Monday, December 9, 2013


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

MY Suggested Answers (work in progress)

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

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

MUET Reading Nov 2013

Hiya... it's my bday today.. n I've been taking a long break since before the MUET exam.. sorry for the disappearing act... CAN ANYONE PLEASE SCAN AND UPLOAD THE MUET QUESTIONS (READING & WRITING) SO I CAN POST MY ANSWERS??? TQ n do be patient!!!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013


MARCH 2013

Man's careless attitude is the main cause for the destruction of the environment. Discuss. You should write at least 350 words. (60 marks)

Below is a good sample answer written by Franky, my 2013 lower 6 science student. 

In this modern civilization, man struggles to survive the high cost of living expenses, which significantly increases with each passing year. This causes them to use any method available that generates income and they start to sideline the importance of preserving nature. This is due to mankind realising the potential of economy that can come from nature. So, I strongly believe the destruction of nature is mostly caused by man's careless attitude whereby they prioritise their greed for money and the development of civilisation. Let us analyse this phenomenon in terms of the country's development, illegal activities of exploiting nature and the job opportunities. 

First of all, many nations try to achieve the title of the most leading nation in economy or infrastructure. So in order to compete with other countries, most nations try to explore any available land in their country for development such as industries, tourist spots and many other purposes that are related to money. Whenever they see the potential of a certain piece of land, they tend to develop it despite some of these places might still be uninhabited or the home for many wildlife. Sometimes, they would also plod through jungles or level the mountains for road development which severely changes the landscape of nature. As a result, this selfish and careless act will cause the deforestation and global warming. For example, Indonesia has become quite careless with their handling of these problems. In Kalimantan, Indonesia, the forest is being severely deforested by their people for land development. And to make matters worse, they even choose the fastest and cos-saving method of deforestation which is by burning down the trees, the mass release of carbon dioxide from the mass burn down of trees lead to ozone thinning and greenhouse effect. Also, the haze problem is another negative side product. As for the real victims of these acts, they are the neighbouring nations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines especially as haze causes many health issues such as lung cancer and breathing problems. Therefore, these careless acts and greed not only cause the destruction of nature but also endanger many lives, both man and animals. 

Secondly, some people's greed for great fortune and easy life make them become selfish and careless by over-exploiting nature. They willingly do illegal activities such as cutting down trees or animal hunting, seeing the high demand for these materials. It will slowly cause the depopulation of different kinds of flora and fauna. In China, these activities of eating inner organs of animals such as tiger or bear and they even use these animals' body parts for economic purposes such as tiger skin, crocodile skin and elephant teeth and tusks by exporting it to those who pay a high price for it. This has a serious effect on the ecosystem which is the extinction of animals. In Indonesia, trees are being cut down for making expensive house furniture made of material such as teak wood. In fact, these trees require a long period of 10 to 20 years to mature. Thus, the continuous cutting down of trees will eventually lead to its extinction. These activities are illegal by law and still occurs widely despite many countermeasures that have been taken by the authorised organisations such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Somehow, these criminals are able to slip through the organisations's enforcement laws of protecting the wildlife and nature. Plus, most society are careless to even take notice of these problems because they have yet to come to awareness of the dangers that would happen from these illegal acts. If only they had given more attention and cooperation to the authorised organisations, these problems might have been able to be prevented. 

Lastly, to survive in this modern world, every person needs to be able to make a living for themselves of their family, but many people with low education level cannot get high salary jobs, even university scholars are yet to be certain of getting a proper job after their graduation despite their high level of education. The competition is just like the survival of the fittest among these graduates and people with low qualifications. Therefore with the growing demand for more natural materials such as petroleum gas and minerals from the earth as well as a high demand of smuggled goods, people are willing to pay high prices to have employees do their job of exploiting nature because these jobs are high risk. So people that are desperately in need of jobs are usually tempted with the pay and they would take up the call. This situation had opened up a lot of job opportunities, but they are careless to not realise that these jobs are the main cause of nature's destructtion because they are being pinned down by the pressure of high living cost in this modern world that they have forgotten the importance of preserving nature. 

In a nutshell, I still strongly believe in my opinion that nature's destruction is mainly caused by man's careless attitude. They strive to make a living in the world so desperately that some eventually deny the truth that it is their own fault for nature's destruction. If no serious and proper actions are being taken immediately by many wildlife and nature preserving organisations or authorised organisations such as WWF, UNESCO and ASEAN to prepare an effective strategy or blueprint to prevent this problem, there probably won't be any jungles or wildlife left in the future and our young generaton will have to live in a polluted world. 

Will this student get a high band? Why? 
Leave a comment below mentioning what aspects of this essay will be awarded high band marks. 
For example, the concrete examples of various countries being 'careless' in treating the environment will definitely earn him more merit/bonus marks. 
What else? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

MUET SPEAKING 2013 Sample Scripts

One of the questions that came out for this end of the year MUET speaking exam is :

(Submitted by a candidate)
How to attain happiness?
A. have a goal
B. good relationship with others
C. good health
D. positive outlook

Here are my sample scripts... take note that these r just samples that I'm going to 'hantam' write now... haha.. just for fun n to show you how to answer the speaking question as best as you can. 

Task A 
Candidate A

A very good morning to one and all. The issue at hand today is how to attain happiness. I believe that this issue has been on the forefront for as long as man existed. In fact, I believe even animals and other beings strive to achieve this wonderful state of happiness and contentment. It is therefore my honest opinion that in order to achieve happiness we must have a concrete and measurable goal. Let us analyse a few reasons to justify this point. 

