Saturday, January 28, 2012


Hearing involves the accurate reception of sounds. To hear, you must focus your attention on the speaker, discriminate among sounds, and concentrate. Chapter 3 introduces the physiological aspects of hearing and the principles that govern attention. In addition to learning techniques that improve your concentration, you will also be introduced to the effects of listener apprehension and the importance of nonverbal attending behaviours.

The ability to understand what you hear, listening comprehension, improves with practice. A number of processes involved in comprehension are intrapersonal; that is, they take place inside your head. This section familiarizes you with the nature of human information processing and the concept of inner speech. You learn guidelines to help you improve your understanding of message as you develop strategies to build your vocabulary, ask appropriate questions, and take efficient notes.


There has been a great deal of research on memory. Remembering is essential if you intend to apply what you have heard in future situations. This chapter acquaints you with the three basic memory systems and the work that has been done in listening training and assessment with regard to the memory process. You will learn key techniques for retaining and recalling information as well as the obstacles that inhibit memory. Creative approaches to problem-solving are also addressed.

When you interpret message you do two things. First, you take into accounts the total communication context so that you are better able to understand the meaning of what is said from the speaker’s point of view. Your ability to empathize, or to see a situation from the other person’s perspective, requires that you pay attention to emotional meaning and to the communicate context. Second, effective listeners let their partners know that they have been understood. This chapter, then, introduces you to topics related to nonverbal communication such as facial expression, body posture, eye behaviour, silence, and vocal cues so that you can develop greater sensitive to these important dimensions of the communication context.

You listen from a unique point of view and are influenced by your perceptual filters- your past experiences, attitudes, personal values, and predispositions. It is therefore impossible not to evaluate, to some extent, everything you hear. Understanding the principles of logic and reasoning, and recognizing bias, stereotyping, propaganda, and other factors that may influence the conclusions you draw, is essential. Effective listeners, as you might suspect, deliberately reduce the influence of their own view- point until they have first understood the speaker’s ideas. Objectively, in this sense, is prerequisite to making wise evaluations. This unit sensitises you to language and propaganda, and provides guidelines for assessing speaker credibility.

Your partner makes judgements regarding the quality of your listening based largely on the nature of your response. As you will learn in Chapter 2, our approach to communication views each participant as both speaker and listener. The HURIER model incorporates your response as an integral part of the listening process. This approach suggests that effective listeners analyze the communication situation and purpose, and then choose an appropriate response from among alternatives. Once again, you can see the listening is prerequisite to formulating an appropriate response.



A survey was carried out on employers and job applicants of qualities expected at the workplace. The results of the survey are shown in the table below. Using only the information given, describe the results of the survey. You should write 150 to 200 words.


The table shows the ranking of qualities employers look for in job applicants and the ranking of qualities applicants believe employers look for. There is a mismatch in employers’ expectations and applicants’ perceptions of qualities required at the workplace.

Communication skills is the highest ranked quality that employers look for in applicants though applicants find it less important as they rated it number five. Respect for authority is ranked the lowest which is 10 by both employers and applicants. Applicants ranked qualification as the number 1 quality they believe employers look for but employers ranked it number 7. A quality ranked quite low by applicants is motivation, which is ranked number 9. Employers too find it less important as they ranked it number 8. Experience is considered important by applicants as they ranked it number 2. However it is not what employers want as they ranked it number 9. Besides that, team-work skills is a quality applicants do not believe employers want so much as they ranked it number 7 but it is a quality employers look for as they ranked it number 3.

In conclusion, employers and job applicants have different views on the qualities expected at the workplace.

(200 words)

( Material taken from Miss Teh Wei Li)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sample Essays For Muet Writing Component

We are becoming increasingly dependent on computer...
Should parents be obliged to immunise their childr...
Should parents be obliged to immunise their childr...
Disruptive school students have a negative influen...
Although abuse of the system are inevitable, socia...
Studying the English language in an English-speaki...
The world is experiencing a dramatic increase in p...
People in all modern societies use drugs, but toda...
We have been living in the nuelear age now for ove...
Some people think that it is important to use leis...
Question 66 Business should do anything they can t...
Question 65 Some movies are serious, designed to m...
Question 64 A conpany is going to give some money ...
Question 63 One should never judge a person by ext...
Question 62 person should never make an important ...
Question 61 most important aspect of a job is the ...
Question 60 What change would make your hometown ...
Question 59 success in life comes from taking risk...
Question 58 Some people like to do only what they ...
Question 57 Face-to-face communication is better t...
Question 56 People work because they need money to...
Question 55 work for a large company or small
Question 54 important qualities of a good son or d...
Question 53 travel with a companion or alone
Question 52 get up early in the morning and start ...
Question 51 Parents or other adult relatives shoul...
Question 50 Which is more important for success: t...
Question 49 people are attracted to dangerous spor...
Question 48 Self-cofidence is the most important f...
Question 47 Rosolving problems between individual...
Question 46 What is a very important skill a perso...
Question 45 human needs for farmland, housing, and...
Question 44 Awards and prizes are given for excel...
Question 43 Games are as important for adults as t...
Question 42 help of technology, students nowadays ...
Question 41 Never, never give up
Question 40 Learning about the past has no value f...
Question 39 progress is alway good
Question 38 transportation vehicles and explain wh...
Question 37 Countries, businesses, and schools ar...
Question 36 Buisinesses should hire employees for ...
Question 35 most important for you to consider in ...
Question 34 The money is enough to buy either a pi...
Question 33 enjoy your money when you earn it or ...
Question 32 staying in one place or moving in sear...
Question 31 new high school may be built in your c...
Question 30 Earth is being harmed (damaged) by hum...
Question 29 Television, newspaper, magagine, and ...
Question 28 People should sometimes do things that...
Question 27 new movie theater may be built in your...
Question 26 large shopping center may be built in ...
Question 25 like and dislike about living in your ...
Question 24 teenagers have jobs while they are sti...
Question 23 Sometimes it is better not to tell the...
Question 22 important characteristics of a co-work...
Question 21 people are living longer now
Question 20 It is better for children to grow up i...
▼ August (19)
Question 19 IELTS Should government spend more mon...
Question 18 IELTS What are some important qualitie...
Question 17 IELTS Learn better by themselves than ...
Question 16 IELTS New restaurant may be built in y...
Question 15 IELTS Qualities of a good neighbors
Question 14 IELTS University students should be re...
Question 13 IELTS Prefer to eat at food stands or ...
Question 12: Many people visit museums when they t...
Question 11: Universities should give the same amo...
Question 10: When people succeed, it is because of...
Question 9: Which place would you prefer to live i...
Question 8: Television has destroyed communication...
Question 7: How do movies and television influence...
Question 6 If you could change one important thin...
Question 5 : Large factory near your comunity........
Question 4: Not everything that is learned is cont...
Question 3 Food has become easier to prepare....
Question 2: Parents are the best teachers......
Question 1: People attend college of university fo...

