Monday, August 7, 2017


Yes, I know everyone is waiting to check their answers but I hv been too busy and have finally gotten a copy. I just started, so there will be revisions cos I myself am only human. Here goes:

1. A (1 bil log on every day)
2. C (no data on most popular)
3. B (disproven by 'second largest')
4. C (began 12 yrs ago, graph only shows 6 yrs data)
5. C (no data on 'the most time')
6. C (no data on 'growth potential, the graph is on revenue)
7. B (drastic is inappropriate, steady growth more appropriate)
8. A
9. C
10. C
11. C
12. A
13. C
14. B
15. B
16. A
17. A
18. B
19. B
20. A
21. B
22. A
23. A
24. C
25. B
26. A
27. B
28. A
29. C
30. A
31. D
32. D
33. A
34. B
35. C
36. B
37. C
38. D
39. C
40. A
41. C
42. A
43. C
44. B
45. C


(To be continued)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

MUET Report Writing Sample / Template

So one of the biggest hurdles for both teachers of MUET and candidates is how to handle the report writing question. Having done so many talks over the years, I have finally come up with a colour coded version of teaching Report Writing, MUET style.. the closest and easiest possible way for everyone to understand and apply. Let it be said here that there are always advantages and disadvantages to teaching using templates. First and foremost, every MUET report writing question is different and therefore it may not be possible to transfer the skills into writing if the content strays from mainstream/what is expected. The advantage of a template is that it helps the very weak to see the pattern and to hopefully be able to replicate the pattern in the exam. Might I be so bold as to add that mark schemes with a rigid template is actually quite biased to those who have been exposed to it, but will definitely shortchange very good students who somehow have never seen/heard of/learnt the template or those who used their own interpretation to write their reports. The rigidity of the 200 word limit and enforced format for report writing seems to me a poor way of judging a person's proficiency. But hey, I'm just a teacher, who am I to comment on the choice of questions made by the exams syndicate? In comparison, the report section in the IELTS exam is not confined to such rigidity and I hope someday, we can also move away from short-sighted assessments like this report question.

Coming back to the issue, you can study the series of pictures here to get a gist of how I now teach report writing, ie using colour coding. Note that a successful analysis needs 2 elements: Blue+Yellow (trend word + data) and likewise, a successful Synthesis needs 3 elements: Blue+Yellow+Red (trend word + data + synthesis linking phrase). Note also that data does not denote only numbers and statistics (ie. information/phrases in a table are also data). A final not is that if the student copies these phrases or the titles using inverted commas, "..." or '...' (single or double, doesn't really matter) and makes sure that it is verbatim (exact phrases and spelling), then the whole item is counted as 1, just as any number in brackets are counted as 1. Anyway, happy teaching! & Good luck to those taking the exam on 5th August 2017... including my students this year. Yeeehaw!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

2 MUET Speaking Samples by one of my Personal Online Tutees

Hey there everyone! Getting excited that Speaking is around the corner? One of my online tutees under my personal online tutoring (email me at to be a tutee) has prepared sample scripts for 2 speaking topics. Have a read below to get an idea of what makes a good presentation and discussion. The individual tasks are longer than 2 mins so when you are speaking, just talk confidently for 2 mins regardless of how many points you managed to cover. Likewise, the discussion script is shorter than 10 mins but in the real exam, just ensure you talk about fresh new points (never repeat what you have said in Task A at the beginning of the discussion) and be a good discussion manager by getting the ball rolling, asking questions, giving feedback, counter-arguing and concluding. Good luck and read up on all my archived notes for passing MUET.

Sample 1:

Your friend wants to quit university because her family is facing a financial crisis. Advise her.
Candidate A: Study part-time
Candidate B: Study full-time
Candidate C: Postpone for 1 year (gap year)
Candidate D: Continue studying but start an online business

 A wonderful morning I bid to the examiners and my fellow friends. It is very sad to hear that my friend wants to quit university due to a financial crisis. My advice to her is that she should study part time.
 First and foremost, by studying part time, she can search for a part time job to earn some money. This is because during part time studies, she will not have daily classes or even that often. For instance, she can work part time in a nearby kiosk, Mc Donald or working in the university area. Hence, she can pay for her tuition fees, accommodation, books and so on from the money she earned.
 Secondly, she can work in a company that gives sponsorship for her studies. In exchange, she will be bonded to the company for a period of time. Furthermore, she does not have to worry as the company will cover for all her fees. To illustrate, she will be working with the company in the morning and having classes at night or on weekends like at Open University.
 On top of that, studying part time gives her an advantage to pay for her fees slowly. My reason for this is because part time studies require a longer duration to finish her studies. Therefore, she will be able to pay her fees slowly. Moreover, she has a much longer time to save her money.
 To sum up, these are some of the reasons why I advise her to study part time. To me, it is the best way to ease the burden of her family. Thank you for listening.

