2008년 6월 29일 일요일

121기 공군통역장교 시험 후기 (오전 부)


Hello, my name is... well my name isn't important to you is it? Call me nobody. What's important is that I applied for an interpreter/translator position in the Korean Air Force and hope to fill you in on various points regarding the exam. If I find any other questions in Korean or English posted here, I'll be more than happy to answer them.

Before the test starts

Where is the test site and how do I get there?

The test for interpreters/translators takes place at the Air Force Academy in Cheongju (청주). Test takers are supposed to gather at the test site by 08:20, so it might be a good idea to find a place to stay overnight if you live far away or don't want to get up at 05:00.

The ROKAF offers a bus to ferry you from a landmark nearby the bus station to the test site. If you take this bus, you'll save yourself a few thousand won in taxi fees and get a chance to talk to other applicants. Make sure you find out where the bus is before the test date as it is a 5~10 minute walk away from the terminal, and also don't forget to TAKE THE NECESSARY PAPERWORK.

ID and application numbers: at the test site
At the test site, they will check your ID and collect any necessary documents. This will be done according to your application number (수험번호). Your application number is determined by when you submitted your application. Hence, if your application number is low, this means you were one of the first few people to turn in the online application. If your number is high, well, good for you.

Your application number is important because it determines your place in the queue (it's a FIFO queue) for the interpretation/interview portion of the test. You may not think much of it right now, but you just might wish you'd turned in your application a bit later if you're the first up to bat. If you're the final applicant, you will be the last to leave. For this particular test, the last interview ended past six, a good five hours since the first person completed his interview. Whether or not getting tested early or late is a matter of preference, but I will tell you that if the proctors feel they're running over time, they'll rush the interpretation/interview portions. I have no idea if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

The test
You've probably read from other sources that the test has a morning and evening portion. You might have heard that they dismiss a portion of the applicant if they get a low score on the morning part. I hear they don't, and they sure didn't this day. Everyone gets to take the evening portion regardless of their performance on the morning part.

The morning half
The composition section (60?50? mins)

The first part was a translation/composition question that contained the instructions for the composition portion of the test. They gave us a paragraph of text to translate from Korean to English, then asked that we do our compositions according to the given instructions. I don't remember the exact question, but I'll type up the english translation to the best of my memory.

There are social problems that can be better solved through government intervention than by the effort of individuals. Please discuss what you think this question means. Next, give an example in which the efforts of individuals is preferred over government intervention. Finally, discuss the characteristics of government intervention or individual effort that make them suitable for solving a social problem.
Again, the first portion of the problem was to translate the korean question into english as I did above, then compose an essay according to the given instructions. At the test site they provided us with as many pages of scrap paper we needed, a sheet of A4 that contained the instructions and question, and a sheet of A3 upon which we were to write our submission. They gave us a little under an hour (50 mins?) to complete the translation and composition. Now that I think about it, it was probably best to outline the essay on the scrap paper then start on the composition on the A3 immediately since, there wasn't enough time to transcribe an entire essay.

The listening section (50 mins 50 problems)

If I were to compare the listening portion of the test to the IBT toefl, I'd say that the officer test listening section is several magnitudes of order more difficult. For starters, the pronunciation of the tapes were in a mix of dialects: there was a central U.S dialect (easy), and what I believe was a either an australian or new zeland dialect (harder). I'll write down as many topics as I can remember.

  1. (conversation) A conversation betwixt a female student and a male instructor on what the student could do to improve her groups work. The conclusions was, become the leader you idiot. I'll give you a good grade.

  2. (lecture) Carbon dating.... taught by crocodile dundee (a popular film character from the 80's with a thick australian accent).

  3. (lecture) language acquisition (skinner vs chomsky) carte blanche, universal grammar...

  4. (lecture) Pros and cons of various desalination techniques.

  5. (lecture) Something about a "living fossil"

  6. (conversation) A guy wants to file a housing complaint because of poor service. Turns out there was a misunderstanding.

  7. (conversation) Tech support, some guy needed his wireless fixed.

You might look over this list and think "hey what's this idiot complaining about, those questions look frickin easy. Several order of magnitude difficult my ass."

Well, imagine looking over a few questions. You figure out the next dialog is going to be on desalination. Sweet. Now, after reading over the questions, you think "the first question is asking what the lecture's about, check. the next one...does the lecturer think electrolysis is good, check. question three, what the fuck, a diagram? I can't even see this shit cause it's frickin fuzzy (pulling the test sheet closer to your face). I've seen better pictures in fricken photocopies of the illustrated canterbury tales. Ok, now a problem on the benefits of a particular desalination technique, I'll just listen for it..."

By this time, the mock lecture, the dialog, has begun, and you're off to a good start. Then you realize that you were supposed to figure our which type of desalination is depicted in the diagram and take a few seconds to stare at the picture. Immediately afterwards, the lecturer starts rattling off numerous pro's of desalination method x, y and z that all start sounding pretty much the same.

Now I don't know if you majored in MINDNUMBINGLY BORING as an undergrad or grad, maybe desalination?, but if you're anything like me, you're going to think about something else for a second. I don't know, maybe about how small the writing area of the table is (the writing space on the table at the test site is pretty friggen small). Or if you drank a lot of milk that morning, how you're going to break wind without disrupting the entire room. You might think of a date that you have with a girl, or guy if that's your thing. The point is, if you think about something, anything, for a split second, you're going to realize that you just MISSED THE FRICKEN PASSAGE THAT YOU NEEDED. You can't really guess because the pro's and con's of the five or six other desalination methods look pretty much the same to you. As you try to figure out what you're going to guess, the next dialoge/lecture begins...

So if I stop the rant short and summarize, the questions are tricky in that they are detail oriented and come in quick succession. They're tricky for no reason other than TO MAKE YOU FAIL. Well...good luck. If you make sure you pay attention to the dialog, ignore the various grammatical errors in the choices, and read ahead you should be alright. Most of the other people seem to have problems with this part so don't worry.

I'll add the evening portion of the test if I see anyone post a request or ask a question.

댓글 6개:

wundermacht :
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121기 통역장교시혐 후기 :

@ wundermacht
It's a bit hard for me to type korean on my computer so I'll stick to english for the time being.

As flattering as I find your request, I don't think I'm qualified to contribute to the current wiki article. My sole experience with the interpretation officer program is limited to a single exam with the air force.

However, if you have any resources towards which you can direct me, I'll be more than happy to read up and contribute.

I would like to ask you though, are you an officer in the armed forces?

wundermacht :
작성자가 댓글을 삭제했습니다.
Do-Hyung :

Hi, I'm also thinking to apply for airforce interpreter officer position in this coming June (the 123rd recruit).

Having about a month away til the exam date, being nervous due to lack of information doesn't really sound good to me ^^; I'd love to have more talk with you (even a one-side talk such as your second post on the blog!).

Please let me know if you could support!


p.s. My email is dkim0505@gmail.com, even greater if I could email you!

Robert :

jeez 121기 통역장교시혐 후기..
You should finish up the evening part!!

kim :

hi i wondered if u could send me the rest of the article
Thank you for your help