Thursday, February 24, 2011

Latest format for Report Writing MUET Writing Paper 800/4 Question 1

Hi all... I've received a few emails and messages about the report writing question and there appears to be some confusion. In recent posts (late last year) I did provide two samples with the revised format but I haven't shown you the new formula. So here it is.



Compare this to the old formula:

Pi + Pii

Actually the ONLY difference is that they require only ONE sentence for the conclusion and this conclusion does not include any prediction (Pi) or proposal (Pii).

As for the first paragraph, it consists of ONLY TWO sentences and it is exactly the same as the old format, just that MPM has decided to rename it (just to confuse us!!!!!). Therefore, the first sentence is now called the 'Introduction' where you just mention what stimuli you see (graph, chart, diagram etc) while the second one is now called 'Overview', not Controlling Idea (CI). I think this is much better because it was so hard to explain to students what a controlling idea really means. In fact, most of the MUET teachers I have trained also have problems coming up with a good OV/CI. The trick is to be able to find a trend or a connection and the most outstanding Key Feature (KF) that links ALL the stimuli given.

Anyway, click the samples link above and re-read the tips for writing a good report. If you have any questions, just ask. Happy penning!

Forgot to mention, those of you who have asked for the powerpoints, please be informed that I'm currently revising the content based on the updates in format and marking schemes. Will be presenting my first MUET seminar at KK High on 23rd next month so you can have it then but you'll have to email me closer to that time cos I've already forgotten who I need to forward it to. You know... old lady now. hehe..

Feeling touched... cos I've touched a life.

When I first started teaching, I was posted in SMK Inanam, Kota Kinabalu. It wasn't a premier school and yet it wasn't a rural school. So you can imagine that while the level was average, it was the students who made the difference. Being young and energetic and filled with positive vibes, teaching there brought back many good memories. But the days almost 10 years have passed in a snap of a finger and now I've moved on, become better at being a teacher with every new batch of students I teach.

Facebook is fantastic... it connects people, really and truly. Through it I've 'been found' by ex-students... and it is only then that you find out that although the past is the past, but it is a profound past when my ex-students chat with me now, and let me know how much I meant to them, how much I've helped to shape their lives. It's an amazing feeling. Anyone contemplating becoming a teacher, well, it pays grand dividends although not monetary. It enriches the soul and births contentment. Definitely worth the effort. :)

Jerung's blog blew me away. To know that I played a part in his early life where his perspectives were a reflection of mine, knowing that he learnt through observing me and remembers me in a good light, well it is enough to make me smile stupidly the whole day. haha. so sharky, thanks for making an old lady happy. :)

Anyway, am in the midst of preparing the students for their first trial exam this year. Here's an interesting question that you may try. Email me with your replies, pls use microsoft word so that I can edit it for you if I can find the time.

Internet crime is on the rise. People are being cheated by irresponsible parties who use the internet as their scam tool. What is your opinion on this matter? Your composition should be at least 350 words.

Go on.. have a go.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Certainty in Uncertainty...

Those of you out there who've just passed another milestone in your life, i.e. your SPM or STPM results have just been announced, well all I can say is that there is certainty in uncertainty. What exactly does that mean, I hear you ask silently.

A famous saying states that there is nothing constant in this lifetime except the inconsistent. That the only predictable thing about life is that it is highly unpredictable. We may assume we know what will happen in the next chapter but let me tell you that Fate has many tricks up her sleeve.

If you're jumping for joy now, and you can see your future roll out in front of you like a red carpet, then all is well and fine. You'll strive ahead confidently, taking each stride at ease, making your way to the graduation stage with your robe flowing against the carefree breeze. You'll get to wear that symbolic mortar and hold that precious scroll in your hands, proof of all the toil and sweat that you've poured into your dream. Then one fine day after that, you might walk down the aisle and tie the knot with the partner of your dreams.. and you'll be blessed with children, a great career and a blissful life.

