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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Suggested Nov 2015 Academic Essay Writing Approaches

Hello 2016! 
Thank you for my millions of hits, now fast approaching 3 million. Perhaps it will get there this year. Tq again, one and all.
Apparently in the last MUET exam there were 16 Band 6 achievers. Wonderful. It means that the quality of writing has improved and/or the quality of critical thinking has boomed. Either way, it is good news. Congrats to the high achievers.

Back to business. Take a look at the academic essay question last year.

MUET Nov 2015 
Writing 800/4 

Question 2
There is a strong link between reading and academic success. Discuss. You should write at least 350 words. [60 marks]

Upon reading this question, you would first have to determine which is Part A & Part B (read my previous notes on this here). In my humble opinion, Part A is ‘reading’ and you have to prove that there is a strong link between this and Part B which is ‘academic success’.

My personal take on this question:
It looks like a clear-cut argument but besides your command of grammar and vocabulary, your treatment of the issue will determine if you may get a high band or not especially for task fulfilment. Personally, I feel many would immediately jump to agree wholeheartedly with the issue given because how else can you achieve academic success if you did not read and study something, right? However, if you want to score that few marks more than others, you will need to train your brain to delve deeper and argue from the neutral or opposition side. Hence, a neutral treatment of the question would better answer the question because the key term is ‘Discuss’ which means you should discuss both sides of the coin. If you prefer to rock the boat, go for the opposition camp and discuss how in your opinion, reading is a not a strong link, in fact, it is a weak link for academic success. To be a writer with critical thinking, you have to tune your brain like a debater’s. As a seasoned debater, you should know that you should avoid discussing other factors that lead to academic success. Rather, you have to debunk how ‘reading’ is NOT a strong link by providing reasons why reading alone is ineffective.

Below are the three thesis statements for you to ponder. Take note that I have followed my 6 paragraph format as it is definitely better than the previous 5 paragraph format I championed in my earlier days as a MUET teacher.  These answers are not directly affiliated to MPM’s answers in any way as I do not have access to any of their marking schemes. I’m just answering the question as best as I deem possible and there will always be better writers than me. After all that is said and done, my hope is to hone your thinking skills because the main challenge is not to teach you how to write, but to train you to think. Grey matter matters. Polish it.


Ok, here goes.

A) Agree
Thesis Statement: 
Academic success is based on knowledge and reading provides direct access to knowledge, a variety of knowledge and transfer of knowledge.
Argument 1
Topic Sentence 1: 
First and foremost, reading provides direct access to knowledge as it is the most convenient and the fastest way to learn something because doing hands-on experiments for every single theory is too time-consuming.
Argument 2
Topic Sentence 2: 
Secondly, reading has a strong link to academic success because through reading we will be exposed to a huge variety of knowledge, theories and information from various different sources all around the world. 
Argument 3
Topic Sentence 3: 
Last but not least, reading leads directly to academic success because information from all sources is transferred directly to the mind which can then be used to answer examination questions well with excellent results and performance. 
Counter Argument:
Topic Sentence 4: 
However, reading alone cannot guarantee success as academic success also has strong links with a person’s IQ level, hands-on practical training and experimentation as well as intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors to name just a few.  
Conclusion/Recommendation: 
Education ministry should focus more on teaching reading skills in SPM level similar to the MUET format where reading paper is given 40% weighting compared to writing (30%), listening and speaking (15% each) 


B)Neutral: 
Thesis Statement: 
Academic success depends on not just one but a combination of factors which include reading and other factors such as IQ level and hands-on practical. 
Argument 1
Topic sentence 1: 
Firstly, reading provides the fastest and most direct access to information from various sources which saves time because hands-on experimentation is too time consuming. 
Argument 2
Topic Sentence 2:
In addition, reading leads directly to academic success because information from all sources is transferred directly to the mind which can then be used to answer examination questions well with excellent results and performance. 
Counter Argument 1: 
Topic Sentence 3: 
On the contrary, a person’s intrinsic character is a stronger link to academic success as our own IQ, abilities and interests as well as motivation will contribute heavily to our academic success. 
Counter Argument 2: 
Topic Sentence 4:
Furthermore, reading is quite a weak link because it only provides theories whereas hands-on practical experiences will increase understanding and performance as a person’s ability to recall or apply the information just by reading cannot be guaranteed. 
Conclusion/Recommendation:
Academic success is a synergy of factors involving the student himself, his IQ and his ability to master not just reading but writing, listening, speaking and all other softskills that when combined, determines his academic success. 


C) 
Disagree
Thesis Statement:
Academic success is determined not mainly by reading, in fact, it is a weak link because reading refers to only the theories, reading does not determine ability to recall theories and the ability to apply the theories you have read to real life cannot be guaranteed.  
Argument 1
Topic Sentence 1: 
First and foremost, reading is a weak link because it is a two dimensional activity where a person reads the words but may not be able to fully understand what is being read because this is determined by a person’s IQ level. 
Argument 2 
Topic Sentence 2:
Secondly, reading does not mean a person will be able to remember all the information and theories read as again, this depends on a person’s own mental ability. 
Argument 3
Topic Sentence 3: 
Lastly, the act of reading alone is not a guarantee of a person being able to apply the information successfully in real life similar to the fact that reading a flying manual does not make one qualified to fly a plane. 
Counter Argument: 
Topic Sentence 4: 
Conversely, there is still a strong link between reading and academic success as reading is necessary to access to information from all sources in the most cost effective, time-saving and convenient way. 
Conclusion/Recommendation
Reading is an important core of achieving academic success but the ability to read well is determined by each individual’s inner character and their IQ as well as how they handle stressful conditions like examinations in order to achieve excellence in academia. 


