Followers

Sunday, January 19, 2014

HOW TO WRITE GOOD MUET ESSAY INTRODUCTIONS

A lot of students do not score well in MUET writing because they may be unaware of the Academic Writing Format. Those who know about it find it hard to verbalise it or get it down on paper, as such, their intros might not follow the appropriate formal writing style that is preferred for MUET level.

Anyway, here is a short lesson on intro writing from me.
The key, as always, is to keep practising.

What makes a good introduction?
Divided into 3 parts.
1. Current Situation/Commentary
2. Stand
3. Thesis Statement/Outline

What should each part consist of?

PART 1
1. Current situation/Commentary should include a HOOK,
which is a statement or question that can HOOK OR GRAB your attention.

Examples of HOOKS
a. Facts/Data/Statistics (News articles, data from graphs/surveys etc)
b. Questions (Rhetorical questions related to the issue)
c. An Anecdote (Story that is related to the issue)
d. Examples (Various related examples)
e. Contrast (Describing the opposite of a given situation, eg. topic: Money, opposite: No Money)
f.  Projection (Imagining the future)

Basically, you may use any of the hooks above but make sure the tone of your essay is FORMAL.

Example of Hook (f-Projection)
DO NOT WRITE: 
Imagine if there are no people to clean up rubbish, everywhere got rubbish so dirty and many people would get sick because so many diseases until everyone die. 
DO WRITE:
Imagine a world without a cleanup crew, rubbish would be piling up high everywhere and diseases would spread like wildfire to threaten the very existence of mankind.

PART 2
2. Stand
Refer to the question and focus on the key words to develop your stand.
Use these phrases to guide you:
a. In my opinion, I strongly/totally/completely/absolutely believe/feel/agree/disagree that...
b. From my perspective, I ...
c. From my point of view, I ...
d. It is my opinion that...

Your stand can also help you organise your essays in terms of paragraphing.

IF YOU CLEARLY AGREE/DISAGREE
: use a 5 paragraph format
INTRO
AGREE 1
AGREE 2
AGREE 3
CONCLUSION
or
INTRO
DISAGREE 1
DISAGREE 2
DISAGREE 3
CONCLUSION.

However, I am inclined to give the 'thinkers' a higher band if they can
compare and contrast ideas using the 6 paragraph format as shown below.

INTRO
AGREE 1
AGREE 2
DISAGREE 1
DISAGREE 2
CONCLUSION
or
INTRO
AGREE 1 vs DISAGREE 1
AGREE 2 vs DISAGREE 2
AGREE 3 vs DISAGREE 3
AGREE 4 vs DISAGREE 4
CONCLUSION

*NOTE that 5 paragraphs are the bare minimum, 6 is suggested,
but those with excellent proficiency should NOT let the number of paragraphs hold you back.
Conversely, the danger of writing too much is it is 'self-penalising'
as you will make too many errors esp if you run out of time and cannot edit your writing.


PART 3
3. Thesis Statement/Outline

This is by far the MOST IMPORTANT part of the introduction as it foreshadows
what the writer will focus on and gives the examiner
an idea of how well the writer can organise his/her essay.

For low bands, a simple Outline is enough. Use this template to help you.

In this essay, I would like to discuss advantages/disadvantages/reasons/causes/strategies which are __________, __________ and ___________.

or

In this essay, I would like to focus on the *________________, ______________ and ______________.
*can be replaced with:
a. causes, effects and solutions
b. pros, cons, solutions
c. advantages, disadvantages, suggestions
d. benefits, drawbacks, ways to overcome
e. etc.

For higher bands, omit the 'I' and replace with more formal structures.

In light of this, there are many reasons/causes/effects/advantages/disadvantages to this issue namely ______________, _______________ and ______________.

or

There are many facets to this issue but let us focus on the ____________, ___________ and _________ of ______________________(issue).

or etc.


SAMPLES OF INTRODUCTIONS FOR EACH HOOK TECHNIQUE.
Now that you're learnt the theory, let's put it to practice. To show you how this works, I've used one question, and written 6 different intros but all with the 3 part format which I've discussed.

There is a question at the end of this section and you may try your hand in writing your own 6 versions of the introduction... practice makes perfect!!!

Nov 2013 Writing Question 

"The most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is himself." 

