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Monday, May 23, 2016

MUET Seminars & Workshops 2016

So this year has been extra exciting for me because more opportunities have come a-knocking at my humble door. I am not quite sure how I fell into this but over the years, with numerous opportunity to practice, I have managed to share what little I know with students and teachers from all over Malaysia either virtually thru this blog or in real time when kind people invite me to their institutions. I don't claim to know everything, for I am just a regular teacher, but I think there is no harm to share ideas and tips with kids so they have a better chance for the exam.

The year kicked off with a motivational session in my own school where I invited Mdm Naimah Derin to pep-talk them and then I did a Goal-Setting slot.

This was followed by a session in Politeknik, KK. I always feel welcomed here with the wonderful English Language Dept.


Then were various other schools including SMK Tandek, which took me a solid 3 hrs drive each way.

SMK Benoni nearby..


SMK Abdul Rahim, Kudat where I was invited by Mr. Amar Singh... This one took 4 hrs + each way.. a bit taxing... but worth it when the kids responded so enthusiastically.

Next up was 160 pax Kimanis Power hosted MUET talk for the whole of the Papar District. A great session as all 9the students were gathered in the hall all at once so no need for me to go from school to school.



Just recently I flew quite a distance and had the lovely opportunity to help Alor Star, Kedah students from 10 schools in the area hosted by SMK Hutan Kampung.. the hospitality from their MUET panel esp Mr. Aminudin, Mr Ku Abd Jalil and Mr Kamal and the rest was outstanding. Loved the food esp ikan keli sambal and pulut durian n mangga... ooolala.


Good luck to all candidates this year... July exam is around the corner, practice makes perfect so please work hard, study smart and try your very best! Make the 'impossible' into 'I'm Possible!'


Links to MUET Answers & Reports by MPM 2012 to 2014

Hi all...

If you are looking for the reports that I have mentioned previously (copies should have been sent to your respective schools), below is a compilation of links for the stats and some answers (esp the reading answers).

1. MUET Mac 2012
2. MUET July 2012
3. MUET Nov 2012
4. MUET Mac, July & Nov 2013
5. MUET Mac, July & Nov 2014

Teachers esp should take note on the report for the Writing 800/4 papers whereby the suggested points are sometimes listed in the report.

Note that 2015 and March 2016 reports are not available online at the time of writing this blog post.

Happy teaching!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Q1 MUET Mac 2016 Report Writing Suggested Answer

Again I am truly thankful for teachers who are willing to share their ideas on how best to tackle the report writing question. Below are almost exhaustible versions of answers for each of the sections (Title, Intro, Overview, Analyses, Syntheses & Conclusions = TIOASCs). Also given at the end are two suggested answers that have very good combination of Analyses and Synthesis. Hope this helps enlighten both teachers and students on how best to answer the report section.




MUET Writing March 2016
Question 1 - Suggested TIOASCs
Title
1. (Number of) Heart Attack Cases among Men and Women and Activities Performed (2011-2015).
2. Heart Attacks Suffered by Men and Women (2011-2015) and Activities Performed (for 5 Years) (2011-2015)