First and foremost, to aspire towards happiness is not enough. Just wanting is only half the battle won. To attain it there must be some kind of action involved and this most certainly begins with setting goals. The most important reason for setting aims or goals is to provide a way to measure if you have achieved it or not. For example, my aim is to be happy. In order to be happy I must have enough money and job security as well as a stable and happy family. Therefore the next logical step is to provide a timeframe to achieve this goal. If we set a goal based on a timeframe, happiness will be more easily achievable. A young person could aim to get his degree before he turns 25, get a stable high paying job by 30 and get married before he/she is 35. Thus, having a goal or goals will help discern the level of our happiness. 
Secondly, we can attain happiness when we have a goal because it gives us something to work towards or aim for. However, please note that the beauty of having goals is that it can be modified to suit ourselves and our situations. And once we have achieved it, we can create new goals. Conversely, if we cannot attain it, we can modify them to be more realistic. For instance, Mahatma Ghandi's goal in life was to achieve peace through peaceful means. Furthermore, he was happiest when there are no wars and people can live in peace. Even when he was sent to jail, he still held on to his goal which was to solve things through peaceful means, not war. And even in jail, he could attain happiness - Ghandi is a truly inspirational man. 
As time is running out, let me reinstate that a key method to attain happiness is to set reachable goals for ourselves. It also brings to mind a quote, 'Aim for the sun so that if you fail, you will still be amongst the stars'. Thank you for listening. 

Candidate B

A very good morning I bid to the examiners and my fellow candidates.  As the saying goes, 'No man is an island'. Therefore we thrive on good relationships with others in order to attain happiness. It would be quite strange to achieve ultimate happiness yet have no one of consequence with whom to share it with. Hence,  good relationships with others are some of the fundamentals of achieving true happiness. Allow me to describe this issue further by presenting a few points. 
On the one hand, happiness is maximised when happiness is shared. In general, everyday we interact with the people closes to us be they family members, spouse, children, best friends or colleagues. In fact, sometimes, happiness comes from external sources and we may not even know them personally. But it is these very relationships with others that will build the foundation of happiness brick by brick. When we need help, and a friend offers it, or when we just need to spend some quality time with our family and every member of the family shows up, well, these instances feed happiness to our souls. Imagine if you received really good news like a scholarship to study abroad but had no one to tell. Indeed, our happiness would fade a little, or we might even end up depressed! 
On the other hand, happiness diminishes when we have few or no good relationships with others. In times of need, it is human nature to reach out for help especially from our closest and dearest. As a child, when we fell and hurt our knees, we would call out for our mom or dad. When a friend backstabs you with nasty gossip, we call our best friend to unload our unhappiness. In the workplace, when our colleagues treat us unfairly, we go home to our spouses and use them as sounding walls to express our anger or disappointment. Thus, the human race is fragile, and we depend on good human relationships to keep our happy odometer high.
In short, it would be pointless to attain happiness yet be so lonely with no one to share the good times with. Hence, each of us should work on improving and bettering our relationships in order to attain unlimited happiness in life. Thank you and have a nice day. 

Candidate C

A marvelous morning I bid to one and all. As the popular saying goes, 'Health is Wealth'. There is indeed a whole lot of truth to this age old adage as I am sure everyone will admit that without health, we would live a poor quality and even substandard life hence marring our ability to attain true happiness! Allow me to further elaborate by providing a few different perspectives on this issue. 
First and foremost, the level of our health will determine how happy we are. Surely there is not a single soul out there who rejoices in being unhealthy and unwell. Basically, being healthy is crucial to our happiness because if we cannot do even the simplest of things such as brushing our own teeth and going to the toilet unassisted then it would be a very sad day indeed. There can be nothing joyful about waking up every morning to face blood transfusions or chemotherapy or surgery after surgery. In fact it would be downright depressing and it isn't any wonder that these people would suffer depression and even contemplate committing suicide. 
Conversely, when we have optimum health, happiness is easily attained. When you wake up in the morning and stretch and take big lungfuls of fresh air, it makes us ready to face the challenges in the day ahead. We are able to play our role in society well be it as a student with a sharp mind to study better, or a worker in this industrious world, doing our job well. Or when our health is maximised, athletes all around the world break records and cry in jubilation as when Usain Bolt does when he literally flies down the track or when Micheal Phelps or even Lin Dan lifts the Olympic gold medals high in victory. 
Needless to say, in conclusion, happiness is easily attainable when we are healthy because it is one of the pillars of the basic necessities in life in order to truly achieve a state of bliss. Thank you. 

Candidate D

To the examiners and my fellow candidates, a wonderful morning I bid you. The topic given today is rather interesting as it brings to mind a commonly asked question, "Is the glass half empty or it is half full?" A person with a positive outlook would surely answer 'half full' and this colours his or her life with positive energy therefore making happiness truly easily attainable. Allow me to elaborate what I mean about a positive outlook. 
Firstly, a positive outlook gives us a means of inventing options. What does this mean exactly? Well, people who are positive do not give up easily, in fact, they make it a point to inspect every avenue and come up with innovative ways to overcome any obstacle. For instance, after studying so hard a student fails due to a death in the family during exam time and she could not concentrate. Rather than surrender to her fate, she takes it as a challenge to get back up on the horse and find a job. After a few years of working, she collects enough money to do her degree on a part time basis and after 3 or 4 years, she finally graduates. This is because she has a positive outlook and looked hard for other options to change her fate. At the end, she has managed to attain happiness when her goals are achieved. 
In addition, a person with a positive outlook seem to draw positive energy into her radius and somehow good things start to happen to her. Even when bad things happen, like an accident that messes up her car, she would still find the silver lining in the sense that she is thankful to be alive and more grateful still for not having harmed anyone else. Therefore, a positive outlook is crucial in attaining happiness because it is a wonderful ability to find the good in any bad situation. 
In short, people with a positive outlook with find happiness under every stone, at every corner because they are better able to be happy and content with their lot in life. Thank you for lending me your ears. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

MUET Speaking Tips 2013 Year End

Hey ho! I'm finally done with all the American Inspiration training ( I represented Malaysia for a 6 week study tour all over america!) and hv cleared my backlog of training of teachers and students for PMR & SPM English.. called my Target A+ & Final Countdown projects... phew... now I can concentrate on MUET even though my students are not sitting for this exam.

