Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Getting productive

Time is flying by and before I know it I’ll be heading to Korea with my sister, which means that I don’t have a lot of time left to prepare for TOPIK anymore. As I have mentioned before, I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, but I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! While it is tempting to just wait until things go completely back to normal, I have decided to start upping my study game now, and I am crazily excited about it.
I have been planning my new study schedule for a few days now and I guess today is my first official day following my plan.
The key to being able to follow a study plan is to constantly change it up based on what you are able to do (or simply based on what you feel like doing) at the moment. I think that many people forget to be honest to themselves and therefore end up making unrealistic plans, which is of absolutely no use to anyone.

Anyway! My study schedule starts with the Italki Language MindBuilder Challenge! Yes I did indeed sign up for it, and I already have my 12 lessons booked with 효진쌤 & 혜선쌤! The first 1,5 weeks will probably be terribly exhausting since my schedule is already pretty booked, but I have tried worse and feel confident that I can power through it with a good result. And after that I have a full weeks vacation without too many plans, so I will be able to study and recharge my energy. I’m ready!
The time I spend in the bus every morning will now be dedicated to my story books and my trip home after work will be dedicated to my favorite podcasts and audio books.
As for study books, I am currently going through TTMIK’s Korean phrasebook for travelers, while making some notes for my sister, however I pretty much already finished it, so I guess it’s not really a part of my new schedule.
I will be using following books for my plan this time:
– Useful Chinese characters for learners of Korean
– 한국어 문장 쓰기의 모든 것
– Korean grammar in use Intermediate + Advanced

I’m also trying to decide whether or not to start 서강 한국어 쓰기 2. I can’t really decide.
I will be studying and trying to learn new things, but more than that, my focus will be on reviewing and closing the gaps that I have when it comes to using the Korean language. This is something that I have a tendency to skip pretty often and of course that affects my learning. So I’m not really making any rules about how much or how long I study every day with this plan, my only rule is that I need to study something new and something old from each book, every single day. I’ll also be making a bigger effort to use my Quizlet app during my short free periods during the day and in general try to be more productive with the time I have available for language learning!

Time flies so fast lately and I have to really run if I don’t want to miss out on anything, but I know that things will become better in just a few weeks and I know for sure that I will appreciate all of my efforts as soon as I sit down to take the TOPIK exam again.
More than anything, I hate regretting the things that I did not do, so here’s to being productive!

Posted in Personal, taekwondo, Uncategorized

A day of accomplishments

Today has been such an insanely busy day, and not much ended out as I had planned it. I guess that isn’t really anything new, haha!

Early this morning I took my written drivers licence test, which I was supposed to take over a month ago. Sadly though, an administrative mistake happened and I ended up having to wait until now – without any theoretical of practical driving lessons. This has been causing me so much stress since driving well doesn’t come naturally to me and putting everything on pause like that for a month, meant that I lost the almost non-existing confidence I had in my driving skills.
Anyway, I finally took the test this morning and passed without much difficulty – Yay! This means that I am now one step closer to finishing this whole drivers licence process (So many hours that will soon be available in my daily schedule! Not to mention all the time that I will save when I no longer have to take the bus!), as well as a step closer to being able to join ‘my’ Taekwondo class!

When I got home I had a ton of boring things to do before my italki lesson with 효진쌤. We haven’t had a lesson together in two months because of schedule conflicts, and I was really looking forward to seeing her again. She’s a lot of fun!
I ran around like crazy to get everything done, and then just a few minutes before the lesson, my driving instructor called and wanted to have a driving lesson with me immediately after my italki lesson. Sigh.. I was terrified since it had been so long since I had a driving lesson, but I knew it would only get worse if I waited so I agreed, and just like that the rest of my day became busy.I’m really proud of myself for not postponing and it looks like I might take the final driving test withing 2-3 weeks. Exciting and horrifying!

When I finally got home, I ate dinner and sat down to confirm the italki lesson from earlier, since I hadn’t had time when it ended, and then I noticed this!
Turns out today’s lesson was my 100th lesson through italki! If that isn’t an accomplishment then I don’t know what is!
italki100

Even though I hope that tomorrow will be less hectic, I’m still pretty happy with the results from today! Now It’s time to go to bed and start on a fresh note tomorrow. If things go as planned then I will be able to study a lot tomorrow! Just what I need after a stressful day!

Oh, and I still haven’t completely decided what to do about the italki language challenge, but I think I will take part in it this year too!