Introduction
1. Figure 1/ The line graph shows/depicts/illustrates the number of heart attack cases among men and women while Figure 2 / the table lists their activities from 2011 to 2015.
2. Figure 1 shows/depicts/illustrates the number of heart attack cases among men and women from 2011 to 2015. (while) Figure 2 lists their activities in the same 5 years.
Overview
1. Generally, there is a (positive) correlation / relationship between the number of activities performed by / of men and women and the number of heart attack cases (they suffered/among them) (in the 5 years).
2. Generally, the number of heart attack(s) (cases) (suffered by/among both sexes) correlates/corresponds with the number of activities performed (by them).
3. Generally, the more activities a (certain) gender/sex performed the more (cases of) heart attacks occurred among it in that year (and vice versa).
4. Generally, (the number of) heart attack(s) (cases) was higher among the 2 genders/sexes when the number of activities performed by them was more and vice versa.
5. Generally, when the number of activities of men increased they suffered more heart attacks/more of them suffered heart attacks while women suffered lesser/there were fewer cases among women when their activities were fewer.
6. Generally, the number of cases increased among men when the number of their activities increased and fell when activities were dropped while cases among women dropped when they performed fewer activities.
7. Generally, the more the number of activities of a gender/a gender performed, the more heart attack cases it suffered/occurred among its members/them.
8. Generally, the more activities men performed the more men/they/of them suffered heart attacks while the fewer the activities women performed the fewer women/of them/lesser they suffered (from) heart attacks.
9. Generally, an increase in activities lead/corresponded to an increase in heart attack cases while a decrease in activities led/corresponded to a drop in cases.
10. Generally, the more activities a gender performed, the more heart attack cases it suffered and vice versa.
11. Meeting clients and managing staff problems may have contributed to the increase in / a higher number of heart attack cases among men over the years while attending to children may be responsible for women suffering comparatively fewer heart attacks than men.
12. Attending meetings, (and) managing staff problems (and meeting clients) may have contributed to more heart attack cases while attending to children may be responsible for fewer cases.
13. Higher incidences of heart attacks among  men especially may be attributed to ‘Attend meeting,’ ‘Manage staff problems’ and ‘Meet clients’ activities while the fewer cases among women may be attributed to ‘Attend to children.’
14. There may be a (causal) relationship/link between the type of activities performed by the different genders and the number of attacks they suffered/number of cases among them.
15. There may be a (causal) relationship/link between the type of activities performed and the number of heart attack cases.
16. The number of heart attack cases was always higher/more among men than among women when/as/because/and the former generally performed more activities (than the latter).
17. The number of heart attack cases among men and the number of activities performed (by men/ them) (except in 2011) was/were always higher than women.
18. Men always suffered from more heart attacks than women and they generally performed more activities (throughout the 5 years).
19. Except for 2011, men always performed more activities than women and always suffered from more heart attacks than women.
20. More men than women suffered heart attack cases (every year) as/and they, except in 2011, also performed more activities (than women)

Analysis
1. In 2011, there were more heart attack cases among men (320) than women (150).
2. The number of heart attack cases was higher among men (320) than/compared to women (150) in 2011.
3. In 2011, there was a higher number of heart attack cases among men (320) than women (150).
4. In 2011, men suffered more heart attack(s) (cases) (320) than women (150).
5. In 2011, more men (320) had/suffered (from) heart attacks than women (150).
6. In 2011, there were lesser/fewer heart attack cases among women (150) than men (320).
7. Fewer/Lesser women suffered heart attacks (150) than men (320) in 2011.
8. In the following 4 years / 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, there continued to be/were more (heart attack) cases among men than women – 380 vs 100, 450 vs 100, 600 vs 100 and 500 vs 80 respectively.
9. The number of heart attack cases was always higher among men than women – 320 vs 150(2011), 380 vs 100(2012), 450 vs 100(2013), 600 vs 100(2014) and 500 vs 80(2015).
10. The number of heart attack cases among men kept increasing/rising from its lowest at/of 320 in 2011 to its highest of/at 600 in 2014 and then dropped to 500 in 2015.
11. On the other hand/Conversely/On the contrary, the number of cases among women which was at its highest at/of 150 in 2011 dropped to 100 in 2012 and remained the same/retained the same figure/number of cases at/of 100 in 2013 and 2014. Then, there was a (further) slight/small drop in 2015 to its lowest of/at 80 cases.
12. From 320 cases in 2011 the number of heart attack cases among men increased to 380 in 2012.
13. The number of cases among women dropped to 100 in 2012 from 150 in 2011.
14. From its highest number of cases/figure of (600) in 2014, the number of heart attack cases dropped to 500 in 2015.
15. The difference in the number of heart attack cases between men and women was the smallest (170) in 2011 and the largest/biggest/greatest in 2014 (500).
16. The difference in the number of heart attack cases between men and women was the smallest (170) in 2011 and kept increasing/rising to 280 in 2012, 350 in 2013 and to its/(the) largest/biggest/greatest/ (widest gap) of/at 500 in 2014. The gap/difference though narrowed to 420 in 2015 was still bigger than in the first 3 years/2011, 2012 and 2013.
17. There were more heart attack cases among men (2250) than women (530) over the 5 years.
18. More men (2250) than women (530) suffered from heart attacks from 2011 to 2015.
19. Heart attack cases (among women)(150) was the highest(150) (among women) (150) in 2011 while the most number of cases for/involving / among men was 600 in 2014
20. The lowest/least/smallest number of cases involving men (320) was in 2011 while the smallest number of cases among women was 80 in 2015.
21. In 2011, women performed more activities (3 - ‘Complete office work,’ ‘Attend meetings,’ ‘Attend to children’) than men (2 – ‘Complete office work,’ ‘ Meet clients’).
22. On the other hand, in 2012, 2013 2014 and 2015 men performed more activities compared to women – 3 vs 2, 3 vs 2, 4 vs 2 and 3 vs 1 activities respectively.
23. Men performed the least number of activities in 2011(2) and the most number in 2014 (4), while in 2012, 2013 and 2015 they performed the same 3 activities.
24. Men performed/carried out the same 3 activities (‘Complete office work,’ ‘Attend meeting,’ ‘Meet clients’) in 2012 and 2013 while women performed their same 2 activities (‘Complete office work,’ ;Attend to children’) in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
25. ‘Complete office work’ was (always) performed (every year) by both sexes except by women in 2015.
26. ‘Manage staff problems’ was performed only by men and only once in 2014.
27. Men ‘Attended/Attend to children’ only (once) in 2015 while women did so in all 5 years. / Women ‘Attend to children’ every year while men did so only (once) in 2015.
28. Men ‘Meet/met clients’ in all 5 years while women never did so (even once)./ Only men ‘Meet clients’ / met clients every year but women never once did so.



