Posted in Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Getting the most out of Memrise

I have been using Memrise pretty much since I started studying Korean and while I don’t use it religiously, I still consider myself a somewhat regular user.
I know that Memrise is often connected with the idea of simply memorizing, which some are for, some are against, and others just don’t really care. I have already talked about my thoughts on memorizing here so I won’t be talking about any of the pros and cons today.
However, I do want to talk about how to actually get the most of using the Memrise App or Website.
I assume that you all know about Memrise but in case you don’t, it’s a basically a flashcard App/Website with both premade and user-made sets, that uses spaced repetition to get the best results out of the time you spend on it.

  1. Create your own sets.
    Memrise comes with a ton of already made sets for different languages and topics, made by Memrise themselves, as well as access to all of the other users’ sets. Naturally, it is very tempting to simply pick a course or set and get started immediately.
    However, by making your own set you, first of all, make sure that the words you enter, are words that you actually need learn right now. That’s why you’ve come across them in your studies in the first place, right?
    Secondly, by sitting down and looking up each word on your own, and then writing them down along with their meaning, you will already get a pretty good foundation to continue building on. The words will attach to your brain in a completely different way than when you simply see a new word and its meaning.
  2. Use the Meme option to add a sample sentence.
    Memrise has a Meme option for each added word. You can add a picture, an actual meme or my favorite, add a picture with a sample sentence on it. That way you will keep the context no matter if you are learning a new word, an expression or a new grammar point.
    You can make your own sample sentence or if you want to make sure that there are no mistakes in it, then simply copy the sentence where your first came across that word or expression.
  3. Set goals for the streak.
    Memrise has a streak system, and you can set goals for each set. That way to can create a goal of how much you wish to practice every day, no matter how much or how little time you have available each day.
    The streak itself does nothing for your learning, however, it adds some accountability as well as a game-like aspect to studying. It gives you a visual overlook of your studies and I personally find that even though I don’t really think about it on a daily basis, I do find myself slightly upset by the thought of missing a day, when my streak is over 10 days.
  4. Don’t use your hints.
    Depending on whether you have a standard or a pro membership, you might have ‘Hints’ available when you are practicing your sets, and my advice is to simply ignore them completely. The thing is, that if you use your hints to guess a word, it doesn’t get marked as a wrong answer even if you use hints to guess every single part of the words. And that means that the word will show up less and less during reviewing when you actually need it to appear more often instead since you obviously didn’t remember it on your own. Also, when the words get marked (mistakenly I might add) as correct, then the words won’t be added to ‘Difficult words’. I’ll talk more about that further down!
  5. Don’t spend too long on figuring out the answer.
    Sometimes all you need is a little time to think, however, I recommend that you don’t spend too long figuring out the answer. I usually tell myself that if I was having a conversation right now and wanted to use that specific word, would I be thinking about it for this long, or would I have skipped it and reformed my sentence by now to keep the conversation going. If I would have skipped it in a conversation then it’s time to skip it during the review as well. This will automatically mark it as wrong and it’ll start appearing more often for practice so that you will be able to recall it faster in the future.
  6. Difficult words are your friend.
    Memrise has a special set called ‘Difficult words’ under each created set. While it sometimes seems like a failure to have any words in that set, it truly is your best friend. Whenever you get a word wrong or skip it, they all end up in that set where you get the chance to practice those words a bit more than the other words. If your goal is to be able to actually use all of these words without hesitation, then don’t feel bad about your difficult set. Just give them the extra love that they need.
  7. Don’t study words without context.
    Avoid studying words from a random list without any context. Many words have several meanings and it’s SO HARD to unlearn something again, no matter how wrong it might be. The context itself will also help you remember whatever you are learning.
    Also, I don’t see any reason to learn from such a list. I mean, I already find tons of unknown words while reading and studying, so why not just work on those words, that you have actually met in a proper context?
  8. Avoid set where words are in alphabetical order.
    If you do decide to practice sets that are premade or words that are based on a random list, at least avoid sets that are made in alphabetical order. Seriously. Just don’t. The words will be introduced in the order they have been added which means that you might get 10 words in a row that all starts with 인 and it. will. mess. with. your. brain.
    Every single word will blend together and so will the meanings of each word. It is the absolute worst thing you can do.

