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Sunday, April 13, 2014

MUET Writing 800/4 Tips

Recently, an online blog walker emailed me her essay for me to comment on. It was reasonably good but did not follow the academic style per se. Therefore, to illustrate what I mean, I will post sections of her 5 paragraph essay with my revised version so that you can see the difference.

Q : The popularity of online education has increased over the years. Many working adults, housewives and school leavers prefer learning online rather than going to education institutions where they have to be physically present. The popularity of online education is also because of various other reasons. Discuss these reasons.

Fazurah's introduction:

There are many working adults wish to pursue post-secondary education for personal growth and career advancement. The Internet has given many working adults hope for a college diploma or degree, even futher tertiary education. There are many courses offered online such as diplomas, degrees and post-graduate degrees. Thus, they can now attend online education programmes. Online education can be pursued anywhere without formal setting. They are just required a computer or even a smartphone and Internet connectivity if they want to attend online educations programmes.

*Notice that there is no thesis statement. Therefore, this is a poorly organised essay and I would mark down for organisation.

My revised introduction:

There are many working adults who wish to pursue post-secondary education for personal growth and career advancement. The Internet has given many working adults hope for a college diploma or degree. There are many courses offered online such as diplomas, degrees and post-graduate degrees for a variety of fields be they business or arts. Thus, they can now attend online education programmes. Online education is becoming more attractive because it can be pursued anywhere without a formal setting. Students are just required to have access to a computer or even a smartphone and Internet connectivity if they want to attend online educations programmes. Therefore there are many reasons for online learning, namely accessibility, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. 

* Basically, a thesis statement (underlined, last sentence in an intro) is the MOST important sentence in an introduction because it lays out the essay properly and gives the reader a clear roadmap of what is to be discussed.

Fazurah's 1st Point:

First and foremost, there are many people opt for online learning rather than going to education institutions because online education can be pursued by many people anywhere and at anytime. Housewives with children can pursue an education at home without having to leave home responsibilities to others. Housewives are given opportunities to be educated. Other than that, working adults can also pursue an education after working hours, during office lunch break or free time. Thus, many working adults and housewives choose online learning rather than going to education institutions where they have to be physically present.

* Notice that the topic sentence is lengthy and does not have a tangible keyword to summarise this point. Also notice that the mini conclusion is a mere repetition of the question. It does not really concluded the idea in this paragraph.

Edited 1st Point:

First and foremost, there are many people who opt for online learning rather than going to education institutions because online education is very accessible. This means that it can be accessed by all walks of people regardless of place and time. Housewives with children can pursue an education at home without having to leave home responsibilities to others. Other than that, working adults can also pursue an education after working hours, during office lunch break or at their leisure. Thus, many working adults and housewives these days choose online learning because of its easy and convenient accessibility rather than going to education institutions where they have to be physically present.

* Note how much more effective the topic sentence and mini conclusion is here.

Fazurah's 2nd Point:

There are many people prefer online learning rather than going to education institutions because online education provides focused learning. Online education is comprehensive as any campus based education. It caters to students with varied learning styles and allows students to follow personal study routines. The students can study at night or early in the morning, whichever suits them best. The materials prepared cater to different difficulty level. So, the students can focus more on more difficult topics and skips easier ones. Therefore, many people opt for online learning rather than going to education institutions.

* Note again that the mini conclusion is not very effective. There is also a general lack of sequence to aide the flow of the ideas.

Edited 2nd Point:

Moreover, there are many people who prefer online learning rather than going to education institutions because online education provides focused learning that is flexible and suitable to each student’s needs. Online education is as comprehensive as any campus based education. It caters to students with varied learning styles and allows students to follow personal study routines. The students can study at night or early in the morning, whichever suits them best. The materials prepared cater to different difficulty levels while online tutors participating in online forums to guide students are also available. Hence, students can focus better because of the flexibility of online learning leading to more people opting for online learning rather than going to traditional education institutions.

* Note how the flow of the paragraph improves with the right logical connectors (Moreover, ...while...Hence.. etc.)