What is a very important skill a person should learn in order to be successful in the world today

It is difficult to succeed in the world. In many fields, people have already developed technologies and management. To win the competition, new comers should have a extremely good idea. Considering this fact, I suggest that people learn how to manage casinos. In some regions in the world, casinos are already popular. There is a possibility that they might be more popular in the future. There are a couple of reasons described in the following sentences.

The primary reason is that the prohibition of casinos will be removed. In Japan, this action is already performed. Casino is prohibited now becuase Japanese law says a casino is one of the gambles. However, some politicians of prefectures try to open casinos. They think that casinos can bring money to prefectures. Pachinkoes and horse races are legal. To bet officially in soccer games is already admitted, too. They think admitting casinos is no problem. Once Japanese laws change to admit to run casinos, people who know casino management will be attractive. They can earn a lot of money from casinos.

One more reason is that casino managers can make connections to rich people through casinos. People who play a casino and bet a lot of money are rich. They use their extra money to the games. The connection to them is important to succeed. Casino managers have chances to know the customers. They build up connections to them, and they use the connections to the different fields. For example, when they broaden their business, these connections will be useful. Even if people have money, it is not enough. They need supporters to back up the business. Their customers can be the supporters.

To sum up, the skill to manage casinos is useful to succeed It is a new business in some places. Casino managers can get relationship with rich people. Therefore, casino management will be successful in the world today.

Awards and prizes are given for excellence in various fields. Do these awards and pizes serve a useful purpose?

Awards and prizes are useful to develop various fields. From the ancient time, people have given awards and prizes to excellences. If not, they would have stopped giving the awards already. In this essay, there are three reasons written for the benefits of awards.

Chiefly, people do their best to get awards and prizes. They can develop their utmost capacity. Shortly speaking, to get an award is the aim for the People. For example, many sport athletes try to win in anthe Olympic games. To get a gold medal is difficult as you know. In some countries, the gold medalists are heroes and heroines. The level of sports has become higher because of that. Another example is that scientists try to win Novel prize. Many scientists in the world want to win the prize. They struggle each other to develop the science. This prize is useful to enrich the level of science.

Next, awards and prizes attract people who do not have any relation to them. Usually, specialists decide the winners of awards. On the other hand, other people understand the excellence of the winners by looking at the awards. Grammy award is a good example. When people go to a theater, of course, they want to see a good movie. Suppose that the title says that this movie won a Grammy award last year. People will be attracted by the title. They will see the movie as a result.

Finally, unfamous people who are not famous can become famous in a short time. Some awards are extremely famous. If a person wins an excellent prize, he/she will be famous. Especially, the society of literary has such an inclination. They say that it is difficult to get a job for unfamous writers. However, it is a good chance for a talented writer to live in the field. To get stable work in the literary field, people try to win an award.

To sum up, awards and prizes are useful. People challenge to get awards, and people unknowing the fields understand the excellence of the winner. For talented people, to get an award is a good chance to get a job. Therefore, awards and prizes help to develop fields in our society.

Games are as important for adults as they are for children. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Adults play games as well as children do. Games are important even for adults because they give benefits to adults. We should notice that they are not for only children. There are three reasons for the statement.

First, adults use their brain by playing games. Many games need to use the brain to win. Especially, when two people play chess, one needs to win the opposite. Both struggle to win the game. They need to use their brain as much as possible to win. It makes their brains active. Their brains are still young by using their brain very much.

Second, adults can get fun with children when they play together. Many games are succeeded to generations. Adults teach games to their children. The way to teach is that both play games together. They can get fun by playing them. Children feel these games are amazing. If they feel so, they play the games in their lives, and they succeed them to the next generation.

Finally, adults can refresh without thinking their work. The aim of games is to get fun, but the aim sometimes changes when adults play a game. They bet money. They try to earn money by playing a game. However, that they try to refresh is the same. Even if they bet money, they will be pleased if they win. They do not want to lose money, and they feel happy when their money increases. Adults have pressure in their work. Nobody should not denounce if they are released from their work in a short time.

As mentioned above, games are important for adults. They use their brain, and games are succeeded to generations. Moreover, they can refresh by games. I recommend that adults play games in holidays.

With the help of technology, students nowadays can learn more information and learn it more quickly.Do you agree?

Students should learn very much by using technology. It helps them very much in the future. As you know, nobody can prevent their capacity from many objects. People should support them as much as possible. If technology is useful, People should promote it to their education. There are a couple of reasons for the statement.

To begin with, to use technology will help students to understand what they learn. Students can understand a difficult theory easily by using technology. For example, students use computers when they solve a mathematic problem. The computers show 3D pictures to teach how to solve the problem. These pictures help them to depict the shape in their brain. As a result, they can easily understand the problem.

Also, students can cut down their waste of time. Students should use their limited time effectively. They need understand what they learn as soon as possible. Or they will not be able to follow the class. However, technology can support the students. For example, they can use internet. They search internet when they want to know something. The search is quick, and they can know a lot of information. They can use the saved time to their activities.