So what do you think of these three takes on one question? If you would like to, do send me a copy of your essay to queendrey@gmail.com and I will, with your permission, blog it with editing and a commentary. Happy writing!!! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

MUET Nov 2015 Report Writing Suggested Answers

Get your copy of Writing 800/4 Nov 2015 here.



Again thanks to a very meticulous fellow teacher... a million thank yous are not enough to sum up how grateful I am as well as the MUET community are for you efforts to come up with all possible versions. Kudos n big pat on the back to you, you know who you are. :)

Word of Caution and Disclaimer: 
This Suggested Answer with blanks is in no way claimed to be an absolutely correct and accurate answer to the November 2015 Writing Question 1. Readers are free to try out the exercise, adapt and share the same with others at their own initiative and risk. Feedback and comments suggesting improvements are most welcome.

November 2015 Writing
Question 1 – Suggested Answer

A. Title
1. Daily Free Time Activities and their Benefits as Rated by Two Types of Students _________ (in 2014/at 2014/on 2014)
2. How Secondary School and University Students Daily Spent Their Free Time _____(at/on/in/of) 2014
3. ___________(Rate/Rated/Rating) of Benefits Gained by Students by Engaging in Free Time Activities in 2014

B. Introduction

1. Figures 1 and 2 _________(shows/show) daily activities during free time by secondary school and university students in 2014 while Table 1 __________(list/listed/lists) students’ rating of benefits gained by engaging in those activities.
2. Figures 1 and 2 show daily free time activities of secondary school and university students in 2014.  _________  (Table/Table 1/Table One) lists students’ rating of benefits gained by engaging in those activities.
3. Figures 1 and 2 show _______(why/how/what)  secondary school and university students  spent /spend their free time in 2014 respectively while Table 1 lists the __________(rate/ratings/rated) they gave to the benefits gained by engaging in those activities.
4. The _____ _______(pie chart/pie charts/bar chart) illustrate  how secondary school and university students daily spent  their free time in 2014 ________________(respect…) while the ________(table/tables) lists the ratings they gave to the benefits gained by engaging in those activities.

C. Overview
1. As the two types of students spent their free time on mostly different activities, their rating of benefits gained by engaging in those activities were also generally __________________(different/the same).
2. _____________(Except/Beside) for surfing the internet, the two types of students had different free time activities and therefore their ratings of the benefits gained were also not the ___________.(different/same)
3. Except for surfing the internet, the free time activities of secondary and university students were different and therefore their ratings of the benefits gained by engaging in those activities also ______________.(different/same/differed)
4. There is a clearer logical link ______________ (with/between)the free time activities of secondary school students and their ratings of benefits gained compared to that of university students .
5. While secondary school students felt that spending most of their free time attending tuition helped them  most significantly to ___________ _____________ __________(benefit), university students who spent the same amount of time ___________ _______ ______________ (free time activity) rated being more updated as the most significant benefit gained.
6. While secondary school students rated obtaining better grades as the ___________(highest/most) significant benefit gained as a result of spending most of their free time on activities related to studies, university students who __________(did/also) spent most of their free time on studies related activities did _________(not/so) rate obtaining better grades as the most significant benefit.
7. There are no clear links between the rating of benefits gained and free time activities of university students as is the case for secondary students. Is this correct?

D. Key Features / Analysis / Synthesis

a. Analysis

1. Secondary school students spent most of their free time (_______minutes) attending tuition classes while university students spent __________ (most/all)of their free time (150 mins) surfing the internet.
2. Both secondary and university students spent the ________(different/same) amount (and most) of their free time (150 mins) attending tuition and surfing the internet respectively.
3. Doing homework (120 mins) and carrying out group discussion (120 mins) were the ______________(top/second/last) most favourite free time activities of secondary and university students respectively.
4. Secondary students spent the _________(least/lowest/smallest) amount of their free time (10 mins) helping parents…
5. …(while) University students’ least prioritized free time activity was taking a nap (20mins) / University students took a nap __________ (for/abou)20 mins making it their least prioritised free time activity/ university students spent the least amount _____(of/for/to) their free time taking a nap/napping (20mins).
6. University students spent the least amount of their free time on napping/taking a nap (20mins) while secondary students spent an ___________(equal/enormous) amount of time (20 mins) playing games.
7. University students spent ___________(more/most) /a significantly higher amount of their free time (2 & ½ more times) (______ mins) surfing the internet _____________ (compare/compared) to/than secondary students (60 mins).
8. The ______________ (second/most)least amount of their free time (30 mins) was spent by university students consulting lecturers. Doing assignments (40 mins) took up an ________ (hour/extra)10 mins.
9. Secondary students _____________(rate/rated/rating) obtaining better grades as the most significant (1) benefit gained from their free time activities…
10. …(while) university students gave it a moderately significant (benefit) rating of ____(1/2/3/4/5) / university students rated ______ _____ __________(benefit) as the most significant benefit (1).
11. ______________(Secondary/University) students gave obtaining better grades as the most significant benefit (rating level 1) while ______________(Secondary/University) students gave /listed being more updated as the most significant benefit gained (1) from their free time activities.
12. Secondary students gave the most significant benefit rating (1) to obtaining better grades while university students gave it a (_____) (3/4) or moderately significant rating.
13. Secondary students rated ________________ _____________(benefit) as the least significant benefit (5) gained from their free time activities. For university students the least significant benefit gained (5) was ______________________________________(benefit).
14. Both types of /secondary and university students gave/rated having better understanding as their _____________ (second/third) most significant benefit (2) gained.
15. Both types of students gave having better understanding the __________(best/same) benefit rating of 2 (as a result of their free time activities).