 A very good morning to one and all. It worries me a lot when I know that one of my friends wants to quit university due to her financial problems. In my humble opinion, she should just continue her studies full time.
 Firstly, she will be able to achieve better results when studying full time. This is because she can concentrate on her academics. In addition, she needs to work hard to achieve success. As a result, she can work hard to be on the dean’s list.
 My second point is she can apply for scholarships or study loans with flexible repayment with her good results. The main reason for this is because scholarships and loans can help her to ease the burden of her family. As an illustration,  she has to study hard to achieve great marks or pointers and apply for financial support during the second semester and if she gets a 4 pointer result the loan can be converted into a scholarship.
 Last but not least, she can find a better job with higher salary quicker after graduation rather than studying part time. My reason for this is because her studies has a shorter duration of time to finish. Furthermore, she can help her family by providing financial support after she has a job. For instance, she will obtain more money with her qualification rather than just work part time because a degree can get her a higher salary. Even as a graduated teacher, she can earn minimum RM3000 a month compared to RM900 minimum wages.
 In summary, these are the reasons why she should continue her studies full time. In my point of view, these give greater benefits to her family and herself. Thank you and have a nice day.

 A very lovely morning to the examiners and my fellow candidates. As we all know, my friend and her family are currently facing a financial crisis. As her friend, I would advise her to postpone her studies for one year as our government has approved the gap year system now.
 First of all, she can find a permanent job instead of working part time if she postpones her studies. My reason for this is because a permanent job has a better and higher salary than a part time job. Furthermore, the salary for a permanent job can be raised higher as time goes by. As an illustration, she could earn approximately RM1200 per month and above by working permanently whereas she would only earn around RM750 monthly part time.
 My second point is she will be able to save a greater amount of money. This is due to she has more time when she postpones her studies. She can save a certain amount of money a month for a whole year. Moreover, if it is an office hour job, she can also do online business, baking and selling, catering and many more.
 Finally, she will be able to help her family with their financial problem. The main reason for this is because she can focus on earning money instead of worrying about not being able to focus on her studies. In addition, she does not have to worry about any overdue fees for her to settle as soon as possible.
  In a nutshell, postponing her studies for one year is definitely a great idea. It will greatly benefit her and her family and she can continue studying after the gap year. Thank you.

 A wonderful day I bid you. I feel very disheartened when I found out that my friend wants to quit her studies because of her family’s financial crisis. After a lengthy deliberation, I think that she should just continue her studies but at the same time, she should start a business online.
 Firstly, she can earn her own money by doing an online business. Social media is one of the mediums for people around us to communicate with each other. Due to the very high number of users, it increases the probability for every percentage of the buyers. There are a lot of social media sites or apps and pages that we could start with. For instance, Whatsapp, Wechat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on.
 Moving on to my next point, doing a business online saves a lot of cost. The main reason for this is because she does not have to rent for a shop to display and sell. Moreover, she can save her money by reducing the transportation cost. To illustrate, she will need to pay for the transportation fees to her workplace.
 Lastly, doing an online business is easier for everyone. My reason for this is because nowadays everyone can access the internet from any location through various gadgets and devices such as computers, mobile phones, tablets and many more.
 In short, these are the benefits of doing business online. She can help both her family and herself if she works hard for it and manages her time well. Thank you for lending me your ears.

