Monday, September 14, 2009


Last Sunday was the 16th TOPIK examination and I was not one of the candidates. Nevertheless, I was as excited as any candidate who took the exam because I know how it feels since I have been through it twice.

Since I didn't take the exam, I can't comment about the exam itself. What I want to write about is the happenings at and around the examination venue which in Seoul is KHU. A visit to KHU on Sunday gave me a glimpse of the exam culture in Korea.

First, there was hawker selling walnut cookies outside the school. Koreans believe that walnut can improve brain power, so it is not that surprising seeing a make-shift stall selling walnut cookie on an exam day.

Then, there were those business-savvy ajummas who were making quick bucks peddling some really expensive black marker pen and correction tape (3,000won per set) inside the exam hall while candidates were busy checking their exam room at the notice board. Black marker pen and correction tape are stationery required for the exam.

Finally, book stall was also set up outside the exam hall selling TOPIK's revision and assessment books (10,000 - 15,000won). It is a 'sure-kill' since many people will definitely need to re-take the exam again. The books were indeed selling like hot cakes. Very few books were left for picking at the end of the day.

TOPIK is quite a major exam in Seoul. Two blocks of buildings in KHU have to be used to accommodate all the candidates. Chinese students came literally in busloads to take the exam. Then, there was teacher who came to give moral support to her students and eager parents and friends waiting outside the exam hall.

What I saw last Sunday contrasts starkly with my previous experience. Anyway, I wish everyone, who took the exam, good luck when it comes to 4th November 2009. It shall be my turn when it comes Nov 2010. 18th TOPIK shall be my watershed.


  1. 혹시 고급을 보려구?? ㅎㅎ.

    언제 들어올 거야? ㅋㅋ 나너 넘 부럽거든! ㅎㅎ

  2. 6급까지 따려구. 그래서 고급 봐야지.
    언제 돌어올 거라고? 망설이중이야 ㅋㅋ
    너 한국에서 살기 그렇게 좋아하는 걸 보니까 석사과정 장학금 한번 신청해봐. 운이 좋으면 나중에 3년동안 한국에서 살 수 있을지도 몰라.

  3. ㅎㅎㅎ.
    나 한국에서 일하고 싶어. 계속 공부하면 돈이 없잖아. 살기 위해서 돈이 필요해... >_<
    그냥 먼저 경험도 쌓고 나중에 가면 돼지 뭐. ㅎㅎ

  4. 직장인보다 장학금 받는 유학생으로 한국에 있으면 더 좋지. 한국에서 일하면 매일 늦게까지 일해야 한대. 무섭지? 아무든 마음대로 좋아하는 거만 하면 더 좋겠다고 생각해.

  5. lol! the feeling is so different from taking it in sg.. T_T

    just compare the number of candidates O.O

    original time stamp: 17 September 2009 10:14

  6. less people means more peaceful.
    the atmosphere here was kinda stressful.

    original time stamp: 18 September 2009 01:25