b. Synthesis

1. ________ (As/Although) secondary students spent most of their free time attending tuition (150 mins), they rated obtaining better grades as the most significant benefit(1) gained.
2. Attending tuition classes during most of their free time (150 mins) could have also contributed to secondary students _____________________________________ (benefit) as it got the second most significant benefit rating (2).
3. Attending tuition classes during most of their free time(150 mins) and doing homework being the _________________ (third/second) most favourite free time activity (120 mins) most probably led to secondary students  rating obtaining better grades as the most significant benefit(1) and having better understanding as the second most significant benefit gained.
4. Obtaining better grades was rated as the most significant benefit gained (1) by secondary students as ____________ (they/their/them) spent most of their free time (150 mins) attending tuition classes.
5. Obtaining better grades and having better understanding were rated by secondary students as the most significant benefit(1) and second most significant benefit (2) gained __________________(together/respectively) as they had spent most of their free time (150 mins) attending tuition classes and the next highest /second highest (most) amount of free time (120mins) doing homework.
6. Obtaining better grades and having better understanding ______(were/was) rated as the most significant(1) and second most significant benefits (2) gained respectively by secondary students as they had spent most of their free time and the second most amount of their free time attending tuition classes (150 mins) and doing homework(120 mins) respectively.
7. Obtaining better grades and having better understanding were rated as the most significant (1) and second most significant benefits (2) gained _________________ (respectively/respectfully) by secondary students as they had spent most of their free time attending tuition classes (150 mins)and the next ______________(highest/plenty) amount of time doing homework(120 mins) respectively.
8. Secondary students most significant benefit rating (1) was for obtaining better grades as _________(many/most) of their free time (150 mins) was spent attending tuition classes. Besides, _________ ____________,(activity) the second most favourite free time activity (120 mins) for 1/3 of their free time could have also contributed to rating obtaining better grades as the most significant benefit(1). Both the above activities that took up 270 mins or 75% or 3/4ths of their free time must have also contributed to their _________________________________(benefit) as it got the second most significant benefit rating of (2).
9. As secondary students spent lesser (just 1/6) of their free time (____ mins) on surfing the internet, they rated being updated as not so significant a benefit gained (3).
10. University students spent most of their free time (150 mins) surfing the internet, and therefore, rated being more updated ______ (as/for/to) their most significant benefit gained (1) from free time activities.
11. _______________ (To be/Be/Being) more updated was rated as the most significant benefit gained (1) by university students as they spent most of their free time (150 mins) surfing the internet.
12. Secondary students who spent most of their free time (150 mins) on tuition rated obtaining better grades as the most significant benefit (1) gained while university students who spent the same _________, (120/150 mins) which was most of their free time on surfing the internet rated being more updated as the most significant benefit (1) they gained.
13. Secondary students _________ (will/who/was) spent most of their free time (150 mins) attending tuition rated obtaining better grades as the most significant benefit (1) gained while university students who spent most of their free time which was the same 150 mins on surfing the internet, rated being more updated as the most significant benefit (1) they gained.
14. Although carrying out group discussion was university students’ second most favourite free time activity(________ mins) as it also took up 1/3 of their free time, yet obtaining better grades was rated as a moderately significant benefit (_____)(1/2/3) gained. However, the 120 min group discussion may have caused them ______ (just/to/have) rate having better understanding as the second most significant benefit (2).
15. __________ (Since/As/Because/Although) carrying out group discussion took up the second highest amount of university students’ free time (120 mins), yet obtaining better grades was just rated as a moderately significant benefit(3) gained. However, the 120 min group discussion may have caused them to rate having better understanding as the second most significant benefit (2) gained.
16. ______(Since/As/Because/Although) carrying out group discussion took up the second highest amount of university students’ free time(120 mins), they rated having better understanding as the second most significant benefit(2) gained. However, the 120 min group discussion may not have translated into better grades as it was just rated as a moderately significant benefit(3) gained.
17. Carrying out group discussion (120 mins) and ________________(activity) (30 mins) may together explain university students‘ rating of having better understanding as the second most significant benefit(2) gained. ________________,(Although/Since/As/However) obtaining better grades was rated as a moderately significant benefit (3) gained.
18. Carrying out group discussion (120 mins), consulting lecturer(30 mins) and __________ ____________(activity) (40 mins) which together took up more than ________(half/three quarter) of the university students’ free time (190) must have contributed to their rating having better understanding as the second most significant benefit (2) but a not so significant or moderate(ly significant) benefit of 3 for obtaining better grades..
19. Secondary students spent the least amount of their free time (10 mins) helping parents and therefore rated fulfilling responsibility as the least significant benefit gained (___).
20. As secondary students spent a negligible ______ mins (of their free time) helping parents, they rated fulfilling responsibility as the least significant benefit gained (5).
21. Playing games daily for just/only ______ minutes (second least amount of time) could be the reason for secondary students rating having a healthy body at level 4, one level ________(higher/lower) than 5, the least significant benefit rating level.
22. While university students rated being updated as the most significant benefit gained(1) as they spent most of their free time (150 mins) surfing the internet, secondary students who spent much __________(of/their/more/less) time (60 minutes) surfing the internet gave being more updated a moderately/less significant beneficial/benefit rating of (3).
23. University students took a nap for 20 mins ____________ (make/making/made/makes) it their least favourite/prioritized free time activity. As a result/Therefore, ___________ (they/them) rated having a healthy body as the least significant benefit (5) gained.
24. As university students spent the least amount of their free time (_____ mins) taking a nap, they rated having a healthy body as the least significant benefit (5) gained.
25. Secondary students who spent a negligible 20 mins playing games, rated having a healthy body at _________ (rate/level)4.
26. University students spent the least amount of their free time on napping/taking a nap (20 mins) while secondary students spent an equal amount of time (20 mins) ________________ ___________(activity). Thus, the former rated having a healthy body as the least significant benefit gained (5) while the ________(latter/later) gave it a slightly better benefit rating of 4.
27. The second least amount of time (_____ mins) was spent by university students consulting lecturers and an extra 10 mins was used for doing assignments (40 mins). Spending such relatively low/less amount of their free time on matters related to examinations may be the reason for a less significant benefit rating of ____ on/for obtaining better grades.
28. For university students spending the second highest amount of free time (120 minutes) on group discussion seemed to have contributed to a ___________(high/higher/highest) benefit rating for having better understanding (2) compared to obtaining better grades (3)
29. For university students spending the second highest amount of free time (120 minutes) on group discussion seemed to have contributed more to having better understanding (2) ________(than/to)  obtaining better grades (3)
30. _________________ (Spend/Spending/Spent) the second highest amount of free time (120 minutes) by university students on group discussion seemed to have contributed to a higher/more significant benefit rating on/for having better understanding (2) compared to/ than obtaining better grades (3).
31. Carrying out group discussion ______(for/of/to) 120 mins may have significantly contributed to university students having better understanding as it was given a benefit rating of (level) 2./level 2 benefit rating.


