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 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 Personal, Rant, Selfstudy, taekwondo, Uncategorized

All the things

As most of you guys already know, I’ve had some pretty intense last months of 2017. It seemed like all important things had to be done at the same time which left me running around all confused for a while!

I had my very first taekwondo belt promotion in the end of November and it scared the poop out of me. My anxiety was all over the place and I felt like I was going to fail, despite knowing that I knew everything that I needed to know. It was a really rough morning, but the second our coach said 차렷! My brain completely shut down and my body switched to the same taekwondo mode I experience during our normal practices. When my name was called I got up, did my thing and sat back down. Being a white belt there wasn’t a lot of things for me to show compared to many of the other colors, so I spent the next few hours focused on what my team mates where doing. I felt super encouraged and motivated to continue when I was looking at them. In the end I passed and got a yellow stripe on my white belt. That means I’m halfway to a new belt – Yay!

I got home late that Sunday and I was completely exhausted, but I couldn’t relax.
You see, I was working on my important, final exam at the same time as I was preparing for the promotion. I had been working on that project since early May. First I had to create a project idea and make a plan, which I then had to present to my teacher and boss for approval. Once that was taken care of I wasn’t allowed to do anything related to the project until August (that’s a long story). In August I had to prepare for the project which then had to run for 2 weeks in September. I then had to spend the beginning of November on gathering results and then spend the end of November on writing a report on all of my goals, my methods of accomplishing those goals, the final results and so on. The report had to be submitted the morning after my belt promotion and believe it or not, it still wasn’t over.
After submitting my work I then had to start preparing and practicing for an oral presentation of everything written in my report. I had the final, oral part of the exam a week later, and after that I was finally done! I’m so happy to finally be done with the entire project!

These super stressful months took their toll on my body though. After the exam I started feeling really tired all the time and my general anxiety became a lot worse, but due to the Christmas season, there was just no way I could slow down. I was working overtime for several weeks and when I finally had my last day of work this year, I felt like crap. I immediately got sick with the flu which have now lasted for two weeks. I’m positive that this is my body’s way of telling me that enough is enough.
It’s so important to take good care of yourself!

I finally started to feel alive again yesterday and I felt even better today. I made sure to eat a ton of fruits and veggies! I spent a lot of time studying before and after getting sick as well.

As some of you might know, I have been taking a course on Kmooc. I wasn’t planning on doing it at all but I accidentally joined a course while looking for more information about it, because I’m an idiot that apparently can’t read, haha! The funny thing is that I had just talked to a friend about wanting to finish a lot of all my current books and projects before starting any of my new books (I’m only using one of the books I bought in Korea. I’m not allowed to even open the rest until I have completed a few of the ones I’m currently working with), so obviously I have been teased quite a lot about this.. Anyway I joined a course by 울산대학교 called 가족과 건강: 행복한 삶을 위한 정신의학. I actually really like the course and I feel like I have done a lot better than expected. I especially worried about the essays since writing is one of my weakest assets. But that’s why I’m glad I joined it. Throwing yourself into a new challenge, head first and with no safety net, is a great way of improving. I have finished all of the weeks and the accompanying homework, and now I’m just waiting for the final quiz to start next week. I’m also (im)patiently awaiting feedback on the biggest essay from a few weeks ago. My total score needs to be 60% or higher to pass, and I currently have 47%. With the final quiz + the essay, being the two parts that gives the most points, everything is depending on those results. I feel somewhat confident in the quiz, but I’m more interested in the essay results haha!
I think I’ll do a proper post about my experiences once my result is out. If my essay results aren’t too horrible then I might post it here as well!
The course have been pretty rough though. Obviously there’s a ton of new vocabulary and it takes ages to look up all those words all the time. I haven’t been studying with any other books during these 7 weeks because all my time was spent on going through new material or doing the homework. I’ve really missed ‘normal’ studying and I’m really happy to start working with my books again. It’s kind of exhausting to study a language through a course where your language ability aren’t even being evaluated.

I was planning on talking a bit about my goals for 2018 as well, but I think I have been blabbering for long enough now, so that will have to wait til tomorrow, haha.

Well, it has been some intense months, however I still have a full week til I return to work, and even then, all I have to do is work! No more work related studying, no more exams and hopefully a lot less stress. It’ll be great to have more study time!

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!