Synthesis
1. In 2011, the number of heart attack cases was higher among men (320) than women (150) and/but/although the latter/women performed more (3) activities – ‘Complete office work,’ ‘Attend meetings,’ (and) ‘Attend to children’ than/compared to the former/men who (performed 2 activities/did) ‘Complete office work,’ (and) ‘Meet clients’.
2. In 2011, the number of heart attack cases was higher among men (320) than women (150) and/but/although the former/men performed fewer/lesser (2) activities - ‘Complete office work,’ ‘Meet clients’ than/compared to the latter/women who performed more (3) activities – ‘Complete office work,’ ‘Attend meetings, ‘Attend to children’.
3. In 2011, there were more heart attack(s) (cases) among men (320) than women (150) but/although men performed fewer/lesser activities (2) than women (3)
4. In 2011, men performed fewer/lesser activities (2) than women (3) but/and there were more heart attack(s) (cases) among men (320) than women (150).
5. In 2011, there were more heart attack(s) (cases) among men (320) than women (150) despite men performing fewer/lesser activities (2) than women (3).
6. In 2011, there were more heart attack(s) (cases) among men (320) than women (150) despite women performing more activities (3) than men (2)
7. In 2011, more men (320) suffered from heart attacks compared to women (150) but / (although they) performed lesser/fewer activities (2) – ‘Complete office work, ‘Meet clients’ compared to women who did more (3) - ‘Complete office work,’ ‘Attend meetings, and ‘Attend to children’
8. There was a higher number of heart attack(s) (cases) among men (320) than women (150) in 2011 and / but / although men performed fewer/lesser (2) activities than women (3).
9. Although women performed more activities (3) than men (2), there were more heart attack(s) (cases) among men (320) than women (150) in 2011.
10. Although men performed fewer/lesser activities (2) than women (3), there were more heart attack(s) (cases) among men (320) than women (150) in 2011.
11. Although men performed fewer/lesser activities (2) than women (3), they suffered more heart attack(s) (cases) (320) than women (150) in 2011.
12. Although men performed fewer/lesser activities (2) than women (3), more men (320) than women (150) suffered from heart attacks in 2011.
13. In 2012, the number of (heart attack) cases among men increased/rose to 380 (from 320 in 2011) when/as/because they performed an extra activity (totaling 3) – ‘Attend meetings.’
14. When/As/Because they performed an extra activity (totaling 3) – ‘Attend meetings’, (in 2012), the number of (heart attack) cases among men increased/rose to 380 (in 2012) (from 320 in 2011).
15. Heart attack cases among women dropped to 100 in 2012 (from 150 in 2011) when they performed 2 activities and gave/giving up ‘Attend meetings’
16. When men did an extra activity (‘Attend meetings’), totaling 3 in 2012, the heart attack cases increased/rose to 380.
17. Conversely, women who did less/lesser/fewer activities (2), dropping ‘Attend meetings’, suffered 50 lesser/fewer attacks (and numbering) (100) (in 2012).
18. More men (380) suffered from heart attacks in 2012(380) than in 2011 (320) when/as/because they performed more (3) activities (3) in 2012 compared to 2 / than 2 in 2011.
19. Although men continued performing the same 3 activities in 2013 (as in 2012), the number of cases further rose to 450.
20. Despite performing the same 3 activities in 2013 (as in 2012), the number of heart attack cases among men rose to 450/the number of men who suffered (from) heart attacks increased to 450.
21. Women continued to suffer from the same number of cases (100) in 2013 when/as/because they continued to perform the same 2 activities as in 2012.
22. In 2012. 2013 and 2014 the number of cases among women was the same 100 as/and their 2 activities were also the same (‘Complete office work,’ ‘Attend to children’).
23. As the activities performed by women in 2012, 2013 and 2014 were the same 2 ‘Complete office work’ and ‘Attend to children’, the number of heart attack cases were also the same at 100.