Moreover, students can be familiar to technologies which they use. They are useful even after they graduate from school. Using the technologies is meaningful in their school life. As mentioned above, internet is inevitable for everybody in the world. People use it in their office, of course. The skill of programming is also helpful. Not all of the students use the skill, but nobody can deny the person having the skill. Some students will live on the skill.

Therefore, technology is welcome for students to learn something. It helps them to understand deeply what they learn. Students can save their time, and they can use the technology throughout their life. Rather, we should declare that students use technology more and more.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The most important aspect of a job is the money a person earns. Use specific reasons and detail

Money is important when we find a job; however, it is not the most. The thought means that the job getting more money is prior to other jobs having less money. I can not agree with the thought. I will write three reasons below why I disagree with the statement.

My primary reason is that the jobs a person is not interested in are boring for the person. People have their own interest. The best way to find a job is to visit companies you are interested in. For example, a person wants to work in a music company. However, he can work in another company by his connection. The company is not related to music, but he can earn more money. In this case, it is happy for him to work in the music company, because he wants to work there. We work everyday after we get in a company. We should select a company for the reason.

The next reason is that people get excited without getting so much money. When we succeed something, we are excited. We are also excited when we accomplish something. Money does not help us excited. Generally, people will work hard if they are excited. For example, anthropology does not produce so much money. The anthropologists work hard with a few amount of money. Whenever they get much money, they have to spend it to their study. The money they can use freely does not remain so much.

The final reason is that students study fields which do not produce much money. People go to universities, and they have many majors. Students select a field to graduate. The field relates to their future work as long as they do not change majors. If they want to get money after they graduate, they should select a field which will be successful to earn money. However, many students belong to majors which are not related to money. I trust that they know money is not the most important.

Considering above reasons, money is not the most important for a job. People should work what they are interested in. They also get excited without money. Moreover, students do not prepare for the future job for the aim of earning money. Other elements such as they love the job are also important as well as money.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

“Don’t make a mockery of MUET” Part 2

MUET measures language ability
WE refer to the letter “Don’t make a mockery of MUET” by Mr Henry Soon in StarEducate (Dec 18, 2011).

The Malaysian University English Test (MUET) is an English language proficiency test designed to measure the English language ability of students wishing to pursue first degree studies in local institutions of higher learning.

With MUET, English is taught in Form Six or pre-university level to equip students with the appropriate level of proficiency in English to enable them to perform effectively in their academic pursuits at tertiary level.

The Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC) fully agrees with Mr Soon’s opinion that decisions on educational matters should be in the best interests of students. MUET will be conducted three times a year as of this year in March, July and November.

The policy came into being after numerous requests from students who had intentions of sitting for the MUET and after an in-depth study of its implications.

At present, candidates who take the mid-year MUET face problems in their appeals for intake into institutions of higher learning.

The closing date for such appeals is in late June whilst the results for the mid-year exams are released in July. With MUET being offered thrice a year, candidates who take the MUET in March are able to obtain their results prior to the closing date for appeals.

At present too, MUET dates clash with the examination schedules, new student intake and semester holidays of various institutions of higher learning. Hence, providing an additional test will offer better alternatives to students from these institutions to select the MUET session that best suits their needs.

Offering MUET three times a year too, does allow more opportunities for candidates to improve their MUET score. They do not need to wait six months before taking the next MUET.

This benefits school candidates, private candidates, and also university students who require a stipulated minimum MUET band to qualify for entrance or graduate from university.

Private candidates who work in the private or public sector too have a better choice of MUET sessions as some take the paper for promotional purposes.

Contrary to Mr Soon’s claim, the decision to include an additional MUET session in our yearly schedule was never made for “financial gains”. The additional session in fact will put more demands on MEC’s operational, administrative and financial resources, but having the best interests of our clients in mind, we believe that the benefits to our clients and nation far outweigh the additional costs incurred.


In an era where institutions of higher learning are opening up opportunities for flexible entry and exit points for tertiary education, the additional MUET session will provide flexibility and enhance student mobility in line with national and international development.

On the issue of school candidates sitting for MUET in March, students not being keen to stay engaged in MUET lessons after taking the MUET early and MUET teachers being the butt of jokes and resentment due to the flexible MUET dates, this is a school administrative matter.

It is stipulated clearly in a circular to schools and also in the MUET Test Specifications (page 9) that “the MUET programme should involve 240 hours of teaching time spanning three school terms. Instruction should be carried out for eight periods a week at 40 minutes per period.”

If schools do not comply with this and students feel they are prepared to take the test earlier, it is beyond the jurisdiction of the MEC.

We are, however, confident that school administrators and MUET teachers will have the necessary expertise and creativity to manage the teaching-learning process in their schools. Instead of viewing the additional MUET session as a burden, we believe schools will make use of the flexibility offered for the benefit of their students.

With regards to the issue of students scoring Band Five, like Mr soon rightfully stated, they are students from “the better MUET classes.” With stringent marking and a standardised set of scoring criteria, only the proficient can attain Band Five. So far, and again contrary to Mr Soon’s claim of a “grade inflation”, national records show that only one percent out of 85,000 candidates have managed to obtain Band 5.

Students who apply to universities in the United Kingdom, United States or Singapore are required to sit for the IELTS, TOEFL or qualifying tests because that is the entrance requirement of such institutions.

Question One of the MUET writing paper has been changed from summary writing to report writing as this skill is more reflective of academic writing in universities, that is writing reports that incorporate the skills of analysing and synthesising ideas based on data given.

Candidates are not required to carry out any calculations. The example of a piece of writing given on “modern advertising” is not based on any previous MUET question or script.


On the issue of teachers not having enough time to teach grammar and vocabulary and the MUET Test Specifications not addressing the students’ poor grasp of grammar and vocabulary, please refer again to the recommended number of hours of teaching time as stated in the Test Specifications.

MUET teachers are selected to be examiners based on their qualifications in English or TESL. However, there are some MUET teachers who do not want to be examiners, hence to get a larger pool of examiners, MEC has to appoint teachers who teach Forms Four or Five.

