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... :)