A short reflection of my students' performance in the July paper.. gosh it was harsh... no band 4s... we reduced the amount of band 1s but quality has fallen drastically.. ah well. such is life. I was really shocked that even the science students scored mostly band 2s... If you ask me... it has to do with the increasing number of seats available in IPTAs around... hence the students left in form six who didnt get a placement are 'weaker'. If you treat this statement as a fact and not an insult, you need to find the solution which is to work harder and smarter instead of feeling 'hurt'. remember the song... what doesn't kill you makes u stronger.. but the latest song on the radio i heard recently is ... what doesn't kill you makes u feel alive... so soooo try your best to read more, write more and speak n listen more in English.

Ok.. about Speaking. here are my latest top tips:

1. Speaking is all about confidence - I would say faking confidence is 80% of the trick - the other 20% is your general knowledge and language.
Why? A confident speaker (even if he/she uses broken English) is more interesting and exciting to listen to. There is nothing more an examiner dreads than a boring, unconfident mouse. If you're a mouse, act like a rat. Speak loud enough with enough confidence, look the examiners in the eyes, give your most brilliant smile and talk and talk like there's no tomorrow. Just say whatever that comes to mind; serious stuff as well as funny jokes/stories that are related to the topic.

2. The 20% is general knowledge. Be well read. If you are talking about the environment you need to give concrete examples. Mention your personal opinions of how 'sad' and 'disappointed' you are that people are becoming greedier everyday, that for the sake of money and in the so-called name of progress 150+ hectares of the Tawau Hills Park has been deforested.. Talk about the widespread forest burnings to clear land in Indonesia that is destroying the habitats of wildlife like Orangutans and rhinoceros and so on just to build more palm oil plantations.. the destruction of mangrove swamps to clear and make way for shrimp farms and this releases ozone thinning gasses, hence global warming is escalating. The trick is to throw facts and figures at the examiners and make yourself look good and well-read. However, avoid sweeping statements like 'All governments are greedy', 'Everyone does it for money.', 'Society does not care about the environment' etc.. because these are over-generalisations and sweeping statements. Where is the proof? Instead.. say "Some governments have been proven to be profit-minded", "Many people are driven by the concept of making money, esp making 'easy money'." and "There is a certain strata of society that clearly do not care about the impact to society". Notice how I modified the sentences to be more 'believable'.

3. Finally, you need to memorise good phrases to use (I have blogged about this so look up the archive) and really use it actively in both tasks. A person who participates and is engaged in the discussion will definitely deserve better marks. Help each other out by asking questions, offering suggestions, making the discussion lively and even funny. Even if you dont feel excited, pretend!!! Think of it as a short sketch...

Finally, do scour my blog for more speaking tips and sample scripts... good luck everyone!

P/s: in the comments below, if u hv taken today's exam, pls write out the speaking questions. There are generally two sets of questions for each day. Cheerios! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

MUET July 2013 suggested answers for reading 800/3

Travelling in USA right now so hvnt had time to blog much but I thought i'd better post my answers. open for discussion so pls leave comment below. :)

1. A (may/some)
2. B (not from within)
3. C (no mention)
4. A (only 4% winners)
5. B (criteria is only previous company n job titles)
6. A (bleak refer to very poor result - 65% dropouts)
7. C (preference not mentioned)
8. A
9. B (still percolating/in progress)
10. A
11. A (not travelling physically)
12. A
13. B
14. C (comparing pros n cons)
15. B
16. B
17. C
18. B (Indonesia is not getting help)
19. A (not harmful if done on small scale for the past centuries)
20. B
21. B (the harm is just a theory and the clearing will continue because it provides jobs n pays taxes)
22. A
23. C
24. C
25. A
26. B
27. A
28. B
29. A (tricky!!)
30. D
31. D
32. A
33. B (but D is possible)
34. D
35. C
36. C
37. A
38. B (Tricky!!!!)
39. B
40. A
41. D
42. A
43. D
44. B
45. D

Ok guys.. again, these are MY answers, no MPM's. Hv fun predicting your result! Bye from the USA.. and I will be back to Malaysia end of July. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

MUET JULY 2013 preparation

How do you prepare for a MUET Exam?

Here's my MUET for Dummies list.

You have one week left!!

1. You need to read at least one Readers Digest magazine (Time/Newsweek or silimar) a day and look up 10 new words. If you don't read, u wont learn new vocab and you cant understand the difficult concepts in the reading paper.. so READ!!!

2. The reading paper is the highest marks and it is very tricky. Take a model test, do it once without reference. Then do a separate set of answers with reference to dictionaries/google/teacher or friends. Then check the answers. Your 2ND SET should be higher than the first. After two days, do the test again n see if you can get a perfect score. If you redo a test paper in this way, you can get the MAXIMUM benefit from the test, don't just do it once and throw it away.
     You will need to score:
(A)   21/45 – Band 3
(B)   27/45 – Band 4
(C)   33/45 – Band 5
(D)  39/45 – Band 6

