This blog is about the KIIP course, my citizenship test experience, and some tips and advice on how to prepare, study, and pass the said test.
I arrived in Korea in 2016 and after a few months, I started studying Korean because I came here without studying the language and it made me crazy that I don’t understand them. I started on Level 1 since I wanted to learn and start from the basics. The class has started already and it’s already mid of semester but my teacher helped me a lot. After a year of studying at the Multicultural Center, my teacher suggested that I should take the KIIP Level test for the coming year to check my Korean communication skills.
After 3 years and 8 months of studying hard, I finished the said course. Honestly, it is not that easy. I took the level 5 and 6 two times since I failed the exam on my first try. I took my first class at the beginning of this year and had the examination last May and sadly I only got 55 points which 60 points are the passing grade. It took me a while before going back to my real self because I got saddened by the result. That was the reason I started blogging. I kept on leaving the house, roaming around Seoul to find myself again and release those negative thoughts. I was at the point of just giving up and leave everything behind. But I know deep inside of me, I have my own dreams.
After the summer season, I took the second class for 3 months a total of 70 hours. The 70 hours is divided into two class which is Level 5 (50 hours) and Level 6 (20 hours). Level 5 tackles the general or basic understanding of Korean society. While level 6 is a deeper understanding of Korean society. This class will let you study the basic laws, history of Korea, politics, economy, and daily living. Even the rights and obligations of Korean and foreigners living here.
As a KIIP student, I highly recommend this course especially for those foreign women who have been married to a Korean man. You will learn a lot and it will help you get by on how to live in this society. You’ll learn the things that you shouldn’t do and you should do. It will make you understand the Korean culture and characteristics of Koreans.
What is KIIP?
KIIP (Korean Immigration & Integration Program) is an education program consisting of courses in the Korean language and on understanding Korean society to help the immigrants to adopt the culture and others to become an independent member of the Korean society. Completion of the program can help foreigners gain points upon upgrade of visa or naturalization.
The program is divided from level 0 to 6 wherein levels from 1 to 4 are focused on Korean language, culture, and vocabulary. Korean level 5 and 6 is about understanding the Korean society. It covers Korean history, law, economy, politics, daily living, and others.
What to bring?
- Printed Registration form
- Alien Card
- Computer Pen
- Correction Tape or white corrector
KIIP Test Two Parts
- Time Limit: 50 minutes
- Multiple choices (36 questions on vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension and some from the book Level 5 and 6, 65 points)
- Writing Test ( 3 questions and the answer should be 200 characters, 10 points)
The oral test or interview, as they say, is 25 points consists of reading, follow-up questions from what you have read, comparison of Korea and your country base on what you have read, another 2 questions, and lastly is the Aegukka.
First Try ( May 15, 2019)
The first time I took the exam, I read about the 지형 (geography) of Korea (this is on the last pages of the book of Level 5). I was asked about what is 동고서저 (Donggoseojeo) and the highest mountain in Korea. Don’t worry about his two questions because you can find the answers in the essay that you have read but you need to answer as quickly as you can. A follow-up question was asked too which is about the difference and similarities of the geography of my country and Korea. A question about Hangul and the bad and good side of the unification of South and North Korea.
The answers to these questions are all in the book and one thing I should say keep on reading the books many times. Take notes of the important keywords that you can easily remember. I failed on my first try but let’s look at the second try.
Second Try (December 14, 2019)
My second try was last December 14, the essay was about the development of the city. The questions are when did the development started, how many percent of people living in the city, problems about the city, and solutions to the problems. The two questions were asked to the person next to me and the two were mine. We were both asked about the problems in the city of our country and what are the solutions to solve the problems. Low birth rate (저출산) and Aging (고령화) is one of the most asked questions since it’s the main problem of the country nowadays. Lastly, is to sing or recite the first stanza of Aegukka. To memorize this song, write it down or save it on your notes (on phone) download an mp3 and listen to it every time.
The result was posted a week later on “마이페이지” (My Page) on both Socinet and Kiiptest websites. I got 73 points (52 points in the written test and 21.5 in the oral test) and was given a certificate of passing the test. The passing grade is 60 points and it’s above my expectation but I was really happy with it.
Aside from the result, whenever you pass each level you’ll get a certificate stating that you have passed the said test. Wherein in your name and birthday was stated and date of examination. I got this kind of certificate from my Level 4 and this one from Level 6. Another certificate is issued when you passed either Residence Visa (영주용) Test or Citizenship test (귀화용). Since I took the citizenship test I got the certificate for that.
I always believe in the Korean proverb, “고생 끝에 낙이 온다” (Go-saeng Ggeut-eh naki eun-da) which means “At the end of hardship comes happiness” in English. In my situation this is really applied in my life since being a Korean wife is not as normal as you think. My husband’s job is always far and he only comes home once or twice a month. So I have always been left at home with my son and take care of everything. From doing the household chores, groceries, taking care of the kid, send and pick him up from daycare, and etc. while studying.
So always remember, hard work pays off at the right time. Don’t give up, just keep on going.
- Bring your printed registration form, alien registration card, and writing materials (컴퓨터용 펜).
- You are allowed to use a white corrector to erase your errors.
- Be on the location more early so you’ll have enough time to look for the building, testing room, and your seat (12 noon to 12:30 examiners should be entered the room already)
- Bring some bread, kimbab, and water if you can’t have your lunch. (You can eat while waiting for the oral test)
- The test has two parts: written & oral
- Memorize the Aegukka (not just the 1st stanza but all, sometimes it comes out on the multiple-choice)
- Read even the small details on the book
- Read the book as many times as you can
- Take notes of keywords that you can easily remember
- Practice answering interview questions (even you speak with yourself)
- Memorize and try singing or reciting the Aegukka
- Do answering writing questions by writing about 200 characters (from book level 4)