MUET teachers have done well and are very committed in preparing their students for the MUET and examiners too have responsibly marked the scripts. Examiners for Speaking and Writing have to sit for a proficiency test and are given training on marking besides attending marking coordination meetings.

It should be pointed out that MUET is a criterion-referenced test, i.e. there is a set of established criteria or standard of performance for each band.

If a candidate has met the criteria set for a high band, there are no reservations in awarding the candidate the mark or band he or she deserves.

The issue of “grade inflation” (or ‘deflation’ in this case) does not arise in MUET – candidates get what they deserve according to a set of established criteria.

MUET fees have to be raised from RM60 to RM100 due to the rising costs of administering the test. MEC, in fact has been bearing the extra costs incurred which are not covered by the previous fee of RM60.

The council carried out a comprehensive study taking into consideration the views of students, teachers, lecturers, examiners, institutions of higher learning and state education departments before reviewing and implementing the MUET Specifications, administrative procedures and costing.

Finally, we would like to assure Mr Soon and the public that as an examination body, MEC has always strived for continual improvement.

We adhere to internationally established practices of assessment in ensuring the validity and reliability of the MUET which includes among others, training of examiners, close analysis of test performance, benchmarking with and correlational studies against international tests, and constant communications with our stakeholders, including feedback from students, teachers, examiners, universities and experts in the field.

Our close monitoring of the MUET shows that it is a reliable measure of candidates’ proficiency in English in relation to their readiness for tertiary education.


Via e-mail

Don’t make a mockery of MUET Part 1

Don’t make a mockery of MUET
Posted on December 19, 2011 by psbtpnsarawak
Sunday December 18, 2011

AS A newly-retired English language teacher who has taught MUET ( Malaysia University English Test) classes for more than a decade, I have always subscribed to the view that decisions taken about educational matters should always be guided by the best interests of the students and not sacrificed on the altar of financial gains.

Thus when I recently learnt that the test would be conducted three times next year — March, July and November — and the registration fee raised from RM60 to RM100, I am compelled to offer my views on many of the issues affecting the MUET classes.

To begin with, logic will dictate that many school candidates will now choose to sit for the test in March to secure a good Band score as fast as possible (which is what many Lower Six students are going to do ), failing which they can then choose to sit for the exam in July and November to secure higher scores and in the process, swell the coffers of the Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC).

And that is what administering the MUET three times a year will bring about — making a mockery of the whole purpose of introducing MUET in the first place.

So now, instead of the recommended 80 hours of MUET sessions, many schools will have to make do with less than 35 hours. Leaving aside the question on whether such a move is practical or wise the issue should be: What good will such a plan bring about when students are allowed to sit for their MUET exam so soon? Clearly, a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

Unhappy situation

As matters now stand, the students are being given the option to sit for the MUET in May instead of November creating an unhappy situation whereby after the test, MUET teachers have a hard time getting students to stay engaged in their MUET lessons. In previous years, to keep my English classes going after the MUET in May, I would teach my students Phonetics and Business Communication, among other things. However there were students who upon receiving their MUET results in July, were not keen to follow the MUET lessons, especially if they had secured Bands 5 and 4. This in effect meant that I only had to teach the group of students who registered to resit their MUET exam in November. With Lower Six students now allowed to sit for their MUET exam in March, students would be left to their own devices once the exams are over.

They would most likely use their MUET periods to revise their other STPM subjects.

And such unfortunate circumstances have conspired to make MUET teachers the butt of jokes and resentment in schools for allegedly getting paid for having such a “good” time in school, no thanks to the flexible MUET dates.

Having taught MUET classes for so many years, I must say the standards of marking and grading MUET papers have somewhat become inconsistent over the years.

In the early years of MUET, only two or three students would manage to secure a Band 5. Then, after some years, just like the grade inflation plaguing SPM subjects, almost half the students in the better MUET classes were able to secure Band 5. In fact, even average students were able to obtain a Band 4! And it is surprising to find that students who fared so poorly in their written English have still managed to secure a low Band 5 for the test.

The fact is that when students are able to work out most of the answers for the Reading Comprehension paper which carries 45% of the overall aggregate scores (under the old test specifications) and do moderately well in the speaking and listening components, which together carry 30% of the aggregate scores, it is still possible for them to secure a low Band 5 even if they barely pass the writing component which constitutes 25 % of the aggregate scores.

Thus, when MUET is not perceived as a reliable measure of the candidates’ English language proficiency, it has become largely optional, if considered at all, in applying for admission in local private colleges with “twinning” courses with their overseas counterparts which allocate little importance to it.

When students head to Singapore for their tertiary education, they are made to sit for the English Qualifying Test, even if they have secured a high Band 5 in MUET. This is not surprising as many applicants can’t even write a few sentences without grammatical errors!

It is a sad reflection of how the standard of English has deteriorated in schools these days.

Poor standards

Below is an example of an an opinion written by a student on whether modern advertising is a bad influence on today’s youth.

“… nowadays, when we swift on the televisyens, most of the time is for advertised the advertisement. When they watching the TV programme, the children are also watching together by them. ….Some of the business people are using a women body to advertised their product …”

Let me also point out that fine tuning the writing component by replacing Question 1, which was formerly a summary question with a question on the interpretation of data will not do any good as MUET teachers do no have the luxury of time to put their charges through an intensive course to polish up the latter’s grammar and vocabulary skills. To persist with the current writing paper is akin to putting the cart before the horse.

It would also be wise if the MEC takes note that since Question 1 in the writing component now involves statistics, some calculations and analysis of data, maintaining the 1½ hours for the paper is hardly sufficient.

Candidates will face severe time constraints in tackling the writing paper and only with constant practice can they hope to do well in the paper. Upper Six students will be hard-pressed to do well if they are allowed to take their MUET exams so early in March. The selection of examiners for MUET’s speaking component is another issue that needs to be urgently addressed. It is puzzling why so many competent MUET teachers are sidelined when it comes to appointing examiners for this component while those not at all involved in teaching MUET classes are selected.

