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How to use Sogang Online Korean Program effectively

You recommended Sogang’s Online Lessons. Where did you start from within the courses? There are objectives, key expressions, listening, reading, etc. When in the lesson, which one did you approach first? And when writing in your exercise book, which one do you note down first? Key expressions, or did you look at grammar + vocabulary first?

Received an email and thought I’ll reply to the question here!

Using Novice Korean 1 as a guide,

Objectives – well I ignore this section (or rather, I just read through it

Key Expressions – I ignore. Or give it a cursory glance. No point learning and focusing on key expressions before delving into the lesson. It’s like trying to learn from a phrasebook. Not my style.


  1. Listen once
  2. Listen again, try to figure out what the dialogue is about
  3. If possible (especially for higher levels), treat it as dictation and see how much you can write down without looking at the transcription
  4. Read the transcription. Only when needed, read the translation
  5. Write down the dialogue in your notebook – I do that so that I can practice writing / handwriting and to familiarize myself with the dialogue. Trust me. It’s easy to assume that you can absorb everything just by looking, but it’s not true. Writing it down helps you discover things that you may miss. It strengthens memories too.
  6. Highlight the words you do not know and use (www.endic.naver.com) to check it up
  7. Below the dialogue (in your notebook), write down the word, the meaning and an example sentence from the dictionary – NOTE: For the very very beginners, maybe you won’t even understand the example sentence. If so, writing down the meaning is good enough
  8. Go back to the listening and re-listen again while looking at the dialogue you wrote down
  9. Take note of pronunciation
  10. Read the passage aloud
  11. Listen again. Is there words that you find it hard to pronounce or thing you mispronounced?
  12. Listen again and again and read out again and listen again
  13. Do the check-up exercises


  1. Listen without looking at the transcription
  2. Listen again (and again if you wish)
  3. Listen and look at the script
  4. Write down the script in your notebook
  5. Highlight new words and check meanings and write down in notebook (as per the steps above)
  6. Read aloud
  7. Do check-up exercises


  1. Read through the explanations.
  2. If you have a grammar dictionary or any other textbook, find the same grammar point and then read the explanation in the book
  3. Write down whatever you need in the same notebook (I don’t separate my notebooks) – For me, I write down everything except translations of example sentences HAHA
  4. Do the practice!


  1. Read through
  2. Don’t memorize – it’s okay if you don’t remember
  3. Do the practice questions

And yes, I listed out the sections in chronological order too. I don’t usually learn my vocabulary through lists, so I don’t pay that much attention to the vocabulary in the vocabulary section. Instead, I usually focus on the words in the reading / listening sections! Make sure you learn words in a context instead of from lists!

Never memorize. Unless you happen to love remembering stuff or are just darn good at it. I suck at remembering things (typical goldfish memory) so that’s not for me.

I hate flashcards too, so I don’t bother with them.

I don’t go back to ‘revising’ from my notebooks too. I believe in ‘revising’ by going on to new materials and reading a lot. By reading different things, I’m in fact revising what I’ve learnt in the past and applying it to the new materials. Faster, more effective, more fun.

That’s my answer! Hopefully it will be of a little help!

Because of this question, I clicked on the Novice 1 lessons for the first time in like … 5 years. Listening to the dialogues brings back sooooo much memories. ❤❤

p.s. 5 years later I still think that the dialogues are pretty fast for beginners!!

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  • Reply
    27 October, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Now I’m in the Intermediate Korean 1. It’s a good site for learning korean.

    • Reply
      30 October, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      yeah i loved it! (:

  • Reply
    28 October, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    surprising how I use it the same with one variation huhu! I revise because I have always preferred revision at times when I am bored ><

    • Reply
      30 October, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      yeah best to find your own style!

  • Reply
    29 October, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    Thanks Shanna, I’m working through the Sogang Program online, thanks to your recommendation a few months ago, and I’ve just written my first TOPIK a few weeks ago. I essentially do one of the ‘sections’ each day (eg. Listening on Monday, Reading on Tuesday, etc. 🙂 I absolutely love this resource because, frankly, there are ZERO English textbooks for learning Korean, at least where I’m living. When I was in Shanghai, I actually had to study Korean from a Chinese textbook 😛

    • Reply
      30 October, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      heh there’s always online bookstores. But once you start buying stuff online, there’s no turning back lol (:

  • Reply
    30 October, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Thanks so much for this post! It’s such a relief to see your method for listening. I’m learning Korean out of books and I thought I was really failing because I had to keep replaying the listening exercises and eventually look at the transcript to fully understand it. I think I just need to have faith that with constant practise my skills will improve. I had kind of imagined that everyone else at this level in the textbooks would listen to the tape once with no problem, it was really frustrating me….!

    Deffo some tips you’ve mentioned that I’m going to put to good use. ^o^

    • Reply
      30 October, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      I remembered the dialogues sounding like gibberish to me. It was like “hold on, i think i got this part. eh no, what was that word?” It took me many tries each time to pin down the whole dialogue and sometimes you just can’t hear properly even with the transcript. Takes time! (:

  • Reply
    3 November, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    I found it really overwhelming as a beginner, too, so I ended up steering away from using the Sogang program. Glad it wasn’t just me!

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