E. Conclusion
1. As the two groups of students spent their free time on ______________(various/different/same) activities, their ratings of benefits gained (by engaging in those activities) were also different.



Now select your preferred sentences and rewrite the whole report in 150 to 200 words, paying close attention to details and the importance of synthesis above analysis. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

MUET Reading Nov 2015 Attempted Answers

Get your copy here...

Do remember these are just ATTEMPTED answers. Band 3 is at least 21/45. Good luck!

1. B (Coca-cola's 8% is 'minimal' compared to Google's 26%)
2. B (Apple 129%  = surge)
3. A (Out of top 10 = 11 and 17th rank)
4. A (global economy = export market)
5. C (no info on top brands venturing into new markets/stiff competition)
6. C (no info)
7. C (no info)
8. B (90 mil per season)
9. A (tolerant = not affected)
10. C (no info)
11. C (the herbicide prevents it from spouting)
12. A (a bane)
13. C (competes for nutrients)
14. C (monitoring is not part of the JV)
15. A (same = to this tune)
16. A
17. B (the guidelines campaigned it, not him specifically)
18. C
19. A (concentrated on effects)
20. C (> carb consumption)
21. A (bias = beliefs)
22. C
23. B
24. C
25. C (as the main idea of the previous sentence... but B is possible)
26. B
27. B
28. A
29. C
30. D
31. A
32. C
33. C
34. C
35. D
36. A
37. B
38. C
39. B
40. A
41. D
42. D
43. B
44. C
45. B

Ok.. I'm done. You can argue all you like in the comment box below.

Cheers!

Monday, November 2, 2015

MUET July 2015 Reading Questions & My Suggested Answers.

Hi guys.. I know this has been a long time coming but finally managed to scan all the papers for the July 2015 Reading paper.

Get the complete set here.

Am now working on the answers:

Here goes.

1. C (no data on skin creams)
2. A (2013 data)
3. B
4. B
5. A/C (slow = low?)
6. C
7. A (endorsement paved way for broader acceptance
8. A
9. B
10. C (no infor on 'better')
11. A
12. A
13. A
14. C
15. A
16. C
17. B
18. B
19. A
20. A
21. B
22. C
23. B
24. C
25. C
26. B
27. C
28. B
29. A
30. C
31. B
32. C
33. D
34. C
35. D
36. D
37. B
38. B
39. C
40. D
41. A
42. C
43. A
44. C
45. D

The secret to MUET Writing 800/4, a personal perspective.

Countdown to 7th Nov 2015!

Well, I have not blogged about my school's results for July MUET 2015 yet. Now that I have time to write a nice long post, here goes.