BUT if you didn't get the results you prayed and hoped for, and you feel somewhat lost right now - well, let me tell you this. It's ok to not know. It's not a crime to not be able to figure out where the path of life will lead you from here. And it's more than fine to feel insecure because at the end of the day, we're only human; driven by the tides of our emotions - one minute happy, the next sad.. and the whole kaleidoscope of feelings from pleasure to fear that we often can't control.

Does the exam result determine your whole future? In some ways, yes. But the main determinant factor is YOU yourself. If you're uncertain about your future, unsure about what to do now and don't know how you will cope; all I can say is that you should embrace the unknown. We should rejoice in the fact that we CANNOT predict the future, only the creator can do that. We cannot expect to know how the chapters in our life will unfurl and more importantly, we SHOULDN'T know because what would be the joy in life if we knew every single thing that would happen to us? Life is great because it is so unpredictable, so unforseeen.

Okay, so now you agree with me that we know for certain that life is uncertain. So what now? Well now, you deal with the 'certain' aspects of your life, aspects which you have the power to control. In your own life there are many variables like if you get a scholarship or not, if you can find a boyfriend or girlfriend or not, if you can get rich or not. But if you look closely, there are also many constants. And these constants stem from your own personality and outlook on life. We can't control the uncertain aspects of life, but we can deal with making ourselves a better person so that we can bravely face the many challenges and barriers that we are bound to slam into.

What are these constants I'm talking about? Well first up is your personality. Adopt a positive attitude. Believe in yourself because if you don't, people will read the negative vibes and believe that you are not worth believing. If you have confidence issues, now is the time to say: "To hell with what people think, I will do the best that I can at the best of my ability." The door of opportunity will open to those who are confident enough to reach out and pull the doorknob. Not those who don't believe in themselves enough to make the first move. I can tell you to do it, but at the end of the day, only you can command yourself to make that change. So change. Believe in yourself, believe that the impossible is possible.

Next is to arm yourself with knowledge. Do you know why Madonna is so famous? Because every new single she comes up with shows a different version of her. And you can tell that she's done her homework, put in the time and effort in learning something new all the time. If you go through life thinking that you know everything there is to know, then you've shot yourself in the foot and this journey will be short and pointless. But if you tell yourself, make a conscious effort to learn new things all the time, or learn old things again but in new ways, then you're changing yourself for the better all the time. You're evolving in a dynamic way and this will bring you a measure of success and contentment. Thus, you have to make a concerted effort to learn a new skill, go for courses and conferences, and experience new things that you would NOT normally do. Like bungee jumping. Or simply learning to type with all ten fingers. When your heart is open to learning, you'll realise that knowledge is power. Believe me, it empowers you like nothing else in this world can.

So Step 1 was to believe in yourself and Step 2 was to embrace all forms of knowledge. So what is the third constant that we have the power to control? Well Step 3 is simply sharing, to share what we have gained in this lifetime. It seems like such a simple concept, but trust me, not many people can master it. Why don't people share their knowledge or share their ideas freely? Because they are afraid of being judged. Remember that it is not our duty to judge others, only the one above has that right. So set this worry aside, and make a conscious effort to share everything you can (not your spouse though!!!). If you believe in yourself, inspire others to do the same. If you've learnt something new, plant the seeds of knowledge in another so he may nurture it and watch the flower of enlightenment bloom in all its glory. If you can change one person, and that person can change another.. before you know it, you've touched the lives of millions. You've made this world a better place.

Right, what a long winded way to tell you that even if life is uncertain, you can be certain of success if you change yourself first. Change is good; change is inevitable which means that you cannot avoid it. If you fail to move forward, you're not standing motionless but you're actually moving backwards as the tide of humanity surges ahead and leaves you behind. Do you want to be left behind? Of course not. So embrace the unpredictablity of life, make as many aspects of your life predictable, and I predict that wherever the roads in your life diverges, you'll end up taking the road you're meant to travel. And in the words of Robert Frost, that, my dear, will make all the difference.

With all my love,

22 Feb 2011