Writing couldn’t be your biggest nightmare; writing without nothing in your mind is the one!
SPM on the way!
Oh what fun it is to write
To get you a straight A’s!
SPM is coming to town! Are you all geared up for the coming November- especially for the English paper?
For those who are still struggling for “killing tips” for English 1119, do fret no more! As a senior who passed through all kinds of tough government exams, safe and sound, I would like to share my tips for W-R-I-T-I-N-G well in SPM English Paper I Section B.
Section B makes up 50 marks for your total marks for your exam. Hence, there is no reason for you not to put in your ONE HUNDRED AND ONE percent of efforts to churn up an impressive writing for your Paper One. By now you should know jolly well what types of questions that you are going to get- to refresh the memory for those are still unsure, here there are: descriptive essay, argumentative writing, narrative writing, expository writing, and one-word essay-- and understand which kind of question you are very confident of answering. Bear in mind, it’s not only about having ideas to scribble on answer sheet; it’s about whether you get it absolutely right!
First, let’s explore the nature of these writings. Being the most challenging type of writing, descriptive writing requires you to have a strong command of vocabularies, variety of effective writing styles and figures of speech (for instance metaphors.) If providing factual statements with convincing examples is your forte, argumentative writing and expository writing could most probably be your cups of tea- it’s a MUST that you know the topic inside out, nevertheless. As for one-word essay, it covers vast ocean of topics, ranging from general interests, issues or even the serious life topics, and mostly concerns students.
Now, understand the ace in your hand. Do you fit any of the above writing requirements? No problem with impeccable, flowery descriptive vocabularies? Have receptive antennas to a broad scope of current issues? Don’t feel dejected for all no’s to the above questions. Give narrative writing a try!
Completing a story based on an ending or beginning phrase- a question that will pop out in exams without failure- can be much easier topic for write about. Here are the steps that I have devised for myself, that helped me to achieve A1 for my 1119 and Band 5 for my MUET exam.
- Write any story you would like, but don’t forget to link to the phrase. There’s NO RULE so rigid that we cannot write a terrible picnic experience, if we are asked to end our story with “…with relief I back in one piece”; or we can’t write an absurd dream if the given beginning phrase is “I turned over the question paper…” The gist is, writing story gives you the right to set your imagination free- no story is considered wrong since it is story. So, don’t freeze your imagination, just thaw it!
- Get the ingredients in place. Six months to go before SPM, gives you the luxury of time to prepare some sets of your stories. Prepare some stories that linger around your schooling life, to say, an unforgettable meeting with Principle, an amazing class with American’s Idol and etcetera. Weaving your own stories based on your own experience makes your life easier; however, you can browse through some essay reference books, preferably A-Level’s for some interesting stories, if you aren't confident enough with your own ones.
- Remember the structure of your stories, without too deep into details. Taking one of my stories as example, part of my story was:
“…we organized a secret birthday party for our Form Teacher, without the knowledge of Headmaster. He, in his ocean blue tie, smartly dressed, was doing his routine ‘spot check’…Peering through our class, he saw a splash of cake on the floor… He just darted his eyes away, walking away in silence.”
Do I have to remember every single detail? Of course not! Just remember:
“…we did a party for Form Teacher without informing headmaster. He knew it when he walked past our classroom but he pretended not to.”
Do you want to have cold feet in front of questions, spitting out word by word while seeing time slips through your finger unconsciously? No? Then make an effort to remember the storylines, to familiarize yourself with the stories- they may not be your own, though
- Make it a habit to jot down the new vocabularies you learn from daily reading. Understand how to use them- make a sentence for each vocabulary if possible- and revise them after a period of time, saying a week. Tedious it may seem to you, but believe me, these words will be the biggest benefactor to you in times of need.
- Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. Having realized the best option you can have, doesn’t mean that you should stop honing your knife in other types of essay writing. Make a study group for yourself, gathering all the great minds alike in preparing the titles for other writing types- brainstorming for the possible topics, research and discussion- can help to save a lot of time, not only for you, but also for your peers. You’ll come to appreciate it and let out a sigh of relief “Phew! Luckily we got that spot-on!”
Get this idea right into your mind and start to get it worked out. All the best to you!
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