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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Suggested Nov 2015 Academic Essay Writing Approaches

Hello 2016! 
Thank you for my millions of hits, now fast approaching 3 million. Perhaps it will get there this year. Tq again, one and all.
Apparently in the last MUET exam there were 16 Band 6 achievers. Wonderful. It means that the quality of writing has improved and/or the quality of critical thinking has boomed. Either way, it is good news. Congrats to the high achievers.

Back to business. Take a look at the academic essay question last year.

MUET Nov 2015 
Writing 800/4 

Question 2
There is a strong link between reading and academic success. Discuss. You should write at least 350 words. [60 marks]

Upon reading this question, you would first have to determine which is Part A & Part B (read my previous notes on this here). In my humble opinion, Part A is ‘reading’ and you have to prove that there is a strong link between this and Part B which is ‘academic success’.

My personal take on this question:
It looks like a clear-cut argument but besides your command of grammar and vocabulary, your treatment of the issue will determine if you may get a high band or not especially for task fulfilment. Personally, I feel many would immediately jump to agree wholeheartedly with the issue given because how else can you achieve academic success if you did not read and study something, right? However, if you want to score that few marks more than others, you will need to train your brain to delve deeper and argue from the neutral or opposition side. Hence, a neutral treatment of the question would better answer the question because the key term is ‘Discuss’ which means you should discuss both sides of the coin. If you prefer to rock the boat, go for the opposition camp and discuss how in your opinion, reading is a not a strong link, in fact, it is a weak link for academic success. To be a writer with critical thinking, you have to tune your brain like a debater’s. As a seasoned debater, you should know that you should avoid discussing other factors that lead to academic success. Rather, you have to debunk how ‘reading’ is NOT a strong link by providing reasons why reading alone is ineffective.

Below are the three thesis statements for you to ponder. Take note that I have followed my 6 paragraph format as it is definitely better than the previous 5 paragraph format I championed in my earlier days as a MUET teacher.  These answers are not directly affiliated to MPM’s answers in any way as I do not have access to any of their marking schemes. I’m just answering the question as best as I deem possible and there will always be better writers than me. After all that is said and done, my hope is to hone your thinking skills because the main challenge is not to teach you how to write, but to train you to think. Grey matter matters. Polish it.


Ok, here goes.

A) Agree
Thesis Statement: 
Academic success is based on knowledge and reading provides direct access to knowledge, a variety of knowledge and transfer of knowledge.
Argument 1
Topic Sentence 1: 
First and foremost, reading provides direct access to knowledge as it is the most convenient and the fastest way to learn something because doing hands-on experiments for every single theory is too time-consuming.
Argument 2
Topic Sentence 2: 
Secondly, reading has a strong link to academic success because through reading we will be exposed to a huge variety of knowledge, theories and information from various different sources all around the world. 
Argument 3
Topic Sentence 3: 
Last but not least, reading leads directly to academic success because information from all sources is transferred directly to the mind which can then be used to answer examination questions well with excellent results and performance. 
Counter Argument:
Topic Sentence 4: 
However, reading alone cannot guarantee success as academic success also has strong links with a person’s IQ level, hands-on practical training and experimentation as well as intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors to name just a few.  
Conclusion/Recommendation: 
Education ministry should focus more on teaching reading skills in SPM level similar to the MUET format where reading paper is given 40% weighting compared to writing (30%), listening and speaking (15% each) 


B)Neutral: 
Thesis Statement: 
Academic success depends on not just one but a combination of factors which include reading and other factors such as IQ level and hands-on practical. 
Argument 1
Topic sentence 1: 
Firstly, reading provides the fastest and most direct access to information from various sources which saves time because hands-on experimentation is too time consuming. 
Argument 2
Topic Sentence 2:
In addition, reading leads directly to academic success because information from all sources is transferred directly to the mind which can then be used to answer examination questions well with excellent results and performance. 
Counter Argument 1: 
Topic Sentence 3: 
On the contrary, a person’s intrinsic character is a stronger link to academic success as our own IQ, abilities and interests as well as motivation will contribute heavily to our academic success. 
Counter Argument 2: 
Topic Sentence 4:
Furthermore, reading is quite a weak link because it only provides theories whereas hands-on practical experiences will increase understanding and performance as a person’s ability to recall or apply the information just by reading cannot be guaranteed. 
Conclusion/Recommendation:
Academic success is a synergy of factors involving the student himself, his IQ and his ability to master not just reading but writing, listening, speaking and all other softskills that when combined, determines his academic success. 


C) 
Disagree
Thesis Statement:
Academic success is determined not mainly by reading, in fact, it is a weak link because reading refers to only the theories, reading does not determine ability to recall theories and the ability to apply the theories you have read to real life cannot be guaranteed.  
Argument 1
Topic Sentence 1: 
First and foremost, reading is a weak link because it is a two dimensional activity where a person reads the words but may not be able to fully understand what is being read because this is determined by a person’s IQ level. 
Argument 2 
Topic Sentence 2:
Secondly, reading does not mean a person will be able to remember all the information and theories read as again, this depends on a person’s own mental ability. 
Argument 3
Topic Sentence 3: 
Lastly, the act of reading alone is not a guarantee of a person being able to apply the information successfully in real life similar to the fact that reading a flying manual does not make one qualified to fly a plane. 
Counter Argument: 
Topic Sentence 4: 
Conversely, there is still a strong link between reading and academic success as reading is necessary to access to information from all sources in the most cost effective, time-saving and convenient way. 
Conclusion/Recommendation
Reading is an important core of achieving academic success but the ability to read well is determined by each individual’s inner character and their IQ as well as how they handle stressful conditions like examinations in order to achieve excellence in academia. 


So what do you think of these three takes on one question? If you would like to, do send me a copy of your essay to queendrey@gmail.com and I will, with your permission, blog it with editing and a commentary. Happy writing!!! 

13 comments:

  1. Hello, I'm a TESL student currently studying in a local uni for a foundation prog. I was quite unfortunate to get a Band 3 for my recent MUET results, so I'd like to ask you if I can re-take my MUET test and would I be able to use the results for my degree application?

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  2. Hi there teacher if we agree the statement but still we be able to write disagreement in our essay?

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  3. DID YOU HAVE ANY TOPIC FOR MUET SPEAKING ON MARCH???

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  4. Can I get any hot topic for muet march 2016

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    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Did you have any spotted essay questions for the session of march 2016?

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  8. Academic genres meet different intellectual and communicative purposes and correspond to different levels of academic practices. The thesis, for example, is a letter that is produced as a result of a task very specialized research, usually consuming several years of work and crown the culmination of higher education with the highest degree awarded by the university: the doctorate. The production of a monograph, however, is an exercise which aims to introduce students to the research task, which requires training in the search, collection, evaluation, selection and organization of relevant bibliographic material and strengthening writing skills own academic discourse.

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  10. Teacher, the counter argument is really be accepted by MPM? I scare mark will be deducted

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