Let me cite an example of a team leader who was not a MUET teacher overruling his junior co-examiner who was a MUET teacher, by assessing a candidate who spoke excellent English and performed impressively for both the individual presentation and group discussion task a Band 4, when it was obvious that the candidate was clearly of Band 5 or Band 6 calibre. The rationale? The team leader, dogmatically claimed that they should avoid giving candidates a high band score for speaking as far as possible, as instructed by their superiors!

This undesirable state of affairs is played out in some STPM subjects as well. It brings to mind what a Maths teacher involved in marking STPM exam scripts said about one of his co-markers who was a Chemistry graduate, and not a bona fide Maths teacher.

The latter had refused to accept a candidate’s Maths answer because the candidate had used another approach. The examiner, who was apparently more at home with Chemistry, chose to blindly follow what was in the marking scheme and penalised the poor student for securing the answer using a formula that differed from the one in the marking scheme!

Such instances are reasons why it is crucial to ensure that only competent and experienced examiners who are teaching the respective subjects be given the task of marking public exam papers which determine the academic future and career prospects of the candidates.

Anything short of that will not only affect the credibility of the marked papers, but also victimise some candidates through no fault of their own.

The rationale given for the introduction of MUET in 1999 was that undergraduates in local universities were wasting their time learning basic grammar, and therefore MUET was introduced to address the low English proficiency of students before pursuing higher education.

If that is the case, the present MUET general test specifications and MUET format do not address the poor grammar and vocabulary skills of many of the candidates. And things won’t get better with the early registration for the test when candidates simply do not have sufficient and sustained MUET lessons to improve their low language proficiency in English.

Grammar skills

There is a dire need to test grammar to ensure candidates take pains to improve their grammar and vocabulary skills and be aware of the common failings displayed in their written English. Grammar is an integral part of effective academic writing.

Thus, developing a better understanding of how individual words and groups of words work to form coherent sentences and paragraphs to construct academic texts will be useful. With knowledge born out of hard classroom experience, it is my contention that instead of the MUET general test specifications and exam, Form Six students are better off if they are given a well-crafted English course conducted by committed teachers to prepare them for entry to tertiary education. They can then be made to sit for a rigorous common English entrance examination for admission into public universities.

It is about time the MEC carried out a survey to find out if the present coursework and MUET serves to achieve the original aims. The council should not be too concerned with raising fees to swell its coffers. The MUET exam must surely be a means towards an end and, not an end by itself.


Via e-mail

The Complete MUET Syllabus

1 Listening
Candidates are assessed on their ability to comprehend various types of oral texts of varying length and level of complexity (content and language).
Assessment will cover the following:
(i) knowledge
* recalling information
* recognising main ideas
* recognising supporting details

(ii) comprehension
* deriving meaning of words, phrases, sentences
from context
* paraphrasing

(iii) application
* predicting outcomes
* applying a concept to a new situation

(iv) analysis
* understanding language functions
* distinguishing the relevant from the irrelevant
* distinguishing fact from opinion
* drawing inferences
* identifying roles and relationships

(v) synthesis
* following the development of a point or
an argument
* summarising information

(vi) evaluation
* appraising information
* making judgments
* drawing conclusions
* recognising and interpreting speakers’ views,
attitudes or intentions

Possible genres:
Lecture, briefing, talk, discussion, interview, telephone conversation, announcement, instructions, advertisement, news, meeting, documentary

2 The Speaking Syllabus - The Test Specifications

Candidates are assessed on their ability to make individual presentations and to take part in group discussions on a wide range of contemporary issues.
Assessment will cover the following:

(i) accuracy
* using grammatically correct language
* using correct pronunciation, stress and intonation

(ii) fluency
* speaking with confidence and fluency

(iii) appropriacy
* using language appropriate for the intended purpose and
* using varied vocabulary and expressions
* using varied sentence structures
* observing conventions appropriate to a specific

(iv) coherence and cohesion
* developing and organising ideas
* using appropriate markers and linking devices
* using anaphora appropriately together with other cohesive devices

(v) use of language functions
* defining, describing, explaining
* comparing and contrasting
* classifying
* giving reasons
* giving opinions
* expressing relationships
* making suggestions and recommendations
* expressing agreement and disagreement
* seeking clarification
* asking for and giving information
* persuading
* drawing conclusions
* stating and justifying points of view
* presenting an argument

(vi) managing a discussion
* initiating
* turn-taking
* interrupting
* prompting
* negotiating
* closing

(vii) task fulfilment
* presenting relevant ideas
* providing adequate content
* showing a mature treatment of topic

Possible issues:
Socio-cultural, economic, science and technology, sports, environment, education, health


Reading Test Specifications are as the following:

Candidates are assessed on their ability to comprehend various types of text of varying length and level of complexity (content and language).

Assessment will cover the following:

(i) comprehension
* skimming and scanning
* extracting specific information
* identifying main ideas
* identifying supporting details
* deriving the meaning of words,
phrases, sentences, from the
* understanding linear and
non-linear texts
* understanding relationships
* within a sentence
* between sentences
* recognising a paraphrase

(ii) application
* predicting outcomes
* applying a concept to a
new situation

(iii) analysis
* understanding language functions
* interpreting linear and non-linear
* distinguishing the relevant from
the irrelevant
* distinguishing fact from opinion
* making inferences

(iv) synthesis
* relating ideas and concept
* within a paragraph
* between paragraphs
* following the development of a
point or an argument
* summarising information

(v) evaluation
* appraising information
* making judgements
* drawing conclusions
* recognising and interpreting
writers’ views, attitudes or

Possible genres:
Articles from journals, newspapers and magazines, academic texts, electronic texts.