3. For writing reports, follow the format I have previously blogged about.
1) Title
2) Introduction - What do you see? E.g. The stimuli present a bar graph/ table/ chart on ___ for the year ____ and a line graph/newspaper headline/news excerpt on ______.
3) Overview - What is the MOST OUTSTANDING INFO THAT LINKS ALL THE STIMULI? E.g. In general, respondents prefer X to Y/there is an increasing/decreasing trend in .. etc. A good overview will try to link ALL the stimuli together.
4) For the body, select the most important information that you want to highlight. You can highlight as many info as you want but I think 6 to 10 is good enough because u MUST WRITE BETWEEN 150 TO 200 so u hv to be very selective of the information u include. There r two types of info you can write in one or more than one paragraph but they include these two below:
A) ANALYSIS - you write about the outstanding info (highest/lowest/most/least/etc) WITHIN A SINGLE STIMULUS. (Try not to give a year by year account because that is just listing the criteria, not selecting the most important)
B) SYNTHESIS - you should ideally write about the outstanding info that LINKS THE STIMULI. That means you must find the connection between the graphs/tables/newspapers headlines..Check if they all show and increase/decrease and mention the connection but do NOT write your own ideas/ASSUMPTIONS(ANDAIAN). If it is not in the stimuli, don't simply write you own opinions!
5) The conclusion is usually similar to the Overview, just reworded in a better and more informative way.

 4) For writing academic essays, click this link 

In short for essays, you need to think critically... 5 paragraphs if you agree or disagree with the question, and 6 paragraphs if you are on the fence (50-50)

You need to quickly write the draft like I show in the link...

easiest way to divide ur points is
1. invidual
2. society
3. country

1. short term
2. mid term
3. long term

2. effects
3. symptoms

and for the conclusion u should include the recommendation... what the country/government/society can do... for the betterment of the nation.

use good sequence connectors to ensure the flow... google sequence connectors n u will find amazing examples, I got A1 for my BM because I used so many appropriate but beautiful phrases in my essay.

and use powerful sentences...
instead of writing:
I hope the government can solve the problem soon.
write this:
It is my sincerest hope that our government can draw up a detailed blueprint on how to combat the issue of social illnesses. I strongly recommend that they should carry out more national level campaigns to increase our citizen's awareness so that our country can progress towards being a fully developed nation by 2020.

Search my blog archive for sample essays and writing tips.

Ok.. can someone give me your spot questions and I shall try to write sample essays for everyone. Please leave a comment with a spot question below! :) Happy studying!

More on reading which I wrote for a website called, link given here:

1.     Read (There is a reason why it’s called a MUET Reading paper)
-       Read everything but with a notepad in hand
-       Copy down words which you don’t understand AND more important, phrases that you would like to use in your MUET written essay.
2.     Read quality materials
-       Read articles that are published by reliable sources such as: Reader’s Digest, TIME Magazine…etc.
-       Articles used in the exams are usually from these types of source
-       Keep yourself updated on current issues by reading newspapers (Example: The STAR, New Straits Times, The Edge)
3.     Use your time wisely!
-       You only have 1.5 hours to answer 45 exam questions
-       If you do the math, that would mean that you only have 2 minutes per question
-       ALWAYS read the question first, and underline the keywords
-       Make sure you don’t just skim through the text but scan for specific information
4.     Know your vocabulary
-       There will be 6 texts altogether in the exam paper, and the first one always has a non-linear stimuli (Example: graph, chart or diagram)
-       You will need the relevant vocabulary knowledge to describe the trend(s) shown in the given diagram(s)
-       This is also a useful practice for report writing as it deals with the same language functions
-       For some questions, you will be asked to ‘infer’ or make intelligent assumptions based on the given evidences in the texts
-       For ‘True/False/Not Stated’ questions, NEVER use your own opinions to answer because what is logical to you may not be academically correct
-       My tip to you is that you should underline the evidence(s) in the texts
-       For ‘True’, you must be able to identify proof that shows that the statement is correct
-       You should also underline evidences that prove a statement to be wrong in order to choose ‘False’ as your answer
-       For ‘Not Stated’, you will find that it is almost impossible to underline any evidence at all. Hence, these are the fundamental differences between the answer selections ‘True/False/Not Stated’
6.     Train your brain
-       Guessing the meaning of a vocabulary can be quite tricky especially when you don’t have the access to a dictionary or the internet ( during your exam. Hence, you need to train your brain to assess the root word
-       Focus on the prefix/suffix in order to identify the meaning
-       If you think the word is a positive, negative or neutral one – reconfirm again by looking at the context of the texts for clues to support your assumption
-       Review the answers and options given by eliminating the answer that is most unlikely to be correct before making a calculated guess
-       For example, in the phrase: “the degradation of water quality”, the word ‘degradation’ comes from the root word ‘grade’ which means level or standard. The ‘de’ suffix has a negative connotation where it means the removal of something, while ‘tion’ is a noun that explains the process of something
-       Thus, the phrase means “the drop of standard/quality of water”
7.     Assess the writer’s intentions
-        The MUET level comprehension questions do not focus on content alone
-       Instead, the questions given require candidates to assess the writer’s:
(A)   Purpose
-       Example: to inform, discuss, argue, compare, persuade…etc.
(B)   Style of writing
-       Example: describing, comparing and contrasting, giving examples, explaining causes and effects, sequencing events…etc.
(C)   Tone
-       Example: supportive, opposing, indifferent, neutral, biased…etc.

8.    Assess the articles as a whole
-       Sometimes you may be asked to give a suitable title to an article
-       Or to summarize a specific paragraph
-       Or to come up with a suitable conclusion based on the options given. This clearly requires critical thinking skills or HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) from you

9.     Keep practicing!
-       Essentially, nothing beats practice and more practice
-       Buy good quality reference books such as Longman or Oxford model tests/actual exam workbooks and try doing each reading paper 3 times
-       First attempt: do it as if you’re sitting for the real exam. Do not refer to any workbooks or dictionaries
-       Second attempt: allow yourself to refer to books, and discuss with your friends if you need to (and if you are doing it as a group) before marking both attempts
-       Note: Your 2nd attempt should score better than your first.
-       Third attempt: Try doing the same set of exam paper again after 2-3 months to see if you are able to retain the knowledge of vocabulary and concepts which you have learned before.

