Tuesday, October 1, 2019

New MUET 2021 Speaking Paper 25% Personal Commentary

(DISCLAIMER: I do not represent MPM, all opinions are my personal commentary and are not influenced by any person specifically, I have included documents from MPM's official new test specs and official sample questions available from their own website (links given below) and have taken screenshots/pics and uploaded here because most teachers from rural areas have approached me and told me that they find it hard to download or access info online due to various existing issues including lack of accessibility to highspeed data. All my thoughts and notes here are meant to help both teachers and students so they may face the MUET examination  both current and future to their best potential. Kindly save me a good word, or none at all if you have nothing sweet to offer. Have a pleasant day!)

Updates for Speaking:
Overall, they have kept mostly to the current one with some improvement in the 2nd part as the scope is wider and reduces incidences of repetitious content carried over from Task A.

In general:
Task A & Task B have been replaced with Part 1 & Part 2.
Not many changes but it will help students do better in Part 2 as it has a longer presentation time (between 8 to 12 minutes) and the two parts are thematically linked but allows for new ideas and interpretations.

Also another main difference is the Examiners' Guidebook which has the script for the rubrics so it is more standardised.

FYI: Documents can be downloaded here.

The New Test Specs :

The Sample Questions:

1. Subject/Topic Knowledge - context based info
2. Background/Cultural Knowledge - draw on their knowledge or understanding of real world settings. (Familiar to abstract - not just what and who but how and why)
3. Linguistic Knowledge - language based

Here is an excerpt from MPM's handbook:
The primary purpose of the MUET Speaking test is to assess the ability of test takers to give an
oral presentation of ideas individually, and to interact in small groups in both more formal and
less formal academic contexts.
Subject/topic knowledge: The test progresses from familiar topics within the test takers’ personal
experience to more abstract topics in a range of fields and interest areas that may be encountered
in late secondary/early tertiary education contexts. Possible areas include but are not limited to
people and culture, financial awareness and consumerism, science and technology, health and
environment, and education. In the case of the more abstract topics, the test is limited to covering
familiar and unfamiliar topics in different academic areas that a non-specialist would be able to
talk about.
Background/cultural knowledge: The test tasks are intended to be accessible to test takers, so that
they will be able to draw on their knowledge or understanding of real world settings to respond to
Linguistic knowledge:
This refers to language as a system which includes the following:
• Accuracy: Using grammatically correct language; using correct pronunciation, stress and
• Range: Using varied sentence structures
• Fluency: Speaking with confidence and without unnecessary/undue hesitation
It also includes the pragmatic and sociolinguistic aspects of language use. The former refers to the
functional use of language and knowledge of discourse, cohesion and coherence, and text types.
The latter is concerned with the knowledge of sociocultural rules of language use which includes
using language appropriate for the intended purpose and audience, using varied vocabulary and
expressions, and observing conventions appropriate to a specific situation.

Part 1 has not deviated much from the current format. 
Part 2 is less rigid, has more options and allows students to have at least 5 ideas in a slightly different situation so that there is no repetition of ideas from Part 1. 

MPM's Sample Questions: 
Part 1

Part 2:

You can view MPM's sample Speaking video here

In essence, I do like the new and improved version of the MUET Speaking test. Hopefully it will help all students up their game and present teachers with many opportunities to polish their speaking skills.