Well it’s basically just one hour ago that I finish my very first Topik sitting. What was it like? What was it like for me to be specific. It turned out to be alot more people there taking it then i thought there would be. There was some confusion where I needed to go but a nice korean gentlemen walked me to the right building and there was alot of people there. There had to be at least 70 people and more parents around. The thing that surprised me the most is who was taking the test.
It was ALL korean kids!!! In fact most of them seemed to be around the 10 year bracket. AND there was only one American there (and what I mean by that americans not of korean decent as I know probably all the kids that showed up were born in america and also americans) and that would be me! Also since I appeared to be the only adult there actually taking the test made me stand out even more. Wow a big surprise on my part. Why did so many korean kids need to take the topik?
I have to say this could work out in some korean comedy movie of a 6 foot four inch american guy taking a korean language proficiency test with 70 korean 10 year olds. It made me so much more nervous! At the front door I had to wait to get in and then a korean women told me I had to find my classroom on the front window where they plastered papers with names on it. One korean women working the event said oh that’s you right and pointed to my name on one of the papers immediately on the window which I thought was strange till later I realized that I was the only white guy there to take the test. Arghhhh…. Easy to pick me out then.
Off to the classroom and they put your banner of your application to topik with your picture on it to the table where you were assigned. Ok I’m not a kid in school anymore but did they have to put me right up front in the very first seat??? Put me in the back please so I dont have all the kids staring at me. Then they put a hyperactive korean boy next to me who keeps hitting the table and they’re all talking about 10 year old stuff and I was getting more nervous about being the only adult in the room and never did I thought I would have to focus so much to keep from getting distracted by what seemed like a bunch of kids that didn’t want to be there. Sorry parents but I heard them all say why did they had to be there and when would this be over. Great atmosphere for me that really did want to be there.
The one korean lady who found my name immediately on the paper on the window came in and gave me instructions as she said when the person running the test for this room came in she would speak only in korean. Phew the heartbeat is racing now. There wasn’t much instructions though so off she went and then the person came in to run the test. Giving instructions at 8:40 am in korean and then waiting till 9:00 am to actually take the test made for another awkward waiting of 17 minutes till the first part of the test started. Heart is pounding even more now.
She finally passed out the answer sheet and I had trouble printing my name and id number as I was so worked up and nervous at that point I had to wait till later in the test before my hand stopped shaking enough to let me print my info. I was also feeling light headed which didn’t help listening to the woman up front speaking in korean right before the test started.
Well the test starts and I’ll figure something out. It wasn’t too bad in the beginning of the test and then came some sections which I didn’t understand what the heck I was supposed to do. So some guessing came into play and by 10:30am the first part was done. Then the wait with running kids all over the place with a monster guy walking around the middle of them waiting…and waiting…and waiting till the second part came. One little girls comes and says hi and runs off and then circles back and asks me why I was there. I said to take the topik like her and she says ok and runs off again as I look at the clock wishing time would go by faster.
Listening piece would start things out with second part of the test but I got no english instructions so I was becoming even more light headed as I was worried if I couldn’t figure things out in time as the women began the cd. Well I did ok in the beginning and thought I was going pretty good till the recordings got longer and then some sections again where I struggled to figure out what I had to do. But in all honesty I think even I did have a clear idea of what to do with those long recordings and being light headed…. alot of it was going in one ear and out the other.
Finally the listening piece ended and reading up next. Same as previously. Did ok in beginning and then as they got harder the practice of using ‘process of elimination’ came into it and how well I did using it will have to wait till June. The last week with being sick and all the personal stuff going on took a big toll on me and getting back into my car after the test was a big relief.
Looking back right at this moment I probably should have at least downloaded one of the topik exams I know exist out there on the internet and at least try to figure out what type of sections they would have on the test so I wasn’t so surpised by some sections and what I had to do. I did no prep work on what the test entailed or what other than purchasing the one korean book that said it listed all grammar points that would be on the first topik exam. Other than that I don’t even know what a passing score is but it doesn’t matter. In june I can go to topik website and see how it went.
Overall I came out of this glad I finally took it as uncomfortable as the conditions where. It really kicked me in the butt that I need alot of work to do and even though I still feel sick and light headed as I write this. I’m grateful I took the test. I think I should have taken the topik when I first started studying korean just to have some tests like this to see where I stood in terms of studying.
Wait till August all you little kiddies!!! I’m coming back but more prepared this time! Later everybody….I’m going to take a nap : )
– oh yeah the kid sitting next to me sneezes right into the table during the listening part of the test and I get some side hit of it…..arghhh I want to make sure I mention that so I can laugh I hope when I get fluent in korean what I went through taking the topik the first time!