I finally finished my level 4 KIIP class! My teacher was a lot better than my level 3 teacher, so I feel like I learned a lot more and the topics we covered in level 4 were a bit more interesting and useful.
I’m glad the class is over because it was tough going to class for 3 hours and then going straight to work until 6pm every day, so now my mornings have freed up before I go to work. Of course, eventually I need to take the level 5 class, but the session that starts soon will overlap with the time that I’m in America, so I would probably miss too many hours to be qualified for the test. So for now, I’m taking a break and I will take the next level next year.
Thankfully, I passed my level 4 test! It was a lot more time-consuming than the level 3 class, which was more intimate as well. The level 4 test is conducted solely by immigration office staff members, while the level 3 test was conducted by the KIIP teachers.
The level 4 midterm test consists of 3 sections: multiple choice, writing, and speaking. The multiple choice test is about 28 questions and I felt that it was too easy. We had learned many new grammar points and many new vocabulary words, but the test covered a lot of basic material that I had seen on the level 3 test. During the test, I actually thought I might be in the wrong room because it was just not what I expected.
Next was the writing portion, which we were only given 10 minutes to complete. Thankfully, my Korean teacher in level 4 made us practice this format by giving us writing homework every week. I felt very prepared to write over 100 characters within the time limit. However, the prompt we were given was sort of lame, so it took me a second to come up with something to write. I wrote more than 100 characters but I feel like I probably made a few grammar mistakes since I was rushing and nervous, but I saw that some other test takers didn’t even finish 20 characters, and my teacher had told us that the important thing was to write as much as we could. The writing section only counted for 5 points total.
Finally, we had to go in two-by-two to be interviewed by two immigration officers. I hadn’t prepared as much as I should have for the speaking part, but I had gone over the questions my teacher had given us over and over and felt that I could confidently answer most of them. The questions she had us prepare for were about Korea: the political system, famous places, the number of UNESCO sites, the differences between family dynamics today vs. traditional family dynamics in Korea, explanations of the low birth rate, etc.
However, I was asked questions that came from the level 3 book, many of which I had answered during the level 3 speaking test. I was kind of mad that I had studied all those difficult topics just to be asked (yet again) why Koreans eat certain foods on certain holidays. Of course, since I hadn’t prepared for this type of question, I couldn’t answer all of them correctly but I did my best. They asked us a few other open-ended questions, asking our opinions on things, and I think I did better answering those questions, but I wasn’t confident that I got many points during that section. The speaking section is worth 25 points.
Total, I scored an 82 out of 100, so I think I can be proud of that. The score needed to pass is 60 out of 100, so I’m glad I went well over that. The level 5 class is a lot shorter than the other classes (50-70 hours vs 100 hours) and instead of teaching us Korean language skills, the class will be about Korean culture and history. Then I’ll take one final test and be done with the KIIP for good.
One thing I am really proud of is the fact that I can see my progress when speaking to my Korean friends and to my husband. People tell me that my Korean has gotten better and I’m more confident in speaking than I was before. I can also understand more when I watch Korean TV and I can find words and phrases that I learned from my textbook and my teacher. Soon I will be able to read all those Korean books on my shelf! Until then, I’ll keep practicing!