Discuss the best advice for her.
A: A wonderful morning to one and all. The issue we are discussing today is our friend wants to quit university due to a financial crisis that her family is facing. I would like to invite anyone of you to kickstart this discussion by giving us your opinion.
C: Allow me to begin. First and foremost, I am very worried about our friend when I received the news that she wants to quit university. Hence, I decided to give her a piece of advice. In my humble opinion, I believe that studying full time is a good way for her. This is because she will achieve better results if she focuses only on her studies. For instance, she can be on the dean’s list when she works hard for it.
B: I see your point but how about she postpones her studies for one year. In this way, she will be able to help her family with the financial problem. The reason is because she can focus on earning money instead of worrying and being unable to focus in class.
D: I do not quite agree with you because by doing so, she will graduate later than she is supposed to. I think that it will be better if she studies but start a business online. Does anyone agree with me?
A: Yes, I do agree but allow me to share my point. I think that she should study part time. My reason for this is because she can work part time while studying to earn some money to pay for her tuition fees, books, accommodation and so on.
C: I am afraid that I do not see eye to eye with both of you. Those solutions are not the best way to solve her problems. Mainly because she might end up repeating her papers and will have another incurred fees. Thus, it will actually burden her family and herself more.
B: Indeed, I do see your point of view but I believe that she should just continue her studies full time because she can also apply for a scholarship or study loan by using her first semester’s result. In order to make it happen, she needs to get a very good result which I encourage her to just focus on her studies.
D: That is an interesting perspective and I agree with you that she should apply for a scholarship or loan. However, I think that we should consider other points. In my perspective, doing an online business is very simple and saves a lot of cost. She does not have to rent for a shop nor spend a lot on transportation fees. Wouldn’t you agree?
A: I am not sure I understand what you are saying. Can you explain it again, please?
D: What I mean is she can study and do business online at the same time. The main reason for this is because it is very simple, easy, convenient and fast. Nowadays people can access the internet from anywhere they are. She would not need to spend money on rental and transportations as orders will be made online by using computers, mobile phones, tablets and so on.
A: I see. Yes, I think it would be a great way too. This way she can earn some money even during her studies.
C: That is a good point, but don’t you think that having a gap year for her is better? I strongly believe that this is the best way because she can find a permanent job instead of part time. My reason for this is simply because she will receive a higher salary compared to working part time. Hence, she can save her money worth a year. So candidates A and D, what do you guys think?
D: Now that you have explained it like that, I also agree that it will be the best way. In fact, she can ease the burden of her family if she earns a lot.
A: As for me, I feel that it is the best if she studies part time because she can also find a sponsorship for her studies. In exchange, she will need to work with the company even during her studies.
C: After listening to all the points on the four choices we have, I think that it is time to make a conclusion.
D: Yes, I think so too. Does everyone agree that our friend should study while starting a business online?
All: Yes, I agree.
B: In short, it is unanimous that we all agree that studying while starting an online business is the best way because firstly, she can earn her own money. Secondly, it saves a lot of cost and finally, it is easy to access from any location.
Thank you and have a nice day.

Sample 2:

Reducing is one of the 3R strategies. Discuss.
Candidate A: Reduce paper usage
Candidate B: Reduce plastics usage
Candidate C: Reduce electricity usage
Candidate D: Reduce petroleum usage
Task B: Which strategy is the best?

 Good morning to the examiners and fellow candidates. One of the 3R strategies is to reduce. Reducing means to make something smaller or use less, resulting in a smaller amount of waste. I strongly believe that reducing paper usage is the best way to reduc wastage.
 First and foremost, reducing paper usage gives us environmental benefits. My main reason for this is because we can save a lot of trees from being cut down. Trees provide oxygen to both humans and animals. Therefore, to have more or sufficient oxygen, the number of humans and animals should never overpopulate the amount of plants and trees. Moreover, trees are habitats to certain species of animals. Unknowingly, we are destroying their habitats and thus will lead to the extinction of some endangered species of both flora and fauna. Hence, reducing the usage of paper is very important to save the environment.
 Secondly, we are able to save our cost if the usage of paper is reduced. This is because when we use less paper, we will also reduce the cost for storage, toner, printing, labour, postage, packaging, disposal and so on. To illustrate, we should always use both sides of the papers and maximise the use of the space. In the office, we should always think before we start printing on paper. To exemplify, we can use email instead of paper mail which is easier in many ways. Therefore, less usage of paper saves a huge amount of money.
 Finally, the reduction of usage of paper will definitely make our lives more efficient. Nowadays, technological advancement plays an important role in our lives. To elaborate, we can reduce paper usage by using electronic storage rather than paper storage for material. Electronic storage can be very reliable if it is set up with backups. Moreover, we can change our bills to paperless bill and pay them online or by phone. The companies can do this easily since email is much cheaper than postage. Thus, reducing paper usage is saving a lot of our time and making tasks simpler.
 In a nutshell, reducing the use of paper will definitely give us a better life in the future as we are able to save more trees, costs and time. Awareness should be spread throughout the society to aid more in the 3R strategies. Thank you for your time.