10.  Grade yourself
-       Here’s a useful guide for you to follow when you attempt the exam questions so that you can know where you stand
-       You will need to score:
(A)   21/45 – Band 3
(B)   27/45 – Band 4
(C)   33/45 – Band 5
(D)  39/45 – Band 6
-       Reading is the MOST important MUET paper as it carries 40% or 120/300 marks

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spent two great sessions with the TESL students of UMS.. sharing my tips for both SPM n MUET marking. We had great hands-on activities, some theory and actual marking practice so all in all i think it was a great program that achieved its objectives. Thanks to Dr. Suhaida and Dr Lee for having me and thanks too to Sze Kai for your committee's commitment in ensuring the success of this program. Hopefully, years down the road, you will recall what I said with a smile. 

Anyway, just a short post this time. July paper is coming and my students are taking the exam so I will be uploading a lot of stuff soon to help everyone. I've done a lot of research to carry out the marking course with these lovely students and am really excited to publish some of my tips here in my blog.. look out for it k!

Monday, March 11, 2013

SMK Lohan, Ranau Intensive MUET Workshop, 9th March 2013

 I always have a brilliant time giving talks and helping students with MUET workshops... I feel like I'm able to do my part in society and this makes the world a hetter place.. hehe... so thanks to both schools for organising the 6 hour workshop (although i spent far too much time eating again!) hehehehe... SMK Lohan and the Agama school next door.... tq again.
 Loved the response from these 124 students... and I do hope that you guys will succeed in whatever you do in life. :)
Fantastic banner! This is one of the best banners and I thank your principal for approving this workshop cos it shows his commitment towards enhancing the students' education performance. :) Kudos!

Right... so where next? I've got another scheduled for 25th March at Kota Marudu... looking forward to that as well! :)

Cheers for now!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 2013 MUET Reading sample answers

So here are my answers.. pls feel free to comment so that we can battle out the right answers.

1. C (next 60 yrs not mentioned)
2. B (regionS - not including North America)
3. B (modest 30 to 40 percent is not a decline)
4. A (figure 1)
5. C (no data)
6. B (figure 2)
7. B (only 2010)
8. C (no definition of 'easily')
9. C (no data)
10. A
11. C (Pedigree and pharmaceutical companies)
12. B (refer to services)
13. B
14. C (all referring to the same category)
15. C
16. A (a bit complacent does not mean their nature is complacent)
17. A
18. C
19. A
20. B (surprising)
21. C (complacent does not equate to 'forget easily')
22. C (brink of catastrophe)
23. C
24. A (man)
25. A
26. A (tq Xin Hui)
27. C (option I is not his own recommendation)
28. B
29. A (lists 3 actions)
30. C
31. B
32. D
33. D
34. D
35. D
36. A
37. D
38. D
39. D (there is no data if it is less or more)
40. A
41. C
42. D
43. C
44. D
45. B

Ok... so here's MY answers. Apologies for a few typos early this morning.. but other than that I'm quite confident that these answers are generally correct. If your teacher has other answers and they can substantiate it, by all means, listen to them instead of me. Have a nice day!

your result X 300 / 45 =      _____  / 300 

your result X 120 / 45 = ______ / 120 


21/45 FOR BAND 3
27/45 FOR BAND 4
33/45 FOR BAND 5 
39/45 FOR BAND 6

Saturday, March 9, 2013




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

MUET eBook

Recently an acquaintance named Shamsul Ariffin and I were in collaboration to design a MUET eBook that would help students across Malaysia to pass MUET. A lot of the notes he compiled about the secret to passing MUET originates from me as I don't mind helping candidates out since that is indeed the objective of my blog.

Anyway, those who have attended my MUET seminars will know that I almost always mix languages @ code switch (using BM & English) because once again, my objective is to help the Bands 1 & 2 pass with at least Band 3. Therefore allow me to continue here with some BM.

Para calon sekalian, 

Jika anda benar-benar sukar mempelajari BI untuk menghadapi MUET, saya sarankan supaya anda belilah eBook MUET ini yang ditulis dalam BM dengan contoh-contoh jawapan dalam BI supaya anda dapat mempelajari tip-tip MUET secara cepat dan tepat. eBook ini sagat komprehensif dan dapat menggambarkan situasi sebenar MUET agar anda lebih yakin untuk menghadapi peperiksaan in. 

Here's a brief summary of the book by its main author, Shamsul Ariffin:

Pakej Lengkap Rahsia Lulus MUET eBook is specially designed for students preparing for the Malaysian University English Test (MUET), a compulsory university entrance English test for all candidates seeking to enter local universities. This eBook would be a particularly helpful tool for students who wish to achieve Band 4 and above.

The purpose for this eBook is to help students master the skills required to excel in the MUET using a step-by-step approach. Each skill and the relevant sub-skills required to do well in MUET are given thorough and comprehensive coverage so that students will be able to follow and digest the information easily. This eBook is also useful for students who want to reinforce their English language skills in Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing.

Pakej Lengkap Rahsia Lulus MUET eBook is a well-organised book that is suitable for both independent self-study, as well as for classroom use. It is our opinion that this eBook will give students an excellent foundation to master the language skills for them to succeed in MUET.

Anyway, pls click on the THIS LINK to find out more about this extremely useful MUET e-Book. 

Happy studying and good luck for this 9th March 2013... may the force be with you! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nov 2012 Writing: Women make better leaders than men' Sample Answer

My previous blog post deals with why it is so hard to score in the essay question. Please read up HERE before viewing the sample below. Also, if you really want to improve, please attempt to write your own essay first, or at least, do an outline of your essay so you can compare with mine. Cheers!