24. In 2013, the number of cases among women remained the same 100 (as in 2012) as they performed the same 2 activities of 2012. However, cases among men increased to 450 although their 3 activities were the same as in 2012 / although they performed the same 3 activities as in 2012.
25. In 2014, the number of cases among men shot to its highest of (600) as/when/because they performed the most number (4) of activities in that year.
26. In 2014, women suffered the same 100 heart attacks as in 2012 and 2013 when/because/as they continued to perform the same 2 activities of 2012 and 2013/of the 2 previous years..
27. When the number of (activities of men increased/activities men performed increased) to 4 in 2014, the number of cases involving men/them shot up to its highest of 600.
28. Despite men continuing/Although men continued to perform the/with the same 3 activities in 2013 (as in 2012), the number of heart attack cases among them rose to 450. This figure further shot up to its highest (600) in 2014 when the number of activities increased to 4, when men included ‘Manage staff problems.’
29. The number of men who suffered from heart attacks was the highest at 600 in 2014 when they performed 4 activities, the highest number in any one year.
30. Heart attack cases (among women)(150) was the highest/most/biggest (150) (among women) (150) in 2011 when they performed 3 activities (the most in any year) while the most/biggest/largest/highest number of cases for/involving/ among men was 600 in 2014 when they performed 4 activities, the highest in any one year.
31. The lowest/least/smallest number of cases involving men (320) was in 2011 when they performed 3 activities while the smallest number of cases among women was 80 in 2015 when they performed only ‘Attend to children.’
32. The number of heart attack cases among men was the highest (600) in 2014 when they performed 4 or the most number of activities ever while it was the smallest (320) in 2011 when the activities performed was the fewest (2) ever.
33. (The number of) Heart attack cases among women was the (biggest) / highest (150) in 2011 when they performed 3 or the most number of activities ever while it was the smallest (80) in 2015 when the activities performed was the sole ‘Attend to children’ and the fewest (1) ever.
34. In 2015, the number of cases involving women dropped to its lowest/smallest (80) when they only performed ‘Attend to children’ / attended to children only.
35. Similarly, cases involving men also fell to 500 when they stopped/did not ‘Attend meetings’, performing 3 activities, one less/lesser than in 2014.
36. Performing the most number (4) of activities ever, the number of heart attack cases among men was the biggest (600) ever in 2014 / men were involved in the biggest (600) number of heart attack cases in 2014. In the following year, when men dropped 2 activities (‘Attend meetings,’ ‘Manage staff problems’) and adopted/performed a new one (‘Attend to children’), making it a total of 3 activities, the number of cases dropped to 500.
37. The number of men who suffered from heart attacks dropped by 100, from 600 in 2014 to 500 in 2015 when they performed one less activity, i.e., when they dropped 2 activities – ‘Attend meetings’ and ‘Manage staff problems’ and took upadopted/performed a new one, ‘Attend to children.’
38. The number of heart attack(s) (cases) declined for both sexes to 500 (men) and 80 (women) in 2015 as they did one less activity each – men (3) and women (‘Attend to children’) only.
39. Dropping one activity/Performing one less activity (‘Attend meetings’) led to a (bigger) drop of 50 heart attack cases among women in 2012, (bigger) compared to when women dropped one activity/ performed one less activity (‘Complete office work’) in 2015 when the fall in the number of cases was only 20.
40. The fall in the number of heart attack cases among men from 2014 to 2015 was (five times) bigger/fivefold (100) compared to women (20) although both genders performed one less activity than the previous year/dropped one activity from the previous year.