 A wonderful morning I bid to you. Reducing is one of the 3R strategies that is introduced throughout the society. In my point of view, reducing plastics usage is a very good way to minimise the amount of waste that we produce.
 At the forefront of this issue is the fact that overuse of plastics will cause pollution. The reason for this is because plastics are non-biodegradable. This means that they take hundreds or even thousands of years to breakdown. Those plastic wastes take up precious space in landfills. As a result, they pollute the environment such as oceans, groundwater and soil when the chemical compounds in the plastics leach through the soil. We may not be able to eliminate them all, but we can reduce the usage of plastics by replacing plastic bags with paper bags or reusable shopping bags. Hence, we will be able to save the environment from being polluted by reducing the usage of plastics.
 A second crucial point to ponder is that the making of plastic itself has already used a lot of energy and earth’s resources. As an illustration, we take plastic bottles for example from producing the bottle, to filling it with water, to transporting it to stores and then to our home. It obviously requires a lot of energy compared to producing tap water. To reduce plastics usage, one of the things we can do is that we should boil our own drinking water instead of buying bottles of drinking water. Some cities in America have passed a law to ban the sales of bottled water in their war against plastics. Thus, we are able to use less plastic products.
 Last but not least, we should use fewer plastic products due to the health hazard. My main reason for this is because plastic is a complex mixture of chemical compounds. Some hazardous chemicals might leach from the plastic food containers when heated or exposed to UV light. This explains why we should not drink water from a plastic bottle left in a car, where it is exposed under the sun. To avoid the hazardous effects, we should store our food in glass containers. Some universities and even bazaars in selangor have declared themselves to be Zero-plastic and those still using plastics will be fined heavily. Therefore, we should reduce plastics usage as they may also affect our health.
 To sum up, these reasons support the idea of reducing the use of plastics. We can change and save our future even with the smallest gesture will have a snowball effect. Thank you for lending me your ears.

 Hello and greetings to one and all. The 3R strategies aid us in saving the world which is currently gradually collapsing due to climate change and pollution. Therefore, my suggestion is to reduce electricity usage.
 My first point is that we can save our money by reducing the use of electricity. This is because electricity usage at home can be up to 90% compared to other sources. For example, the use of televisions, fans, lights, heaters, air-conditioners, chargers and many more that require electrical power to function. To reduce this phenomenon, we can replace normal light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs and same goes to the other electrical appliances and electronic devices. Hence, our electric bills can be effectively reduced with minimum usage of electricity.
 Moving on to my next point, we can avoid short-circuit occurrence due to high consumption of electrical power if we reduce the usage. My explanation for this is that the higher the currents, the more the energy loss. They are converted into other form of energy such as light and heat. It is dangerous when more of the electrical energy is converted into heat as it can generate fire. To avoid this, we should insulate and always checked the insulator for all of the wires we use. Furthermore, we should always switch off all of the switches and unplug every socket when not in use. Too often, we hear about charging phones exploding and catching fire. Thus, reducing the use of electricity increases our safety.
 On top of that, we should reduce electrical power consumption because of the limited non-renewable resources. In Malaysia, electricity is generated from the burning of fossil fuels whereas in other countries, they are using unlimited resources such as the sun, wind and tides. Additionally, the burning of fossil fuels will also cause environmental pollution. As an illustration, river and sea water are polluted by chemicals and polluted air from the release of unfiltered smokes. Therefore, the environment can be saved by reducing electricity usage.
 In short, we can improve our lives if we are aware of the need to protect the earth first. I strongly believe that reducing the use of electricity is the best way for us if we wish to continue to live harmoniously in this world of limited resources. Thank you for listening.

