Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tips For Muet Speaking

Tips for MUET speaking

The speaking test is divided into two sections: Task A & Task B, groups of 4 usually. Here is the time frame breakdown:

Sit down clockwise, A to D. There will be two examiners for each exam. Once seated, they will check your exam slips and ICs. Handphones, notes, stationery etc not allowed as a pencil, a piece of paper and the question will be placed on the table for each student.

1st minute
- just read the question and make a mental note of the words you would like to ask the examiner about. (you should ask the examiner EVEN IF YOU UNDERSTAND the terms to get the right pronunciation and 'borrow' ideas from the examiners. most examiners are very helpful and will give you some ideas if you ask nicely) (say: Excuse me but what is the meaning of ... DO NOT SAY: What means of...? which is horrendous grammar!)

2nd minute - examiners ask all candidates (A-D) one by one if they understand the question or not. (again, make sure you ask about any word/phrases during this time)
2 minutes to write your notes on the blank A4 paper given (tip: divide the paper into 4 sections, label A, B, C and D, then write only in your section. think of three points and for every point give reasons and examples, make sure it's in note form only to avoid reading)
2 minutes for each candidate to present Task A - MUST AGREE WITH POINT GIVEN (advantage for candidate D cos will hv 8 mins to prepare but the point is generally harder to elaborate than candidate A's point, so there are always pros and cons. MAKE SURE YOU SPEAK FOR THE FULL 2 MINS, and it is ok to just elaborate 1 or 2 points well instead of 3 points but not well explained.)
Speak according to this format:
1. Greetings (Good morning to the examinerS and my fellow candidateS, etc.)
2. Repeat situation (Today we are talking about...etc.)
3. Main Point (The point I would like to discuss is... etc.)
4. 1st point (Firstly,.. , This is because,.., Moreover,..., For example,.. , Therefore,... )
5. 2nd point (Secondly,... , This means that,... , Furthermore,... , For instance,... , Thus,...)
6. 3rd point (Finally,... , This is due to the fact that... , In addition, Take for example..., Hence,... )
7. Conclusion (In a nutshell, etc.)

2 minutes to prepare notes for Task B (now you can write notes for all candidate's points, have a ranking system 1,2,3 and 4, 1 is for best choice and 4 for the least favourite, this will help you with your discussion)
10 minutes to discuss. In the quarantine room, pre-decide who will do the introduction, and someone to do the conclusion (this person MUST PAY ATTENTION TO THE TIME, as some examiners will NOT ALLOW you to do a conclusion if you go beyond the 10 min timeframe.)



Make sure you train your brain to think of 3 points with supporting reasons and examples. Always write in point form, not full sentences as 2 mins goes by way too fast!

Use your hands to gesture and explain your points. Marks will be awarded for 3 categories:
1. Task fulfillment - Did you understand the question and give a relevant and mature response?
2. Communicative ability - Did you have good eye-contact, body posture, gestures, cooperation?
3. Language - Do you have good command of the language with extended vocabulary?
Marks are given for Task A and Task B then added and divided to find the average.

1. Good morning to everyone.
2. Good morning I bid to one and all.
3. Good morning to the examiners and all my
fellow candidates.
4. A very good morning I wish to all examiners
and fellow candidates.
5. Today we are talking about…
6. The situation I have been given is…
7. According to the situation…
8. Based on the situation given
9. I have 3 reasons to justify my point.
10. First and foremost,…
11. Firstly,…
12. Secondly,…
13. My second point is…
14. Another reason is…
15. Finally,…
16. Lastly,…
17. Last but not least,…
18. Moreover,…
19. In addition,…
20. Furthermore,…
21. Therefore,…
22. Hence,…
23. Thus,…
24. However,…
25. Other than that,…
26. On the other hand,…
27. Conversely,…
28. Consequently,…
29. Subsequently,…
30. In contrast,…
31. For example,…
32. For instance,…
33. Take for example,…
34. … and so on.
35. … and many more.
36. … and others.
37. In conclusion,…
38. As a conclusion,…
39. In short,…
40. In a nutshell,…

1. Let’s kickstart this discussion by starting with..
2. Allow me to begin…
3. May I begin by saying…
4. I agree with you. (NOT:I’M agree)
5. That’s a great idea!
6. I see your point!
7. That’s an interesting perspective.
8. I like your suggestion.
9. Indeed!
10. I concur with your point of view.
11. I’m sorry but I disagree.
12. I’m afraid I have to disagree with your idea.
13. I don’t see eye to eye with you.
14. That’s not a good idea/suggestion.
15. I beg to differ.
16. I’m sorry for interrupting but…
17. Excuse me, may I interrupt please.
18. Pardon me for interrupting but..
19. I’d like to add something please.
20. May I say something?
21. Could you please hear me out?
22. So what do you think, Candidate X?
23. How about your point of view?
24. Candidate X, what is your opinion?
25. Does anyone agree with me?
26. Why don’t we consider the other points?
27. I don’t understand, can you please repeat?
28. I’m sorry I don’t understand, can you please elaborate again?
29. In conclusion, ALL OF US agree that…
30. To conclude, MOST OF US agree that…
31. In a nutshell, SOME OF US agree that… while the rest prefer…
32. As time is running out, it seems that ALL OF US can’t seem to agree on a single point so…
33. That’s the end of this discussion, thank you.