Fazurah's 3rd Point:

Other than that, online educations reduces study cost and stress which another reason of people choosing online education than going to education institutions. Online education is a cost-effective mechanism for non-traditional students and enables millions around the world to continue their education for betterment. Expensive textbooks are also not required. It is because all the material, for example lecture notes and assignments, can be obtained online or via the internet. There is no need to rush or transportation costs to go to college, so it can avoid stress. Thus, people prefer online education than going to educational institutions.

*Note again the ineffectiveness of the topic sentence and mini conclusion.

Edited 3rd Point:

Other than that, reduced study cost is another reason for choosing online education. Online education is a cost-effective mechanism for non-traditional students and enables millions around the world to continue their education without costing an arm and a leg. In addition, expensive textbooks are also not required with the advent of e-books and online journals. There is no need to rush or pay transportation costs to go to college, so stress as well as financial factors can be reduced as well. Thus, online learning is a more cost-efficient option for today’s fast paced society. 

* Note that being less wordy and using the right terms have a better impact.

Fazurah's Conclusion:

In the nutshell, there are many reason for a working adult, housewives and school leavers to get online education. This type of learning helps them learn faster, retain more information and earn a degree which otherwise would not be possible. Therefore, the popularity of online education has increased over the years because online learning can be pursued by many people anywhere and anytime, provides focused learning and reduces study costs and stress.

* Note that this conclusion does not 'reveal' much critical thinking skills but merely states the obvious. To get a higher band, you would need to demonstrate your ability to think beyond the obvious hence including recommendations is a very succinct idea to gain brownie points.

Edited Conclusion:

In a nutshell, more and more working adults, housewives and school leavers are exploring the option of online education as a means to self-development. This type of learning helps them learn faster, retain more information and earn a degree at a fraction of the cost. Therefore, the government has sanctioned this medium of education by approving institutes like Open University Malaysia where everyone can learn. It is hoped that more of such universities and learning institutes that offer online learning will mushroom around the country because education is the key to progress and prosperity. 

* Note the difference a good recommendation makes to the ending. Remember that this is the last thing the examiner reads and it is better to end with a good punch.

Well, dear followers, does this explanation help you improve writing? I do hope so. I've blogged a lot about the theory and everyone should get the academic format by now (read my archive!).. but it is a different ballgame entirely when it comes to actually applying the theory. Good luck to all candidates especially my own students who are going to take the July MUET paper this year. Please leave a comment below if you need any clarification. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

MUET Academic Essay Sample March 2014

This is the edited version of my student's  academic essay. What band would you give him? Why?

(Tq Franky, SMK Majakir, 6A1'14)

Question 2: 
The trend today among youths is to own the latest technological gadgets such as mobile phones and other devices. Is this a healthy development among young people? Give your opinion. You should write at least 350 words.


        In this modern world of ours, technological devices such as mobile phones and other gadgets are no longer foreign to us. Most of the young people today are treating these luxuries as a necessity as they compete to own the latest devices, leading to the adults’ questioning whether this is a healthy or an unhealthy development for youths today. In my own humble opinion, this issue will be a never-ending argument because it solely depends on the user itself to determine their purpose of using these devices. Thus in this essay, this issue can be discussed in terms of both healthy and unhealthy development and some recommendations. 

      Firstly, with these newest devices, young people can access information wherever there are with just a touch of their fingers. This can help to expand their knowledge about the current issues of our world which will be a key role to take their mind to a higher level. They can also use these facilities to help them in their studies. All of these can help our country to produce more intellectual people which indeed is a healthy development by contributing to a more productive nation. 

      In the old days, we had to do a lot of work and research in order to finish our school assignment, which is time consuming and tiring. Now we can obtain any information we need for our assignment without having the need to go to the library anymore. This can help the students to save more time for them to do other things. Furthermore, students can also increase their efficiency of work. The government also supports this by launching the ‘Wireless Village’ programme so that both rural and urban people can access the internet without having to subcribe to any internet packages. Overall, students can perform better and become more productive in their work, so this is certainly a healthy development. 