 A very lovely day I bid to the examiners and fellow friends. We have been educated and taught in school about the 3R strategies ever since we were young, where reducing is one the 3R strategies. From my perspective, I think that we should reduce petroleum usage.
 For starters, we need to remember that petroleum is a non-renewable resource. Why do I say so? Because petroleum is indeed a very limited resource that is extracted from the deep sea and sooner or later, it will all disappear in a blink of an eye. There are a lot of products made from petroleum. One of the things that we can do to reduce the use of petroleum is to discontinue the usage of plastics, soaps as well as perfume and scented products. To elaborate, almost all of these chemicals are derived from petrochemicals. Thus, we are able to lengthen the duration of petroleum usage before it is all used up.
  My next point is that traffic jams can be reduced. My reason for this is because petroleum and transportation are strongly related to each other. We should change our vehicle usage patterns. Take for instance, we should use our own car a lot less and start walking, biking and using public transportations more. Moreover, we should also schedule our trips. For example, we may plan a weekly shopping trip instead of going four or five times per week. Therefore, we will face less traffic jam if we use less petroleum in terms of transportation.
 My last point is that reducing petroleum usage can also pollute the environment less. To produce energy from petroleum, it must undergo the process of burning. The burning of fuel will result in the release of unhealthy and toxic fumes. Nowadays, technological advancement is the solution to this problem. Cars which require fuel and gasoline are replaced with car batteries, solar power energy and even hybrid electric generated power like the Toyota Prius. Hence, pollution can be controlled if petroleum usage is significantly decreased.
 In summary, the non-renewable resource of petroleum has been used quite a lot up until now. It would not be shocking news if one day the price of the crude oil will be too high that even the citizens might not be able to afford. With these reasons, I vehemently agree that petroleum usage must be reduced. Thank you and have a nice day.

Discuss the best way to reduce.
C: Good morning. Thank you all for coming. We are meeting here today to discuss about the best way to reduce. Shall we start?
B: Yes, Candidate C. Allow me to share my opinion. First and foremost, we should reduce the usage of plastics for the benefits of our environment. Plastics require quite a long time to biodegrade. This means that they will stay longer on earth and take up our precious space at disposal areas. Do you agree with me, candidate D?
D: Yes, I do go along with that. Plastics need to be reduced. Come to think of it, I have realised that plastics and petroleum are related to each other since plastics is derived from petroleum. Therefore, we are also able to save the environment by reducing petroleum usage.
A: I am afraid that I am not quite sure what you mean by that.
D: Well you see, plastics are made with petrochemicals. Additionally,,we cannot go anywhere without transportation so this means that petroleum is one of the most important resources. We can reduce its usage by walking, biking, taking public transportation and use a lot less of our own vehicles. Hence, when we are able to reduce the amount of transportation, we are also saving the environment from pollution by reducing the release of unwanted and unhealthy gases.
C: I see your point there, but don’t you think that it is better to reduce electricity usage? Since its usage is extremely high, we may be able to save our money if we conserve the energy well. For instance, we can replace normal light bulbs, electrical appliances and electronic devices with energy-efficient one. It is undeniable that we are using electricity for almost every second of our lives.
A: Sorry to interrupt. That may be true because today we are all addicted to electricity especially when charging our phones, but from my point of view, trees play the most significant role in our lives. We are unable to live without plants and trees as they provide us oxygen. Hence, we must reduce the usage of paper. For example, we should always use both sides of paper and maximise the use of the space of it. Furthermore, we are also able to save a lot of cost if paper usage is reduced because we are also reducing the cost for storage, toner, printing, labour, postage, packaging, disposal and so on.
B: That is an interesting idea, but that is not how I see it. We can always grow trees but we can never grow non-renewable resources. It is true that plastic is made from petroleum, but not a whole entirely of petroleum. It is made out of many other compounds to form a long chain of polymer. Polymer is made out of many chains of monomers. This means that plastic itself has already used great amount of energy and earth’s resources. To explain this, we have limited amount of resources on earth. Didn't you hear in the news that huge sealife like turtles, whales and dolphins have washed up ashore and died and when the post mortem was done, tonnes of plastics have been found in their digestive systems?  To solve this, one of the things we can do is that we should boil our own drinking water instead of buying bottles of drinking water.
D: That is brilliant candidate B. I hadn’t thought of that before. It is certainly a fact too that we are using plastic bags everywhere and it is almost uncountable. To add to this point, I think that we are able to make changes if we replace those plastic bags with paper bags or reusable shopping bags. Therefore, I’d go along with reducing the usage of plastics.
C: So what do you think about this candidate A, do you agree with both candidates B and D? or would you like to add on your own thoughts about it?
A: Personally, I do not quite agree with both candidates B and D. I am utterly convinced that we should reduce the use of paper. I am saying this because we are now in a world that is rapidly improving in technological advancement. Using less paper and digitalising all of the data, making our lives becoming more efficient and systematic. Hence, our lives would be easier even when paper is reduced.
B: I understand that, so how about you candidate C? Do you approve our ideas or do you agree with candidate A? Perhaps you would also like to propose your own ideas?
C: Candidate A’s opinion is good, but it may not be practical. I strongly believe that we should reduce electrical power consumption. My reason for this is to be able to avoid short-circuit occurrence due to high consumption of electrical power if the current used is less. There will be greater power loss in electric circuits if the current used is high. In this content, electrical power is lost in the form of heat and light. It may be dangerous as sparks might be produced and causes fire.
A: Now that you have explained it like this, I have had a change of heart. I see eye to eye with you candidate C and I have no objection to reducing electricity usage as safety is our main priority too.
D: After listening to all the opinions on four ways to reduce, I think that we have come to a conclusion. To sum up everything, we are unable to make a solid decision as some of us strongly believe that reducing plastics usage is the best way because it will save our unhealthy environment, overcome the draining out of limited resources and save a lot of cost while the rest of us think that reducing electricity usage is the wisest choice because it saves our money and prevent short-circuit occurrence. Thanks for a fruitful and stimulating discussion. Till we meet again next time.

