Tak kenal maka tak cinta. Jom Kenali Universiti Awam (UA) Malaysia.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

SPM Literature in English 2008-2010 (Formatting, or lack thereof)

Posted by Snow

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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  1. Nice article!!
    I'm doing Lit this year and I can tell you I hate the fact that there are no reference books or even exercise books on this subject!!
    But any Lit students looking for notes on most of the current syllabus could try sparknotes.com

  2. hi, i just have to ask you this very important ques...

    what do u mean by the poems will be provided during the exams, or at least, the excerpts?

    in 1 theme of poems, there are 3 sections, (a, b, c) and for each sections it will be from 3 different poem in the same theme..

    so, by u saying that the poem/excerpts will be given, are 3 poems will be given then? or only just for the 1st section? n will the poem be given in full length?

    tq! really need to know the answer soon!

    please3X send ur reply to my email!

    [email protected]

  3. Thank you for your compliment and information, wengyee. :) It's very much appreciated.

  4. hey.
    yea me too.
    can u further elaborate :-

    "poems will be provided during the exams, or at least, the excerpts"?

    reply me at [email protected]

    thx and much appreciation!

  5. Thanks for the inspiring article. Although English Literature for SPM is in a few days I almost gave up. Now I'll be hyper enough to write! - only after Bio and Physics that is killing me....

  6. yes, i really agree with what u said there that-
    '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.'

    it's the only exam so far that is solely based on your understanding on the subject and not memorising facts and i realy appreciate it for that!!

    anyway good luck to the students who r sitting for LIE tommorow!

  7. Dear Snow,
    Browsing through the poems I realise that the themes conflicts and relationships are in wrong places. I think you should change them. for Poetry, a question, excerpt of a poem will be provided. The answer should be base on the excerpt. Whereas for b question, answer should be based on the reading of the whole poem and for c , it should be reflective and critical. Show some maturity in thinking.

  8. Truth being told, this REALLY lifted 90% of the weight that was on my mind 1 minute ago. Thank You Soooooo Muuuuuccchhh!! I've been doing my studying alone, completely alone and 15 minutes ago, 1 hour and 45 minutes before the SPM Literature in English paper starts, I read this somewhere:

    "Although this subject is not popular among Malaysians, it is still very much in demand because Literature in English [2205/1] is one of the hardest papers there is in SPM."

    Talking about getting cold feet at the last minute.
    Your post really helped me get my confidence back. Yes, I do have a great interest in literature and I am not just taking this subject "to get more A's" like most people are doing nowadays.

    The paper starts in exactly 1 hour and 22 minutes and I HAVE to thank you in posting this article. I was scared because I did not have a single idea in what the format is as I didn't attend classes. But now I understand that this is one exam that I don't have to be technical about. Thank you thank you!

  9. hello..
    i need some help..
    i'm a teacher trainee..
    n i just got a topic for my term paper...
    "is the current english syllabus in Malaysian secondary schools aim to promote students proficiency in the language"
    n hope to see any comment from u

  10. please help! I really want to take this subject but where can I learn it? they don't teach it at school,and I can't seem to find any 2205 english in bookstores! Where can I learn the syllabus?

  11. I'm taking ELT this year. Can anyone help me with past yr ppr and/or tips...My email is [email protected]. Thank you....

  12. can i know the name of books for 2011 elt???

  13. hey just a quick ques, are answers judged based on the points given? Cause my teacher told me that we have to write a specific amount of points for an answer. Like for example, for question(c), six points and elaboration is needed. However if i just expand on four points but with more immense elaboration, would it be the same as well?

  14. Hey, thanks for this advice!
    If you don't mind me asking, did your school provide the Lit. In English classes, or did you have to go look for a tutor? Also, do you think it would be too late to take this subject if I just finished Form 4?

  15. Hi! I am sitting for SPM this year, I was browsing around and I saw your post about SPM Literature in English. Though I am not sure if they are still using this format. I would really like to know more about it because I am considering taking that subject. You can contact me through facebook or email me at [email protected]. Hope to hear from you soon!

  16. May I know that which poems haven't been the questions in real SPM?(LIVING PHOTOGRAPHY,LIGHT BRIGATE,POISON TREE,or WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO LULU)

  17. This really inspired and motivate me ..Thank you <3


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