 

I hope you guys find this helpful and feel free to add your own tips for Memrise in the comments. I think we all need the help we can get, haha!

Posted in Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Study Log: May

NOTE!
Hi guys! I was just about to post my June study log, when I discovered that I forgot to publish this one from May! I’m an idiot, sorry! ;;
———————————————————————————————————————

MAY STUDY LOG

Goals for May:
– Finish Kmooc Course
– Prioritize listening practice
– Keep daily study average on 3 hours or more
– Enjoy myself and studying a bit more

Results:

A Tracker:
91 Hours, which gives me a daily average of: 2,9 Hours.
My daily average back in April was 2,8 hours so it’s only a little bit higher and it also means that I didn’t accomplish my goal of a 3 hour average, but honestly it’s close enough to satisfy me, haha!

TOPIK:
My TOPIK practice results for May were:
듣기: 36/50 correct answers.
This is my current personal high score, but it’s not the first time I have gotten it, so I’d like to up it a bit!

읽기: 36/50 correct answers.
This is 6 more correct answers than I got last month, and also a new personal record! I’m very satisfied!

Other results: 
I finished my Kmooc course with a final score of 95%, which I’m really really really happy with!
I also managed to prioritize listening a lot more and have really been enjoying podcasts lately. This also leads me to the final goal which was to enjoy myself more. I definitely started to do more of what I enjoy, but not nearly enough.

To work on in June:
– Have a daily study average on 2 hours. June is going to be crazy busy for me, so I probably wont be able to get above 2 hours. I’d rather be realistic than become disappointed later
– Work on my vocabulary
– Enjoy myself even more

Posted in Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Study Log: April

Back in March I began tracking all my study sessions because I wanted a more visual overview of my study habits. I wanted to see where I put in the most effort and where I put in the least and then compare it to the aspects that I feel need the most work. It’s easy to complain about a certain skill not improving if your not actually working on improving them.
I have now gotten into the habit of tracking almost all my sessions (I don’t track things like chatting with friends, listening to music etc. I also only track drama watching if I’m not doing anything else and is actively watching, which is pretty rare these days.) and I’ve been contemplating whether or not to share my results on the blog and have now decided to keep a monthly study log until my exam in November. I want to actually write down my thoughts on my progress for my future self, instead of just look back at a bunch of numbers.

I track in two different ways.
I use my TTMIK 100-days planner to create goals and plan out how I’m going to reach them. I write down what I want to accomplish, how I’ll accomplish it and I give myself a realistic (though slightly optimistic at times) time frame for accomplishing it.
Then I use my tracking app to actually track my work. I simply create a few categories like reading, writing, listening and also categories for specific books that I’m working on, because many of my books can be used to improve several of those aspects within the same chapter.
I then write the results down in my TTMIK planner and use those numbers to adjust my next goals.
Lastly, I have been taking a TOPIK practice test at the end of each month, which is how I evaluate my progress and figure out whether or not my efforts have worked, in order for me to create a new and better plan for the next month.
It’s basically a way for me to learn more about what works for me and what doesn’t, while at the same time trying to prepare for my exam.

MARCH STUDY LOG

A Tracker: 85 Hours, which gives me a daily average of: 2,8 Hours.
My daily average back in march was 3,1 hours so it’s not a super big difference, and I had 4 days off from studying when I went to my hometown, so that’s probably why it’s lower this time. I enjoyed my free time and we all need days off, however I would still like to keep it on 3 hours or above, until I start working again.

TOPIK:
My TOPIK practice results for April were:
듣기: 34/50 correct answers.
This is 2 correct answers less than in March. My listening skills pretty much felt the same as the last time. I didn’t do a lot of specific listening practice as I chose to prioritize other things that needed more work.

읽기: 30/50 correct answers.
This is 3 correct answers less than in March. However I felt like my reading speed and stamina was pretty good and my correct answers have been increasing every month since January, so I’m not really too bothered by my result. As long as I’m making overall progress.