Note: Your task now is to highlight and copy all the beautiful and useful phrases (connectors and linkers) and promise yourself you WILL use them in your speaking exam next week. Good luck!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Personal MUET Online Tutor by

Because of the demand and limited hours in a day, I have decided to accept online tutoring as one of the methods that my blog and I can help MUET candidates regardless of where you may be and what level of proficiency you have.

If you feel you need private tutoring from me, please feel free to email me at

For a nominal fee of RM30, you will get:

* latest MUET materials (handouts and powerpoints which I use for my talks)
* grammar improvement exercises including common errors
* up to 3 essays and 3 reports personally graded with feedback
* personal watsapp discussion

I am unable to mark all the essays that are sent to my email especially during exam crunch time, so please forgive me if you feel that you have been ignored. To move you straight to the top of my to-do-list, contact me by email and I will send you details. The only thing stopping you then is your own commitment and sense of urgency. Hopefully, with my help you will be able to score your desired Band or higher. Cheers!

Monday, March 13, 2017


Before you check your answers, why not look at the questions. I have scanned it here MUET Mac 2017

My students did not take this test so I have finally managed to get a hardcopy. Note that these are my 1st draft answers and teachers/students may leave a comment if they disagree with any of my suggested answers. Good luck all!

1. B (20% clearly means it does not exceed)
2. C (No preference stated)
3. B
4. C
5. A
6. A
7. A
8. B (China & Egypt)
9. A
10. C (no info)
11. C
12. C
13. A
14. A
15. A
16. A
17. B
18. C
19. B
20. B
21. B
22. C
23. B
24. A
25. C
26. A
27. A (preclude = prevent)
28. A
29. C
30. A
31. D
32. A
33. B
34. A
35. A
36. B (D is possible)
37. D
38. C
39. A
40. D
41. D
42. A
43. B
44. B
45. B

Ok, done. Open to suggestions. As always, be civil and well mannered or I will delete your comments if they are offensive/rude. Have a nice day!

p/s:  21/45 for a Band 3, 27/45 for Band 4. However, this is NOT  a guarantee as you would need to perform just as well in the other 3 papers to maintain this result.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Student's sample MUET essay.

It always impresses me how far and wide my blog has reached and how even when I do not upload as much, this blog of mine manages to reach out and help the masses. Well it is doubly impressive when a student like this ine below manages to produce a well written academic essay which warrants a high band. I wish it were this easy to transfer my skills to students. Congrats 
Wong Mee Wan for your impressive attempt. 