      Moreover, young people that chase after these latest technological devices can help to strengthen the country’s commerce through the constant supply and demand of gadgets. This can help the government to focus more on developing this technology or subsidising companies in this industry as it can guarantee good profits. Besides, in line with the previous years’ budgets, the government is giving out ‘smart phone rebates’ to citizens above the age of 21. All of this can help to improve our economic level and lead to a more developed country, therefore another sign that it is a healthy development. 
      
       On the other hand, this trend to own the latest technology devices could lead to a waste of money. Even though these devices are useful to us, but the fact is that most young people are chasing the latest devices regardless of cost. Mind the word ‘latest’ as they only want the latest edition that is being released in the market almost once per year for different brands such as Samsung and Sony. In order to keep up with the trend, these young people are willing to waste their money or more accurately their parents’ hard-earned money. Instead, they could use the money for better purposes like buying books or stationery. 

        Furthermore, as time goes by, they might eventually become ungrateful for what they already have and keep nagging for new gadgets. This is unhealthy as it breeds materialism. In addition, if one did not have proper discipline within oneself while using these devices, one will easily become a victim to various addictions such as social networking and games. This can cause the young users to become distracted and greatly decrease their work efficiency. As for students, their performance at school might become affected. To add to the matter, young people can easily access inappropriate content such as porn and violent materials at a young age, unsupervised. All of this can retard their mind’s growth and become influenced by negative things. In the end, these devices become a bane to them instead of a boon to the development of society. 

      Hence, for us to fully utilise the advantages of technology, I humble share some of my recommendations. Firstly, parents play a big role as they spend the most time with their children thus they should watch strictly over their children’s usage of these devices per day by limiting it. Next, the government can work on preventing or blocking many harmful websites in our country so that young people have no access to it. 

         In conclusion, I believe that in the end, it depends on the user itself whether to abuse or to use the devices to their disadvantage or advantage. We can draw an analogy from guns – used by the police it enforces the law; by a criminal it abets the crime. It would be illogical to put the gun in jail instead of the person who pulls the trigger. Similarly, it is we ourselves that click the mouse or swipe the screen of our gadget so we must use it responsibly to contribute towards a happier and healthier development in society today.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 2014 Writing 800/4 Essay Question

Question 2: 
The trend today among youths is to own the latest technological gadgets such as mobile phones and other devices. Is this a healthy development among young people? Give your opinion. You should write at least 350 words.

This question looks easy, right? Just write about the pros and cons of the latest technological gadgets.
After all, most of us can't live without handphones and tablets and what not.

WRONG. 

It just LOOKS deceptively easy.
I am quite certain that MPM WILL MARK DOWN
if the candidate merely states the benefits and drawbacks of owning the latest gadgets because
he/she HAS NOT ADDRESSED THE QUESTION POSED...
which is.........is it or is it not a HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT?

Basically, to get a high band, you must specifically answer the question whether you think it is a healthy development among young people or not. It is myopic and short sighted to simply discuss the negative and positive aspects without relating it to your opinion on the key issue. It is also a narrow minded view to focus on the pros and cons to individuals without considering this development's effect to society and the nation as a whole.

If you answered YES, it IS a healthy development, then your points would center around the fact that:-

* students would have information at their fingertips, access to internet and diverse research capabilities
* young people would be able to connect and communicate more efficiently across all platforms
* clerical work especially study or work related data processing can be done faster, neater and more effectively
* the purchase of technological devices would strengthen the country's commerce through the supply and demand of gadgets
 
all of which would lead to a strong economy and a more productive society hence it IS a 'healthy development' among youths.


If you answered NO, it is NOT a healthy development, then your points would center around the fact that:-

* owning the latest technological gadgets is a wasteful trend as their money could be better used for study purposes rather than buying the newest devices.
* these devices when not used with proper discipline may lead to various addictions such as social networking addiction and even computer game addiction.
* it would increase the gap between the rich and poor students and may even cause petty crime rates like theft of devices to increase

all of which lead to an 'unhealthy' development as it breeds a society that is wasteful and materialistic.