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

The (italki) Language Mindbuilder Challenge

As 2017 is beginning and most of the people around me are busy with their new years resolutions, I myself is busy working, studying and planning my first trip to Korea. Even though I enjoy doing things in my own pace, I’m not really too bothered by my busy schedule. I enjoy most of what I am doing at the moment, and the things that I don’t quite like, are only stepping stones to the things that I really want to do, so I’m fine with a little suffering (sorry, I’m in such a dramatic mood, haha!)
As I am starting to work my way through this new and exciting year, I have been thinking a lot about time management and what I need to do better in order to make more room in my schedule and this made me think about the Italki language challenge (Read more about the challenge here). If you have followed me on the blog for a while, then you will probably remember that I joined their first language challenge of 2016, and I ended op completing the biggest goal, which was having 30 hours of italki lessons in a little over a month (Read more about that here). I had a ton of fun and I certainly can’t deny that it was very helpful to my learning. I definitely do no regret doing it! However, I am struggling to decide whether or not to do it again this year. First of all, I had a full month off from work last year, which meant that the time aspect didn’t really matter, but this year I only have a week off in February. The smallest goal this time is completing 12 hours, and finding room for 12 hours during the 28 days of February, can be a bit of a challenge with my schedule this year. Also, there’s also the economical aspect. I spent quite a lot of money last year, because I wanted to accomplish the 30 hour goal. And even just 12 hours, can become quite pricey.
However, on the other side – wouldn’t it be a great tradition to create with myself? Start every new year with an italki challenge! Also, I already tend to spend a lot of money on my love for languages. Just think about the amount of money I have spent on books, and even worse, shipping! Yikes! I guess it’s pretty much the same. And it’s not like I can’t afford it to be completely honest.
Maybe I could even find yet another teacher and switch between them all. I bet that would be a fun way to keep myself on my toes!
Also, it certainly would be a great way to prepare myself a bit for my Korea trip this summer. Not to mention that I honestly don’t feel like I did my absolute best, during last years challenge.

Ah.. What to do, what to do.. Should I make room for the challenge in my schedule this year?

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

The odd ways of motivation

Lately a lot of things have been happening and as a result, my motivation for studying has been on quite a ride. It really made me realize that one’s motivation can be affected by so many factors, which is awesome and frightening at the same time.
As I have mentioned before, I have been working on a lot of projects and some of them are working out, some are not. Some of them depends on me and some of them depends on other people as well.
One of the projects that I have been working a lot on sadly did not work out and even though I don’t really mind, for some reason it seems to have affected my motivation. I felt like my many hours of studying was wasted. How on earth did that thought appear in my mind? Studying is never wasted and thanks to this project, my writing and speaking skills have improved immensely, so why on earth did this feeling get to stick to my soul and drag my mood down? Honestly, I’m still looking for the answer.
Things like this will happen once in a while. It happens to everyone. I guess people deal with it in different ways. So what do I do? I’m usually very motivated. Probably 85% of the time. But what about the last 15%? It’s actually really simple. I just suck it up and keep going. Motivation is an amazing thing but we can’t deny the fact that it’s a emotion that can’t really be forced, and if you rely on that alone, you might not go anywhere near your goals. I don’t recommend ‘sucking it up’ to everyone, though. It’s so easy to burn yourself out and if you do that, then you wont go anywhere at all. I guess it’s a balance thing. My motivation is generally really strong, so I don’t have to worry about burning out, but I know a lot of people are really struggling with their personal balance.
Isn’t motivation fascinating? None of us really knows what it is, how to describe the feeling or how to trigger it. And yet, we can all relate to the feelings it brings and none of us wants to be without it. It is indeed amazing!
Anyhow! I have been ‘sucking it up’ for a short time period and while the results obviously are different from normal, I have still been improving slightly and I’m satisfied with the fact that I stuck through the dry spell. A few days ago, my motivation returned for full power. I now feel super impatient and restless when I’m at work, because my mind needs to go home and study. To avoid too much frustration over this, I now spend more time during my breaks to enjoy the Korean language and urge to learn. I’m making new friends, finding new blogs and integrating Korean into my hobbies like dancing and cooking. I’m having fun in my own little Korean-bubble (yeah.. that’s totally a thing) again!
So what happened? Well I guess that a lot of things have caused my motivation to return this strongly, but there’s mainly 2 things. The first reason is my Italki teachers. Yes, teachers. I started sessions with another teacher last week, because the time difference and busy schedules, sometimes makes it difficult for me to find a good time to schedule sessions with 효진쌤. So, I decided to find another teacher who could fill out the gaps when necessary. However after having my first session with 혜선쌤, I found out that out learning styles and personalities also seems to match really well, so now I’ll just have weekly sessions with both of them. You can’t practice too much, right? Anyway, they are both really great and that alone is motivating, however their praise have really been motivating me. It’s not that praise in unusual to me, but in this case I can just tell that they actually have an interest in me and my improving skills, and that makes me want to study harder and show them my efforts. It kinda feels like when you want to make your friends or family proud. I like this feeling. ^^
The second reason is myself. I had no confidence  at all when I started this journey, but I keep growing and learning more about myself. I didn’t think I could self-study, I didn’t think I could read, I didn’t think I could speak. I’m proud of myself. And I need to work hard so that I can continue being proud of myself.