Do you agree with the statement ? Justify your stand, giving relevant examples where appropriate. You should write at least 350 words. 

a. Facts/Data/Statistics (News articles, data from graphs/surveys etc)

According to an article in Forbes magazine on World's 100 Top Successful people, 90% of people become successful based on their unique individual characters rather than talent alone. This means that people who have the same great talent - take singing for example - are both capable of becoming successful but the one who has the characteristics fans like such as friendly, well-groomed with high self-esteem and creativity are more likely to achieve superstardom compared to an introverted singer with low self-confidence and charisma. It is my humble opinion that I absolutely agree with the statement that the most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is himself. We can analyse this issue in terms of the human factor which are his innate qualities, his drive for success and his ability to sustain success. 



b. Questions (Rhetorical questions related to the issue)


Is talent enough to achieve success? How is it possible for a set of twins who are both equally good in singing, yet only one becomes a successful singer while the other does not? Can a person's character determine his or her ability to achieve success in life? From my point of view, the answer lies in the fact that it is indeed the person himself which contributes towards his own success. In this essay, I would like to discuss how a person's innate talent, his drive to succeed and his motivation to stay at the top are the reasons that differentiate every one of us therefore controlling our success metres. 



c. An anecdote (Story that is related to the issue)

There was once a farmer who had triplets. He could not decide which son should inherit his property so he gave each of his three sons the same sum of money and told them to achieve success. The first son used the money as a dowry and managed to acquire the chief's daughter as a wife. The second son used the money to bet on horses but lost it all. The third son bought cows with the intent of breeding them, milking them and making butter and cheese of which he would sell at the market. Finally, the farmer chose the third son because he was the only son capable of 'growing' his investment. The point of all this is to show that when the playing field is leveled, and there is equal opportunity, success or failure is determined by the decisions each individual makes. Therefore, I strongly agree with the statement that the most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is himself. In light of this, there are many aspects of the person himself which contributes to his success, namely his aptitude, attitude and drive to succeed. 


d. Examples (Various related examples)

Donald Trump is renowned the world over for his acute business acumen as testified by his Trump empire. His entrepreneurship skills have been commonly mimicked but rarely replicated as many aspire to become like him but seldom achieve the level of his success. The secret of his success is his unique character which is driven by his desire to rise above all, including himself. There are other examples of extremely successful people who have achieved success not solely based on talent but their individual characteristics such as Mark Zuckerberg and our own Datuk Tony Fernandez to name a few. From my perspective, the most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is indeed himself. This can be proven in terms of his own talent, his character and motivation to remain successful. 

e. Contrast (Describing the opposite of a given situation, eg. topic: Money, opposite: No Money)

A person born into an affluent family, when taking over the father's business manages to run the business down the ground. The question then arises as to why the son failed to follow in the footsteps of his father when everything was handed to him on a silver platter. Simply put, he might have inherited the same genes but this does not predetermine his individualistic characteristic which in turn contributes to his ability to succeed or in this case, fail. Similarly, a person born into a poor family with not much given to him, can scrape the barrels and claw out of his poverty and make a success of his life unlike his parents or siblings. The sheer determination to succeed gives him the necessary elixir to lift him out of his fate and create a new and brighter future for himself. Hence it is my steadfast opinion that the environment does not play the most crucial factor in determining success, but it is indeed the person himself what contributes to his rise or fall. To discuss this issue, let us look at the three aspects of success, namely a person's aptitude, attitude and desire to sustain success. 

f. Projection (Imagining the future)
If every one of us could be successful, would this world not be full of successful people? The very fact that not everyone in this world today is a success story strongly implies that there are many factors that contribute to a person's success but it is each individual himself that gives him the cutting edge. In my opinion, I completely agree that the most important factor which contributes towards a person's success is himself. There are many facets to this issue but let us focus on a person's own ability, character and determination that will lead to his or her success. 


Right... so what do you think of the 6 different approaches? 
Which do you like the best? 
Which suits your writing style the best? 

As mentioned earlier, below is a sample exam question that you can try writing introductions for. Write at least 3 different versions of the introductions using any of the 6 hooks taught previously. 

"The most important thing in life is health." Do you agree with the statement? Justify your stand, giving relevant examples where appropriate. You should write at least 350 words. 

If you really want to challenge yourself, you could use the first essay topic on success and try to disagree with it or discuss both for and against it (come up with a 6 paragraph organisation). You will need to figure out what are the external factors that leads one to success. 

As usual, write the sample intros out and post in the comments below.. waiting to hear from both teachers and students! Happy penning! 





25 comments:

  1. Hello...I was teaching at SMK Majakir in the late 90s. The students then were friendly to me and I even knew their parents well. I am sure the school climate now is quite different from my time. Best regards, Marzuki Zainuddin, (Majakir 97 - 01)

    ReplyDelete
  2. thank you teacher for better explaination.. this will guide me to write fabulous essays

    ReplyDelete
  3. thx ms audrey! the explanation is impressive! hope to learn and gain more knowledge from you.
    best regards,
    elaine :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. thanks a million,billion..i've been referring to your helpful blog since last year..the posts are user-friendly and interesting to read..thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Mrs Audrey, can i have ur email? Help me to proofread my email, pleasee.