My school's result this year hit the ball out of the park! Home run, baby! Managed to significantly reduce Band 1 to only 4 persons compared to 22 persons last year. If you consider Band 2 your minimum achievement (cos they can enter uni) then this year we got 94% compared compared to 59% in 2014. We also managed to get 1 Band 5, and 5 Band 4s and out number of Band 3s increased significantly. All in all, it was a fantabulous result for a suburban school.

So what's the secret?
The main point could be that the marking scheme is now more lenient because since last year the Banding has been adjusted to have a bigger margin for Band 1. This means that if you consider a script a Band 3, they are entitled to much higher mark compared to previous grading system. (ref to this link for my post on the change of marks: MUET NEW Bands)

A second reason is the fact that I no longer teach my 5 paragraph format which I have championed for many years. The 5 paras of intro, 3 points and conclusion are no longer sufficient to get a convincing pass. Hence, I have now developed a 6 paragraph argumentative essay template that will help your hardcore Band 1s to achieve at least a Band 2 and above. Take note that if you want to get Bands 5 or 6.. you need to go above and beyond my 6 paragraph format to demonstrate HOTS, maturity of thinking as well as accuracy and fluency of the English language. If you just want to ensure students get the basic idea of an argumentative essay, by all means, start with my template as a stepping stone.

So what does it look like and how does it differ from my previous template?
Basically, I have now incorporated Paragraph 5 which is a whole paragraph on Counter-Arguments (CA). The starters for counter-arguing are:
However/In contrast/On the contrary/Conversely,... and students proceed by explaining why they disagree to a certain extent (25%). This shows the examiner that they are able to see two sides of the coin and justify their prior 75% agreement/disagreement.
The conclusion brings the reader back to their initial 75% agree/disagree stand hence rounding up the arguments nicely with a killer closing sentence using the table I have blogged on earlier here.

Anyway, the point is that I have conducted multiple workshops and taught throughout the year using this new 6 paragraph format and the results are spectacular. All 70 of my students got 30/90 (lowest) and above for writing, highest was 66/90 which makes the average 48/90 which is in the Band 3 (160/300) range... so this tells me that the 6 paragraph format is a good idea. my 4 Band 1s scored poorly in the other 3 papers hence they garnered less that 100/300. Numbers talk.

Right. So, happy teaching! I have added the template below. I have also included 2 sample essays. At the end there is also a template for points for 3 essay questions with 6 possible essay structures.

TAKE NOTE!
I do need to caution you about how to tackle the MUET question as it is a bit tricky and most students go out of topic. Previously, I have blogged about 'Part A & Part B' in each question and that you really need to avoid 'Sweeping statements Doc 1 & Doc 2'. Also, grammar is always important, crucial even! So remember to click the links to find out more!





Sample 1
Students should be allowed to bring mobile phones to school.

         In this era of information technology and social media, mobile phones are becoming more of a norm than a luxury item. In fact, more and more students are able to save their money and buy mobile phones of various brands such as Samsung, HTC, Lenovo and Oppo in order to stay connected with their friends and family. In my humble opinion, I truly believe that students should be allowed to bring mobile phones to school because it is good to teach them to be responsible for their own belongings. There are a few reasons for this, namely, easier to communicate (A1), an excellent source of information (A2) and schools can control usage of phones (A3).
Firstly, students should be allowed to bring their mobile phones to school because it will definitely make communication easier for everyone. This means that the mobile phone is a useful tool to make calls or send messages. Moreover, it is very convenient to inform our parents if there are any changes to the timetable. For example, if we need to let our parents know when to pick us up if the school suddenly has a program such as IM1S, co-curricular activities, marching practice and so on. Therefore, if students are allowed to bring their handphones to school it would be so much easier to keep everyone informed about our whereabouts.
Secondly, mobiles phones are an excellent source of information and this is another factor why we should allow students to bring them to school. This is because students who have smartphones will have access to all the information on the internet at the tip of their fingers. In addition, it will help them do their work better and more efficiently. For instance, they can research online for information on projects given to them by teachers such as researching facts on famous people, science experiments, essays, reports and many more. Thus, allowing students to bring mobile phones to school will help them tap into the multitude of information that exists in the world wide web today.
Finally, a final factor why I agree that students should be allowed to bring mobile phones to school is that the usage can still be controlled by the school authorities. The main reason for this is that the teachers have to explain the rules clearly to students that they can only use it outside the class teaching hours such as before and after lessons and during recess. Furthermore, it will teach students to be more responsible for their own things and make them better adults. Take for example the rule that if they use it during lessons the teachers can confiscate the phones, report to the discipline master, call their parents and others. Hence, it is the school’s responsibility to control the usage of the mobile phones so that it can bring more advantages to the students especially in improving their education.
Conversely, there are other factors why mobile phones should not be allowed. This is because some students who do not have mobile phones will feel inferior compared to their rich friends who can afford smart phones. Additionally, handphones can be very distracting to the students because they will constantly want to look at their phones. Some examples are students become distracted when they play games, watch Youtube, make funny videos of their friends and teachers, cheat during examinations and so on. Ultimately, there are always two sides to a coin so we should realise and accept that there will be some disadvantages of allowing students to bring their phones to school.
In short, students should be allowed to bring mobile phones to school because handphones ease communication, allows students unlimited access to online information and the school authorities can still control the usage so normal lessons are not disrupted even though there are some disadvantages. I still absolutely agree that students should be allowed to bring mobile phones to school because it is a useful learning tool. I hope that the government through the Ministry of Multimedia and Communication should spearhead a comprehensive strategy to provide a solution by giving smartphones and providing free Wifi connection to all students in Malaysia.

