March 14, 2020•2,182 words
I'll do a rundown of the different sections of the test and how they were carried out, and some of my own notes for how I tackled it, and how to prepare better for a next test (for the sections where I feel this is necessary).
There were essentially 4 parts to the test, if you think about it in that way. The teacher had said it was reading, writing, listening, speaking. All right, it's kind of like that. But I'll split it into five sections.
We were first given the main test paper. This test paper contains the questions for the listening component in the first few pages, followed by grammar and vocabulary, and then finally, reading. We were told to start with the grammar and vocabulary (which was on page 4) because there was one student who had not arrived. When she arrived, we started with the listening test immediately. After the listening test, the teacher called 2 students at a time to do the oral test. You had to hand in the main paper and then get the writing test paper to finish the test.
The listening test has a few sections, but they were all MCQ. There was no part that required you to write down anything (no dictation). We listened to the whole thing through twice. And no, there wasn't anything on dates being tested here in the end.
The first part had 3 questions. They were sentences that were read, with blanks. You had to select the correct word that was missing from the sentence from a list of 4 options.
The next part (Q4-8) was mysterious. It consisted of (printed on the paper) only the question numbers, and 4 options (1-4) without anything written next to them. Only when I heard the third option of the first question in this section did I realise what was going on. Basically, each option was an audio of someone asking a question and a second voice giving an answer. The question asked in each option is always the same. You had to pick the answer that is the correct response (in terms of grammar, and in terms of it making sense) to the question that was asked.
Then there was this "pick the place". I think it was around 3-4 questions. You had a list of places on the paper. The conversation describes what can be found in that place and what someone can do at the place. From there you had to pick the correct place. For example there was one question describing a cafe, so the conversation said that you can find cake and coffee there, and someone (they named a name) was drinking coffee and meeting her friends there.
Another part consisted of pictures with items/places positioned relative to each other. There was a conversation for each question, and you had to pick the picture that correctly represented the position of the objects relative to each other. My memory of this is fuzzy now, but I know there was a question that was about the position of a bag and the umbrella relative to it. Then later there was the position of an embassy relative to a bank.
The next part was more pictures, but this time of people doing things. You had to pick the right picture representing what the person was doing and where they were doing it.
Now the final part consisted of 5 questions, I believe 16-20. Each question had 4 statements, and you had to pick the correct one in the list. The conversations were always between 2 people, an unnamed man and woman. So on the paper they are referred to as man and woman.
How I Tackled It
I wrote down a lot of things in pencil. For the second section, I wrote down the question (or at least, the key question word, such as "where"), and part of the answer. I continued doing that for the pictures as well, writing down the Korean keywords that I heard.
For the last part, I did something that I guess is rather questionable, but hey, I'm used to doing whatever it takes to score for listening. (That was the only option in university, you didn't want to be on the wrong side of the bell curve!) I wrote down what I understood of the conversation in English, then picked through it later after the audio was over. I think I started this on the first listen through for the third or fourth question, but for the second one I wrote them all down. At the end, I erased my English scribblings for this page. (I left the Korean scribblings for the previous few pages.)
The last question, I thought that there were 2 options that were possible. I'm sure the woman was referring to the place as "here" (she was asking "Is this Seoul Park" or something like that), so it should be correct that they are both there. But the man also talked of the location of the park (which is "here") relative to his house. One was behind the other. I wrote it one way first (house is behind the park), then swapped it (park is behind the house). Because of that, although the final way I wrote it matched with one of the options, I chose the other option (that both of them are at the park).
How to Improve
Realise that there may not be time given to read the questions (there wasn't in this case). So I obviously should have read the questions first. Basically, when there was time before the listening test started, I should have read the questions first. Granted, most of the them don't need reading, but the last section definitely needed reading. When I turned the page for the first time and saw that wall of Korean text, I was honestly intimidated because I couldn't read that fast.
2. Grammar and Vocabulary
I don't think there's much to say about this, except that yay it exists. The way it sounded like last week was that it would not be there. But it is, and this part is never a challenge for me compared to everything else.
Plus, this was MCQ (I couldn't believe it), so it was doubly easy.