Conclusion
1. In conclusion, there is generally a correlation/a corresponding link between the number of heart attack cases and activities performed.
2. In conclusion, heart attack cases were generally more/higher among men who/as they performed more activities.
3. In conclusion, heart attack cases were generally fewer among women who/as performed fewer activities.
4. In conclusion, the number of heart attack cases was generally higher for both sexes/genders/man and women in the years when they performed more activities.



MUET Writing March 2016
Question 1 – Suggested Answer 1

Number of Heart Attack Cases and Activities of Men and Women (2011-2015)

     Figure 1 illustrates the number of heart attacks among men and women while Figure 2 lists their activities (2011-2015).Generally, there is a positive correlation between the number of heart attacks cases and the number of activities of both sexes.
     In 2011, more men (320) had heart attacks than women (150) although women performed more (3) activities (‘Complete office work,’ ‘Attend meetings,’ ‘Attend to children’) compared to men (2)(‘Complete office work,’ ‘Meet clients’). When men did an extra activity (‘Attend meetings’), totaling 3 in 2012, the attacks increased to 380. Conversely, women who did less (2), dropping ‘Attend meetings’, suffered 50 lesser attacks (100)( in 2012).
     Despite (performing) the same 3 activities in 2013, the number of heart attacks suffered by men rose to 450. This figure further shot up to its highest (600) in 2014 when the number of activities increased to 4, when men included an extra ‘Manage staff problems.’ The number of attacks women suffered (100)  and the 2 activities in 2013 and 2014 respectively, remained unchanged as in 2012.
     The number of attacks declined for both sexes to 500 (men) and 80 (women) in 2015 as they did one less activity each – men (3) and women (‘Attend to children’) only.
     In conclusion, the number of heart attacks and activities are correlated.
       
(200 words)
(There is a Title, an Intro, an OV, 12 Analyses and 7 Syntheses and a Conclusion)



MUET Writing March 2016
Question 1 – Suggested Answer 2

     Number of Heart Attack Cases and Activities Performed by Men and Women (2011-2015).
Figure 1 illustrates the number of heart attacks among men and women while Figure 2 lists their activities (2011-2015). Generally, there is a correlation between the number of activities and the number of attacks. (32)
     In 2011, the number of cases was higher among men (320) than women (150) although women performed more (3) activities – ‘Complete office work,’ ‘Attend meetings,’ and ‘Attend to children’ compared to men who performed 2 activities, ‘Complete office work,’ and ‘Meet clients’ (34)
An extra activity ‘Attend meetings’ increased the number of cases among men to 380 while giving up ‘Attend meetings’ reduced cases among women to 100 in 2012.(25)
     Although men performed the same 3 activities in 2013, cases rose to 450. This figure further shot up to its highest (600) in 2014 when activities increased to include a fourth ‘Manage staff problems.’ (32)
     As the activities performed by women in 2013 and 2014 were the same 2 ‘Complete office work’ and ‘Attend to children’, the number of cases also remained the same at 100 as in 2012. (30)
The number of cases declined for both sexes to 500 (men) and 80 (women) in 2015 as they did one less activity each – men (3) and women (‘Attend to children’) only. (29)
     In conclusion, the number of cases was generally higher for both sexes when they performed more activities. (17)

199 words

(This suggested answer has Title, Intro, OV, 11 As, 7Ss, C)

Monday, March 28, 2016

MUET Reading March 2016 Suggested Answers

Long awaited, I'm sure. First there was the school holidays and then I only just today got a hardcopy of the exam as my students are not taking this March exam. Anyway, I have cross checked with a fellow friend and we only have minor differences. Below are my answers, NOT MPM's. I'm curious to find out how come the tabulation of the first 7 questions has no 'A' and 2 'B's and soooo many 'C's (5!)... I wonder if anyone can enlighten me on this? Feel free to contact me.

Here is a link to the scanned Reading paper. Try it before checking answers! (Reading Mac 2016)

Open for discussion:
1. C (do not be tricked to do 68-6=62 that global life expectancy in 1990 is for child, not BOY as required by the question)
2. B (72-54=18, not 9)
3. C (no info on fewer children)
4. C (no info on reason/income increase)
5. B (75.8)
6. C (no info on women)
7. C (no info on difficulty to control)
8. A (faeces=excrement)
9. A
10. C (no info on visitors)
11. A
12. A
13. C
14. A
15. C
16. A
17. B
18. A
19. B
20. B
21. B
22. A
23. B
24. B
25. B (virulent)
26. A
27. A
28. B
29. C
30. C
31. D
32. A
33. D
34. C
35. D (confabulate... cool word eh)
36. C
37. D
38. C
39. D
40. D
41. A
42. C
43. C
44. A
45. A

Right... have a lively discussion below if necessary, please try to maintain decorum. Rude and obnoxious comments will be deleted. Respect everyone's right to an opinion. :)

Monday, February 22, 2016

MUET Speaking March 2016

I see that many have msged or emailed me privately asking for SPOT QUESTIONS. Let me settle this once and for all.... THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SPOT QUESTIONS FOR MUET... cos the ocean is too wide and it's like finding a needle in the mother of all haystacks.

