I decided to step up my Korean studies by applying for the Korean Immigrant Immersion Program (KIIP) Korean class. It’s a free program provided by the government for foreigners. Before taking the class, you have to register with the website and take a placement test. I used a lot of this guy’s information on registering for the site and the test. His posts are a few years old, but they are still valid.
The day of the test, I had to go to Busan Foreign Language University. Staff and signs were plentiful, pointing you in the direction you needed to go. There was a printout hanging on the wall that listed your name and room assignment. In the room, you are seated alphabetically with a name sticker on your desk so you know exactly where to go.
My room was set up to seat 70 people but only about 40 people showed up. The demographic was a mix of about half men, half women. There was a handful of westerners with the majority demographic being Vietnamese.
Before the test started, we had to put our phones and bags at the front of the room. We were allowed to keep water, our ID, and test registration ticket at our desk. There was a short PowerPoint presentation showing you how to fill out your scantron answer card. They explain everything in Korean. There were 3 staff members in the room circulating to make sure no one had questions and filled everything out right.
The tests were handed out at 1:00 on the dot. There were a couple people who arrived just as the tests were being handed out and were allowed to sit for the test. However, they wasted a lot of precious test time filling out the mundane information for the card before they could even start the test.
The Written Test
The written test consisted of 40+ multiple choice questions. The questions started easy with vocabulary then increased in difficulty with grammar. The last few questions were culture related. One questions asked, “Which ingredient is not used in samgyetang?” (The answer was “duck.”) The last 2 questions were short answer write-ins. It gave you a short dialog and asked you to write in the missing words. If you want to practice for this test, these TOPIK mock tests are a good way to start.
One annoyance other than the fact that my room smelled like a huffing addict’s wet dream, was when the test administrators checked my ID in the middle of the test. They went around the room and took your ID card and your scantron answer paper and checked it thoroughly. I lost a good 60 seconds waiting for him to return my card. You also cannot mark on the question paper. This is a problem for me. I’m a very tactile and visual test-taker so I like to be able to cross off answers I’m unsure of and make notes.
When the test is over, they swoop in and collect your papers. You always get the few who pretend like they don’t understand what’s going on and try to write in a few extra answers. It’s a pre-test. If you don’t know the answer, randomly picking answers isn’t going to help you. Don’t be that person.
Then we were all herded into an auditorium. A lady stood at the front with a projected spreadsheet that listed everyone by when they registered for the test. And there she called us number by number, and we shuffled into rows of 5. I truly pity the people who registered close to test day. Listening to “80번? 80번? 80번? 없어요? 81번? 81번? 81번?” for an hour without a phone or music must be a mild form of torture. I registered 3 months early and was still in the 40s.
The Speaking Test
Our group of 5 was seated in a line according to our number. We each had a piece of paper with the same Korean passage. It was a beginner-level paragraph about Korean traditional markets. (Beginner level as in completed Level 2 in Talk to Me in Korean curriculum.) The first person read the passage out loud and was asked a few comprehension questions about the passage. Then they asked a few miscellaneous questions about vacations, how your country’s vacations are different from Korea’s, what you like better, etc. The questions were all based on your level of comprehension and how well you answered the previous questions, but overall, we were all asked the same questions.