Muet: Speaking Component

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 audience
• using varied vocabulary and expressions
• using varied sentence structures
• observing conventions appropriate to a specific situation

(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

Sunday, June 24, 2012




General Comments

The questions included a wide range of common and current local and global issues.

Specific Comments

Proficient candidates demonstrated the following abilities:

• Showed encouraging ability in speaking fluently and confidently from short prepared notes or
mind maps.

• Demonstrated ability in relating personal experience and knowledge of current issues to the topics in their presentation and discussion.

• Showed evidence of wide reading.

• Showed comfortable control of the language, with good control of a wide range of structures, vocabulary and idiomatic expressions.

• Gave well-developed and structured presentations, supported and illustrated by relevant examples and arguments.

Demonstrated good interaction skills in Task B, especially skills in expressing agreement and disagreement, explaining, defending or justifying viewpoints and managing or supporting interaction.The less proficient candidates’ weaknesses are summarised as follows:

• Lacked the ability in linking their ideas to the task requirement. As an illustration, instead of explaining how recycling and reusing household items could help reduce the family’s expenditure

(Booklet 9), the candidates would explain what items could be recycled in the household without linking the ideas to the task.

• Spent their preparation time writing whole sentences from which they then read.

• Could not develop ideas or give appropriate examples.

• Displayed little knowledge of current issues or were unable to display their knowledge because of poor language skills.

• Could not sustain their presentation in Task A beyond one minute.

• Lacked interaction skills and were not able to respond to viewpoints raised beyond some memorised formulaic expressions. Many could not follow the ongoing discussion in Task B.

• Demonstrated limited command of the language, with problems in grammar, vocabulary and


General Comments

The questions included a wide range of common and current local and global issues.

Specific Comments

Proficient candidates demonstrated the following abilities:

• Showed good awareness of current issues.

• Demonstrated maturity in their development of ideas.

• Demonstrated good control of the language, with a wide range of structures and vocabulary.

• Showed encouraging fluency and confidence in their presentation.

• Demonstrated good interaction skills in Task B, especially skills in expressing agreement and disagreement, explaining, defending or justifying viewpoints and managing the discussion

The less proficient candidates’ weaknesses are summarised as follows:

• Could understand the questions but lacked the ability to elaborate on ideas or give reasons to support viewpoints.

• Had limited command of vocabulary and therefore frequently groped for words, resulting in
hesitations, incomplete sentences and ‘jerky’ presentations.

• Made frequent errors in pronunciation, sentence structure and other grammatical features

• Could not relate their answers to the task assigned. For example, instead of discussing the challenges faced by parents in providing a good education for their children (Booklet 3), the candidates merely discussed the importance of education

• Read from prepared sentences and ended well before the allocated time.

• Displayed little knowledge of current issues or were unable to display their knowledge because
of poor language skills.

• Lacked interaction skills and merely took turns to speak in Task B, thereby turning Task B into
an extended version of Task A.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Proficiency in English leads to better salaries

Proficiency in English leads to better salaries


PETALING JAYA: A research study has confirmed that there is a correlation between English language skills and the salary gap between those who are proficient in the language and those who are not.

A study by research organisation Euromonitor International for the British Council states that the learning of the English language could increase the earning power of individuals in developing countries by approximately 25%.

The report, which was published in December 2010, shows that workers with solid English language skills are in the best position to take the fullest advantage of new opportunities in rapidly developing economies in the five countries selected for the research, namely Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Cameroon and Rwanda.

In Nigeria, the report states that the salary of non-English and English speakers can differ by as much as 25%-30% on average in favour of English speakers, according to trade interviews with 30 companies.

While the French language is dominant in Rwanda, the government switched from French to English in its education system in 2008 because of a growing importance in the English language.

Professional recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Malaysia countrymanager Sally Raj said English language proficiency could increase personal earning power.

“This is particularly true for professionals within a client-facing role where communication skills are vital, good English skills will help them articulate and sell their ideas better. It will also aid them in working in a multinational corporation, where they need to communicate with various nationalities,” she said.

She also agreed that higher English language proficiency would help attract and increase foreign direct investment (FDI) into Malaysia.

“Most foreign multinationals look for professionals who they are able to train for the role, meaning that higher English language proficiency would be one of the key factors that would draw them to Malaysia,” she said.

Manpower Staffing Services (M) Sdn Bhd country manager Sam Haggag said it was widely recognised that fluency in the English language was a prerequisite to getting a job.