There’s always a chance that my results are due to good or bad luck – sometimes the questions are simply harder than other times, and sometimes I just happen to know a lot of vocab on a certain topic that appears in a test. However, rather than luck, I think it’s due to the kmooc course that I have been working on every day. I haven’t really been working with a lot of other materials throughout April which means that the majority of the things that I have learned are all related to the same specific topic, and most of the vocab is super fancy linguistic related terms that I didn’t meet anywhere throughout the test, so it makes sense that my results would reflect that.

To work on in May:
I feel a bit silly writing this when we are always halfway through May, but oh well!
I still want to work hard on my kmooc course even though it isn’t really the best way of preparing for my exam, but it’s still really important to me, and I’m halfway through it so I’m not giving up on it.
I will however try to prioritize other types of studying. I’ve been reading a lot lately and will continue to do so.
I’ll try to practice listening a bit more as well.
I’ll make sure to keep my daily average on 3 hours or more. (I’m currently on 3,1 – So far so good!)
Most importantly I’ll try to enjoy myself a bit more, and do whatever type of studying I feel like doing, whenever I have some extra free time.

Posted in books, Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Study With Me, Uncategorized

Study With Me: TTMIK Your First Hanja Guide

Good evening guys!
Yesterday I finished the ‘Your First Hanja Guide’ book by Talk To Me In Korean and I wanted to share with you all how I’ve been studying with the book every day, for the past few months.
Before I begin I would like to mention that I really enjoyed working with the book and I definitely recommend it if you want to try studying Korean through hanja. If you are curious about the book then I recommend that you read this review by the brilliant Sofie,  watch this video by TTMIK themselves or you can read more about it on the mykoreanstore website where you can also buy the book.
Alright, let’s begin!

As always, I begin by preparing the things I need.
I usually have the book I’m studying with, my notebook, pens, correction tape and 원고지 paper. Start

I always begin by jotting down what book I’m working with, along with the page, subject or whatever else I find interesting.

Intro

I then open up my 원고지 notes and practice writing the character. The thing is, if you are only going through these hanja characters in order to improve your Korean skills, then you don’t need to practice writing them at all. As long as you know that they exist and what they mean, then you really don’t need anything else.
However, I have known for almost two years now, that I want to learn Chinese in the future, so I’m basically using this as an opportunity to get more comfortable with the different characters and their strokes, so in my case it simply makes sense to put a little more effort into my notes. I also found it oddly calming to repeat all the strokes over and over again. It reminds me of the reasons why I bought some calligraphy books in Korea. Maybe I’ll pick them up soon and give it a try..

Practice

I then go on listen to the accompanying audio files twice. The first time I simply listen carefully to the pronunciation and intonation, and the second time I read aloud while listening. Lastly, I then read the words and sentences aloud once again, without listening to the file, while trying to sound as natural as possible.

Track

I then move on the jot down some notes about the hanja character. I write down whatever I find interesting or relevant in order for me to better remember it the next time I see it, or to help make it easier for me to tell it apart from other characters.
It can be a breakdown of the characters that help create the new character or it can be some notes on how the character got it’s meaning.

Breakdown

Once I feel like I have written down anything of interest, I move on to write down the list of Korean words that are based on that hanja character. As always, I color code my notes. In this case, hanjas are always written in red, to make easier for me to spot them in my notes. After writing down all the hanjas, I take out my green pen and write down the words in hangul next to the hanja. That way I can actually read the words that I’m working with.
Lastly, I take my blue pen and write down the definition of the words that I didn’t know already.

vocabulary

As the last part I write down the sample sentences. I do this in order to get more familiar with both the hanja word, the sentence structure and spelling of the different words. It can be really helpful to copy down some notes like these. I also avoid writing the hangul version of the words in the sample sentences. I do this because I want to encourage my brain to start remembering them without the hangul. It usually isn’t a problem since the rest of the sentence kinda gives the meaning away, and if not then I can simply find the hanja in my notes right above the sample sentences.

Example sentence

And that’s basically it! It’s pretty simple but I get to read, listen, write and speak as well,  so I found it quite helpful.
As for time, this specific character was pretty simple and didn’t take a lot of time, but some characters are a lot more tricky and has a lot more related words, so it’s going to change a lot depending on the characters your working with.

I hope you all found some inspiration to study with this (or another) book.

