[Review] Sogang 5A Study Guide

27 October, 2017

My bad. I had written the earlier review of the Sogang 5A textbook without realising that it comes bundled with a study guide. Hence I had wondered why the grammar section was so minimal in the textbook.

The study guide adds quite a number of bonus points to the textbook and I can easily see why learners will find it very useful!

First, it’s of a smaller size compared to the textbook, making it easy to carry around for revision or a quick reference.

The guide book’s structure mirrors the textbook, and focuses on the vocabulary and grammar. This makes it easier to find a particular word, and you can refer to the appropriate section which said word/grammar point was introduced in the textbook.

Vocabulary guide

The book basically does the learner’s job lol. I like how everything is explained in Korean and it feels like a very comprehensive dictionary entry.

  • Hanja
  • Pronunciation
  • Word class
  • Explanation (in Korean)
  • Sample sentence

While it’s awesome and very easy to refer to (especially in preparation for a test), I am on the fence on whether that’s the most effective way of learning. Personally, I learn the best if I’m the one making these notes, instead of reading them. It helps me remember, if I’m the one who looked up each word and note them down in my notebook. But I can see this being useful for others.

That being said, I do like that they introduce common collocations for some of the words.

Eg. For the entry on 피나다, they have a related sub-entry on 피나는 노력 끝에. Useful.

Grammar guide

I appreciate how the study guide has a very detailed explanation of the grammar points. All explanations are in Korean though, so if you prefer having an English guide, this may not work for you. Other than that, I thought it was very helpful. There are ample example sentences and the explanations go in depth, sometimes explaining the differences between similar grammar points or even making use of a table to help learners understand the nuances and usage.

You can also purchase a separate grammar dictionary, which can give you the same level of depth and details, but having it all in a guide book will make it much easier for reference purposes. Suggest that you can annotate the guidebook and add in more details / example sentences if needed.

I’ll give this portion 5 stars! ★★★★★

Overall thoughts

With the study guide, suddenly I find the Sogang 5A book to be a lot better overall and worth purchasing. Don’t get me wrong, the textbook itself is decent but I think it’s the study guide that adds the brownie points. Would recommend this!

p.s. When I have a bit more time, I’ll take a look at how the Sogang 5A textbook+guide fare against the Ewha level 5 textbook+guide. Not really an apple-to-apple kind of comparison, but may be interesting!

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