Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 2014 Writing 800/4 Essay Question

Question 2: 
The trend today among youths is to own the latest technological gadgets such as mobile phones and other devices. Is this a healthy development among young people? Give your opinion. You should write at least 350 words.

This question looks easy, right? Just write about the pros and cons of the latest technological gadgets.
After all, most of us can't live without handphones and tablets and what not.


It just LOOKS deceptively easy.
I am quite certain that MPM WILL MARK DOWN
if the candidate merely states the benefits and drawbacks of owning the latest gadgets because
which it or is it not a HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT?

Basically, to get a high band, you must specifically answer the question whether you think it is a healthy development among young people or not. It is myopic and short sighted to simply discuss the negative and positive aspects without relating it to your opinion on the key issue. It is also a narrow minded view to focus on the pros and cons to individuals without considering this development's effect to society and the nation as a whole.

If you answered YES, it IS a healthy development, then your points would center around the fact that:-

* students would have information at their fingertips, access to internet and diverse research capabilities
* young people would be able to connect and communicate more efficiently across all platforms
* clerical work especially study or work related data processing can be done faster, neater and more effectively
* the purchase of technological devices would strengthen the country's commerce through the supply and demand of gadgets
all of which would lead to a strong economy and a more productive society hence it IS a 'healthy development' among youths.

If you answered NO, it is NOT a healthy development, then your points would center around the fact that:-

* owning the latest technological gadgets is a wasteful trend as their money could be better used for study purposes rather than buying the newest devices.
* these devices when not used with proper discipline may lead to various addictions such as social networking addiction and even computer game addiction.
* it would increase the gap between the rich and poor students and may even cause petty crime rates like theft of devices to increase

all of which lead to an 'unhealthy' development as it breeds a society that is wasteful and materialistic.

The trick is to play with the keywords. If you have been a debater before, then you can see the logic easily.
In my humble opinion, if you were to agree with the issue then focus on how the trend TO OWN the gadgets is a healthy development. Conversely, if you were to disagree, focus on how owning THE LATEST technological gadgets is an unhealthy development. In the writing world, focusing on keywords gives you ammunition to justify your stand and this is called the 'angle' or 'perspective' which will make or break an argument.

But how can you get a Band 6 answer?
Perfect grammar with minor slips, for sure, but there is also a need to demonstrate acute critical thinking skills and the ability to see both sides of the coin before making a sound recommendation.

Thus, a Band 6 answer would discuss the reasons why it is 'healthy' as well as 'unhealthy' BEFORE stating that it is 'the human factor/the user himself' that has the power to use or abuse the devices to their advantage or disadvantage.

So... those who just took the exam... DID YOU ANSWER THE QUESTION? 
The likely scenario is that you merely stated the advantages and/or disadvantages 
WITHOUT LINKING it to the 'healthy/unhealthy' issue. 

My only advice, better luck next time! 

Click here to see my student's great sample essay! 


  1. I got 62 out of 90 marks for writing :( and I just got band 3 bcoz of my reading :'(

  2. i cannot believe that i only get 40/120, but according to ms.Audrey's answer, i get 50/120. how can? i also can't accept the truth.

  3. hello ms.Audrey could u help me by updating a new topic that may asking during speaking test and writing. because i will taking my MUET next week.. very scare and lack of preparation because have some problem. i am really appreciate if u can help me miss. do contact me through my email for respond tq. or

  4. I could not resist commenting. Very well written!

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