However, it is unlikely that a question like this will come out though as blogging may be considered a specialist subject more relevant to urban candidates. Nevertheless, kudos!

Question : Students should start their own blog. Do you agree ? Support your answer with examples. You should write at least 350 words.
     In recent years, the world has witnessed a significant rise in technological advancements across all fields. We saw science improved, mathematical questions answered, and social media flourished. The mushroom of blogs has positively correlated with the increasingly affordable price of computers and gadgets. Majority of the bloggers are students who use it for various purposes. Despite the ongoing debate on whether students should start their own blog, I strongly agree that starting a blog and constantly updating it helps develop critical thinking skills, creates a knowledgeable society and fortifies multiracial unity.
     First and foremost, starting and updating a blog helps to stimulate a critical way of thinking. Blog acts as a platform which opens up avenues for sharing and discussing ideas. Students are free to share their viewpoints with netizens all over the world and anyone can propose his or her ideas in the comment section below. Consequently, a discussion will be built up and the commenters need to analyse the arguments by considering the issue from different aspects and backgrounds. Thus, critical thinking skills develop slowly in the students’ mind without one realising it. For instance, the discussion on the economic issue can only come to an ideal conclusion through critical analysis of the current situation by viewing from different aspects, involving the countries, citizens and resources. Therefore, it is crystal clear that blogging can develop a critical thinking mind, especially among the students.
     In addition to this, blogging plays a key role in moulding a knowledgeable society. It is a universal truth that most students in this era of globalisation where technology reigns adapt better to learning via electronic media. Furthermore, most students spend more time browsing the Internet compared to reading books and newspapers. Hence, information and knowledge shared via blogs can reach more students than the traditional way of sharing through books. As an exemplification, students who have created mnemonics to ease the memorisation of difficult topics in the syllabus can share them via their blogs so that other students can learn it and even discuss to come up with a better idea. As a result, the knowledge input of students who access to the blogs will be escalated dramatically to eventually mould a knowledgeable society.
     Moreover, blogging can enhance the unity among different races. When students of different races blog about their unique cultures and traditions, students of other races who came across the articles will be well-informed about the cultures of other races and thus open their eyes to realise the existence of other cultures in one’s country. This can develop a better sense of understanding and hence maintain the precious unity among races, which is crucial to the harmony of a multiracial country such as Malaysia. For example, when a Malay student posts about their tradition of visiting one another during the Aidilfitri, Chinese, Indian as well as indigenous students will get to know more about the culture of Malays and the dos and don’ts when they join the celebration. Subsequently, students will develop a better understanding about races and unity is fortified when all sorts of misunderstandings are avoided.
     On the other hand, one may argue that blogging is time consuming and distracting for the students. This notion anchored its arguments on the common scenario that most students are very likely to get carried away when they access the Internet and eventually wasted so much time doing unbeneficial activities in the Internet. Students are also prone to the exposure towards the underlying negative influences in the Internet such as violence, gore and sexually explicit contents which are able to corrupt the students’ mind once and for all.

     In a nutshell, I still totally believe that students should start their own blog as this brings magnificent advantages to the students, society as well as our beloved country. Blogging stimulates a critical way of thinking, produces an enlightened society and strengthen the unity among races. The minor drawbacks can be prevented by careful measures such as parental control. The government through the Ministry of Education should spearhead a foolproof blueprint to instill the habit of blogging among students by providing special training and increasing incentives for the usage of technology in schools.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

4 Sample MUET Outlines for A Model Academic Essay Question

Well it is now February and one month away from the March exam. I have been getting many enquiries about how to approach academic essays. The most straightforward way is to agree 100% in 5 paragraphs (intro, 3 arguments and conclusion) but that will possibly just give you passing band. To show your flair for the language and critical thinking skills, may I suggest you follow one of the 4 sample outlines I have written out for the same single question on banning smoking. Note that in MUET, the question itself will usually have 2 parts to it so you must be smart in linking the two ideas (A &B) together in order to not veer off topic and stay within the required parametres. Anyway, have a read and leave a comment about which style you prefer.