The trick is to play with the keywords. If you have been a debater before, then you can see the logic easily.
In my humble opinion, if you were to agree with the issue then focus on how the trend TO OWN the gadgets is a healthy development. Conversely, if you were to disagree, focus on how owning THE LATEST technological gadgets is an unhealthy development. In the writing world, focusing on keywords gives you ammunition to justify your stand and this is called the 'angle' or 'perspective' which will make or break an argument.

But how can you get a Band 6 answer?
Perfect grammar with minor slips, for sure, but there is also a need to demonstrate acute critical thinking skills and the ability to see both sides of the coin before making a sound recommendation.

Thus, a Band 6 answer would discuss the reasons why it is 'healthy' as well as 'unhealthy' BEFORE stating that it is 'the human factor/the user himself' that has the power to use or abuse the devices to their advantage or disadvantage.


So... those who just took the exam... DID YOU ANSWER THE QUESTION? 
The likely scenario is that you merely stated the advantages and/or disadvantages 
WITHOUT LINKING it to the 'healthy/unhealthy' issue. 

My only advice, better luck next time! 

Click here to see my student's great sample essay! 

March 2014 MUET Report Writing Question

Hi people. Here are my thoughts on the report writing question.

Firstly, it was relatively easy and clear cut. I think that with a bit of critical thinking most students would have found it easy to score in this section. Below is a breakdown of how to answer the question.

Follow the format given by MPM.

A) Title
B) Introduction sentence.
(What are the stimuli?)
C) Overview/Trend 
(What is the most outstanding idea that LINKS all stimuli?)
D) Key Features 
(Most outstanding features as opposed to listing down the obvious features)
E) Conclusion sentence.
(Similar to Overview but just written from a different angle.)

Based on the format given, you could easily write 150 - 200 words.




A) Title: 
Visitation of Youths to the Dentist  from 1971-2010

B) Introduction:
The stimuli present a bar graph on the Number of Youths visiting the the dentist over four decades (1971-2010) and a table listing medical and cosmetic reasons for two periods (1971-1980 and 2001-2010).

C) Overview/Trend:
In general, visits to the dentist has risen steadily for both genders and girls recorded the highest visitations mainly for cosmetic reasons.

D) Key features:
ANALYSIS (within each stimulus)

* According the the bar graph, visitations to the dentist by both genders increased steadily.
* The lowest recorded visitations was by the girls in 1971-1980 with only 26,000 visits. This total almost tripled to 75,000 in 2001-2010 which is also the highest recorded for both genders.
* The lowest recorded visitations by boys was also recorded in 1971-1980 with 30,000 visits which doubled to 60,000 in 2001-2010.
* 1971-1980 was the only period where the number of boys visiting the dentist was more than girls.

* According to the table, the main reason for visiting the dentist for both genders is for filling cavities.
* Girls showed a drastic increase of reasons for visiting the dentist where they only went for medical reasons in 1971-1980 to going for both medical and cosmetic reasons in 2001-2010.
* In 1971-1980, boys visited the dentist for more medical reasons than the girls and later in 2001-2010 they clearly visited the dentist only when they had medical reasons rather than cosmetic ones.
* By 2001-2010, girls showed very high concern for cosmetic reasons compared to boys as records showed that they visited the dentist to fit braces and to whiten or clean their teeth whereas boys only had braces fitted.

SYNTHESIS (Linking between stimuli)
* The number of visitations for both genders showed a steady increase which is parallel with the increase of  reasons for going to the dentist over the years.
* Girls recorded the lowest visitations to the dentist with only 26,000 in 1971-1980 because they only went for one medical reason which was to fill cavities.
* In 1971-1980 as well, boys recorded a slightly higher rate of visitations than girls (30,000) because they went for more medical reasons which was to get their teeth extracted as well as cavities filled.
* The data shows girls recorded the highest visitations (75,000) to the dentist in 2001-2010 when cosmetic treatments like fitting braces and the whitening and cleaning of teeth were available.
* Boys also recorded the highest visitations to the dentist in 2001-2010 (60,000) which is double the number in 1971-1980(30,000) but they mainly went for medical reasons rather than cosmetic ones.