Women Make Better Leaders Than Men

The debate between the supremacy of the genders have been in session since time immemorial. In the past, it would seem that men had the upperhand but these days, women are starting to leave their mark in many aspects from business to politics rather than just domestic affairs. In my humble opinion, both men and women have the potential to be great leaders but the question of 'better leaders' does not lie in a person's gender alone but his or her innate character. In this essay, let us explore the qualities that make men and women great leaders before focusing on other factors that are unrelated to gender. 

First and foremost, men have some distinctive qualities that make them far better leaders than women. We can attribute this to the fact that men are generally physically stronger than women. This is undeniable because a man has clearly more muscle mass than a woman so in terms of leadership that has to do with physical ability, men win hands down. For example, in the army, most leaders are men that are buffed up and better able to handle the physical exertions of this field compared to women who are more delicate in structure. Men are also known to have better ability to strategise in terms of warfare and they seem to command their armies better. For example, great leaders have been men such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan, Hitler and so on. Moreover, men tend to be able to make quick decisions that are not usually based on their emotions but logical, rational and practical reasons. Women, however, seem to be very emotional creatures so they may make poor leadership decisions if they simply follow their feelings. Therefore, men have many qualities like physical strength, ability to strategise well and make snap decisions which can make them better leaders. 

However, women have proven to be better leaders in an increasing number of cases. This can be seen as more and more countries have entrusted women to be their leaders. These women have a more 'feminine' approach to leadership which is more sensitive towards the needs of society. For instance, history is peppered with exemplary female leaders such as Indira Ghandi, Benazir Bhutto, Eva Peron and present day heroines such as Aung San Suu Kyi. Women tend to be more caring in nature and quite patient in dealing with problems which makes them better leaders compared to men who could be less sensitive and impatient. Most women are also known to be perfectionists, and this is an advantage because they are often very meticulous and detailed in carrying out their duties as leaders. Thus, with a more open-minded society, an increasing number of women are being given the onus to take the lead and may even one day supersede men in their traditional leadership roles! 

Although I have gone to great lengths to show that both men and women have the ability to be great leaders, I still completely believe that 'leadership' has little to do with gender and a lot to do with a person's innate character. This means that to be a great leader does not depend on whether you are male or female but rather your personal characteristics that drive you to succeed. Men and women both possess the qualities of confidence, responsibility, time management and delegation skills, public relations and good communication skills, positive outlook, high commitment, creativity and innovation, forward-looking visionaries and many other characteristics of a good leader. Hence, the question of gender should not arise because being male or female does not guarantee the ability to lead well. 

In conclusion, history has shown that men make better leaders but this is a faulty argument because it does not take into consideration the fact in the old days women were discriminated against and not allowed to lead. Today, society is more open-minded and more women are taking the helm and proving that women can be better leaders. Nevertheless, leadership to me is 'genderless' whereby it is completely dependent on a person's positive characteristics which makes people respect them and want to follow in their footsteps. Every country needs more leaders regardless of gender so the government should conduct more self-improvement leadership courses for the younger generation so they may become better future leaders of our country.  

* Notice the words in blue. This is the correct way in order to mediate your sentences so they do not become OVER-GENERALISATIONS and/or SWEEPING STATEMENTS.

** If you prefer, you can always write an essay that agrees with one party or the other and you are more than welcome to email them to me so I can grade you according to the bands. :) Good luck and happy writing!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Nov 2012 MUET Writing 800/4 Academic Essay question

Women make better leaders than men. Do you agree? Discuss. You should write at least 350 words. 

Well the question above seems simplistic but the reality is that most of the students who took this exam last Nov, failed. Why did they fail when it would seem like a very debatable topic? It's not as if they had no idea at all as was the case with the 'arranged marriages' question.  After some research, I've come upon the main reason and this, I have to emphasise here, is entirely my own opinion, not MPM's.

So what is the main reason? Well.. simply put, lack of critical thinking skills. MUET teachers out there, I implore you to teach your students these 3 key concepts.

1. Argument, counter-argument and refutation.
2. Differentiating fact from opinion.
3. Quantifying overgeneralisation/sweeping statements.

The first two are relatively simple to teach as there are countless resources you can find... I remember blogging about No. 1 so you may be able to find it here, in fact... just click on the link HERE.

As for the third item, let me elucidate using this essay question.

Most of the candidates were unable to present mature arguments because they simply ended up with statements that are not based on fact but opinion. To make matters worse, they did not quantify the statement with the correct adverb of degree (some, a few, many, most etc) instead they used words like all, always, never. They also misused other adverbs such as too, very, every etc. Therefore the validity of the essay is seriously affected. It is therefore better to use modals like may, might and could to mediate your sentences to make it more acceptable and believable. A MUET examiner is able to spot a sweeping statement a mile away and you can be sure Bands 5 & 6 have flown out the window!

Let me show you some examples.

Women make better leaders than men.
Samples (a) are over-generalisations and (b) has been mediated to sound more credible.

1a) Women are too emotional so they will always make the wrong decision.
  b) Some women are very emotional so they may make wrong decisions.

2a) Men are very intelligent but women always never use their brains and cry all the time.
 b) Surveys have shown that men are more intelligent than women and can handle stress better.

3a) Men are better leaders because they invented all the things in the world.
  b) Men could make better leaders because they are intelligent enough to create most inventions.

(3a is a poor sentence because it is over-generalised as well as having faulty logic. 3b is better because it adds 'intelligent enough' thereby linking the two ideas to make it flow more logically.)

Basically, to write this essay well, one needs to be objective, neutral to an extent and able to discuss both the pros and cons before coming to a mature decision. So, would anyone like to submit an essay before I post a sample?

:) Happy penning!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Nov 2012 MUET Report Writing question sample answer


Have you tried out the Nov report writing question? Here's my sample. 