Specifications For Writing, The Test Components:

Candidates are assessed on their ability to write various types of text covering a range of rhetorical styles.
Assessment will cover the following:

(i) accuracy
* using correct spelling and mechanics
* using correct grammar
* using correct sentence structures

(ii) appropriacy
* using varied vocabulary and expressions
* using clear varied sentences
* using language appropriate for the intended
purpose and audience
* observing conventions appropriate to a
specific situation or text type

(iii) coherence and cohesion
* developing and organising ideas
* using appropriate markers and linking
* using anaphora appropriately together with
other cohesive devices

(iv) use of language functions
* defining, describing, explaining
* comparing and contrasting
* classifying
* giving reasons
* giving opinions
* expressing relationships
* making suggestions and recommendations
* expressing agreement and disagreement
* persuading
* interpreting information from non-linear
* drawing conclusions
* stating and justifying points of view
* presenting an argument

(v) task fulfillment
* presenting relevant ideas
* providing adequate content
* showing a mature treatment of topic

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Sekali lagi saya sangat berminat untuk membicarakan isu tingkatan enam dalam ruang ini. Pada kesempatan ini saya cuba mengenal pasti punca mengapa 2/3 daripada sejumlah 280 orang pelajar yang ditawarkan ke tingkatan enam tidak mendaftarakan diri di sekolah saya Manakala sebilangan pelajar yang telah mendaftar sedang mengintai-intai peluang untuk keluar daripada tingkatan enam.

Aliran keluar dan masuk yang aktif.

Di sekolah-sekolah Pusat Pengajian Tingkatan Enam (PPTE) pada ketika ini masih lagi "sibuk". Para pelajar enam rendah masih belum lagi settled. Aliran traffic keluar masuk masih lagi berlaku walaupun pengajaran dan pembelajaran (p&p) telah bermula. Hal tersebut berlaku disebabkan masih ada beberapa lagi peluang yang mereka sedang rebut sebelum terlewat.

Pertama, ke matrikulasi IPTA. Selepas gagal ke matrikulasi KPM, para pelajar masih lagi berpeluang untuk ke matrikulasi serta pusat asasi yang dikendalikan oleh IPTA. Namun, lazimnya bilangan yang terlibat tidak begitu ramai kerana biasanya para pelajar ini mempunyai keputusan yang cemerlang dalam SPM tetapi enggan ke matrikulasi KPM.

Kedua, perpindahan keluar dan masuk sekolah. Ada sebilangan pelajar yang ditawarkan ke PPTE yang tidak bersesuaian dengan kedudukan tempat tinggal mereka. Sebagai contoh, sewaktu di tingkatan 5, para pelajar belajar di sekolah yang tiada tingkatan 6. Oleh itu, apabila tawaran sampai mereka ditempatkan di sekolah lain yang lebih jauh serta berkemungkinan tiada kemudahan asrama. Dalam kes ini para pelajar terpaksa mencari PPTE yang ada asrama atau memilih belajar di sekolah yang berhampiran dengan rumahnya walaupun ada kalanya terpaksa "berhijrah" ke negeri lain.

Ketiga, bertukar bidang. Kes ini lazimnya melibatkan para pelajar aliran sains. Mereka ditawarkan ke aliran sains memandangkan keputusan mereka yang agak baik serta layak untuk ditawarkan ke aliran sains. Walau bagaimanapun sejarah lampau barangkali banyak menghantui mereka. Bukan mudah berada di tingkatan 6 aliran sains. Jika diimbas kembali pengwujudan pusat matrikulasi serta asasi sains, fenomena ini ada asasnya. Justeru, ramai daripada kalangan mereka akan bertukar ke bidang kemanusiaan. Jika mereka ditawarkan ke sekolah (yang ada aliran sains) yang terletak jauh dari rumah, walhal ada sekolah PPTE yang terletak berhampiran dengan kediaman mereka tetapi tiada aliran sains, kebanyakan kes mereka akan memohon pula bertukar sekolah pula.

Keempat bertukar kerana reputasi sekolah. Dalam konteks semasa,t iada halangan kepada para pelajar untuk bersekolah di mana-mana. Walaupun pihak JPN menetapkan sekolah-sekolah tertentu untuk menerima para pelajar tersebut, tetapi selepas pendaftaran para pelajar boleh memohon tukar ke sekolah-sekolah lain yang dilihat lebih hebat. Kadang-kadang ia melampaui daerah dan negeri. Asalkan perkara-perkara asas seperti tempat penginapan tiada masalah, maka perkara-perkara lain turut tiada masalah.

Kelima, tawaran UPU. Menjelang hujung Jun dan awal Julai, fenomena gelombang kedua keluar masuk ini akan berlaku secara lebih besar. Pada ketika itu UPU akan menawarkan program diploma dan pra diploma kepada para pelajar yang layak. Sekitar 90% pelajar yang ditawarkan ke program tersebut akan menerima tawaran. Begitu juga ada yang ditawarkan ke program yang sama di IPTS. Kalau dilihat trend beberapa tahun lepas, para pelajar yang kekal bertahan di tingkatan enam sekitar 70% daripada jumlah pelajar tingkatan enam rendah yang ada.

Keenam, pengambilan kedua IPTA. Bagi pelajar yang gagal mendapat tawaran ke IPTA, lazimnya akan membuat rayuan. Dalam kes-kes sebegini bilangannya tidaklah ramai. Mungkin sekitar beberapa orang sahaja.

Daripada beberapa faktor di atas, jelas sekali tingkatan enam bukanlah destinasi utama yang menjadi pilihan para pelajar selepas SPM. Sebab itulah hanya 1/3 pelajar yang ditawarkan ke tingkatan enam mendaftarkan diri di sekolah saya. Selebihnya ghaib dan tentunya tidak berminat. Saya melihat perkara ini agak serius. Saya berharap fenomena tersebut akan berkurangan apabila sistem modular (SM) dilaksanakan menjelang 2011. Namun, daripada penelitian saya, ada dua isu besar yang harus diberi peneilitian yang sewajarya. Pertama isu pembelajaran dan kedua isu persekitaran. Bagi menjelaskan kedua-dua isu tersebut, elok rasanya kalau saya membuat perbandingan dengan pesaing bagi kedua-dua isu tersebut sekali gus.

Isu Pembelajaran.