Posted in Personal, Rant, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

About to explode glitter

After waiting patiently (well.. Kinda patiently) I finally got my 이수증 for my first Kmooc course!
As I mentioned in my previous posts I wasn’t really feeling confident and I was worried about my essay results.
But! As soon as the final exam began I started feeling a lot better about my skills! I got a 65% correct on the final questions which gave me a total score that was high enough to pass the course even if my essay would fail completely.
A few days after taking the final quiz I received feedback on the essay. The written feedback didn’t really help me out to be honest, however I somehow manage to get a full 100% for that essay. Holy.. Cow.. I really didn’t expect that but I’m certainly not complaining.
It makes me feel a ton more motivated to study harder. Especially now that my internship is coming to an end and I get more free time.

Also, as some of you lovely people already know, I had been feeling a bit off when it came to my studying. Or rather about the results of my studying. For about a year now it just felt like I was stagnant with my overall skills. I mean, I have been studying a lot and felt a lot progress with my listening and speaking skills, however rather than actual, overall, improvement, it honestly just felt like my speaking and listening skills where finally catching up to the same level as the rest of my language skills. And while I normally welcome any type of progress, feeling overall stagnant for a year really gnawed at my confidence. I never really lost my motivation to study, but I completely lost my confidence in Korean. I didn’t really want to try new things anymore.
I continued studying a lot and about 6 weeks ago I suddenly felt a change. I started picking up words naturally again, I started noticing words and grammar that I had just learned, EVERYWHERE. Due to schedule conflicts I wasn’t able to have an italki lesson for 3 weeks, but when we returned to our usual schedule 2 weeks ago, my teacher told me that I seemed to have gained more confidence, despite not practicing as much as I used to. Needless to say, that comment boosted my confidence even more!

Honestly, I didn’t really change anything, so I’m not sure why I’ve been stagnant for so long, but I feel like it might be related to all the things that have been going on in my life lately. Maybe there just weren’t enough ‘space’ left in my head to actually soak up new knowledge? I’m really not sure, but I can literally feel that my brain is working ‘like it used to’ again.
This also prompted me to take a TOPIK practice test. I hadn’t taken one in ages (and by ages I mean in like 7 months) because my results had been more or less the same for the past 1,5 years and it was really stressing me out. Whenever I took a test, my points would place me around level 3 (and even that would only happen if my writing part turned out more than just decent), which made me feel really frustrated since level 1 and 2 have been super easy, and way below my level for a very long time. Which is obviously also the reason that I passed those levels back in 2015. I just felt like I was in this weird ‘in-between’ level, which only made me feel even more frustrated since the gap between level 2 and level 3 isn’t THAT big. The tests always started out great but it felt like my brain would simply shut off when I got halfway through it. Like I could’t focus anymore when the reading passages got too long or when the listening part had more than one question. I never quit midway or gave up, but I could easily see a pattern whenever I was checking my answers.
Anyway, I took the reading part and was completely surprised. I didn’t feel lost at any time and I was able to focus without any problems what so ever. I even had a few minutes to spare in the end before the timer went of, which is a first as well. When checking my answers I found that I had beaten my previous ‘high score’ by 10 correct answers(20 points). While this number is too high to just be a coincidence I still doubted myself and thought ‘Oh, luckily this one had a lot of familiar topics’ and ‘Some of these points are obviously from lucky guesses’. But then I reminded myself that I had only taken that test because I had felt my language abilities improving, and that while there’s always the chance of getting lucky, there’s just no way that I would get THAT lucky. So despite the fact that it was past midnight and I had been up for 20 hours and only had 6 hours left til my alarm clock would go off again, I decided that I just had to spend another 70 minutes on the listening test. The listening test turned out just like the reading test. I never felt lost, I didn’t feel overwhelmed at any point and I found myself waiting for the next listening part to begin, because I had already confidently answered the current questions. I beat my previous ‘high score’ with 12 correct answers (24 points). This placed me at a level 4 even without the possible points I would get from the writing section.