Sample 2
Money is the most important thing in modern life.

           In this era of modernisation, money seems to be the most important thing in life. In fact, without money, life would be quite a torture because we would not be able to buy what we want including food, clothes or even afford a safe place to stay. People would do anything for money, hence the saying ‘Money is the root of all evil’. From my perspecctive, I totally disagree that money is the most important thing in modern life because we cannot survive on money alone. There are a few reasons for this, namely, family is by far more important in life (A1) followed by religion (A2) and good health (A3).
First and foremost, money is not the most important thing in modern life because family is much more important than money. This means that even though we are poor, we will still be able to survive with the support of our family members. Moreover, parents who love their children will work hard to earn money so that they can all live a better life. For example, we will always turn to and rely on our family members for support when there is a problem, accident, disaster and so on. Therefore, money is not the most important thing in modern life because family always comes first.
Secondly, a strong upbringing in religion is another factor why money is not the most important thing in life. This is because in times of problems and pain, each person normally turns to religion for support because a strong belief will give people strength to face all situations. In addition, it does not cost any money to have a good religious upbringing. For instance, parents can ensure that through religion, their children can differentiate black from white, bad from good and make the right choices in life, love, career, friends and many more. Thus, the keyword is ‘most’ and money is surely not the ‘most’ important because a family with a good religious background is by far more important than having money.
Last but not least, a final factor why money is not the most important thing in modern life is health is wealth and no amount of money can buy good health. The main reason for this is in comparison to money, health is definitely more important because if we do not have good health, life would be very hard to live to the fullest. Furthermore, good health is essential if we want to make money to support ourselves and our family. Take for example a person with good health can get a good job like being a pilot, teacher, doctor and others. Hence, without good health, money is meaningless and all the money earned will be spent on paying for doctor fees and medicine.
On the contrary, there are other factors why money is important in this modern life even though it is not the most important. This is because modern lifestyle is not cheap and there are many bills to be paid in order to survive. Additionally, we are no longer living in the era where we can build a house out of materials from the forest or plant food and hunt or gather in order to eat. Some examples of a modern life are we need money to buy a house or pay rent, purchase food and clothes, pay for school fees and buy books and stationery, travel, eat out in fancy restaurants or fast food outlets and so on. Ultimately, it cannot be denied that money is still very important but it is not the most important thing in this modern life.
In a nutshell, money is not the most important thing in our changing world today because family comes first, religion provides us a solid foundation and health is wealth even though there are some reasons why money is important for our survival in this modern world. I still absolutely think that money cannot be the most important thing in life because family, religion and health will always come first. I hope that the non-governmental organisations such as Sabah Women’s Association (SAWO) should organise an effective campaign to overcome materialism and teach the community that money is not everything by conducting ‘Family First’ talks and raising awareness on ‘Health is Wealth’.


How about you try to write using one of the topics in the outline provided above.. either agree or disagree. Good luck!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

July 2015 Report Writing

Hey all... yes I know it has been quiet on this blog. Way too much happening in realtime. Been busy running lots of courses and seminars as well as taking up a Form 5 class which I don't normally do anymore. They will be sitting for their SPM tomorrow so good luck to them.

Anyway, the Nov MUET exam is around the corner. A really awesome and genius friend of mine came up with a variety.. and I mean totally exhaustive sample answer with every possible analysis and synthesis combo for last July's paper. Indeed this friend is wonderful, allowing me to share on my blog so the whole of Malaysia can benefit.

So before you look at the sample answers, take a long good look at the question above and try to write your own. The standard exam format for report is as below:
1. Title
2. Intro has 2 sentences:
i. What do you see? (Introductory Sentence: Figure 1 represents ... while Figure 2 shows.. etc)
ii. What is the most outstanding syntesis? (Overview: In general, ...)
3. Body may consist of 1 to 5 paragraphs, depending how you organise your ideas.
* Synthesis (comparing and linking stimuli) will garner more merit than Analysis (analysing data within any one stimulus only). Therefore, it is prudent to have more synthesis than analysis.
4. Conclusion has only 1 sentence which mirrors the Overview in the introduction.
* A good writer will be able to rewrite the Overview in the conclusion with a new twist/perspective/spin to make it more informative.

Below are the answers as per shown to me by my friend.

MUET Writing July 2015
Question 1

A. Title
1. Survey (Results) on Tiger Population in 3 (Different) Countries in 2000, 2005 & 2010 / in 3 Years (2000, 2005 & 2010)
2. Tiger Population in 3 Countries in 2000, 2005 & 2010 and Actions Taken to Protect them (in those 3 years)
3. Tiger Population in 3 Countries and Actions Taken to Protect them in 2000, 2005 & 2010.
4. Tiger Population in Myanmar, India and Indonesia (in 2000, 2005 and 2010) and Actions Taken to Protect them (in 2000, 2005 & 2010.)