STPM dikatakan susah. Banyak buku kena baca. Belum ada jaminan pasti lulus STPM dan akhirnya ke menara gading. Berbanding dengan di IPTA atau di IPTS. Bilangan pelajar yang gagal mendapat diploma terlalu kecil. Sesi pembelajaran secara semester tidak membebankan pelajar. Peperiksaan ditadbir secara dalaman di IPTA dan IPTS. Oleh itu para pelajar lebih tahu skop topik yang akan diuji dalam peperiksaan. Selain daripada itu kerja-kerja kursus yang dilakukan akan menyumbah sejumlah peratusan yang agak besar dalam peperiksaan akhir.

Jadual waktu yang rigid. Di tingkatan enam masih lagi mengamalkan jadual waktu yang lebih kurang sama dengan para pelajar aliran perdana (tingkatan 1 hingga 5). Dalam kes di sekolah saya, beberapa aktiviti seperti R&D, kolokium, kokurikulum dilaksanakan selepas waktu p&p iaitu dari pukul 1.10 sehingga 2.30 petang. Keadaan ini berlainan di IPTA dan IPTS. Mereka akan datang dan pergi mengikut kesesuaian masa p&p. Selebihnya, sama ada mereka akan ke perpustakaan atau menyiapkan tugasan-tugasan di rumah atau di bilik-bilik khas.

Isu Persekitaran.

Kekurangan bahan di pusat sumber sekolah (PSS). Walaupun mata-mata pelajaran di peringkat STPM masih relevan dengan sistem persekolahan, namun bahan rujukan bertaraf prauniversiti tidak disediakan dengan secukupnya. Bahan-bahan bacaan ilmiah (bukan nota dan bahan rujukan peperiksaan) yang menyokong p&p sangat minimum. Sedangkan semua mata pelajaran di peringkat STPM tiada sebarang buku teks. Hal sedemikian tidak berlaku di IPTA dan IPTS. Masing-masing menjadikan pusat sumber sebagai tarikan utama para pelajar ke situ. Masing-masing menyatakan pusat sumber mereka mempunyai koleksi rujukan yang terbanyak berbanding pusat-pusat pengajian yang lain.

Peraturan yang rigid ke PSS. PSS masih mengikut prosedur biasa seperti peraturan yang dikenakan kepada para pelajar aliran perdana. Umpamanya mesti ada kebenaran guru atau bersama-sama guru sewaktu berkunjung ke PSS. Fenomena tersebut kadang-kadang menyebabkan para pelajar malas hendak ke PSS. Berada di IPTA dan IPTS, pusat sumber adalah "rakan" yang sangat akrab kepada para pelajar. Mereka bukan sahaja menjadikan pusat sumber sebagi tempat membuat rujukan malah pelbagai aktiviti lain termasuklah perbincangan, akses internet dan konsultasi dengan pensyarah.

Uniform sekolah. Daripada sembang-sembang dengan para pelajar yang tidak begitu seronok berada di tingkatan enam menyatakan bahawa mereka "cemburu" dengan rakan-rakannya yang berada di IPTA dan IPTS tidak lagi memakai uniform sekolah. Mereka dilihat sudah jemu memakai uniform sekolah sejak 11 tahun yang lalu. Keadaan tersebut tidak terlalu ketara kira-kira 10 tahun yang lalu kerana pada ketika itu tidak banyak IPTA dan IPTS diwujudkan untuk program-program pasca SPM.

Justeru, melalui pelaksanaan SM yang akan berlangsung pada tahun hadapan, kita tidak pasti sama ada sentimen tidak suka ke tingkatan enam akan berakhir atau akan mencetuskan pula fenomena yang lain. Sekali imbas, SM hanya berupaya menyelesaikan sebahagian isu pembelajaran sahaja. Jika dilihat jadual pelaksanaan sistem tiga semester seperti di matrikulasi dan di IPTA/ IPTS, ia akan meringankan beban pembelajaran para pelajar. Mereka akan menduduki tiga peperiksaan sepanjang tiga semester. Jika keputusan mana-mana dua semester awal tidak begitu baik, mereka boleh mengulang pada semester ketiga. Manakala jadual yang rigid masih lagi dilihat tidak berubah. Para pelajar dikehendaki berada di sekolah dari pukul 7.30 pagi sehingga 2.30 petang. Walau bagaimanapun saya tidak melihat ia satu masalah yang sangat besar lagipun para pelajar masih lagi "mesra" dengan budaya belajar yang sedemikian.

Namun, isu-isu persekitaran dilihat lebih mencabar pihak KPM. Walaupun banyak budi bicara serta penyelesian diserahkan kepada pihak sekolah, namun ia sebenarnya memerlukan campur tangan pihak KPM. Isu PSS yang saya nyatakan di atas serta banyak lagi kemudahan asas untuk prauniversiti seperti yang digariskan dalam senarai semak KPM sewaktu memantau minggu orientasi tingkatan enam rendah baru-baru ini perlukan tindakan segera daripada pihak KPM. Bilik kuliah (berserta peralatannya), bilik penolong kanan tingkatan 6, bilik guru para pensyarah, makmal sains, makmal komputer dan banyak lagi. Jika semau itu perlu dilengkapkan, sudah pasti akan memakan kos yang sangat tinggi.

Pada pandangan saya, pihak KPM perlu memikirkan alternatif lain yang lebih praktikal. Sebagai contoh membina sebuah PPTE di setiap daerah. Atau menukar status sebuah sekolah tertentu dalam setiap daerah daripada sekolah aliran perdana kepada PPTE. Oleh sebab bilangan pelajar tingkatan enam sehingga kini sekitar 1/3 daripada sejumlah yang ditawarkan maka pilihlah sekolah yang sederhana besar saiznya tetapi cukup prasarana untuk sebuah PPTE berfungsi dengan baik.

Kewujudan PPTE sejak dijenamakan semula sebenarnya mengundang beberapa sub budaya yang agak tidak sihat. Sebagai contoh, pemisahan pentadbiran antara PPTE dan aliran perdana mengundang tafsiran-tafsiran yang negatif serta berupaya mengeruhkan hubungan antara guru dan pihak pentadbiran.