In the end I got under 3 hours of sleep. I was too excited (and slightly confused to be completely honest) to sleep and I was just lying there thinking about all the other signs of improvement, that suddenly popped into my mind. For instance, I have been swallowed up by my books at work. I have always been good at focusing on my books and shutting other things out, just not when reading in Korean. I just wasn’t comfortable enough to get completely sucked into a story. But lately I seem to have been doing a lot better at that. I also read a lot faster now, and have definitely improved my reading stamina. I often feel like reading a full book in one go and I usually only stop because I simply don’t have the time to continue.
It has been a little over a week since then and I’m still buzzing from excitement and feeling insanely motivated.

This post ended out way longer than I had intended but I just really felt like I needed to share all of these thoughts and experiences before I explode from too much motivation, into a big fluffy cloud of glitter, unicorns and happiness.

Okay, it’s officially past my bedtime. Again.

 

Posted in books, Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

2018 Language Goals

2017 is almost over and as always I spend my last days of the year, creating goals for the new year.
I always have so many things that I wish to accomplish and as you already know, I’m kind of a goal freak. Coming up with a goal and creating a detailed plan on how to achieve that goal, is something that I do all the time. I also do it pretty well if I may say so myself!

I’ll only be sharing my language related goals today, because otherwise I’ll be here all day! Also, I always make sure that my goals are S.M.A.R.T
Do you guys know the S.M.A.R.T concept? We use it all the time at work, but it can be applied to any type of goal!

smart-goals1-1.jpg

  1. Read more. I want to read more in Korean. I don’t have anything specific in mind when it comes to reading materials so everything counts. However to make it measurable I made myself a few ‘guidelines’.
    – I want to read at least 12 books in Korean throughout the year. Long books, short books, poems, biographies, fiction, non-fiction – Everything counts!
    – I also want to read 12 articles throughout the year. Again – Everything counts.
  2. Improve writing. With writing being my weakest part, I really want to work on that throughout the coming year.
    – I want to write a daily diary in Korean. I might be posting some of it on lang-8 for corrections, but since it’ll be rather personal, it wont happen regularly.
    – I want to finish 한국어 문장 쓰기의 모든 것 and 서강 쓰기 2. I’ll be working diligently with both of them in 2018!
    – I want to write 12 essays throughout the year. Each essay will be a 700+ character essay. I want to make sure that I don’t just stick to my bad habit of writing as simple and short as possible. It’s fine for chatting and talking but it’ll get me nowhere when it comes to improving my writing skills. It’ll also make me a lot more comfortable with the writing part of TOPIK.
  3. TOPIK Level 4. This has been my goal for a while as most of you guys know, and I’m currently unsure of when to take it. My plan was to take it in April like I did last year, but the timing is very bad. My internship will be over by then and I have no idea whether I’ll be working a new job or not. Since I have to travel to another country in order to take the exam I’ll need some days off, which I can’t really ask for if I just started working there. And with the sign-up starting soon, I don’t have a lot of time to think about it.
    I might take it in November instead, however I might feel less motivated to work for it, if the deadline is too far away.
    Hmm. I’m still working on the Timely part of this goal, however I will for sure give it a try during 2018!
  4. Speaking. Speaking isn’t a weak point like my writing, however I do seem to loose my confidence quite often, especially when talking to new people. I want to work on becoming more comfortable with random chitchatting!
    – I want to complete another Italki Language Challenge. I’m not sure if I’ll join the first challenge of the year, like I did the last few times, but I’ll join one during the year for sure! The only way to improve one’s speaking confidence is by speaking even more!
    – Talk to at least 5 new people throughout the year. Skyping via italki, calling a new friend through HelloTalk or meeting someone face-to-face. It all counts! Since I’m always worried about talking to new people, I’ll have to do it more often!

There you have it! My 4 main language goals for the coming year!
I have a tradition of buying myself a few gifts when I receive my last paycheck of the year. The idea is that I buy myself a few treats that are related to my goals for the new year, so that I begin the new year feeling happy, motivated and set up for success. This year I bought myself 5 things and 3 of those are language related.

Present Nr. 1: TalkToMeInKorean Real-life Korean Conversations – Intermediate.
I figured this book might have a few gems for my speaking and writing goals. And if not, I’m always happy to support TTMIK. They give out so many great resources for free.