Comparison of Quality of Facilities in 3 Colleges 

The stimuli present two tables, Table 1 on 'Rating of College Facilities' while Table 2 is on 'Fees, Scholarships and Numbers of Registered Students'. In general, institutions that charge higher fees tend to provide better facilities regardless of number of registered students and scholarships offered.

According to both tables, College C which collects the highest fees per semester (RM10,000) scored the highest ratings in all facilities except sports centre and food court.  It still managed to attract 5500 registered students although the number of scholarships offered were extremely low (10 only).

College A charges reasonable fees of RM6000 per semester and has the highest record of registered students (7000). It also has relatively good rating especially scoring top marks in providing wireless connection, food court and banking facilities. Another pull factor is that it offers the highest number of scholarships (500).

Meanwhile, students of College B rated its institution's facilities as mostly average to poor with only the sports centre achieving a good rating. The co-curricular centre, food court and transport received the lowest ratings. Although 100 scholarships are offered, this college enrolled the lowest number of registered students (1000).

In conclusion, the higher the school fees, the better the facilities provided.

Submitted by Blogwalker Josephine Wong... Great effort! I would give this quite a high band although she could have included a title and bit more data from the list of facilities. ANY MUET EXAMINERS WOULD LIKE TO GRADE THIS PIECE AND TELL US HOW MANY MARKS OUT OF 40 THIS STUDENT WOULD GET? (YOU CAN LEAVE ANONYMOUS COMMENTS U KNOW... :) 

Table 1 shows the rating of facilities at 3 colleges while Table 2 show their fees, scholarships and enrolment.
Generally, the visuals indicate that the higher the fees, the better the facilities and vice versa but this pattern has no bearing on the enrolment or scholarships offered.

College C is rated a high-end college with very good facilities (8 out of 10 facilities rated good). Its fees are very expensive (RM 10,000 per sem.) but the survey results show its enrolment is only moderate at 5,500 students. The college only awards 10 scholarships per year.

College B however, is a low-end college charging low fees ( RM4000 per sem.)  Its facilities are correspondingly rated average to poor and its enrolment is low (1000 students only). 

By comparison, College A is the most sought-after college (7000 students) with average to good facilities (all facilities rated as average and above) charging reasonable fees (RM6000 per sem). It also offers the highest no. of  scholarships (500).

To conclude, students are attracted to colleges that charge not-so-expensive fees but provide reasonably good facilities and has good scholarship offers.

So... what do you think? I'm imploring MUET writing examiners to please help us out by grading our samples... I'm just a teacher and have never claimed to be an expert in marking. So pleasssseee leave a comment for the benefit of all the MUET candidates out there... :) 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

My latest tips of writing MUET level Thesis Statements

Many students and teachers ask me how they should arrange their academic essays. Previously I have stayed loyal to the 5 paragraph format (to help the bands 1-2 get bands 3 at least) but these days I would like to challenge students to practice higher critical thinking by expanding their essays... A lot of them/you do not know how to develop ideas which include writing a good these statement and developing points. So here is my 'Every MUET Learner's Guide to Thesis Statements'.


3rd MUET Seminar at University Tun Hussien Onn, Batu Pahat Johor 23/2/13

 I'm very grateful for the opportunity to conduct an 8-hour intensive MUET course at UTHM, BP, Johor for the 3rd consecutive year... I'm just happy that my words are meaningful and have the power to help shape a students' life, that he or she may go on to graduate with flying colours and carve a place for themselves in society. Tq to CARE (UTHM alumni) for calling me again and again and providing me the best services... the room as you can see above is really nice... hehe... De Mendez Homestay.
 I lost count of how many times I ate in one day... I think it was eight times... hehe.. from breakfast of nasi lemak.. to a heavy lunch of among others, asam ikan to mee racun (poison noodles!!!) and even supper of Burger Bakar.. yummers!
 My biggest group ever! 105 participants.. I'm sorry I didn't have time to get to know everyone personally but I will definitely put you all in my prayers!
 Haha... what a culture shock this dish is!!!
 My buddy Uzma sucking out the bone marrow with a straw!!! Freaky!!!!
 Here's me putting my 'expensive' signature on the certs... in total after three years I have signed close to 250 certs... so these are the lives that I have touched in my small way...
 Ok.. here's otak-otak... but its texture is weird.. like fishcake.. and the red colour is too drastic.. hehe...
 Oooops... how do I make this pic upright? Hmmm.. this tukang masak is very proud of his creations! Well done!
 My Valentine's burger bakar.. hehe
It's great to see everyone speaking in English... makes me glad to have chosen my profession... hope that whatever I shared will not go to waste.. and that like Miley Cyrus' message.... 'It's the climbbbbb...' so you should put all your effort into climbing higher and higher regardless of whether u reach the peak or not. :)

My next MUET seminar is at SMK Lohan, Ranau, Sabah on 9th March... so will update pics on that later.

Also another good news is that I've been approached by a website called 'HotCourses' and they have asked me to write a short article on my tips for MUET READING paper... I will upload here soon so everyone can reflect on my top tips.

Right, now that my internet connection is back, you can expect more posts soon. Stay tuned! 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

MUET Lesson Plans

Hi... I've been getting feedback from teachers wanting to know how I go about teaching my students and what syllabus do I follow. Frankly speaking, if I could be so honest, I am going to tell you that the syllabus is merely a guideline and you should follow your heart and your mind instead.

The first thing I do is assess the students... just a mental evaluation of what their level is like, how comfortable they are with the language and what 'skills' do they need to face the real world, ie uni life and working life. Give them some autonomy in deciding WHAT it is they want to learn more about.

So here is a run down of WHAT I teach...

