Hey everyone – It sure has been a while! While I’ve been away from this blog I’ve been happy to see that my readers haven’t. I still get lots of reads and new subscribers every day. Thank you! I guess there must be a few evergreens among my vast library of blog posts 😉

So, what have I been up to? Well, aside from teaching both economics and Korean, I had my second shot at the TOPIK in October. My first try was while I lived in Korea back in 2017, where I managed to reach the highest level 6. However, the test is only valid for two years, so I had been looking to renew my certificate for a while. Originally, I had signed up for the test in London in November last year but that was cancelled due to covid. I didn’t have time in the spring, but over the summer I learned that I could also apply for a test spot in Helsinki (hey, an excuse to travel to a new city) so I signed up and started cramming.

Obviously, I’m already fluent in Korean, and I must say that the 6-8 weeks that I spent preparing for the test did not improve my Korean in any way. I just reinforced my knowledge of the test format. I like to say that the test is 50% Korean skills and 50% the ability to test well according to a fixed format. So, armed with books like Hot TOPIK, I took several practice tests and tried to zone in on my weak points, so I could defend my level 6 and hopefully improve my score.

On Oct. 15 I flew with my husband to Helsinki. The test was on the 16th which is also our wedding anniversary. What better way to spend your wedding anniversary than sitting for a three-hour harrowing exam, right? Anyway, we decided to make a weekend out of it. On the day of the test, I took a taxi to the test place at a school in the outskirts of Helsinki. As expected we weren’t more than around 16 taking the TOPIK II exam. We had our temperature checked and were showered in sanitizer before entering the test room. Obviously, we were also required to wear masks during the test, although we had to remove them briefly while they checked our identities.

After the test, I felt pretty confident (and tired). The listening part was fine and I felt good about my writing, which I had practiced intensively in the weeks leading up to the exam. The final part – reading – was also fine, but I knew I had a couple of questions wrong in the end because it was a long text about legal issues. I have studied legal terms in Korean but they still remain my weakest point. Nonetheless, I left the exam feeling that I had secured my level 6 and was then free to enjoy Helsinki. If you haven’t been, it’s worth a visit. I may be a bit biased since it was my first trip abroad since covid hit – and any place outside Denmark would feel exciting – but still, the weather was lovely and the city was beautiful. See for yourself:

The next month and a half was waiting and waiting for the results. I always say that signing up for the TOPIK and checking your scores is way harder than the actual test. Anyway, the results were finally published yesterday, and after waiting in an online queue for hours I was able to log in. I was very happy to see that I had widened my level 6 margin and scored a total of 256 points. Before the exam I had a goal of hitting above the 250 mark, but I had adjusted it to 240 after having taken the test, as I found it challenging. So, I was very pleased to see that I had outperformed my own expectations. Especially my writing score of 78 was pretty cool 🙂

All good things come to those who wait 🙂

Since TOPIK, I’ve been busy with another project that I’ve been keeping under my hat until now. I have (in a moment of coinciding mental weakness and immense optimism) applied for the JLPT, which is the Japanese version of TOPIK, in December. Obviously, I’m still very much in beginner’s territory so I have applied for the second-easiest level N4. It’s my first time ever taking any Japanese proficiency test, but I’m confident that my solid vocabulary and decent reading speed will get me through.

Unlike with the TOPIK, I have no personal ambitions as to the score, but that being said I’m definitely intending to pass it. I have 9 days until the big day and an intense study schedule ahead of me. At least I can take that one in Denmark and won’t have to travel abroad.

I’ll get back to you all on the other side of JLPT. Wish me luck 🙂


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