Posted in books, Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

REVIEW – Korean Q&A sentence patterns by TTMIK

qna-1

This is a book that just recently joined my growing collection of books, and since it is one of my current favorites I decided that it was more than worthy of a review on the blog.
The funny thing about this is that I actually bought the e-book when it was published, but because I prefer physical copies I never quite got around to using it. I usually force myself to read e-books since not all books will come out in paper format, but it does take me a lot longer to work through them, which is why I currently have 2 other e-books on standby.. I will get to them soon, I promise!
Anyway let’s get to the review!
As usual I will go through the setup, good points and bad points, my general opinion and lastly my advice for studying with this specific book.

Setup
The books starts out with a short but thorough introduction to the content as well as TTMIK’s own advice on how to study with the book. This is followed by the table of contents and then we get to all the fun stuff.
qna-2

qna-3

The book contains 10 categories, which each has 5 main questions. All of the main questions are followed by 3 similar questions, a main grammar point, a sample answer as well as 3 similar answers.
The book provides vocabulary lists, study notes, a real life answer from a TTMIK teacher as well as a sample dialog.
Lastly there’s a blank area for you to write your own answers in.
The book comes with downloadable audio files.

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qna-5

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Good/Bad points
The good – in no specific order:
– Visually pleasing.
– Realistic and interesting topics.
– Easy to review due to study notes.
– No romanization.
– Can help you improve listening, speaking, reading as well as writing.
– Can help you gain confidence by giving you knowledge about basic patterns as well as expected questions/answers in certain situations.
– Clean design that allows you to focus on the actual content.
– Perfect travel size.
– Answers from real people.

The bad – in no specific order:
– I always write answers on a separate paper and never in my books, but if I did then I would like a bit more answer space.

My general opinion
As mentioned in the beginning of my post, this is one of my current favorite books to study with, and I keep finding more and more ways to study with it, so personally I would recommend this to anyone who is beginner or intermediate. It’s a great way to improve your conversational skills and take a step towards talking Korean more freely, which is what I am currently working a lot on.

My advice on studying with this book
– Go through all the main questions. If you can answer them with confidence then you can move on to the next one. Sometimes you might learn something unexpected and even if you don’t, the book is made in a simple way that allows you to read it all quickly without feeling like you’re wasting your time. Not to mention that confirming your skills might give you a boost of confidence!
If you cannot answer with confidence then work through the assignments provided.
– Make sure to write your own answers to the questions. You can easily skip it or copy one of the sample answers, but practicing is really important if you want to really learn how to use these patterns. Also, writing your own answers forces you to really think about the question and the patterns and in many cases you will also have to look up words that are relevant to your specific answer, which will bring you even more knowledge about the topic.
If you find it very difficult, then start by writing your answer on a separate paper in your mother tongue. This will remove any barriers in your thinking while answering as well as it will give you a guide to what words and grammar you need to look up before answering in Korean.
– Avoid practicing wrong things. Make sure to get your answers checked so that you can learn from possible mistakes instead of teaching yourself something incorrect. You can ask friends, language partners, teachers or get help from websites like italki, lang-8 or apps like Hellotalk and HiNative (Reviews are coming for all of these).
– Use the audio files to practice both listening and speaking. These short files are perfect to imitate and practice pronunciation and intonation.
– Study with a language partner or friend if possible. I’m going to use the topics for my future italki sessions, and I’ll use the book to help me prepare for each session/topic.