Basically just read up on my various speaking tips in my archive.. there are also many sample scripts... read up and practice cos as we all know, practice makes perfect. Duh!

Tq to V Dinesh for sending me the question he got for his speaking exam:

What is the most important habit a student must have in their studies?
A. Be punctual
B. Be hardworking
C. Be careful
D. Be motivated
Task B: Which is the most important habit?

Others I have managed to take note of:

Some students face homesickness when they stay far away from their families. How can they deal with being homesick?
A: Make new friends
B: Keep busy
C: Travel
D: Keep in touch with family
Task B: Which is the best way to deal with homesickness?

We should learn to control our anger. What are the benefits of controlling our anger?
A: To maintain a good relationship with others.
B: To think rationally.
C: To become successful.
D: To improve mental and physical health.
Task B: What is the best way to control our anger?

Students should cultivate good habits in order to perform well in studies.
A: Be punctual
B: Be hardworking
C: Be careful
D: Be motivated
Task B: Which is the best way to cultivate good habits among students to perform well in studies?

What are the factors to ensure someone's success at work?
A: Strong family support
B: Good education
C: Making the right choice of career
D: Choosing the right role model


If anyone cares to type out the question they got in the comment below I will update the list here. Cheers and good luck ya'all! 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Spicing Up MUET Writing / Speaking Tips

Happy Valentine's Day to all my followers and candidates out there... as a present, here is a list of killer phrases that you should by-heart and use as ammunition in the speaking and writing tests. :) Enjoy!


Introduction: 
It is often said that...
Many people claim that..
In this day and age of (topic)..
We live in an age where many of us...
(Topic) is a hotly-debated topic that often divides opinion.
(Topic) is often discussed yet rarely understood.
It goes without saying that (topic) is one of the most important issues facing us today.
The following essay examines both sides of the coin, its advantages as well as disadvantages.
In this essay, I will focus on ____________, ________________ and ____________.
There are many facets to this issue, namely ___________, ________________ and _____________.

Expressing Opinion: 
In my opinion,../From my point of view,../From my perspective,../Personally speaking,../In my humble opinion,../If I may be so bold as to state that../
As far as I am concerned, I truly/totally/absolutely/completely/wholly
agree/disagree/think/believe/feel/consider   that...
I agree that../I am in agreement with this issue../I concur that...
I disagree that../I am in disagreement with this issue because../I beg to differ that..
I can consider that../consider both sides of the coin../I partially agree../ I agree to a certain extent../I somewhat agree but have obvious misgivings about..

Introducing Points: 
Firstly, let us take a look at...
To start with...
First of all, it is worth considering that..
Secondly,.. Thirdly,.. Next... Another point is... Another contributing factor is..
In addition/Additionally/Moreover/Furthermore / What is more../On top of that
Another point worth noting is../Another factor to consider is...
Lastly,..Finally,.. Last but not least,...

Presenting Ideas & Giving Examples
According to experts/the website/the author of the article/book/journal etc...
Based on the research/survey/study/case study by (who) in (year) on (what)...
he/she/it/they found/discovered that...
Research has found that...
The study concluded that...
There are those who argue that..
When it comes to this issues.../In terms of this issue../With respect to this issue../ With regard to this issue..
For example,../For instance,../As an example,../To illustrate,../As an illustration,../
..such as.. /..namely../..which are../..in terms of it is..
..and so on./..and so forth./..and many more./..and others.

Contrasting: 
However,../In contrast,../On the contrary,../Conversely,../Even though...
To counter that argument.../Despite../In spite of that../On the other hand,..
..but../..although../..while..

Expressing Reason & Result:
As a result,../ As a result of this study/research/finding..
This theory/result/finding/study/case study has led to.../has resulted in...
This means that.../This is because../This could be due to../This can be attributed to../This could result in../This proves that../This is concrete evidence that..
In lieu of this../Consequently,../Subsequently,../Therefore,../Thus,../Hence,..

Concluding: 
In conclusion,../To conclude,../Conclusively,../In a nutshell,../To sum up,../
In short,../In other words,../In summary,../All things considered,..
Taking everything into consideration,..
After weighing up both sides of the argument,..
The benefits of (topic) far outweighs the drawbacks of..
The advantages of (topic) far outweighs the disadvantages of..
The pros and cons are quite balanced and it is up you to decide which side of the fence to lean on.

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!!!