    ReplyDelete
  6. i meant, my essay. typo!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Madam, I always no enough time for the reading answer paper, I always will see the clock and feel run with time, it make me very nervous and answer the question as fast as possible, at the end answer wrong a lot of question, I have make this mistake for every time MUET exam, how can I solve this problem? Besides, I also always very confuse for the writing paper, section 1 report writing, I think I still dun understand the format.

    ReplyDelete
  8. hi, can i have reading paper answer for march paper?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well, as the answerer aloft me explained, there is four item of this trial. In my diagnosis, as you took O-Degree, you should be strong to write my research paper and succeed in both listening moreover lesson wholly readily.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Madam , can I write 2 advantages and 1 suggestions ? Or which is better and advisable ?

    ReplyDelete
  11. hi mrs audrey, your blog helps me a lot in muet exam. thanks for examples and tips!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Madam,
    First n foremost, I'ld like to congratulate u 4 ur sheer hardwork an determination 2 make this blog really helpful to all...especially 4 students n teachers alike.
    Secondly, ur blogs really help me n inspired me a lot..U r such a great teacher!..
    Thirdly, hopefuli god will bless u 4 ur good deed..keep it up n don't stop!
    Thnx u so much..

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Mdm Audrey;
    Just started teaching MUET. Ur blog is so helpful. Thanks so much

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such great examples .....

    ReplyDelete
  15. Salam sejahtera rakan2 semua...

    Ada berita baik buat anda yang baru nak ambil peperiksaan MUET, yang GAGAL dan nak ambil semula, yang TAK PERNAH LULUS serta yang nak memperbaiki band yang diperoleh dalam peperiksaan MUET yang lalu. Rakan saya Saudara Shamsul Ariffin telah menerbitkan sebuah panduan khas untuk anda lulus cemerlang dalam peperiksaan MUET...

    Jika anda berminat untuk mendapatkan panduan tersebut SiLa KLik Sini

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just want to give it a try.

    "The most important thing in life is health." Do you agree with the statement? Justify your stand, giving relevant examples where appropriate. You should write at least 350 words.

    Intro style based on
    b. Questions (Rhetorical questions related to the issue)


    How can someone works if he/she got headache? Can we continue our life routines such as going to work or go for a jogging in the park if we got cold? Maybe we can but the consequences of it may worsen the pain and lead to another health problems. Staying healthy is the key to start a good day and enjoy the rest of the day. With good health, we can stimulates idea from our brain and try to figure out how to make it work. Therefore, I am strongly believe with this topic that the most important thing in life is health. In this topic, i would like to discuss what health can do for us both physically and mentally in our daily life.

    ReplyDelete
  17. hello Mrs Audrey. just want to ask permission to you. i would like to print out these MUET tips. is it can?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi madam, i have tried it out and this is my version of introduction :

    Nowadays, people tend to be more and more materialistic. Many people think that money is the most important thing in life but is it true? Imagine a millionaire who has a serious health problem, is he or she going to have a good life? The answer is definitely no. Therefore, in my opinion, i strongly think that health is the most important thing in life.

    I will be glad if anyone could give me some advises or comments on my answer, thank you in advance ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Presently, society tend to be more and more materialistic. Lots of us opine(think) that wealth is the most significant thing in life. Is it true? Imagine a millionaire who is facint a severe health problem, will he or she have a good life? The answer is definitely no. Therefore, in my opinion, i strongly agree that health is the most important thing in life.

      If i was you. I would write it like this. Maybe you could avoid using "people" frequently and change it to other word such as crowd, society, youths, generation. Overall, i think you have written a very good intro. Happy writing and wish you and me all the best in our muet exam tomorrow!

      Delete
    2. i like your blog very much miss audrey ..^^

      Delete
  19. Excellent tips. Really useful stuff .Never had an idea about this, will look for more of such informative posts from your side.. Good job...Keep it up
    essay writing

    ReplyDelete
  20. Nowadays,people are getting aware about their health.there are a big improvement in health concern developed in our society when various supplements trending out there even in social media. However,it is useless if people keep practising their old habits of eating unhealthy foods anf lack of exercise as these self maintainence without taking supplements have a lot of benefits and could give a big impact to a person health. In my opinion, I strongly agree that the most important thing in life is to have a healthy body and mind. In this essay, I would like to discuss the strategies to maintain a healthy body,namely exercising, dieting,maintain good hygene and healthy relationship.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Facebook announced Facebook Followers last year which really helped individuals to follow random persons via Facebook.
    buy followers

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi rakan semua,
    Anda perlu skor Band tertinggi dalam exam MUET, tapi tak tahu caranya. Berita gembira buat anda. Saya terbaca satu website yang boleh membantu menyelesaikan masalah exam MUET yang anda hadapi sekarang. Inn syaa, ia dapat membantu anda.

    Jika berminat untuk mengetahuinya, boleh layari www.rahsialulusmuet.com

    ReplyDelete