10 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

[Review] 서강 한국어 쓰기 4 Sogang Writing 4

Uh. Finally got down to writing this review.

Some of you may have already heard/seen me rave about this writing book from Sogang.

And waiting impatiently for this review.

To save you time, I can just review this book in one line:

Why wait. Just buy.

Really. Korean textbooks focused on writing are few, and so far this is best I’ve come across!

Full review after the cut!


To be honest, when I first got the book, I left it aside for a few months.

And I regretted not using it earlier and then recommending it to you guys!!

It’s so good that I was so motivated and completed 3/4 of the book within 2 weeks or so. (a rare feat these days)

Checklist of a good 쓰기 book for self-learners:

– Come with answers: even for some of the longer essays

– A combination of short writing exercises (create sentences) and longer ones

– Teaches you how to write formally, what grammar structures to use, how the sentences flow

Check. Check. Check.

Who is 쓰기 4 for?

Sogang’s writing books currently is from 1-4, which is slightly strange because usually those university textbooks are from 1-6, with 6 being advanced. Which was why I first thought that 쓰기 4 was just intermediate. It is NOT. I don’t know how the other books are paced like, but 쓰기 4 is very much suitable even for advanced learners who have passed TOPIK 6.

Writing, reading, listening


I love how even though it’s a writing book, it’s not just focused on writing – because all skills are linked anyway. Book 4 is divided into 4 chapters, each focusing on a theme and very geared towards academic Korean. Each chapter starts with a reading passage, which is suitably long (i love it!) (see blue box in above pic) and challenging. It teaches you how to write a formal essay by showing you how it looks like and the exercises are kinda like reading comprehension questions.


With a combination of short / long questions, you feel more motivated to complete the exercises. Answers are provided too! Personally, I take the lazy approach and would learn by copying the answers from the back to make myself familiar with the style of writing, instead of coming up with my own answers HAHA.


I would even copy the essay answers out! Although attempting the essay on your own is the best, for self learners, we don’t have anyone to correct us. Hence, I choose to copy the model essay instead, to learn how to write. Reading the model essay and copying it out again is actually different and when you write, you actually concentrate a lot more on the grammar structures instead and for me, that works well.

Vocabulary bank

I love how this book doesn’t provide a glossary with meaning. Instead, some pages have a vocabulary bank (listing the important words in that passage etc) so that you are aware that these are the key take-away vocabulary. At the end of the chapter, there is a a checklist of all these vocabulary so you can read through them and tick them off if you remember the meanings. If not, it’s time to look up the words again to refresh your memory!

I feel that such a vocabulary bank is more useful than providing a glossary with all the meanings.


I love how each chapter has an exercise that simulates note-taking in a lecture. You have to listen to / watch a suitably long lecture (included in CD) and then take down some notes / fill in the blanks. The audio clip is quite long and challenging, and it’s a good practice especially for self-learners since it’s rare that textbooks provide long audio recordings. Transcripts are also included at the back of the book, so it also serves as reading practice. It would definitely be good to just rely on your ears and not the transcript at first. But later on, as a practice, read the transcript while listening to the audio to practice both listening, reading and speaking (note their pronunciation and intonation).

All in all, absolutely recommended book! (: I don’t know how the lower level books are like in this series, but this level 4 book is absolutely great and I would recommend it to high-intermediate or advanced learners 😀

What I like:

  • – suitably long and challenging passages
  • – teaches you how to write
  • – both long essay-style questions + short questions with answers
  • – combination of different question types make this book very enjoyable to work through
  • – note-taking exercises based on appropriately long and challenging audio / video lectures
  • – interesting and well-structured chapters
  • – vocabulary bank checklist to remind you of key takeaways

To be improved on:

  • – nil (:


Purchase at Twochois.com now 😀 

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  • Reply
    3 July, 2016 at 11:23 AM

    Everything written in Korean? No English in the book?

    • Reply
      3 July, 2016 at 11:32 AM

      Not in book 4

  • Reply
    3 July, 2016 at 12:47 PM

    No english from book 1-4. This is the only book I don’t have in the series because it’s so damn hard for me /cries/ I would live to send you the rest of the books to review ahaha but that’ll be too much for you to do. Never thought of copying down the model essay..maybe I should try that. Even though I know how to write sometimes you have no idea what to write about even if there are key words. Thanks for the review Shanna ♡

  • Reply
    Deserae McG
    5 July, 2016 at 7:40 PM

    Every time I visit this blog, I leave wanting to buy a new textbook. Haha! Thanks for the review, Shanna!

  • Reply
    7 July, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    These Sogang books are leveled from one to four because they are part of the academic Korean course offered in the afternoons at the Sogang KLI. At level 3 of the academic course, the 쓰기 1 book is used, level 4 is 쓰기 2, level 5 is 쓰기 3, and level 6 is 쓰기 4.

  • Reply
    15 July, 2016 at 6:24 PM

    Hi Shanna! I’ve been studying on a similar book of Japanese but I’ve been trying to make en effort to complete the writing exercises, even if, as a self-learner, I’m not sure at all about the result. Do you think it’s counter-productive? Maybe I should do like you do and copy the answers for assimilating new expressions and structures?

    • Reply
      15 July, 2016 at 6:57 PM

      I complete the shorter exercises but just copy for longer ones. Mmm I wouldn’t say it’s counter productive but for me, I feel like I learn more by my way. ^^ curious which book u are using for Japanese!

      • Reply
        16 July, 2016 at 4:42 PM

        The book is 中級へ行こう and is full of たん作文. This volume is then followed by two volumes 中級を学ぼう. I first tried to use とびら but it was too challenging for me. This textbook works fine for me as a smooth transition between the beginner and the intermediate level. The only downside is that there aren’t any dialogues but only readings like paper articles.

  • Reply
    9 June, 2017 at 9:51 AM

    Just happened to see this series at Kinokuniya the other day and decided to buy the level 1 book. Amazingly it is well structured, scaffolded and now provides a good revision for my basic grammar skills for writing properly I like how it brings up point blank certain requirements for writing (eg differences in word use between writing and speaking, differences in formality ) very blatantly. Things to learn even after passing level 3-4 in topik.

    • Reply
      11 June, 2017 at 9:50 PM

      I really like this series too!

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