I mean… is there fake TOPIK?
Okay, I don’t mean to sound so sarcastic, but the title kinda asked for it.
So.. this is one of those ‘TOPIK guide’ books which essentially consist of practice questions. I usually shy away from such books, since I can easily download past year papers via the TOPIK website. They now have up to 36th TOPIK (35th and 36th are based on the new test format).
For JLPT, past year questions are not available online. Hence I’ll gladly pay for a book with just practice questions and an answer booklet. But for TOPIK, I would only pay for such books IF and only if they offer me something more.
A book needs to have a purpose. A good book always have a clear one, showing that the author put in thought into the structure of the content, target audience etc. Which is why I always read the preface, especially in a non-fiction book.
As I flip through the pages, a nagging question arose. What is the purpose of this book?
The more I looked at the book, the stronger the question. Have to come to the conclusion that there isn’t much purpose. Can’t blame me for misinterpreting, the book didn’t even come with a preface. -.-
Review under cut. Only Book 1 is reviewed here.
Structure of book:
1. Introduction and details of new TOPIK format (in Korean, English and Chinese)
2. Specimen paper 1
3. Specimen paper 2
4. Answers and explanations for paper 1
5. Answers and explanations for paper 2
6. Transcript for listening in paper 1
7. Transcript for listening in paper 2
Aimed at beginners of Korean, I appreciated the fact that they included English and Chinese translations. But I think I should only be glad for the Chinese translations, because I gave up reading the .. “English” version and switched to the Korean one. -.- It’s one thing to have awkward language, but another to have plain spelling mistakes. And very awkward language.
To be brutally honest, I don’t know how this book is gonna be of help to beginners besides the fact that it contains practice questions.
Case in point.
“Explanations” are all in Korean. I don’t even think they can be counted as explanation. For example, there is a section where you are asked to listen to a dialogue and choose an option that is in line with dialogue.
Option 1 (wrong): The man is going to the bank now
Explanation for Option 1: The man is going to the hospital now
It’s also a chore to have to keep flipping to and fro if one really wants to study from the answers and explanations. I rather they make a separate booklet.
The conclusion is that I can hardly see any evidence that this book is made with the user / learner in mind. D:
Know how a decent TOPIK guide book should be like? Check out Complete Guide to the TOPIK (Basic). Although it’s based on the old syllabus, it’s useful.
Instead of going on and on about the book and how I think it can be improved, let’s just jump to the summary.
NOTE: I do understand that the two papers are kinda like “specimen papers”, so it should be done cold – ie. without any explanations/answers/glossary in the paper. But then again, I can download past year papers……. So it all boils down to the purpose of the book…. But there is no preface….
What I like:
To be improved:
- Find a way to make it easier for the learner to check the answers/explanations. Make it into a booklet / include explanations + relevant grammar points etc alongside
- Include an overview of important grammar points etc as an appendix
- Have explanations in English
- Have more valuable / value-added content
- Find a purpose
On a side note, mp3 files can be downloaded at www.pjbook.com. The website is a mess on my mac. ><
I have a lot of good things to say about 박이정 published books in general, so don’t let this spoil your impression 😛
외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 >> excellent grammar book
빈도별 토픽 (중급) >> another highly recommended one
Purchase at TwoChois (linked)
Thank you TwoChois for sending me the books! 😀 If you are looking for an online bookstore with impeccable service, look no further (: I love how they always include something extra in your order <3