Pretty much the same as above. It wasn't very hard, there was just one page of this with some questions. They were all pretty straightforward, and nothing that was very long to read. You had to pick the wrong option out of the all those given for 2 questions (or maybe more), but the last question had 3 statements about the (slightly longer) passage and you had to say whether each one was correct or wrong.
The oral test was done in pairs. There are three sections: Reading, roleplay, and interview. There was about 1-2 minutes given for us to read the instructions on the paper, and then it started. We did not have any writing materials, so it's not like we could have written anything to prepare either. And I think the paper is reused by all the students in the class, so even if we did have writing materials we probably would not have been allowed to write on it.
There were a list of sentences on the paper. I forgot how many, but maybe like, 10? And all you had to do was read it. The sentences weren't very long. 2 of them had dates in it, and the dates were given as numbers (oh yes, there was a 16 there which I probably messed up now that I think about it - I didn't process it and sprouted something that was in my mind), so you had to be sure of how to pronounce them.
The only thing I can say about this was that it gives an advantage to the person who goes second, because you both read the same thing. So if there was anything that you were unsure about, you might have been able to catch a hint from... I went first, anyway.
The scenario was given in English. Basically you are on a plane home from Korea. You talk to the person sitting next to you. You are supposed to introduce yourself and talk about what you did in Korea. You talk to your classmate. The teacher says to imagine she isn't there (and she doesn't bother to interrupt or help, you're completely on your own).
Basically, this was the worst part for me. It's not so much the self-intro (which also was bad by any standard, I didn't even start to ask the other person's name), but the fact that it was about what you did in Korea. Recall that I have something like 0 cultural knowledge about Korea. I barely know anything about food. I know even less about the places, places you can go, about the things that you can do. So that did not help.
How to Improve
I figure that I should have minimally memorised some places in Korea that were covered in the textbook, and the things that they were famous for.
But to be perfectly honest, although I barely studied for this test (relying mostly on Anki for revision), I doubt I'd have thought to study for this.
Anyway, I probably should find some cultural topics to discuss for future. Sigh.
In this part, the teacher asks you questions and you have to answer.
- What is the date today? (Asked to my partner)
- What day of the week is it today? (me)
- What are you doing tomorrow? (Asked to my partner first)
- What did you do yesterday? (Asked to me first)
Then I was asked what I was doing tomorrow, and my partner was asked what she did yesterday.
The writing test paper is a single sheet with 2 sides. The first side consisted of reordering sentences. You were given words that were in random order and you had to put them into a sentence. This is very easy, because there was no conjugation required - all the verbs were already correctly conjugated.
The next side is the writing assignment. Basically, you had to do a self-introduction (name, nationality, job, etc.) and then talk about what you did on the weekend/yesterday. You had to write about events in the past, and you had to use the -고 that links event together. And it was very clear that you had to use verbs that were in the different conjugations groups, the explicit instructions were to use both 았어요 and 었어요.
The teacher told us to write more or she can't grade. She did sound a little frustrated (probably also because we were talking when she left to finish the test with the last person).
So anyway, I wrote some stuff. Nothing particularly interesting, I didn't make much stuff up, but what I did on the weekend was definitely a figment of my imagination. There were a lot of vocab words that I lost as well that I'd have liked to include. I have to work on that too.
How to Improve
Actually write some essays before the test, like I intended, but never got around to.
(And also prepare for the test realising that you can't refer to the main test paper for inspiration. I think this wasn't done only to prevent us from referring to the sentences, but also so that the teacher could begin marking the test. :/)
We also got the invoice for the next term today. Next term will begin after a 3-week break, and it will be with another teacher. I wonder if they are compressing the classes? There is a Wednesday class that is 2 weeks behind... hmm. The cost is $200 instead of $240, $10 is because of the Google review event and there is another $30 because... I don't know, it simply says complimentary lesson.
Whether there is a break between terms... I wonder if it's more likely between levels, e.g. Foundation and Beginner 1, and Beginner 1 and Beginner 2, simply because there's a chance that the teacher changes. I know the break between Foundation and Beginner 1A was because the teacher was going back to Korea for a while.
Plus here's some vocab I forgot to add from chapter 2, when we were discussing items in our rooms. I saw it while flipping through the textbook on the way to class, not that it helped.
I knew they were not in my Anki deck when they looked so unfamiliar.