KakaoTalk_Photo_2017-12-26-15-48-50_1024x1024

Present Nr. 2: 토닥토닥 하루하루 일기장! I went on Gmarket and found a cute little diary, for me to write in. I prefer the old school handwritten diaries and let’s be honest here – Korea makes amazing stationary! *Dreaming myself back to ArtBox*

B001792829-1

Present Nr. 3: 곰돌이푸! Or rather a book with some of his adventures! I saw this book when I was  in Korea and decided to buy it after I had found the other things my sister and I where looking for, BUT THEN I FORGOT ABOUT IT! I was so sad since it was our last day in Korea. It’s from the same collection as my Peter Rabbit book, and it’s just so pretty! A great opportunity for me to cross off one the 12 books from my goal list!

푸

 

I sincerely hope that you all have a good and safe new year.
Thanks for following along on my adventures in 2017! xx

Posted in Dealing with stress, Guides, Personal, Uncategorized

Dealing with stress: Life Planner

As most of you already know, I’m under a lot of stress lately, and having been very sick due to immense stress a few years ago, I’m very cautious about how I handle things this time around. I have a lot of things that I HAVE to do as well as a lot of things that I WANT to do, but no matter how important all of these things are, letting myself and my body down, is not a choice.

“Sometimes the most important person
in your life needs to be you”

I know that I’m not the only person who struggles due to stress and I know that we are all very different and have very different ways of coping, so this might be a completely useless blog post, but if this can help just one person then I’ll be more than pleased.
And that’s why I would like to introduce you all to Alfred!
Alfred is my Life Planner – Yes I have a tendency to name all of my favorite items. I named my Dolce Gusto Piccolo ‘Bent’. Or rather ‘Bent the penguin’.. I also gave him googly eyes but that is a completely different story!

Basically I’m a planner. I need everything written down. I need to-do lists, goal list, shopping lists, meal plans and so on. The more lists the better. And I need to keep it all together in one convenient space. I do not work well with lists or calendars online or on electronic devices. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t do it for me. I’m also incredibly picky when it comes to calendars. In Denmark, most calendars are way too small. There are practically no extra spaces to plan out the things that I need to plan. They also all have an hourly set up, going from around 8am to 5pm. How is that going to help me when I have an Italki session at 7am, taekwondo at 7pm and a movie date at 9pm? And what about all those empty time slots where I have no plans? That’s a waste of space. Sure I could just write my other plans in those slots and correct the time, but doesn’t that just prove my point that the time slots where useless (In my case at least) to begin with? This might seem like I’m overly picky but it’s super important to me.
This is where Alfred comes in. Alfred is a custom made Life Planner and I literally chose everything about him myself. I chose the cover, page layout, cover, planning pages, added quotes and even chose the color of the spiral. There’s a few companies out there who offers these services (and this is not sponsored by the way) so if you are just as picky as I am, then you will definitely be able to find something that suits your taste.

The most important about Alfred is that he is a LIFE planner and not just a planner. This means that it’s about your entire life and not just your working hours like most standard planners. I ordered Alfred from Pirongs, and I added all the things that I needed. Blogger planning pages, Christmas (as you might remember from last year, Christmas is really important to me) planning pages, cleaning pages (I’m a neat organized freak in my study space but everything else is pure chaos), fitness goals, study pages and a lot more. There are a ton of other pages you can add like budget pages, wedding planner pages, teaching planners, notes and whatever else your heart might desire.
You can also add text and pictures to all of your pages.

Alfred is very personal to me so I can’t show you everything, but I’ll show you a few of the empty or less personal pages.
I have been wanting to buy a custom made life planner for a long time and obviously it does take some time to produce it, but I believe it’s worth it. I received Alfred in the mail 3 days ago and I’m carefully adding all of the craziness that is currently going on in my mind. All the dates, all the demands, all the wishes. I feel lighter for every line I write. I also just ordered some stickers and washi tape, so I can decorate my pages even more with a few fall themed goodies.
Having all of my s**t put together in one book is in itself a stress reliever but writing and decorating it adds a whole new relaxing aspect. I recommend that you try it. If you enjoy color books then you might like decorating too.
Another alternative could be a bullet journal, but I feel like it’s a bit too time consuming for my schedule. I’d love to try it some day, but for now Alfred is my savior.

Again, I’m not sure if this will be helpful to anybody other than me, but there’s no harm in trying – right?