Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

A new experiment

I decided to try out something new for a few weeks or so. As you might remember, I stopped writing down new vocabulary (unless it was super important) and instead just kept looking it up until i remembered it. This turned out to be a great choice as it really helps to keep reading and writing the words that you can’t remember, over and over again. However I have been really curious as to why some words just stick instantly while others keep disappearing from my memory. So I started a new experiment last Saturday.
From now on, I write down every single word I come across with only one exception which is when I read 버드나무에 부는 바람. I usually read a few pages in the morning before work, but other than that I usually read it on the go and I hate having to switch my attention between the book and my phone dictionary while sitting in a noisy train, crammed full of people. Also, I haven’t really felt a need to use a dictionary while reading. I understand enough to follow the story line and I’m quite good at understanding through context. I guess 버드나무에 부는 바람 has become my dictionary free zone!
Anyway, back to the experiment. The idea is that on every Saturday, I’ll ‘restart’ my notes. By restart I mean that I’ll write down all new words as well as those that I can’t remember, even though I wrote them down before. This way I can compare my notes from week to week and – if I don’t become lazy – from month to month. Which words just stuck with me and which didn’t? Maybe I can learn something new about my personal learning abilities and preferences. That’s always interesting, right? (asked the geeky Korean lover)
When I forget a word even though I wrote it down just a few minutes ago, I’ll still keep searching for it on Naver, instead of looking through my notes. That way I can still get a lot of practice even though I sort of switched back to my old methods.

I might share my weekly words on the blog and I might not. I haven’t quite decided yet! But I will definitely keep everyone posted about my results!

Posted in books, Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Making study plans

These past few days I’ve been planning on making myself a new study schedule specially for this long break I’m currently on. Even though I get to study a lot these days I keep having this fear of wasting my time away. You know how sometimes you got nothing done during a long break because you keep thinking ‘Oh, I have plenty time so it doesn’t matter if I don’t do it today’? That’s the fear I keep having, even though I know that I am studying more than usually.
To avoid this, I am currently working on a new study schedule so that I can get to at least do some specific things, and then just study as I feel like it outside of those things.

I have decided to take on the TOPIK 2 (my mock test was less tragic than expected but nevertheless still tragic.. Sigh..) in April, so there’s no way that I will let this break go to waste!
Here’s what I have decided for now:

Everyday goals:
Morning:
– Go through 1 article from ‘News in Korean’, by TTMIK.
– Go through 1 article from Naver.
– Go through 1 story + assignments from ‘Korean folktales and Aesop’s fables’, by TTMIK.
– Listen to a TTMIK Podcast (grammar or 이야기).

Evening:
– Go through 2 grammar points from ‘Korean in Grammar intermediate’.
– Review 2 previous grammar points from ‘Korean in Grammar intermediate’.
– Complete 2 assignments in my TOPIK 쓰기 book.
– Complete 2 assignments in my TOPIK 읽기 book.

Weekly goals:
– Complete 5, 1 hour sessions with my italki teacher.
– Study with a practice TOPIK test from my ‘Pass new TOPIK intermediate’ book.
– Read one chapter in ‘작은 아씨들’.
– Write a short review of all finished chapters from ‘작은 아씨들’, using the narrative form.
– Go through each written review with my italki teacher.

End-of-break goals:
– Finish ‘Korean in Grammar intermediate’.
– Finish ‘News in Korean’, by TTMIK.
– Finish the 9th level of TTMIK grammar podcast.
– Finish ‘작은 아씨들’.
– Improve with 3-5 points on listening and reading in a TOPIK 2 mock test.

All of the things mentioned above is obviously just my lowest goals, and the more the better. Outside of these goals I will also be continuing my plan to surround myself with Korean, which so far is going very well!
Also, I got some other pretty awesome news today. Apparently the office at my soon-to-be workplace made mistake so I will be adding an extra week to my break. I can’t even believe my luck!
I made myself promise not to waste any time, so I’ll end my blog post here and return to my books!

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Have I become lazy?

‘Have I become lazy?’ is a thought that has been appearing on and of throughout the last month or so. Lately I have found it quite difficult to remember all the things I go through in my books and especially in my grammar book. The thing is, my overall Korean skills are definitely improving in a decent speed, but when I compare my progress from ‘Korean Grammar in use – Beginner’ with the progress from ‘Korean Grammar in use – Intermediate’, it just isn’t working as well as before. I don’t find the jump between Beginner and Intermediate too big, so it’s not that Intermediate just happened to be a lot more difficult. These thoughts have been joggling around in my head for a while, and a few days ago, I started to realize that I have simply gotten lazy.