Kewujudan perjawatan guru akademik tingkatan enam (GAT6) DG44, DG48 dan DG52 dilihat menjadi idaman kepada ramai guru. Bukan sahaja guru-guru yang pernah mengajar tingkatan enam, malah mereka yang tidak pernah mengajar pun turut berminat. Ada cerita-cerita yang menyatakan penolong kanan pun berminat melepaskan jawatan untuk memohon gred yang lebih tinggi dalam GAT6. Perkara tersebut tidaklah menjadi satu masalah. KPM pun membenarkan sesiapa yang berkelayakan untuk memohon GAT6. Walau bagaimanapun dalam proses memperakui GAT6, pihak Bahagian Sumber Manusia (BSM) punyai syarat tertentu bagi memilih GAT6 yag benar-benar layak. Justeru, ramai yang tak dapat. Maka banyaklah cerita-cerita, ulasan-ulasan, kritikan-kritikan yang pelbagai terhadap GAT6 yang diperakukan oleh pihak BSM.

Begitu juga dengan bentuk jadual waktu p&p para pensyarah tingkatan 6 yang turut dipertikaikan oleh sesetengah pihak. Ia dilihat tidak adil jika dibandingkan dengan guru-guru aliran perdana. Waktu mengajar yang dilihat sedikit manakala kewajaran memasukkan beberapa aktiviti seperti R&D, kolokium, pentaksiran dan beberapa lagi dalam jadual waktu turut dipersoalkan.

Penglibatan dalam aktivit kokurikulum turut menjadi isu. Guru-guru tingkatan enam yang mengandalikan aktiviti kokurikulum di peringkat tingkatan enam masih perlu dilibatkan dalam aktiviti kokurikulum dalam aliran perdana. Oleh itu, setiap guru tingkatan enam mempunyai lebih daripada tiga bidang kokurikulum. Apabila keadaan ini berlaku menyebabkan beberapa salah faham timbul dan hubungan antara rakan sejawat mulai bermasalah.

Jika diteliti secara mendalam bayak lagi titik bengik yang timbul dengan pewujudan "dua" sistem aliran ini. Oleh itu, untuk perancangan jangka pendek dan panjang sangat wajar dan praktikal jika PPTE beropersi dalam sebuah sekolah di setiap daerah. Apa juga pembaharuan atau penjenamaan yang berlaku tidak akan menimbulkan rasa tidak senang pihak-pihak lain yang tidak berkaitan tetapi sering dikaitkan kerana salah tafsir tentang sesuatu perkara.

Jika alternatif ini menjadi realiti, lebih banyak daya tarikan dapat dilakukan. Masa pembelajaran yang lebih fleksibel, kemudahan asrama yang lebih optimum, isu uniform dan banyak lagi. Tidak hairan jika minat para pelajar akan bertukar arah dan bersedia menerima tawaran belajar PPTE! Tambahan pula, pegawai yang mengurus tingkatan enam di peringkat PPD, JPN dan KPM akan lebih mudah dan tentunya akan lebih efisyen.

Kesimpulannya, usaha menjanamakan semula tingkatan enam dilihat sangat wajar. Hal ini sedimikian kerana tingkatan enam merupakan "jalan terus" kepada para pelajar ke program ijazah di universiti selain program matrikulasi dan asasi sains. Walau bagaimanapun bagi meletakkan jenama tersebut sejajar dengan IPTA dan IPTS, ia memerlukan kepada usaha pemurnian keseluruhan sistem yang berkaitan.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012







TAIP ...MUET RESULT ...Nombor Kad Pengenalan Baru
dan hantar ke 15888. Caj 15 sen akan

Sunday, January 01, 2012


The Star

THE Public Service Department (PSD) and Cuepacs deserve to be congratulated for concluding an agreement so quickly after the Prime Minister intervened to ask for an early settlement of the dispute.

It has turned out to be a New Year’s gift to the Government’s 1.4 million employees, which we hope will benefit the nation and the public too!

The public, like Cuepacs and the Government, will be generally “relieved” over this agreement coming as the year goes out.

However, there would be some public concern that the “on the spot amendments” made during the hurried negotiations may not have adequately taken into account the high price that we have paid, for the improvements in the Public Service New Remuneration Scheme (SBPA).

Firstly, the apparent improvements to SBPA are actually concessions made to Cuepacs, to reduce the Annual Performance Evaluation Report marks, from 75% to 65%, for a salary increase.

This means that the PSD  has sacrificed the performance targets to make it easier for civil servants to qualify for salary increments .

The public will legitimately ask whether this lowering of performance standards justify higher tax expenditure, especially when the Government has committed itself to cutting its growing budget deficits?

Secondly, another major concession given to Cuepacs is to lower the marks for the Exit Policy (i.e. leaving the service for inefficiency), from 70% to 60 % .

The duration of poor performance is also now extended to 12 months from the proposed six months.

The question is why should we tolerate poor performance at 60% and for as long as one year?

However, the agreement to hold joint consultations every three months is laudable.

This will enable more opportunities to encourage Cuepacs to come up with ways and means of raising quality standards in the public service, instead of concentrating mainly on salary increases.

These consultations should additionally improve public sector employer/employee relations and understanding of good governance and hopefully reduce financial wastage and corruption?

It is hoped that during these quarterly consultations, the Government will also brief Cuepacs’ leaders on the national economic and budget performance.

This broader consultative approach will help to enhance Cuepacs’ appreciation that more concessions and subsidies will not help us achieve our Vision 2020 goals .

Cuepacs must realise that unless their productivity and efficiency improve even more than the rising cost of the salary improvements, which in many areas exceed the employees in the private sector, the economy will be burdened with larger Budget deficits and more debt.

Our economic progress and sustainability must be protected, just like our security and defence, at all cost.

However, we congratulate the Government/PSD and the Cuepacs for the successful conclusion of the SBPA before the New Year.



ASLI Center of Public Policy Studies.