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grade levels

School Words in Korean (KWOW #59)


School Words in Korean (KWOW #59)

Are you teaching English in South Korea? Or planning to be a foreign exchange student? Whatever the case, we’re covering a highly requested topic: school. In the video we focused on school levels, places on campus, common subjects, and people in education, along with some useful phrases. Grade levels and school supplies are taught in this post.

Note: Korean name for each grade level is in parentheses.

Elementary school = 초등학교 / cho-deung-hak-gyo
1st grade = 일학년 / il-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 1st grade = 초등학교 일학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo il-hak-nyeon)

2nd grade = 이학년 / ee-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 2nd grade = 초등학교 이학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo ee-hak-nyeon)

3rd grade = 삼학년 / sam-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 3rd grade = 초등학교 삼학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo sam-hak-nyeon)

4th grade = 사학년 / sa-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 4th grade = 초등학교 사학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo sa-hak-nyeon)

5th grade = 오학년 / oh-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 5th grade = 초등학교 오학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo oh-hak-nyeon)

6th grade = 육학년 / yook-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 6th grade = 초등학교 육학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo yook-hak-nyeon)

Middle school = 중학교 / joong-hak-gyo
7th grade = 칠학년 / cheel-hak-nyeon
(middle school 1st grade = 중학교 일학년 / joong-hak-gyo il-hak-nyeon)

8th grade = 팔학년 / pal-hak-nyeon
(middle school 2nd grade = 중학교 이학년 / joong-hak-gyo ee-hak-nyeon)

9th grade = 구학년 / goo-hak-nyeon
(middle school 3rd grade = 중학교 삼학년 / joong-hak-gyo sam-hak-nyeon)

High school = 고등학교 / go-deung-hak-gyo)
10th grade = 십학년 / ship-hak-nyeon
(high school 1st grade = 고등학교 일학년 / go-deung-hak-gyo il-hak-nyeon)

11th grade = 십일학년 / ship-il-hak-nyeon (high school 2nd grade = 고등학교 이학년 / go-deung-hak-gyo ee-hak-nyeon)

12th grade = 십이학년 / ship-ee-hak-nyeon
(high school 3rd grade = 고등학교 삼학년 / go-deung-hak-gyo sam-hak-nyeon)

University = 대학교 / dae-hak-gyo
(University 1st grade = 대학교 일학년 / dae-hak-gyo il-hak-nyeon)
(University 2nd grade = 대학교 이학년 / dae-hak-gyo ee-hak-nyeon)
(University 3rd grade = 대학교 삼학년 / dae-hak-gyo sam-hak-nyeon)
(University 4th grade = 대학교 사학년 / dae-hak-gyo sa-hak-nyeon)

*** If you want to say 1st grade, you combine the Sino-Korean version of number “1” with “학년,” thus 일학년 (il-hak-nyeon). If you want to say 2nd grade, you would combine the Sino-Korean “2” and “학년” together, which becomes 이학년 (ee-hak-nyeon). To specify your school level, add the appropriate term before the Sino-Korean number. Here’s the formula:

School level + Sino-Korean number + grade
School level + Sino-Korean number + 학년
School level + Sino-Korean number + hak-nyeon

There are two number systems in Korea. To learn the Sino-Korean number system, watch KWOW episode 15 below. For the native Korean number system, watch lesson 5 from the “Let’s Learn Korean with Professor Oh” collection.

Did you lose your pencil?
Ask your classmate: 연필 빌릴 수 있을까?
Yunpeel beellil soo isseulgga?
Which is the informal way of asking, “Can I borrow a pencil?”
But what if you have a pencil and need a ruler or eraser instead? Fill in the blank of the following phrase with your needed object (see list below for common school supplies):

Can I borrow _____?
_____ 빌릴 수 있을까?
(_____ beellil soo isseulgga?)

Example A: Can I borrow the scissors?
가위빌릴 수 있을까?
(Gawee beellil soo isseulgga?)

Example B: Can I borrow a book?
빌릴 수 있을까?
(Chek beellil soo isseulgga?)

Book = 책 (chek)
Calculator = 계산기 (gye-san-ghee)
Crayons = 크레용 (keu-reh-yong)
Eraser = 지우개 (ji-oo-gae)
Notebook = 수첩 (soo-chup)
Paper = 종이 (jong-ee)
Pen = 펜 (pen)
Pencil = 연필 (yeon-pil)
Colored pencil = 색연필 (saek-yeon-pil)
Ruler = 자 (ja)
Scissors = 가위 (ga-wi)


  1. Complete the phrases “__________빌릴 수 있을까?” by filling in the blank with the featured school supplies. (You will have 11 complete sentences.)
  2. Take a photo of your fantastic work.
  3. Upload the photo onto Twitter.
  4. Copy and paste the link in the comment section below. (Note: Other submissions may not be considered an entry.)
  5. Don’t forget to ask your fun/crazy/yummy question to this week’s KWOW host Billy Jin.
  6. Have fun! The first *seven* people to complete the task will win a reply from Billy Jin. Last chance as KWOW comes to a close!
  7. Stay tuned for next week’s extra special contest! Winner will receive a prize! :D