I hope you guys found this helpful!
Let me just end today’s post by telling you guys that TTMIK is currently having a chuseok sale so now is a really great time to invest in this book! You can buy it HERE

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

This week 31.07.16

Good evening guys! This week was my last day at my internship, but even though it was quite hectic, I still got some studying done. Here’s my numbers from this week!

 

Monday – 25th of July
– Worked with a podcast (1st half of an audio book) for about 1 hour.
 Worked with SURE magazine for about 40 minutes.
– Worked with a podcast (2nd half of an audio book) for about 1 hour.

Tuesday – 26th of July
– Worked with a 만화 for about 20 minutes.
– Worked with 빈도별  토픽 for about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Wednesday – 27th of July
Nothing.

Thursday – 28th of July
Nothing.

Friday – 29th of July
Nothing.

Saturday – 30th of July
– Italki session for about  1 hour.
– Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about  1 hour and 40 minutes.
– Worked with 덕혜옹주 (YES I FINALLY PICKED AN EBOOK TO READ) for about 30 minutes.

Sunday – 31st of July.
– Worked with SURE magazine for about  1 hour and 40 minutes.
Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 20 minutes.
– Worked with 덕혜옹주 for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

That’s a total of 11 hours and 10 Minutes. Not to bad when I had a forced 3 day break! I now officially have (almost) all of August to myself and I’ll make sure to enjoy all of my time and get a lot of studying done!

I hope everybody had a great week just like me!
I’ll be back in a few days with a review!

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

This week 24.07.16

Hi guys! Since it Sunday today I decided to take a break from the blog post I was working on (I have a few updates) and write my weekly update!

This week was intense! Due to some unplanned issues I practically haven’t been home which means that I haven’t been studying like usual. However, due to my new study diary I don’t really feel that bummed about it, since I can see the result of last week, and I have still been able to get some studying done.

Monday – 18th of July
Worked with an article for about 1 hour.
 Worked with 빈도별 토픽 for about 40 minutes.
Worked on translating a song for about 20 minute.

Tuesday – 19th of July
– Nothing.

Wednesday – 20th of July
–  Reviewed new words for about 20 minutes.

Thursday – 21st of July
– Worked with 빈도별 토픽 for about 50 minutes.

Friday – 22nd of July
– Italki session for about 1 hour.

Saturday – 23rd of July
– Added new words from my italki session, to Quizlet/reviewing for about  1 hour.
– Talked on the phone with a new LP for about  1 hour.
– Worked with a magazine for about 30 minutes.

Sunday – 24th of July.
– Worked with magazine articles for about 2 hours.

So obviously this is a lot less than last week, but it’s still 8 hours and 40 Minutes where I DID get to study. Not bad at all! I feel like this coming week is going to be a lot more quiet and free, so I’m really looking forward to next weeks numbers!

I’ll be back with my updates tomorrow!

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

This week 17.07.16

Last Monday I started something new in order to hopefully stop myself from certain negative thoughts. You see, I feel a need to study a lot which in itself isn’t really a problem, however it seems like I automatically start on a completely new page each day. Actually. Its more like a whole new book. If I for some reason don’t get to study a lot one day, then I will feel very frustrated with myself and feel like I’m not doing my best – even if I have been studying for over 4 hours on the previous day. It’s like the other days of hard work just disappears the second I go to sleep. Also, I try my best to take a lot of breaks during my study sessions as I know its good for my head, but when I have a lot of short sessions, I loose track of my overall amount of studying which again leaves me frustrated.

I think I have become way too addicted to these long therapeutic study sessions, and now when my schedule simply doesn’t allow a lot of those, it causes me to feel stressed even though I really have no reason to.

To stop all of that stress I have decided to start keeping track of my studying. More precisely I time my study sessions, even when it’s just for 15 minutes and I add it all up at the end of the day. I also added a few notes on what I have been studying with during the day. I figured that it could help me regain overview of my studies, and surprisingly enough it has reduced my frustrations quite a lot. Therefore I have now decided to keep doing this for 5 weeks and see how it affects me and my way of thinking, and I’ll update on the blog each Sunday so that I can look back at my overall progress. Here’s how my week went by!

Monday – 11th of July
Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 1 hour.
– 
Practiced essay writing for about 1 hour.

Tuesday – 12th of July
– Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 50 minutes.
– Worked with useful Hanja words for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Wednesday – 13th of July
–  Worked with useful Hanja words for about 1 hour.
–  Worked with 빈도별 토픽 for about 1 hour.
–  Worked with Korean grammar in use (advanced) for about 50 minutes.

