So midterms…

As I mentioned in an earlier post we had midterms last week on Wed and Thurs, so we got our grades back on Fri. I’ll give you a hint, it didn’t go well… The way exams work at Yonsei is your grade is 50% midterms and 50% finals, except for a few other evaluations which are usually speaking which only count for that particular test. There are 4 exams: conversation 20% + speaking 80%, reading comprehension 90% + pronunciation 10% (reading out loud),ย  listening and writing (grammar).

Because of the way the grades are given you could fail the midterm and still end up passing if you get a high enough grade to compensate in the final, or the opposite fail the final if you have a high enough grade in the midterm to get a cumulative 60% in each of the skills. There is also the possibility of a retest after the final if you fail only one of the four skills. From what I’ve heard from people who have done that test, it’s cumulative and covers all the materials from the level; as opposed to the final which only covers material learned since the midterm. So really if you have to do the retest at the end it may end up being more difficult. If you fail the retest or fail more than one skill you have to redo the whole level.

In the week leading up to the exam I was really worried about not passing the listening test since I had done so poorly on the practice test so I started thinking about what I would do if I failed. Maybe I should have just thought positive instead but you know… Before I tell you how I did you should know that during level one my best skill was reading and my worst was listening.




So the results for level 2…. I failed reading! Reading of all things, and listening was my highest grade. I really can’t figure out how that happened! Anyway I didn’t fail miserably so I should be able to make up for it with the final, at least I hope so. I also didn’t do well on the speaking test but I passed at least. Now I have to figure out how to get better grades on the final exam which is typically much more difficult than the midterm….



Midterms next week

Here in Korea we’ve been on holiday since the end of September since it’s Chuseok (sort of like thanksgiving). I’ve known since the beginning of the semester that we were going to have this time off right before midterms. When the semester first started I thought this could be good or bad, either a lot of time to study or it ruins your time off. Since the vacation is almost over and I haven’t done much of anything (studying included) I guess neither of those applies.

Before our time off I was thinking of a few things I might want to do during this time. I thought I might do some hiking or visit a few places I haven’t gone to yet. And actually a few places had free entry during this time too. All in all though I didn’t do either of those things, now that I think about it I’m not really sure what I did during that time… The one thing I did do was go to the foreigner Chuseok party that was held near my place. I went with a friend and had a pretty good time, also won a gift certificate so that’s nice ๐Ÿ™‚

I think I wrote about this before but level 2 is so much harder than level 1 was, and I barely passed level 1. On a good day I don’t think I understand any more than maybe 75% of what the teacher says in class, on a bad day it goes down to about 50%. I’ve resorted to recording the classes which often helps me when I do my homework and can’t remember how to integrate the grammar we learned that day. A few days ago I started studying, that is I decided that I would mainly work on my vocabulary for a few days since I think this will help with all 4 exams. I had a list of several hundred words so I started working on that. I’ve been doing OK I guess but keep forgetting some words even though I keep writing them over and over. I still have a long way to go and in all honesty have no idea how I will pass this exam….

I’ve been thinking about this exam way too much over the past few days, thinking I will most likely fail. It’s been keeping me up at night actually and it’s really annoying me. I needed somewhere to vent I suppose and this blog is a nice place to do that. I will keep studying up until the exam comes and hope that it will be enough. If it’s not then I’ll just have to figure out what to do when/if that time comes. Time to get back to studying I guess….


We finally get some much needed time off for Chuseok (thanksgiving), YAY! We have ten days off and then as soon as we come back to school we have our midterms, well we have one day of review and then midterms. I didn’t really make any plans for this time off since, well I don’t really plan things but also I knew I had to study quite a bit during this time if I want any chance at all to pass level 2.

So besides studying… I also recently found some work online doing some translating (French-English) so I’ll probably be working quite a bit as well. Having finally found work is quite a relief since I had started getting a little worried about having no money coming in especially since I have to pay my tuition for the upcoming year before next week. So besides studying and working (which makes for a boring holiday) I will be going to a Chuseok party for foreigners tomorrow so that should be interesting. It’s quite close to home and I’ll be going with another friend from school as well. We’ll get to meet new people eat some good food and take a break from studying too!

Another speaking test…

So it seems that at every level we have a speaking test that is worth 20% of our speaking grade. During level 1 we wrote a “story” and then had to memorize it and tell it in front of the class, it was actually easier that I thought it would be but still not easy. For level 2 we have a conversation with one of our classmates. There are 3 different topics and for each we had to write 8 sentences all the while using at least 4 of the grammar points we’d learned so far. We handed our copies in to the teacher and got them back corrected, now all that is left is to memorize it…

There are 3 topics: family introduction, table manners and planning a party. The third of those has to be done in ๋ฐ˜๋ง or casual speech which we just finished learning. So 3 topics with 8 sentences each, we have to memorize 24 sentences, and we are not allowed to use cheat sheets at all (just like in level 1). On the day of the presentation the teacher will pick one of the 3 topics and that’s the one we have to do. We don’t know the topic until the day of the presentation so we have to memorize all 3 conversations. It’s hard, it’s really hard to memorize so much in Korean, I mean I think I would find this hard in English so doing it in Korean is even harder.

