So, a few weeks ago I shared on this blog that I had signed up for the TOPIK test in London in November and added that it might very well be that I wouldn’t get to go because of the pandemic. I will indeed not go to London but I’m still surprised that the decision was made for me so many weeks in advance.

A little over a week ago, the UK introduced new quarantine rules requiring anyone traveling from Denmark to quarantine for 14 days before being allowed to move freely around the country. Since I had reserved only 48 hours for the whole journey this ruling effectively killed my TOPIK aspirations in 2020. Oh, well…

I definitely felt my motivation take a strong hit last week. I had bought these great preparation books and worked out a detailed study schedule but somehow it seemed a little futile to study so hard now for a test that I may or may not be able to take come April. So what was I then supposed to do?

I had discovered that the schedules and the goals worked well for me. I thrive in conditions where I have clearly set goals and a plan for reaching them and for a few days, I was mindlessly reading passages from textbooks, jotting down random sentences and felt it was all for nothing. I definitely needed a new plan and a new schedule.

My TOPIK books were thus archived on my ever-growing Korean bookshelf, and I instead decided on polishing some other skills. I’m currently re-reading my old Sogang textbooks from levels 5 and 6, so in lieu of my detailed exam preparation plan I made a plan for when I should be done with them. I usually spend two days working through one chapter, doing writing exercises and reviewing vocabulary.

I also dusted off my dear Hanja book (한자를 알면 세계가 좁다), which I had neglected for most of this year and began reviewing the chapters I had already learned. It’s scary how fast I forget to read Chinese characters. This time around, I also plan to practice writing them more. While I know and recognize a decent number of Chinese characters for a non-Korean, I still have a hard time writing them. Hopefully some practice can remedy that.

So, this is how I’m studying these days. I also practice my listening skills with JTBC’s newsroom podcast every morning, and I read Korean novels for pleasure. I’m currently reading 호재 by 황현진, and it’s easily the most challenging book I’ve read. It’s filled with hanja-based words that are completely foreign to me, so it’s taking me a while to finish it but with a few pages every day I’ll get it done.

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