Thursday – 14th of July
– Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 3 hours.

Friday – 15th of July
– Italki session for about 1 hour.

Saturday – 16th of July
– Going through corrections from my essay for about 30 minutes.
– Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 1.5 hours.

Sunday – 17th of July.
– Worked with 빈도별 토픽 for about 1 hour.

 

Today I actually woke up with an awful headache and I didn’t really feel like doing anything what so ever. However, I got out of bed in decent time, I went jogging for the first time in 6 months and then sat down to study. At this point my headache became worse despite painkillers and I decided to stop studying. Normally I would feel really frustrated by studying for only 1 hour on a Sunday with no other plans. These days its so rare that I have that much time on my hands so I would definitely feel upset over wasting that time.
But today, I was totally fine with it because not only can I see right here and now in my notes, that I have been studying for over 14.5 hours this past week, but I can also see that I have been studying such a variety of things. I have been working on my grammar, I have been practicing writing, I have been reading, I have been talking and listening and I have practiced specifically for TOPIK (which I will be taking again in exactly 364 days from now – if you were wondering!). The fact that I am not able to use my Sunday in any efficient way, does NOT in any way mean that I have wasted my time or that I’m not doing my best. I’m working my butt off.

It feels really good to see everything over a larger period than just one day. If you – like me – feel frustrated over these so called ‘wasted’ days, then try to keep a small diary like me, over a longer time period.

My Sunday is almost over and as soon as I have published this post I’ll lie down on my couch and probably play some random game on my phone, without any regrets or thoughts of wasted time.

I hope everybody had a great week!

Posted in books, Personal, Uncategorized

Quiet Sundays

These last weeks have been quite intense and this is the first weekend in ages where I haven’t had any forced plans or work. A very needed break I must say. I decided to make this weekend all about myself and my needs and I definitely made the right choice!

Yesterday I took a trip to Aarhus and met with Sofie from Sofie To Korea for the first time! We had lunch and got to talk a lot which was really great! After that I decided to go shopping for a bit on my own. I really can’t remember when I did that the last time and while I usually prefer smaller cities, I actually really enjoyed watching all the people walk around, doing their own shopping. I spent more money than I should have but since I usually don’t shop at all, I’m actually okay with that.
I ended up getting on the wrong bus home and was suddenly stuck in a random small city. Sigh.. Anyway, Mr. 남친 suggested that he could come and pick me up, and then we could pick up some pizza and grilled chicken and eat it at his parents house, which was on our way home anyway. I guess yesterday was my most unproductive day in a long time, but never the less it was truly needed!

When I woke up this morning I decided to continue it like yesterday. I have the house to myself so I can literally do whatever I want! I cleaned my desk aka my holy place, I binge watched 마녀보감 while doing some dishes and laundry. I went for a quiet walk in the rain and took a long hot shower. While today is very productive compared to yesterday, I still feel just as great and relaxed because I’m doing exactly what I wish to do. I’ll make sure not to forget about what I WANT to do in the future. I just made myself a nice cup of tea and opened up all of the windows. Its still raining and its also a bit chilly today, but I feel like I need the fresh air, so I’ll keep warm with tea and my favorite cozy blanket instead. I’m currently sitting on my couch with a lazy bunny by my side and is just enjoying the quietness in our little home.

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I’m now going to enjoy my tea and read another chapter of 이상한 나라의 앨리스 and then I’m going to move on with my to do list. I want to review everything from my last italki session and finish the first chapter in 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 – Simply because I want to.
Later tonight before Mr. 남친 comes home, I’m going to cook us a nice delicious meal and then we’re going to sit down together and watch some criminal minds – Because I want to.

I was actually going to talk about about why I find it important to take notes, but honestly I didn’t feel like doing that today so I’m not going to.

Don’t forget about what YOU want to do.

Posted in Podcasts, Resources, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

How I practice my listening skills

In general I don’t think that one point or area of language learning should ever be considered more important that other points, however to me, I seem to have been the most worried about my listening skills. When I finished TTMIK Level 1 grammar lessons, I tried the audio test to see whether I was ready for Level 2 or not and when I listened to the mp3 track, I didn’t catch the words at all. I listened again and again and after 6 times I was able to follow along and I felt ready for Level 2. This was of course great, but it really freaked me out that my bad listening skills could cause THAT much trouble and confusion, so since that day I couldn’t help but to focus a bit extra on listening, whenever I was studying – And also when I wasn’t studying!