E) Conclusion:
In conclusion, visits to the dentist steadily increased for both genders by 2001-2010 whereby boys showed more concern for medical reasons while girls focused more on cosmetic reasons.

Basically, a high band answer will have more synthesis than analysis because it is stated very clearly in the instructions/rubrics that you should ANALYSE the results of the survey and LINK the information presented in the two visuals. You will still get marks if you analysed the visuals correctly, but if you were to relate the data using a year to year explanation this would not award you many marks as you are merely stating the features. Therefore, a good MUET student would be able to identify which points ARE THE MOST OUTSTANDING ideas you can get from LINKING the visuals rather than merely retelling the data which everyone can see for themselves. Am I making sense? I hope so. 

Therefore, teachers, the challenge is for you to make students realise the difference between Key Features vs Features and Analysis vs Synthesis. Easier said than done,right?! Hence the need for higher critical thinking skills. 

Stay tuned... next blog post is about the essay question and why most people cannot get higher than a band 3-4... (in my humble opinion only, take it with a pinch of salt!) 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 2014 MUET Reading 800/3 answers

Hi all... just re-emphasising again that these are my personal answers, I have no direct connection with MPM and their answers so please use it for your reference only, they are NOT carved in stone! Just appreciate my efforts and please no backchat or annoying speculations. hehe..

Open for debate!

1. C
2. A is my answer cos to calculate percentage it would definitely involve 100% even if the findings show less than that percentage./ B - is the suggested answer from another a reliable source.
3. B
4. C
5. C
6. A
7. B
8. A
9. A
10. C
11. C
12. C
13. A
14. A
15. A
16. B
17. A
18. A (changed after long discussion with a reliable source)
19. A (changed after realising my typo.. I did choose A but don't know why I didnt type it out correctly)
20. C
21. B
22. C
23. A
24. A
25. C
26. C
27. B
28. B
29. C
30. C
31. C
32. D
33. D
34. D
35. C
36. D
37. C
38. B
39. A (changed because of the word 'cautious')
40. B
41. A
42. A
43. B
44. B
45. D (C is also an option but I still think the whole article does not revolve around 'Lessons' even though the last part is a reminder to learn from the Yellow river)

Same? Different? Let the debate begin!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

HOW TO WRITE GOOD MUET ESSAY INTRODUCTIONS

A lot of students do not score well in MUET writing because they may be unaware of the Academic Writing Format. Those who know about it find it hard to verbalise it or get it down on paper, as such, their intros might not follow the appropriate formal writing style that is preferred for MUET level.

Anyway, here is a short lesson on intro writing from me.
The key, as always, is to keep practising.

What makes a good introduction?
Divided into 3 parts.
1. Current Situation/Commentary
2. Stand
3. Thesis Statement/Outline

What should each part consist of?

PART 1
1. Current situation/Commentary should include a HOOK,
which is a statement or question that can HOOK OR GRAB your attention.

Examples of HOOKS
a. Facts/Data/Statistics (News articles, data from graphs/surveys etc)
b. Questions (Rhetorical questions related to the issue)
c. An Anecdote (Story that is related to the issue)
d. Examples (Various related examples)
e. Contrast (Describing the opposite of a given situation, eg. topic: Money, opposite: No Money)
f.  Projection (Imagining the future)

Basically, you may use any of the hooks above but make sure the tone of your essay is FORMAL.

Example of Hook (f-Projection)
DO NOT WRITE: 
Imagine if there are no people to clean up rubbish, everywhere got rubbish so dirty and many people would get sick because so many diseases until everyone die. 
DO WRITE:
Imagine a world without a cleanup crew, rubbish would be piling up high everywhere and diseases would spread like wildfire to threaten the very existence of mankind.

