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[Korean Textbook Review] TOPIK 어휘로 잡아라!

First post of the year!

Starting the new year with a review of one of the two TOPIK books I received from TwoChois.com – a name you guys should be familiar with by now lol.

uh. Don’t get me started on the titles. “TOPIK by frequency (grammar)” and “Conquer TOPIK via vocabulary” (a loose translation)….



Erm, so by looking at the titles, one is going to have a fancy analysis of which grammar points are commonly tested and the other is essentially a very attention-grabbing title that translates to “vocabulary book” in my dictionary.

Both are the kind of books I’ll never pick up willingly from a bookshelf but eh let’s give it the benefit of the doubt.

Let’s dive into TOPIK 어휘로 잡아라 (advanced) and hopefully you can 잡아 TOPIK Advanced with this book!

This review is going to be very short.

Because this book is just a glossary (?) or vocabulary book listing vocabulary tested in 21 – 28th TOPIK advanced test coupled with sample TOPIK questions.


The book helpfully try to list which previous TOPIK tests a word came out in and to be blatantly honest, I don’t know how it is going to help you in conquering TOPIK at the advanced stage. If you are counting on word frequency and spotting questions (or vocabulary in this case) to pass the test, I need to voice my doubts on your abilities.

I’m not in favour of looking at word frequency and I advise against doing so.

Listing out vocabulary + meaning (in English, Chinese and Japanese) + example sentences is something a learner should do, not the textbook. Being presented with a list of words is different from you yourself creating a vocabulary notebook accumulated with words you have looked up via reading passages etc.

I like the sample questions, but I can get them for free on the TOPIK website…

There is a small portion at the back dedicated to 사자성어 (4 character idioms), 관용 표현 (idioms), 속담 (proverbs) tested in past year papers. I appreciate it being there, but if you are so interested in what came out in previous papers, why not just download the papers and check out each of the idioms / proverbs and create your own list.

If lists are your cup of tea, I think it’s more effective if you create them yourselves.

This review is getting longer than I predicted.

But there aren’t many main points in that whole chunk of text (ahem. just like the book).

Things I like:

  • good quality paper

Things can be improved:

  • I’ll rather have lists grouped according to topics (economy, politics etc) instead of alphabetical order – actually I would rather not have lists in the first place…

Ideally you will walk away with 1200 more words in your vocabulary bank and all the idioms/proverbs and what not after you are done with the book….  if you have a super memory.

For others, I’m not sure what you will walk away with.

I highly doubt it’s gonna be a TOPIK Advanced Pass or the proficiency to justify that pass.

If you are interested in the book >>>> TOPIK 어휘로 접아라

Otherwise, TwoChois carry quite a large selection that you can slowly pick from >>>> TwoChois.com


For more Korean Textbook Reviews, check out this category.

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  • Reply
    2 January, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    Me too! I always do my own lists – and according to topics so that I can actually USE it for essays and stuff, depending on the topic I’m writing about. Thanks for this review. I am looking for a textbook that gives us things to read, and THEN from there pick out the vocabulary words to explain how it can be used – and in what other situations is it ok too etc. Alas, still no luck in finding that yet!

  • Reply
    2 January, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    I’m new to this blog and I’m very impressed with your method of self-studying Korean. I’m curious to know though, how long did it take you to be semi-fluent or fluent, reading and listening-wise (to understand ‘most ‘of the TV/drama and text)? I know it will probably depend on the person and the amount of time devoted to the study. But let’s just speak from your own experience, and if you could try to let me know an approximate timeframe, it would be great. Thanks!

  • Reply
    3 January, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Hello Shanna, thank you very much for the detailed book review. This book seems very useful for learning Topik although I myself prefer my own lists of vocabulary. By the way, this book is still a great reference for studying.

    I have the book “TOPIK by frequency (grammar)- Intermediate”. That’s a very good book to review Korean grammars. ^^

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