Sunday, February 5, 2017

4 Sample MUET Outlines for A Model Academic Essay Question

Well it is now February and one month away from the March exam. I have been getting many enquiries about how to approach academic essays. The most straightforward way is to agree 100% in 5 paragraphs (intro, 3 arguments and conclusion) but that will possibly just give you passing band. To show your flair for the language and critical thinking skills, may I suggest you follow one of the 4 sample outlines I have written out for the same single question on banning smoking. Note that in MUET, the question itself will usually have 2 parts to it so you must be smart in linking the two ideas (A &B) together in order to not veer off topic and stay within the required parametres. Anyway, have a read and leave a comment about which style you prefer.

MUETmyway Cloned Question:
Smoking should be banned (A) as it is a hazard to mankind (B). Do you agree with this statement? Give relevant examples. You should write at least 350 words.

(5 + 1 paragraphs)
100     or    75:25
1) Thesis Statement:
Smoking should be banned because it is a serious hazard to mankind in terms of health, waste of money and causes pollution.
2) Agree 1:
Firstly, smoking should be banned because it is a serious hazard to our health.
3) Agree 2:
Secondly, smoking should indeed be banned as it is a blatant waste of money.
4) Agree 3:
Last but not least, it is a hazard to mankind because it creates continuous pollution which is bad for our environment.
5 (OPTIONAL) Counter-Argument:
However, there are some benefits including a good source of income and the tax collected can be used to improve the infrastructure in our country. Nevertheless, smoking has more disadvantages and should be banned.
6) Recommendation:
The government should streamline immediate and effective action to ban smoking throughout the country by banning import and sales of cigarettes and increasing the fines and jail sentences for tobacco smuggling and distribution.

(5 + 1 paragraphs)
100     or     75:25
1) Thesis Statement:
Smoking should not be banned because there are many benefits for our country in terms of increasing profits, stimulating the economy and tax collected can improve infrastructure for everyone.
2) Disagree 1:
First and foremost, smoking should not be banned as it increases the profit for the shop owners who sell it to the public.
3) Disagree 2:
The second reason it should not be banned is because the collective sales of cigarettes can stimulate our economy due to its high demand.
4) Disagree 3:
Lastly, banning smoking is not a good idea because the tax collected can be used to improve and upgrade infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals.
5 (OPTIONAL) Counter-Argument:
On the contrary, there are some advantages of banning smoking as it does have some hazardous effects to smokers’ health and the environment. Nevertheless, we should not deny a person’s choice to smoke or not especially since it can still bring some benefits to our country.
6) Recommendation:
The government should draw up an effective strategy to maximise tax collection of tobacco products in order to boost the economy and use the funds to provide better quality basic facilities for everyone’s mutual benefit.

Partially Agree 
(6 paragraphs)
1) Thesis Statement: 
There are both advantages and disadvantages of banning smoking as it is a hazard to mankind. 
2) Agree 1: 
For starters, smoking should be banned because it is a serious hazard to our health.
3) Disagree 1: 
In contrast, there are many people who have smoked and lived until old age, proving that smoking is not necessarily a health hazard as there may be other factors.
4) Agree 2: 
Another advantage of banning smoking is it can stop people from wasting money whereby the money can be better used for food, transportation, daily necessities or as savings.
5) Disagree 2: 
On the other hand, although they can be said to be wasting money on an individual level but the money is contributed back into society and tax collection increases as well which is used to improve and upgrade infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals. 
6) Recommendation:
The government should implement a comprehensive action plan to reduce smoking in our country by increasing the price and taxes of cigarettes and organising anti-smoking talks and exhibitions in schools and hospitals. 

Agree to a Certain Extent 
(5 paragraphs)
1) Thesis Statement: 
There are always two sides to a coin so we should look into the pros and cons should smoking be banned due to its hazardous nature towards mankind. 
2) Agree 1 vs Disagree 1:
At the forefront, it is clear that smoking is a health hazard to mankind even though there are cases where it is not a hazard and smokers have been known to live healthily well into their old age. 
3) Agree 2 vs Disagree 2: 
Another significant reason it should be banned is because it is a waste of a person’s money. Conversely, if you look at the bigger picture, it is not a waste of money but it in fact stimulates the economy and increases profit due to high sales. 
4) Agree 3 vs Disagree 3: 
Ultimately, smoking is an individual’s choice and he or she should be given the right to choose to smoke or not without the government interfering. On the contrary, the government should take action in banning it if it affects the health and quality of living of society as second hand smoke is dangerous to babies and pregnant mothers and smoking causes unnecessary pollution.  
6) Recommendation: 
The government through the Ministry of Health should  spearhead an effective blueprint to ban smoking in public places by fining smokers if they smoke in restaurants or shopping malls and conducting more  anti-smoking campaign to increase awareness. 

So which do you prefer and why? Could you do 4 outlines for a single question like I just did? It would sharpen your critical thinking skills if you are able to see both sides of the coin. Cheers and happy studying!