1. My Grammar Formulas as the basis of all the lessons, including coded marking.
2. Egg Babies: Parenting Skills to teach them the values of responsible adulthood
3. Phonology and pronunciation lesson using a really cool handout with incorporates pictures as the phonetic symbols.
4. Vocabulary expansion using my Word Class worksheets, word scavenging through the dictionary.
5. Resume/CV writing, cover letters and mock job interviews (highly important and a MUST teach)
6. Academic writing using my template for very weak proficiency, and a more 'open' style for higher bands.
7. Academic essay compilation of minimum 50 essays a person (I get each one to write on a specific topic, then i painstakingly mark it using codes, students self-correct their errors and rewrite the final draft before copying everybody else's essay in their own handwriting, no photocopying, and use highlighters to indicate words/sections they like, comments etc)
8. Mock speaking activities (non-exam based: interviews/forums/presentations, exam-based: mock tests using the speaking templates I provide. I also have various activities for turn-taking, brainstorming, shadowplay technique etc.)
9. Report Writing (teach the format, do practices, find their own stimuli and write the report & present, copy each other's reports so they have a compilation of reports as well)
10. Reading Comprehension includes collecting reading materials from reliable sources (Reader's Digest, Time, Newsweek, The Star, The Edge etc and students design their own MCQs to test other groups) besides the regular model tests n actual exams.
11. Listening activities using the 'pause and play' technique, oral to written 'reconstruction' activity, model tests and actual exam practice and analysis..
12. Powerpoint presentations using the 'simulation' technique, usually a simulation of a business convention or a membership/support group drive etc.

At some point or another I have blogged about my activities, so if you'd like to ask me how I carry out a particular lesson I wl try my best to answer. :) Anyway, happy teaching people!

Oh and my seminar at Uni Tun Hussien Onn, JB is confirmed on 22 n 23 Feb.. so really looking forward to that now! Woohoo!

Monday, January 14, 2013

MUET 2013... another new year has dawned...

Hi people... I apologise for the long haitus... I've been so busy and just haven;t fount the time or the initiative to work this blog. Anyway, here are the latest issues I've found out.

Firstly, we were all shocked by the July MUET result which was appalling. According to reliable sources, the results were the worst ever for MUET in this country since its inception. Not a single Band 6 was recorded across the board where normally there would be at least 1 to 10 B6s every exam (very rough estimate, no proof available, sowwy). Anyway, my students took the final year exam and I was indeed hoping that MPM would be a bit more linient this time round considering the sad affair of the July paper. Turns out it is equally as bad and the results produced were in my personal opinion, horrendous!!!

Last year my school had only 5 B1s, but this year a grand total of 34 B1s were glaring at me from the report sheet, as if mocking my entire MUET career.... my only consolation is that no matter how badly we did compared to last year, when we compare it with other schools for the final year exam, we still managed to top the rest in the area as we had 2 Band 4s and a handful of Band 3s compared to some schools with all Band 1 and 2s only.... yeeesh! MPM officers, if you are reading this, I implore you to rethink the level of questions and marking as the standards are tooooo high. Considering these students need to pass in order to graduate, it would cost too much for them to retake it over and over again esp since you have made a quantum leap in terms of exam costs from rm60 to rm100 which is almost an 80% increase in fees. It begs the question whether this exam is simply a money making industry or ???? ... (not my opinion, but along the thoughts of most people, completely heresay).

Anyway, another issue I heard about the recent exam marking from some MUET examiners (sources undisclosed as it was a discussion AFTER marking was done and dusted and based on general comments only k) that the marking scheme is very stringent these days as MPM wants students to be able to look at the tables/graphs/stimulis and come up with the 'tersurat' and the 'tersirat' which in their terms are 'analysis' and 'synthesis'. If you dont know what that means, then it will be hard for you to score in the report writing section. They also had a field day deciding on the 'Overview' (second sentence of the introduction) because apparently there was NO general trend based on the question produced. After looking at the question, I could identify the 'general trend' but apparently it is not called that because it does not involve a timeframe. Duh??? Regardless, you still need an 'Overview' so just come up with a sentence that ties in the most outstanding features of ALL the stimuli. They really should vet the questions properly cos we are teaching according to their format and it would be ridiculous if the answers are not according to the format. Yeesh, go figure!

For the academic writing section, it is also harder to score these days because the arguments must be directly relevant to the issue in the question as opposed to the theme in the essay question. A very clear example of this is the July paper which asks students their opinion of the co-curricular criteria for entering university. If you simply answered that this criteria is good because it will teach students discipline, then you have not answered the question. The key is to tie it to the issue of if this skill will benefit them at university and how it will help them perform better in university. Anyway, what do I know what MPM actually wants, these are only my theories as to why so many students scored poorly that time round.

Another bone of contention is the listening paper. Many blogwalkers and students have written in complaning about their abhorred Listening paper marks.. and when I look at the results transcript for students in my school as well I am super shocked. Last year I had a student who got Band 5, scoring 45/45 for listening... but this year... the students in my school.... so many of them scored single digits.. and abt six of them scored only '2/45'. I mean.... TWO????? either I have a very weak lot of students or the listening paper was excutiatingly hard, meaning to say MPM's standard is way higher than average. I do hope they vet the questions extensively for the next paper so that the results tally and follow a more standard graph,..... but hey, again, who am I to question them. They probably know best, compared to an average teacher like me.

Right, so those reading this, thank you for staying tuned. I will be posting up sample MUET lesson plans and ideas which I am currently using for this year's batch. I will also attempt to answer the report writing question and the academic essay on women for last Nov's exam.... but even I am afraid that my answers will stray too far away from MPM's standard. Please be reminded that the objective of my blog is to help the low bands (1 & 2) achieve band (3 & 4) and if you want a Band 5 or 6, it boils down to the fluency and command of the language, and your ability to think critically. Good luck all! Toodles for now!