Grading grammar vs vocab

As I’m starting to read books with more complex grammar, I’ve been wondering: what should be graded harder, grammar or vocab?

For example, I’ve read 춘향전 | L22??, a B2 Darakwon graded reader, and I’m currently reading 전우치전 | L20??, which is also a B2 graded reader from the same series. I’ve been wondering in advance how I would grade them, and I have no idea.

춘향전 has a lot of TOPIK II vocab, so I am absolutely incapable of reading it without a dictionary. Grammar isn’t too hard however, I had to look up a couple grammar points but rarely completely misunderstood sentences. I was also never completely stumped on the meaning of a sentence.

전우치전 on the other hand has simpler vocab, and I rarely need to do any lookups outside of the provided vocab. However, every page or two, there’s a super tricky sentence that I get stuck on where I can’t make sense of it on my own, even with Google, and I need to ask others for help. It’s not that common though, and the rest I can mostly read freely as long as I look up some grammar points here and there, but the overall grammar is more difficult. (I will also say, vocab is probably not as easy as it seems to me compared to 춘향전, because there’s a lot of overlap in the vocab and I read the other one first. It is still definitely easier however.)

Is this situation, what do you all usually do? Vocab over grammar? Grammar over vocab? Or just grade them as the same lvl?

I don’t have a system for grading since each book is different and has different challenges. I usually just grade holistically, based on how difficult a book felt overall. Sometimes having lots of unknown vocabulary can make something harder than something that has long sentences or advanced grammar and vice versa. Knowing lots of vocabulary and being able to parse longer sentences with easier vocabulary are two different things, so I take that into account. :thinking: I think the more books I read in Korean, the easier it’ll get to grade and tell objectively what is truly difficult or not too…


I can’t really remember the specific grammar or vocab much after I’ve read a book (and I wouldn’t know what’s considered hard or easy anyways I don’t think) so I just go on reading experience. I always have to look words up as I read but if I was able to get into the flow of reading and looking up unknown words was enough to understand the sentences p quickly I consider it on the easy side. Otoh if I had to look up loooadds and it was tiring, if I had to sit and puzzle out sentences even after looking up the unknown words, or if I’d know the words but still not understand the sentence because it was too colloquial …that would be markers of hard for me.