B. Introduction
1. Figure 1 shows Tiger Population in Three Countries (in 2000, 2005 and 2010.) (while) Table 1 lists (the 4 actions of punishing poachers severely, protecting tiger habitat, setting up tiger reserve and educating the public taken) Actions Taken to Protect Tiger Population / them in the same 3 years / in 2000, 2005 and 2010.

C. Overview
1. Actions taken to protect tiger population in the 3 years had positive impacts on Myanmar and India, but not in Indonesia.
2. Generally, except for Indonesia, actions taken to protect tigers increased their population (in Myanmar and India)
3. On the whole/Generally, the more actions a country took the more tigers it had.
4. Generally, (the) tiger population of a country increased when it took more protective actions/actions to protect tigers.
5. There were positive correlations between actions taken and tiger populations in/for Myanmar and India but not in/for Indonesia.
6. (From the data) (It may be inferred that) The action of educating the public/action taken to educate the public might/may not have had (such an) / (a positive) impact on tiger population (compared to/as the) other 3 actions (of punishing poachers severely, protecting tiger habitat and setting up tiger reserves) might/may have had. 

D. Key Features - Analysis / Synthesis
a) Analysis
1. In 2000, Myanmar had the most/highest number of tigers (250) while Indonesia had the least/lowest number (200).
2. India came in second with 240, ten less than Myanmar (in 2000).
3. In 2005, Myanmar (again) had the highest/most number of tigers (300) while India and Indonesia had the same/equal number of 150 or half of Myanmar’s tiger population.
4. In 2010, Myanmar (once again) had the most number of tigers/highest tiger population (430) compared to/while Indonesia (which) had the least/lowest number (110).
5. (Of the 3 countries), Myanmar always had the most/highest number of tigers / Myanmar’s tiger population was always the highest in all 3 years – with 250 , 300 and 430 in 2000, 2005 and 2010 respectively / 250 in 2000, 300 in 2005 and 430 in 2010.
6. Indonesia had the lowest number of tigers in 2000 (200) and 2010 (110).
7. India had the second most / highest number of tigers in 2000 (240) and 2010 (200) but the same number (150) as Indonesia in 2005.
8. Of the 3 countries, only Myanmar’s tiger population kept increasing in the 3 years from 250 in 2000 to 300 in 2005 and 430 in 2010. (while) the number of tigers in Indonesia continuously declined/dropped/fell (continued to drop) from 200 in 2000 to 150 in 2005 and to its lowest of 110 in 2010.
9. From 250 tigers in 2000, the number of tigers in Myanmar (continuously increased/rose) (continued to increase/rise) to 300 in 2005 and 430 in 2010.
10. Out of the 3 years, the population of tigers (was the highest (240)) in India (was the highest (240)) in 2000 (and lowest) (while it had the lowest number of tigers) in 2005(150).
11. India’s tiger population was the highest in 2000 (240) and dropped drastically to 150 in 2005, rising (and rose) by a third/one-third/roughly 33% to 200 in 2010.
12. To protect the tiger population (in 2000), Myanmar took more actions (2) (punishing poachers severely and protecting tiger habitat) than India which only punished poachers severely (in 2000.)
13. In 2010, Myanmar took all the 4 actions (punishing poachers severely, protecting tiger habitat, setting up tiger reserves and educating the public) while India took only 2 (punishing poachers severely and protecting tiger habitats) and Indonesia took none/did not take any to protect its tiger population.
14. Out of the/In the 3 years, Myanmar was the only country that set up tiger reserves in 2005 to protect its tiger population.
15. Myanmar was the only country that set up tiger reserves and in 2005.

b) Synthesis 
1. Myanmar had the highest tiger population in 2000 (250) due to 2 of its actions to protect them/the tiger population, i.e., punishing poachers severely and protecting their habitat.
2. India had ten less tigers (240) compared to Myanmar in 2000 as it had taken only the one/one and only/single/sole action of punishing poachers severely/of severely punishing poachers.
3. As Indonesia had not taken any action to protect its tigers in 2000, (among the 3 countries) its tiger population was the lowest at 200 only.
4. In 2005, Myanmar had the highest population of tigers (300) as it had punished poachers severely, protected the habitat of tigers and educated its/the public.
5. India and Indonesia had the same number of tigers (150) in 2005 although Indonesia had educated its public/had taken the sole measure of educating its public while India had not taken any protective action at all.
6. In 2010, Myanmar had the highest tiger population (430) as it had taken all (the) 4 (protective) actions (of) (punishing poachers severely, protecting tiger habitats, setting up tiger reserves and educating the public).
7. The two actions of punishing poachers severely and protecting tiger habitat by India in 2010 led to it having the second highest number of tigers (200).
8. Despite its sole action of educating the public, Indonesia had the lowest number of tigers (110) in 2010.