How to improve one’s listening skills obviously varies depending on what works the best for you, and during my language learning journey I have tried out several things. I try to expose myself to a lot of Korean even when I’m not paying attention, I watch Korean television without subtitles (I find that I forget to really listen if I have subtitles, but I know several people who just zone out after a while, so as with everything else, it depends on you), I’m listening to Korean songs (I try to listen to a lot of different songs so that I can get exposed to as many different pronunciations as possible. Also I find it really helpful to look up the lyrics as words can sometimes be pronounced in so many ways and be split up to match the melody. This means that you sometimes can’t recognize an otherwise well known word, and looking up the lyrics will make you aware of that specific word and then make it easier to spot it in the future.), but there’s mainly two methods that I have found really useful;

  1. Conversations! When having a Korean conversation (even if it’s just partly in Korean) I find that you focus in a completely different way than when you are just sitting at home, watching a drama. I’m not completely sure what makes that difference in my focus, but I ALWAYS find it easier to listen when I’m skyping with an actual person, having an actual conversation.
    I have talked a lot about Italki and I definitely recommend that everybody at least gives it a try. Of course you can find free language partners or friends online, but one the best parts about Italki is that since you pay for it, you don’t really feel the same pressure about being liked as a person and you can easily control how personal you want the sessions to become. Another great thing about Italki is that most people already have some experience with teaching and they are very well aware that you are not a native speaker, so they are patient and won’t judge you even if you ask them to repeat the same sentence 6 times, not to mention that you can easily ask them to adjust their speaking pace unlike with dramas and music.
    At least that’s my personal experience.

  2. Dictation! This has always been one of my favorite methods! When I was younger we did this a lot in all of our language related classed (including the lessons on our native language) and I have always felt that it really forces me to focus on what I hear and it also helps you practice your spelling skills as well as your handwriting if you want to make an effort on that part too.
    I have often done this with short podcasts or YouTube videos and usually I simply listen and write down the words. When I come across words that I am unfamiliar with then I try spelling it as well as possible and then look up the words. Sometimes I look them up as I come across them and other times I wait until I’m done writing everything down. Even if you don’t know the meaning of the word, it can still be very helpful to write it down as you hear it. It might mean that you loose the understanding of whatever you are listening to but it can also feel really amazing when you discover that you heard and wrote it correctly even though it wasn’t a part of your vocabulary. This too depends on you though. I personally don’t mind the not knowing part but my boyfriend can’t stand it when he doesn’t understand something, which is also why he never listens to anything else than Danish and English. This is also why I always wear headphones when watching dramas – I can literally see him get all tense and frustrated if he can hear them speak. If you feel this way too, then this type might not be for you! In that case I recommend sticking to dictation through materials that have a transcript. That way you can make sure that you write it correctly in your dictionary and thereby feel more relaxed when you know that you’re looking up the right words.
    I have come across podcasts with transcripts before so you might get lucky, but if not then here’s 3 resources that I have frequently used for dictation:
    1. TTMIK – You can find their free audio level tests on their website including the transcript, and they also have a ton of great e-books with corresponding videos or audio clips.
    2. YTN News – There’s plenty of videos with a transcript below. The videos are of different lengths and have different topics, so I really enjoy using this site!
    3. Previous topic listening tests – you can always find these online and on this site you can always find a transcript of the test. Here you also have different people, different situations and different lengths. Not bad right?

Two general tips for studying:

– Get yourself in an comfortable environment. In my case I don’t listen well if I’m surrounded by people  like on a train or bus. I can focus completely on a book but not listening. Also I can’t focus if my desk is messy. I can handle a lot of mess, but if my desk is messy then I can’t do ANYTHING. I can’t enjoy a movie on my laptop, I can’t read a book, I can’t study – NOTHING. I know this part of myself very well and if you have any problems like these, then you need to fix them before even trying to practice. If not it might lead to unnecessary failures that will cause even more struggles
– Remember to stick to short dictation sessions if you aren’t very comfortable with listening. Focusing as much as you can on listening and writing down, can be extremely exhausting and there’s no reason to make this an uncomfortable part of studying.
– Correct your mistakes in your notes as soon as possible so that you won’t make the mistakes become a habit. Also, review new words if that usually works for you!