Having received many queries and comments in regard to formatting of SPM Literature in English, I believe I shall have make a post that specifically works on those pre-SPM nerves (Or at least, attempt to).
I shall copy-paste a couple of excerpts from e-mails (all written by yours sincerely of course, for I will not intrude upon the privacy of readers by reproducing their e-mails here unless given permission to do so) for the benefit of the readers.
Ideally, the mark-page ratio is:
5 marks = one quarter of the page
8 marks = three quarters of the page
12 marks = one page
However, it does also depend on the content of your answers and the whole point of insisting upon a specific length is to ensure that one is less likely to write too much (time restraints), or too little (insufficient points). It is also a very good practise to write more.
The poems will be provided during the exams, or at least, excerpts. It is not necessary to memorise the poems, though a good knowledge of the general idea is expected.
Many students are able to deal with 5 mark questions, but it is the 8 and 12 mark questions that boils the brain cells.
Plot Expansion refers to specific events in the story.
8 mark question example : "Why do you think Peter did this?"
12 mark question example: "What is your opinion on Peter's actions?"
The 8 mark question requires you to answer in regard to the story, whereas the 12 mark question requires you to relate mundane things to the story. For instance, you could compare the modern society with the text or human behaviour in general.
All you need is a touch of natural confidence and the ability to write. Make comparisons, elaborate. Be descriptive, try to find hidden meanings behind each word. To begin with, here are some things to consider : How is the hero / heroine portrayed? Why did the author chose to portray said person as such? What do their actions say about their personality?
There really isn't much to worry about formatting. Just write whatever comes to mind. Do NOT worry about all the restrictions so badly, okay? =) To tell the truth, I never really bothered my head about making points or anything when I sat for the paper. Nobody taught me formatting or told me much. I just knew the texts covered in the syllabus and that was that. My two month workshop in Form Four was focused on having FUN and appreciating literature with games. We acted out the plays, wrote our own and discussed random topics. During my exam, I only concentrated on writing out my heart.
This is one exam that isn't based on formatting. Don't even think of it as an exam. It's truly an appreciation of literature, and that's all. Literature in English is a shadow of what exams should BE like - a free-reined subject that isn't focused on "making points" or "memorising facts to be written during exams". It's about really understanding it.
All those points are just LOOSE guidelines. Do not force yourself to adhere to that if you can't do it, but try if you can.
There are NO past year papers - I cannot stress this point enough. Yes, there have been SPM Literature papers conducted in the past, but the syllabus is completely different. The syllabus changes every three years and the current cycle is 2008 - 2010. Past year papers will cover a completely different syllabus from the current one.
I have yet to find a specific website that covers the entire Literature syllabus, simply because the syllabus changes every three years and most people can't be bothered doing in-depth research on a syllabus as fickle. At any rate, model, suggested, or ideal answers might have an adverse effect and actually constrain the true you within. There is NO one answer to Literature. Write as you wish, convince the examiner to see things from your perspective, and you will get your marks. Full marks are very, very rare simply because Literature is such a subjective paper, but there is absolutely no reason why you cannot get decent marks.
Do not worry. Remember, if it seems hard, it's probably because you did well. ;)
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