PART 2
2. Stand
Refer to the question and focus on the key words to develop your stand.
Use these phrases to guide you:
a. In my opinion, I strongly/totally/completely/absolutely believe/feel/agree/disagree that...
b. From my perspective, I ...
c. From my point of view, I ...
d. It is my opinion that...

Your stand can also help you organise your essays in terms of paragraphing.

IF YOU CLEARLY AGREE/DISAGREE
: use a 5 paragraph format
INTRO
AGREE 1
AGREE 2
AGREE 3
CONCLUSION
or
INTRO
DISAGREE 1
DISAGREE 2
DISAGREE 3
CONCLUSION.

However, I am inclined to give the 'thinkers' a higher band if they can
compare and contrast ideas using the 6 paragraph format as shown below.

INTRO
AGREE 1
AGREE 2
DISAGREE 1
DISAGREE 2
CONCLUSION
or
INTRO
AGREE 1 vs DISAGREE 1
AGREE 2 vs DISAGREE 2
AGREE 3 vs DISAGREE 3
AGREE 4 vs DISAGREE 4
CONCLUSION

*NOTE that 5 paragraphs are the bare minimum, 6 is suggested,
but those with excellent proficiency should NOT let the number of paragraphs hold you back.
Conversely, the danger of writing too much is it is 'self-penalising'
as you will make too many errors esp if you run out of time and cannot edit your writing.


PART 3
3. Thesis Statement/Outline

This is by far the MOST IMPORTANT part of the introduction as it foreshadows
what the writer will focus on and gives the examiner
an idea of how well the writer can organise his/her essay.

For low bands, a simple Outline is enough. Use this template to help you.

In this essay, I would like to discuss advantages/disadvantages/reasons/causes/strategies which are __________, __________ and ___________.

or

In this essay, I would like to focus on the *________________, ______________ and ______________.
*can be replaced with:
a. causes, effects and solutions
b. pros, cons, solutions
c. advantages, disadvantages, suggestions
d. benefits, drawbacks, ways to overcome
e. etc.

For higher bands, omit the 'I' and replace with more formal structures.

In light of this, there are many reasons/causes/effects/advantages/disadvantages to this issue namely ______________, _______________ and ______________.

or

There are many facets to this issue but let us focus on the ____________, ___________ and _________ of ______________________(issue).

or etc.


SAMPLES OF INTRODUCTIONS FOR EACH HOOK TECHNIQUE.
Now that you're learnt the theory, let's put it to practice. To show you how this works, I've used one question, and written 6 different intros but all with the 3 part format which I've discussed.

There is a question at the end of this section and you may try your hand in writing your own 6 versions of the introduction... practice makes perfect!!!

Nov 2013 Writing Question 

"The most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is himself." 

Do you agree with the statement ? Justify your stand, giving relevant examples where appropriate. You should write at least 350 words. 

a. Facts/Data/Statistics (News articles, data from graphs/surveys etc)

According to an article in Forbes magazine on World's 100 Top Successful people, 90% of people become successful based on their unique individual characters rather than talent alone. This means that people who have the same great talent - take singing for example - are both capable of becoming successful but the one who has the characteristics fans like such as friendly, well-groomed with high self-esteem and creativity are more likely to achieve superstardom compared to an introverted singer with low self-confidence and charisma. It is my humble opinion that I absolutely agree with the statement that the most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is himself. We can analyse this issue in terms of the human factor which are his innate qualities, his drive for success and his ability to sustain success. 



b. Questions (Rhetorical questions related to the issue)


Is talent enough to achieve success? How is it possible for a set of twins who are both equally good in singing, yet only one becomes a successful singer while the other does not? Can a person's character determine his or her ability to achieve success in life? From my point of view, the answer lies in the fact that it is indeed the person himself which contributes towards his own success. In this essay, I would like to discuss how a person's innate talent, his drive to succeed and his motivation to stay at the top are the reasons that differentiate every one of us therefore controlling our success metres. 



c. An anecdote (Story that is related to the issue)