Tomorrow we have a cultural event for Hangeul day (which is next week), it’s the celebration of the creation of Korean writing. We have no class we are just going to see some shows and stuff, should be interesting. And then of course I have to make sure I remember all my lines for the speaking test on Thursday….

What if….

I think I mentioned this before but in my level 2 class one of my classmates is someone I had in my class from level 1. We are not particularly close but I guess I talk to her more often than I talk to my other classmates. The rest of my level 1 classmates which are still here also get together for lunch regularly, well actually almost everyday unless we have some extra classes or meetings with classmates to prepare class work. All this to say that we all hang out together quite a bit.

My classmates (let’s call her M for simplicity and anonymity), so M hasn’t come to class since last Wednesday. She has missed 3 days in a row of classes, I sent her a kakaotalk message on Thursday since we had a class activity and the teacher wanted to know if she was coming. She didn’t come, not did she answer my message or come to class on Friday either. Come Monday (that’s today) and I expected to see her in class, but once again she was absent… I spoke to my other level 1 friends to see if maybe they knew anything and they didn’t. H (another level 1 friend who’s in another class now) sent her a text during class and later called her as well but got no reply. Since we were in the same class during level 1 and M rarely missed class (I think she missed 1, maybe 2 days), we are all a little worried now.

H happens to know where M lives so we go and head to her place later after class to make sure she’s OK; we don’t know her room number so we try calling and texting again but get no reply.With no other option we call the owner of the place (she lives in a one room apartment) and ask for her room number. It was a little difficult and complicated but we managed to get it so we go knock on her door. We knocked loudly and like 10 times and even tried the door a few times with no answer. At this point I guess we’re even more worried so we go to the owners office, we explained the situation and she seemed to understand what was going on (that we were worried about our friend). She come down and she knocks as well before unlocking the door. And then we hear our friend ask who’s there… She never actually opened the door, we just heard her voice but I guess now we know she’s OK.

So I guess my friend is OK, and I hope she comes to class tomorrow but this all got me thinking… All of us hang out together and stuff but we don’t really know much about each other, I mean we don’t even know where each other lives. So what would happen if something really did happen to one of us? Is a bit of a disconcerting thought really. I have a feeling we might all share some of that information now, just in case.

Since this will probably worry my parents… All my friends know exactly where I live and have all actually been here before; besides if the hasook lady/other residents didn’t see me for more than a few days they would know something is wrong. All my school friends also know that I would never miss class so if I did they would phone/text/call and/or come to my place to make sure I was OK. I guess this isn’t the kind of thing we want to think about but it is something rather important, I mean realistically here if I got hit by a car or something how would anyone know… Guess we’ll all think about it now.

Tomorrow we make Japchae

Every level at KLI has some sort of cultural activity, well except level 1… Anyway for level 2 our activity is to make Korean food, particularly we will be making japchae. Japchae is glass noodles with vegetables and meat, it’s actually not too bad; except at my hasook where the ajumma makes it super spicy, noodles are not suppose to be spicy… Today in class we watched a DVD and read the recipe (all in Korean of course), we had learned most of the vocabulary earlier in the week (boil, chop, cut, mix, etc) so I actually understood most of it but since we were also watching a video of it, it didn’t really matter if I understood ๐Ÿ™‚

So tomorrow morning we have our first two classes and the last two periods we will be making some food! I’m glad we got the last two periods because then we can eat the japchae for lunch, yum! I guess I’ll have to post again later this week to tell you all how it went, until then here is a link to how to make japchae here.

Level 2 is HARD!

I was really happy when I ended up passing level 1, I barely passed in writing, but I passed. Actually my combined grade was 68%, which isn’t all that bad (not that good either mind you). Anyway I passed and I knew level 2 was going to be hard but um, not this hard I guess. I’d say I understand anywhere from 50-75% of what my teacher says on any given day. It varies depending on what we talk about and whether or not I can understand her explanation of the daily vocabulary. The grammar isn’t that bad, I mean there is always an explanation with examples on how it is used in English in our textbook so even if I don’t understand what the teacher says I can still figure out how to use the grammar.

So I’m a little discouraged right now, I think I will have to put in a lot more effort into studying. I can’t just study what we do in class, I want to be able to understand more of what the teacher says so I’ll have to study other things as well. Luckily there are many online resources for language studyย  so I will be plunging into some of those. One of the main ones I will use for now is a list of the 6000 most commonly used Korean words, I’ll use a flash card app and try to learn several words everyday. I’m hoping this will help me… Well it can’t make things worse anyway.

Another thing I will have to do more consistently is to read the textbook and reading book the day before we study it in class so I know all the vocab before hand and can have a better grasp of the subject. I guess I will have to learn to study properly, I’ve never really had to study before a managed to get by pretty well but it looks like that isn’t going to work for me to learn Korean… Oh well, it’s not like I thought it was going to be easy but I guess I didn’t think it would be this hard either.

Ok so since I have to study more now I will probably be posting less, but then again I haven’t really been posting that much during the semester so maybe it won’t change. We do have Thanksgiving coming up which gives us a nice break before the midterm so I’ll most certainly be doing a little touristing during that time.