Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MUET: Report Writing

Generally, the question requirements are:

The report should be between 150-200 words. The best thing to do is to write exactly 200 words or in the range of 190-200 words. Try not to go over 205 words as important points may not be counted in the marking.

You must use all visuals given in the report. Not mentioning either one, even those who are meant to be used as additional information, subtracts from the overall quality of the report. Not using main visuals means not enough analysis (and synthesis) points.
Remember the general format of the report. (More explained below)
General format- and tips for each section

- The question goes: "You have been asked to write a report on missing children in Malaysia." Most of the time, the main issue of the report will be highlighted in bold like this one. Therefore, the title of this example is the same as the words in bold. The title is normally implied in the question - look for it, and use it (add few words if required for some questions).
Overview (OV)
- The overview introduces the main visuals that are used in relation to the issue discussed. Statistics such as graphs and pie charts are the most common form of main visuals, as they contain the 'meat' or points for analysis. Start with "The visuals show..."
Overall trend (OT)
- The overall trend is a general statement of the most obvious trend or finding in the report. You would have to analyse all visuals in detail to get the big picture, which in turn will help you find the most obvious trend. Usually, this section starts with phrases such as "Generally" or "As a whole".
- Analysis is directly presenting the statistics in the main visuals in the report in the most efficient way, i.e minimizing number of words but maximizing information (a good report means you have mastered this art)
- Synthesis is implying from the analyses trends in the report - in BM Rumusan (Summary) SPM, (refresh!) this is the 'maksud tersirat' or 'hidden meaning' part. (Analysis is 'maksud tersurat'). Syntheses in this part of the report come from interpretation of the main visuals. In the body, analyses and syntheses can be either written separately or intertwined in the same sentence. (In the sample below there isn't much synthesis in the body - there may be more in other reports, especially if there is only one main visual)


Concluding statement
- This is basically a restatement of the OT - you can use different words with the same meaning to colour your language, though.
Concluding synthesis
- This synthesis comes either from secondary visuals (news clippings and other non-numerical visuals) or implying relevant/related suggestions connected to the report.
Sample report:
(this was the actual report I wrote for my exam. This one got 38/40 - my teacher said that if I added the title, which I forgot, I could have gotten full marks. Ah, careless mistakes!)

Missing Children In Malaysia

The visuals show the number of children lost and found in Malaysia from 2006 to 2008 as well as the reasons for children going missing. Generally, even though the number of missing children cases have decreased, so has its recovery rate.

In 2006, there were 2405 cases of missing children. This figure dropped considerably to 1803 cases in 2007 and then dropped further to 1485 cases in 2008.

Out of 2405 cases recorded in 2006, 1712 cases or 71% were solved. In 2007, the recovery rate dropped by 1%, where 1254 cases or 70% out of 1803 cases were solved. The recovery rate dropped significantly the following year, where only 60% or 900 cases were solved out of 1485 recorded cases.

Among the reasons children went missing were abusive parents, which contributed to 65% of recorded cases, followed by peer pressure at 18%. 10 percent of children who went missing were lured by strangers, whereas 5% rebelled against their parents. Another 2% of missing cases had unknown causes.

In conclusion, even though the number of missing children cases had dropped significantly, so has its recovery rate. Therefore, the Malaysian government has launched a hotline for child and domestic abuses.

(198 words)

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