c) Analysis & Synthesis

1. The two actions of punishing poachers severely and protecting tigers’ habitat could explain why Myanmar had the highest population of tigers (250) in 2000 while the absence of action could be the cause for Indonesia having the least number (200) of tigers. India with the second most number of tigers (240), ten less compared to Myanmar, punished poachers severely/had taken only one action of punishing poachers severely.
2. In 2000, Myanmar with the highest number of tigers (250), had taken the two actions of punishing poachers severely and protecting tigers’ habitat compared to India which had 10 less tigers (240) as it had taken only the single/sole action of punishing poachers severely. As Indonesia had taken no protective action, its tiger population was the lowest (200) (among the 3 countries) in 2000.
3. Myanmar had the most (number of) tigers in 2000 (250) when it punished poachers severely and protected the habitat of tigers. (In 2005), This number rose/increased to 300 (in 2005) making Myanmar still the country with the highest number of tigers as it had taken the extra action of educating the public (in 2005). In addition to/Together with the earlier 3 actions, (the) setting up (of) tiger reserves in 2010 further saw a (further) rise/an increase (of tiger population) to 430 again making Myanmar the country with the highest tiger population. 
4. Taking the sole action of punishing poachers severely, India had the second most number of tigers (240), ten less than Myanmar in 2000. Dropping (even) this sole/only action in 2005, the number/figure fell to 150/could have led to the number (of tigers)/tiger population falling to 150. Tiger population picked up to increase/and increased to 200 in 2010/5 years later (in 2010) when India took the two actions of severely punishing poachers and protecting tigers’ habitats/tiger habitat(s).
5. India had the second highest (240) tiger population in 2000 when it punished poachers severely. The population dropped to 150 in 2005 when it took no protective action. However, its 2 actions of punishing poachers severely and protecting tiger habitats in 2010 was effective in causing a rise/an increase to 200 though not to its original 240 as in 2000/ten years ago.
6. In 2000, (the) tiger population was the lowest in Indonesia (200) as it had taken no protective action. The population dropped to 150 in 2005 despite its sole (protective) action of educating the public. Educating the public proved ineffective again (in 2010) as the population dropped further to its lowest of 110 (in 2010).
7. With only 200 tigers, Indonesia’s tiger population was the lowest (in 2000) among the 3 countries (in 2000) as it had taken no protective action. In 2005 and 2010, its sole action of educating the public was not effective as the number(s) of tigers/its tiger population continuously dropped/continued to drop to 150 and 110 respectively. (Is there a difference between continuously/continued here? Or is it better to just use ‘dropped’?)
8. In 2000, Myanmar took more (2) actions to protect tigers i.e., punishing poachers severely and protecting tiger habitats than India which only punished poachers severely while Indonesia did nothing. Therefore, Myanmar had the most number of / highest tiger population (250) with India coming in with the second highest of 240 while Indonesia had the least number of /lowest tiger population of 200. / Therefore, Myanmar had the most number of / highest tiger population (250) while Indonesia had the least number of /lowest tiger population of 200, with India coming in with the second highest tiger population/number of 240.
9. The number of tigers / Tiger population in Myanmar increased to 300 (still the highest among the 3 countries) in 2005 when it (took 3 actions) (punishing poachers severely, protecting tiger habitat and educating the public) / (added the action of educating the public) while tiger population in India and Indonesia dropped to 150 as India had not taken any action/as India had dropped its sole action of punishing poachers severely and despite Indonesia’s only action to educate its public to protect its tigers.
10. Myanmar’s tiger population increased to 300 in 2005 when it took the 3 actions of severely punishing poachers, protecting tiger habitats and educating its public while India’s and Indonesia’s tiger population dropped to 150, due to the former not taking any action(s) and despite the latter’s sole action/initiative to educate the public.
11. There was a significant increase/rise in the number of tigers / in tiger population from 300 in 2005 to 430 in 2010 (the highest among the 3 countries) when Myanmar took the extra action / added a fourth action of setting up / to set up tiger reserves. Despite continuing to educate the public (only one action) in 2010, Indonesia saw a drop in tigers to (tiger population in Indonesia dropped to) its lowest ever of 110 (the lowest among the 3 countries). In India the two actions of punishing poachers severely and protecting tiger habitats saw a 1/3 increase from 150 in 2005 to 200 in 2010.

E. Conclusion
1. In conclusion, it may be said (that) (in general) (except for Indonesia) (that) actions taken to protect tiger population/tigers had an impact on tiger /their population / it.
2. In conclusion, it may be said that (in general) (except for Indonesia) actions taken to protect tiger population increased tiger population/the number pf tigers.
3. In conclusion, it may (generally) be (generally) said that of the 3 countries, actions taken to protect tiger population had a positive effect / impact on tiger population in Myanmar and India (and not in Indonesia).
4. In conclusion, it may be said that of the 3 countries, actions taken to protect tiger population increased the number of tigers in Myanmar and India but not in/that of Indonesia.
5. In a nutshell, except for Indonesia, tiger population in Myanmar and India increased when more actions were taken to protect them.
6. Generally, the more protective actions a country took the higher its tiger population.
7. Generally, tiger population increased when more actions were taken to protect them.


Having seen all the possibilities, pick and choose which sentences you would prefer and remember to write within 150 to 200 words (best to write as close to 200 words, a lil under is fine, try not to go overboard). 

Paste your answers in the comments below if you would like to get a reply from me. 

Cheers and happy studying! Will update answers for July reading and writing tomorrow. Once again, all credits go to my friend and I am thankful for teachers who share! If you would like to share with me so I can help blog about it, do email me as well. Sharing is caring! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sample MUET Report Writing Q1 800/4

Here are just 2 samples of different bands answers for an actual MUET report writing question. I don't claim to know the perfect answer because English is so diverse, but suffice to say a better command of vocabulary and sentence structures will garner higher marks.