18 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean studying tools/ korean textbook reviews

Why you should buy assessment books meant for the native speakers

Most people tend to rely on textbooks that are designed especially for foreigners when it comes to foreign language learning. I guess that makes sense when you first started learning the language, but once you hit a certain proficiency level, it’s best to start looking at materials for native people.

I was walking around Park and Lunes bookstore in Gwanghwamun, and it suddenly occurred to me that I should buy 국어 assessment books for Korean students! ^^

I was super excited at the assessment books section, and I guessed people around me found me really weird. I mean, how many Korean students will actually enjoy doing them? 😛

Bought 2 books (tempted to buy more) and they are really heavy! But assessment books in Korea are soooo pretty and well designed! Makes doing them super enjoyable ^^

국어 . 생활 국어 – 중 3.2


This book is pitched at middle school 3rd year students. I started with this book last night, and it was good! The first chapter started with poetry and I totally fail at the reading comprehension for that. I guess poetry is still too tough for me ): But I’m learning loads.

Go under the cut for more ^^



Points I love about the book:

  • pretty design (makes reading it super enjoyable)
  • difficult words are underlined and short explanation provided underneath
  • loads of questions to test your understanding
  • in depth analysis and explanation of the text
  • enhances your reading comprehension skills in Korean

Here’s a preview of the second book (고1 – high school year 1) ^^



Why you should buy assessment books instead

  • learn new words that is not commonly found in textbook for foreigners
  • lack of advanced/intermediate materials for foreigners (at least in the case of Korean)
  • find out where you stand
  • a good form of practice (there are answers at the back of the book)

Here’s another sneak preview of most of the books I bought in Korea 😀 There’s a few more that are being shipped to SG.




I’ve been getting requests on the titles of the books that I’ve bought! So here it is~! ^^ I’ve also included the targeted level of these books beside the titles. (thanks Nora for the query!)

  • KBS 한국어능력시험 (완벽 준비서) – High Advanced (this test is meant for native Koreans ^^;;)
  • 국어능력인증시험 (완벽 준비서) – High Advanced (same as above^^)
  • 국어, 생활 국어 (중 3.2)  – High Intermediate
  • 고1 내신을 위한 완벽한 자율 학습서. 고등국어 (상) – High Intermediate (deals with more specialised topics such as globalisation etc)

The last 2 books are suitable for people who are looking for reading material that are challenging, but at the same time still pitched at a decent level (i.e. easier than Korean novels, news articles)

None of them are textbooks and they are all written entirely in Korean (:

Please do not buy them just because I did. ^^;; Do make sure that they are useful to you if you buy them! ^^

Leave me a comment if you have more questions ^^


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  • Reply
    11 August, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    The books looked really interesting!! Gotta work hard to study Korean so that I can read such books!

    Anyway, how was everything in Korea? It seems that you had awesome time in Korea~! ^^

    • Reply
      11 August, 2010 at 10:36 PM

      yes i had an awesome time! i’m sorry i couldnt meet u in the end ):
      i miss korea really badly now. i have a hard time adjusting back to life in singapore

      • Reply
        11 August, 2010 at 11:11 PM

        It’s good that you had a great time! Don’t worry about that~ Haha~ If we happen to be in Korea around the same period of time, maybe we can arrange to meet again~

        I get what you mean~ though I was only in Korea for less than 2 weeks, I almost cried when I left (oh no~ emo me…) Korea is an awesome place, and the people are great! Glad that you really enjoyed yourself there. Guess the only thing to overcome that, is probably studying more Korean? ;p

      • Reply
        12 August, 2010 at 12:07 AM

        hehe totally agree on your last point 😀 😀

  • Reply
    11 August, 2010 at 11:40 PM


    Could you write (make a list) the name of the books in Hangul, so I can check them online ?

    Thank you

    • Reply
      11 August, 2010 at 11:42 PM

      okies~! most of them are visible from the photo, but i’ll type them out again ^^

  • Reply
    12 August, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    Thank you for the list

  • Reply
    13 August, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    Hihi ^^

    I’ve been an avid follower of your blog, and this is the first time tt i posted..first of all, I wanna say “Welcome back to S’pore” ^^
    Like you, I miss Korea a lot, and wish I could stay longer there each year.

    Shanna, can I check with you on the books tt you posted here? About the book that was pitched for 3rd year middle school, at which level is this book targeted to (beginner / intermediate / advanced)?

    Also, can you share with your readers more study tips on how to improve our command of the language? I’ve been studying the language for abt the same time as you but sadly, I’m still at elementary level, and find it hard to remember new vocabs..

    Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers ^^

    • Reply
      13 August, 2010 at 3:39 PM

      Hi Nora! ^^

      thanks for leaving a comment! 😀 Are you from Singapore too? ㅋㅋ
      About the target level of each book, I’ll post them beside the titles now. check back after a few minutes k!

      yup yup I’ll be writing more on my study experiences! ^^ Halfway done with a post on learning vocabulary heh.

      Hope to hear from you again~~! ^^ 화아팅!

  • Reply
    21 September, 2010 at 10:41 PM

    Thank you so much for that list of books! I’m going to buy several of them next time I get to a bookstore.

    • Reply
      21 September, 2010 at 10:42 PM

      you’re welcome! i wish i’m still in korea!

  • Reply
    25 May, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Hi, this is the 1st time i read ur blog and its pretty interestig, sorry for the question but: can u please tell me how and where can i start to learn korean? i can read hangul and i know a few words but thats all TT

    • Reply
      25 May, 2011 at 2:14 PM

      Hi Alex! ^^

      If you are looking for online resources, talktomeinkorean.com is an excellent place to start (: You can find other good learning sites in my ‘korean learning resources’ page

  • Reply
    27 May, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    Thank u so much for u answer ^^ i was fine in my korean studies until the subject marking particles and topic marking particles TT i dont understand that TT

  • Reply
    11 February, 2012 at 6:15 AM


    Can you recommend some Korean assessment books for beginner/elementary level.

  • Reply
    11 February, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    Can you recommend some Korean assessment books for beginner/elementary level? I tried looking on g-market but I don’t understand.

    Sorry for the double post. 🙁 I hit post by accident.

    • Reply
      11 February, 2012 at 7:56 AM

      most korean assessment books wont be for beginner/elementary level. Even their assessment books for elementary school will probably be for the intermediate level (: but if you are interested, try typing 초등학교 국어 in gmarket ^^

  • Reply
    17 February, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Hello, how can we buy these books? ^^

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