the intermediate TOPIK last year, all I did was:
1.) answer the questions on my own
10% of the questions I understood perfectly; 40% of which are guesswork (relying heavily on context clues and the process of elimination); 50% of which were based purely on luck (♬ 어느 것을 고를까요? 알아 맞춰보세요. 딩동댕! ♬).
2.) check and mark the correct answers
3.) look for unfamiliar words in the dictionary and jot down the meaning.
4.) read the questions over and over (urgh!).
I think I end up not really learning anything. So this time I changed my TOPIK study style.
1.) Answer the questions on my own (still relying heavily on guesswork and luck O.o).
2.) Check and mark the correct answers.
3.) Go over each item and note the grammar patterns and words that I am not familiar with.
3.a) For unfamiliar words: I wrote them down, then search it on Naver Dictionary and now, I don’t just stop on checking the definition, but I also read and copy as many sample sentences as I deemed enough, and then write sentences on my own. And as I review the words on my notebook, I don’t just read the definition, but I also read the sentences I wrote and I try creating impromptu sentences using that word.
3.b) For unfamiliar grammar: I search the pattern first on Korean Grammar Database. I wrote down the explanation and the 2 or 3 sample sentences. Since Korean Grammar Database is not a textbook, there’s not much explanation about the grammar and the sample sentences are very limited. So, afterwards, I go to Naver Dictionary and search for the grammar pattern (and sometimes I pair it with words), then sentences that will appear on the search result. And I write them down and I also try creating sentences on my own. Sometimes I also freely google the patterns/words just to see how people use them on say news, or personal blogs, or twitter.
I’m learning a lot with this method and I find it easier to remember the words and grammar patterns. I even find it addicting to “unlock” those difficult sentences on the TOPIK exams! 🙂 I’m also loving Naver Dictionary more now.
*Nibbling on some chocolates to keep myself awake! Too sleepy today, I don’t know why… O.o