I’m not sure when it really hit me, but there’s definitely no doubt that I have found the cause of my change. I have been thinking about it a lot these past few days while preparing for my IT exam (Korean will always be more interesting to me ㅎㅎ) and I have come up with quite a few examples, so now I’ll share the most important with you all.

When it comes to my grammar books, I’ll try to illustrate the differences like this:

BEGINNER:
– I used to look up every word that I didn’t know, with no exceptions.
– When there was something I didn’t understand I would immediately look it up somewhere else or ask someone to help me.
– When I made the assignments after each chapter and I got something wrong, I would go back and reread it until figuring out what part I had misunderstood. If I didn’t know what to answer while making the assignment I would also reread it and then return to the assignments.
– When reading I would focus mainly on the Korean parts and pay full attention.

INTERMEDIATE:
– I only look something up if I’m lost. If I understand a sentence or situation through pictures or context, then I’ll move on without looking up the unknown words.
– When there’s something I don’t understand I move on and tell myself that I will look it up somewhere else later, that I’ll understand it when I make the assignments in the end or that I will ask someone at some other time (spoiler alert: It almost never happens).
– When making the assignments in the end of the chapter and I get something wrong, I’ll just correct it and move on. If I don’t know the answer to a question I’ll just guess without rereading (This part is something I started on deliberately. I’m using it as a way to test how well I can remember everything and obviously it isn’t working).
– When reading I don’t focus properly. I just sort of force myself through the Korean part and then rely mainly on the English parts.

Do you see what I mean? These things are the most obvious ones but there’s many small things that has changed as well.

However I also want to point out that becoming lazy isn’t always a bad thing.
Another lazy point of mine is when I’m reading. I used to be very strict when it came to my notes and I would always write ALL unknown words down like this:
Word – Wordtype
English meaning
Korean sample sentence

It worked fine but it was extremely time consuming and also quite demotivating when I could easily see how many words I had to write down.
When I started reading 어린 왕자 I stopped doing it like this and instead just looked  up the words and moved on. If I couldn’t  remember the words the next time I came across them, then I would simply look it up again.
This seems to be working so much better than the other method! Having to spell the word over and over again to look it up, has made it stick to my brain so much easier, plus I go through the books a lot faster and thereby feel more motivated to continue. There’s no way I’m going back to the other method – lazy or not.

So.. What am I going to do about my laziness? Well first of all, I am going back to looking everything up immediately if it’s possible. I’m going to focus on the Korean parts instead of the English ones and I have started working with some of my other books that only has Korean explanations. They are still way over my level, but I’m working my way through them and I’m already finding it easier to focus fully on Korean. Lastly I’m going to stop guessing the answers when I don’t know and instead keep looking up the grammar points (the Intermediate book’s assignments are designed in the TOPIK format and it often uses grammar from different chapters and not just the one you are currently reading, so you get to practice different parts of the book) – basically just as I do with unknown words. I have been doing this for 3 days and I already feel like I’m improving, so if this feeling continues, then I’ll work though my PASS NEW TOPIK books, in the same way!

Wow this really turned in to a much longer post than expected. ㅎㅎ

Before ending my post I also want to give an update on the Italki Language Challenge, as I know some people have been waiting for this, so here’s my final decision:
I’ll be aiming for the 30 hour goal! Woohooo, I’m feeling pumped already! I’ll discuss it further with my teacher tomorrow to see if she has time enough for me and her other students, and if not then I’ll start looking in to other teachers as well. Though to be honest I prefer to just continue with her, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. ^^

I’ll finish of my blog post with one of my favorite ‘background-music-for-studying-Korean/-relaxing’ songs (Yes, that’s totally a thing… I think..)

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Italki Language Challenge – January 2016

It’s finally here! As some of you guys already know, I have been wanting to try joining an Italki Language Challenge ever since July and I almost signed up for the one in October, but in the end I had to be realistic and accept the fact that I simply didn’t have the time. However I also made myself the promise that I would join the next one for sure, so when I saw that the countdown for the next challenge had started, I immediately signed up before I could change my mind.

I believe they have changed a few things since the last challenge, but since It’s my first time to join then I’m not really sure. You can go read about it here 🙂

I’m not really sure what goal I want to reach. Obviously the 30 hour one would be awesome but 30 hours is a lot of time and money. On the other hand I will be have 4 weeks forced vacation from January 15th (That’s a looong story) and the challenge is from January 16th to February 29th, so it matches perfectly! I mean come on, who knows when I’ll be able to put that much time aside for a challenge? Plus I’ll be taking TOPIK  1 (and maybe 2) in April – That would be an amazing thing to add to the list of preparation plans, right? 아.. 어떡하지… I think I’ll talk to my italki teacher on Monday and see what she thinks!

I’m feeling really excited already, haha! It’ll be fun! I’m positive.

Anybody else joining this time?