There was once a farmer who had triplets. He could not decide which son should inherit his property so he gave each of his three sons the same sum of money and told them to achieve success. The first son used the money as a dowry and managed to acquire the chief's daughter as a wife. The second son used the money to bet on horses but lost it all. The third son bought cows with the intent of breeding them, milking them and making butter and cheese of which he would sell at the market. Finally, the farmer chose the third son because he was the only son capable of 'growing' his investment. The point of all this is to show that when the playing field is leveled, and there is equal opportunity, success or failure is determined by the decisions each individual makes. Therefore, I strongly agree with the statement that the most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is himself. In light of this, there are many aspects of the person himself which contributes to his success, namely his aptitude, attitude and drive to succeed. 


d. Examples (Various related examples)

Donald Trump is renowned the world over for his acute business acumen as testified by his Trump empire. His entrepreneurship skills have been commonly mimicked but rarely replicated as many aspire to become like him but seldom achieve the level of his success. The secret of his success is his unique character which is driven by his desire to rise above all, including himself. There are other examples of extremely successful people who have achieved success not solely based on talent but their individual characteristics such as Mark Zuckerberg and our own Datuk Tony Fernandez to name a few. From my perspective, the most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is indeed himself. This can be proven in terms of his own talent, his character and motivation to remain successful. 

e. Contrast (Describing the opposite of a given situation, eg. topic: Money, opposite: No Money)

A person born into an affluent family, when taking over the father's business manages to run the business down the ground. The question then arises as to why the son failed to follow in the footsteps of his father when everything was handed to him on a silver platter. Simply put, he might have inherited the same genes but this does not predetermine his individualistic characteristic which in turn contributes to his ability to succeed or in this case, fail. Similarly, a person born into a poor family with not much given to him, can scrape the barrels and claw out of his poverty and make a success of his life unlike his parents or siblings. The sheer determination to succeed gives him the necessary elixir to lift him out of his fate and create a new and brighter future for himself. Hence it is my steadfast opinion that the environment does not play the most crucial factor in determining success, but it is indeed the person himself what contributes to his rise or fall. To discuss this issue, let us look at the three aspects of success, namely a person's aptitude, attitude and desire to sustain success. 

f. Projection (Imagining the future)
If every one of us could be successful, would this world not be full of successful people? The very fact that not everyone in this world today is a success story strongly implies that there are many factors that contribute to a person's success but it is each individual himself that gives him the cutting edge. In my opinion, I completely agree that the most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is himself. There are many facets to this issue but let us focus on a person's own ability, character and determination that will lead to his or her success. 


Right... so what do you think of the 6 different approaches? 
Which do you like the best? 
Which suits your writing style the best? 

As mentioned earlier, below is a sample exam question that you can try writing introductions for. Write at least 3 different versions of the introductions using any of the 6 hooks taught previously. 

"The most important thing in life is health." Do you agree with the statement? Justify your stand, giving relevant examples where appropriate. You should write at least 350 words. 

If you really want to challenge yourself, you could use the first essay topic on success and try to disagree with it or discuss both for and against it (come up with a 6 paragraph organisation). You will need to figure out what are the external factors that leads one to success. 

As usual, write the sample intros out and post in the comments below.. waiting to hear from both teachers and students! Happy penning! 





Monday, December 9, 2013

MUET READING 800/3 NOV 2013

Hah! Finally the long awaited answers! Tq Thou Li Yee for sending me the pdf file.

MY Suggested Answers (work in progress)

1. C
2. A
3. A (more deceased/available organs)
4. A
5. A
6. B
7. B
8. B
9. C
10. A
11. A
12. A
13. C (?)
14. C
15. C
16. B
17. C
18. B
19. C
20. A
21. B
22. C
23. B
24. C (?)
25. C
26. C
27. A
28. A
29. B
30. A (?)
31. C
32. C
33. B
34. B
35. D
36. D
37. B
38. B
39. B
40. C
41. A
42. A
43. D
44. C
45. D

Ok.. that's my version... the one's with (?) I'm also a bit confused cos the way it is worded is quite tricky. All answers open for debate. Btw... happy holidays!