MUETmyway Cloned Question:
Smoking should be banned (A) as it is a hazard to mankind (B). Do you agree with this statement? Give relevant examples. You should write at least 350 words.

(5 + 1 paragraphs)
100     or    75:25
1) Thesis Statement:
Smoking should be banned because it is a serious hazard to mankind in terms of health, waste of money and causes pollution.
2) Agree 1:
Firstly, smoking should be banned because it is a serious hazard to our health.
3) Agree 2:
Secondly, smoking should indeed be banned as it is a blatant waste of money.
4) Agree 3:
Last but not least, it is a hazard to mankind because it creates continuous pollution which is bad for our environment.
5 (OPTIONAL) Counter-Argument:
However, there are some benefits including a good source of income and the tax collected can be used to improve the infrastructure in our country. Nevertheless, smoking has more disadvantages and should be banned.
6) Recommendation:
The government should streamline immediate and effective action to ban smoking throughout the country by banning import and sales of cigarettes and increasing the fines and jail sentences for tobacco smuggling and distribution.

(5 + 1 paragraphs)
100     or     75:25
1) Thesis Statement:
Smoking should not be banned because there are many benefits for our country in terms of increasing profits, stimulating the economy and tax collected can improve infrastructure for everyone.
2) Disagree 1:
First and foremost, smoking should not be banned as it increases the profit for the shop owners who sell it to the public.
3) Disagree 2:
The second reason it should not be banned is because the collective sales of cigarettes can stimulate our economy due to its high demand.
4) Disagree 3:
Lastly, banning smoking is not a good idea because the tax collected can be used to improve and upgrade infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals.
5 (OPTIONAL) Counter-Argument:
On the contrary, there are some advantages of banning smoking as it does have some hazardous effects to smokers’ health and the environment. Nevertheless, we should not deny a person’s choice to smoke or not especially since it can still bring some benefits to our country.
6) Recommendation:
The government should draw up an effective strategy to maximise tax collection of tobacco products in order to boost the economy and use the funds to provide better quality basic facilities for everyone’s mutual benefit.

Partially Agree 
(6 paragraphs)
1) Thesis Statement: 
There are both advantages and disadvantages of banning smoking as it is a hazard to mankind. 
2) Agree 1: 
For starters, smoking should be banned because it is a serious hazard to our health.
3) Disagree 1: 
In contrast, there are many people who have smoked and lived until old age, proving that smoking is not necessarily a health hazard as there may be other factors.
4) Agree 2: 
Another advantage of banning smoking is it can stop people from wasting money whereby the money can be better used for food, transportation, daily necessities or as savings.
5) Disagree 2: 
On the other hand, although they can be said to be wasting money on an individual level but the money is contributed back into society and tax collection increases as well which is used to improve and upgrade infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals. 
6) Recommendation:
The government should implement a comprehensive action plan to reduce smoking in our country by increasing the price and taxes of cigarettes and organising anti-smoking talks and exhibitions in schools and hospitals. 

Agree to a Certain Extent 
(5 paragraphs)
1) Thesis Statement: 
There are always two sides to a coin so we should look into the pros and cons should smoking be banned due to its hazardous nature towards mankind. 
2) Agree 1 vs Disagree 1:
At the forefront, it is clear that smoking is a health hazard to mankind even though there are cases where it is not a hazard and smokers have been known to live healthily well into their old age. 
3) Agree 2 vs Disagree 2: 
Another significant reason it should be banned is because it is a waste of a person’s money. Conversely, if you look at the bigger picture, it is not a waste of money but it in fact stimulates the economy and increases profit due to high sales. 
4) Agree 3 vs Disagree 3: 
Ultimately, smoking is an individual’s choice and he or she should be given the right to choose to smoke or not without the government interfering. On the contrary, the government should take action in banning it if it affects the health and quality of living of society as second hand smoke is dangerous to babies and pregnant mothers and smoking causes unnecessary pollution.  
6) Recommendation: 
The government through the Ministry of Health should  spearhead an effective blueprint to ban smoking in public places by fining smokers if they smoke in restaurants or shopping malls and conducting more  anti-smoking campaign to increase awareness. 

So which do you prefer and why? Could you do 4 outlines for a single question like I just did? It would sharpen your critical thinking skills if you are able to see both sides of the coin. Cheers and happy studying!