“Employees with good English communication skills tend to be more confident and thus representing the organisation better, putting the organisation in a positive light. Therefore, these employees are able to gain higher positions in the organisation,” he said.

Accenture Human Resources Lead for Malaysia Chua Chai Ping said while English was one of the main languages used in institutions of higher learning and businesses worldwide, employers were facing difficulties finding local graduates with an adequate standard of English proficiency.

Friday, June 08, 2012


PTPTN freeze lifted on fears of political backlash

UPDATED @ 04:10:50 PM 08-06-2012
June 08, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — The federal government has reversed its move to freeze student loans for Selangor-owned universities after it drew fierce criticisms from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) politicians who were joined by some Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders fearing a political backlash.

Universiti Selangor (Unisel) officials confirmed the loan freeze was lifted today, just a day after Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin defended as fair the move which was clearly aimed at laying bare PR’s campaign for free university education.

Sinar Harian reported the varsity’s vice-chancellor, Prof Anuar Ahmad, as saying that “this is the result of discussions with PTPTN... at 11am.”

Khairy said the freeze was morally wrong and bad politics. — File pic
This comes after criticisms from Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah the day after Muhyiddin defended the move as a “fair test” of the federal opposition’s free education pledge.

PTPTN had confirmed earlier today newly enrolled students at the Selangor Islamic University College (Kuis) were to join those in Unisel in being denied student loans.

But Saifuddin wrote on Twitter that “the Kuis rector has met me and I have informed the minister of his appeal that PTPTN loans not be frozen for his students. Kuis’ official letter will be sent shortly.”

The Temerloh MP also told The Malaysian Insider that he is awaiting a reply from Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin after “informing him the freeze is being widely and strongly objected and seek his good office to rescind it.”

The freeze, which Muhyiddin and Khaled had called a “test” of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) free education pledge, had drawn fierce condemnation from the federal opposition and student groups.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang accused the Najib administration this morning of breaching public trust while an Islamic student group said Putrajaya must reverse the freeze and apologise.

The uproar led to BN Youth leaders voicing their disagreement, pointing out that the “test” was unnecessary as “it is clear Selangor cannot give free education.”

“Enough. Must stop. Morally wrong AND bad politics,” Khairy wrote on Twitter in response to the freeze on Kuis.

“I don’t want students becoming victims,” the Rembau MP also said earlier.

Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang, who has repeatedly criticised PR’s free education pledge, also said Putrajaya’s move was “wrong” and “PTPTN should have known Pakatan won’t give free education at Unisel.”

“End victims are students,” he added on Twitter.

But these protests from members of the ruling coalition came after PKR-led Selangor decided to raise RM30 million by selling land owned by Unisel to provide financial assistance to students who have been denied the loans.

An Umno leader told The Malaysian Insider that if Selangor were to succeed in funding the affected students, “it would mean they have passed the test” set by Muhyiddin.

Ibrahim Suffian, from independent opinion researcher Merdeka Center also said the loan freeze “may potentially backfire on BN if Selangor can reach a practical and quick solution.”

“This will cut across the whole country as Unisel has students from other states and might blow up from something that is only popular to the young to their parents as well.

“After all, Selangor has huge reserves of RM1.8 billion and can quickly solve this,” he toldThe Malaysian Insider.

Thursday, June 07, 2012


Khaled Nordin Should Stop Playing Politics With Education

Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin has confirmed that the decision of National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) to halt giving loans to Universiti Selangor (Unisel) students is to challenge the Selangor government's ability to provide free tertiary education.

There are two words which can sum up Khaled's decision: 'Arrogant' and 'Dangerous'. By halting the loans to Unisel students, he is going against his government's own policy. What Khaled is doing is no different from war criminals using human shields to protect their own position and safety.

These students are mere collaterals of Khaled's reckless political game. By any account, Khaled is behaving like a senseless and arrogant politician who should not be entrusted with power.

By using the PTPTN education loan as a political pawn and weapon against the Opposition, it proves that he is a dangerous politician. What's next after this abuse of power?

We need to ask whether the Cabinet members have been consulted and approved his decision?

Pakatan's pledge to provide free education may be part of their election manifesto. It is up to the people to choose to believe or not if this proposal can ever be implement at all. Believers may vote for the newly minted coalition and non-believers may want to stick to the incumbent.

However, it is not proper and acceptable for Khaled to punish 1000 new students by dragging them into his silly political contestation with Pakatan Rakyat, especially the PKR-led Selangor government.

Khaled's recalcitrant behavior cannot be taken lightly by the Prime Minister unless Najib supports his decision to halt giving loans to new Unisel students.

His action is a complete mockery of Najib's 1Malaysia "People First" agenda. He has brought hardship, anxiety and frustration to 1000 Malaysian families.

Straight Talk is asking all concerned Malaysians to stand up against the Higher Education Minister and demand that he stops playing politics with education.