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Monday, January 25, 2010

MUET Made Easy

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Posted by Nurly

People have been telling me that MUET is JUST MUET. Contaminated by the thought that MUET is EASY, I didn’t put much effort when I sat for the end of 2009 MUET. I perceived MUET as just another English test to sit. I simply thought that as long as I pass the minimum band requirement for my college, it is good enough. I only spent a few hours the night before the test by going through several essay questions to kick-start my brain and that was it. Despite my little effort and much to my astonishment, I scored a Band 6 in MUET. J I am very grateful that Lady Luck was on my side. However, some of my friends weren’t very lucky. They had the same mindset as I did – no need to do preparations, just achieve the minimum band and rejoice. Sadly, quite a number of them had to re-sit the test as they scored below the required band for our college. Hey, MUET IS A HIGHER LEVEL ENGLISH TEST. If you screw it once, you’ll have to pay and re-sit for another. And because I don’t want others to face what my friends faced, I wish to help everyone out there who is eager to perform well in their upcoming MUET. So here are some brief introduction and tips on how to ace MUET based entirely on my experience.

Firstly, there are 4 papers to sit for MUET: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The Speaking test is conducted on one day, while the Listening, Reading and Writing tests are held altogether on a different day.

Speaking Test

What to expect: You’ll be placed into groups of 4 according to your candidate number. 2 sessions will be conducted beginning with Individual Presentation and ensued with Group Discussion. A main topic will be given, for example, ‘There are many ways of obtaining information today’. Each candidate will then receive one suggestion to elaborate on. For instance, ‘the Internet’ for candidate A, ‘the mobile phone’, ‘newspapers’ and ‘radio and television’ for candidates B, C and D respectively. Candidates will be given 2 minutes to prepare their points and another 2 minutes to present their views individually. Once the Individual Presentation session is done, the second session begins. 2 minutes will be given for all candidates to discuss and decide as to which of the four suggestions is the best.

My experience: I was very lucky as I was the fourth candidate and the last to present my points. I had more time to jot down my ideas while other candidates were presenting theirs. I am fluent in English thus I had no problem elaborating my points. As for the Group Discussion session, everyone in my group voiced out different views and hence made the session a lot more interesting. We didn’t fight or debate, we simply said what we believe was right. We also helped each other throughout the session. We were tolerant to one another in which each person had almost equal time to speak. Everyone had their say and none of us conquered the discussion.

Tips: If you are competent in English, there is nothing for you to worry. However, if you are not fluent in this language, I suggest that you practise speaking English with your friends beforehand. It helps if you warm-up your brain before the test by having a discussion with your friends. Use simple words and speak at a normal pace. Speak clearly. Don’t rush your words or mumble. Also, if possible, try to give out-of-the-box views. This test does not only assess your fluency in English. The invigilators will give extra marks for mature, wise and sensible ideas. Furthermore, make full use of the 2 minutes duration time by elaborating in details or giving more suggestions. 2 minutes sounds short, but when you’re out of words it can be very long. Most importantly, avoid saying ‘uhm’, ‘err’, ‘well’ repetitively as this clearly shows how nervous you are.

Reading Test

What to expect: A total of 45 objective questions; 10 are True/False questions. The questions are based on several passages. Duration of 90 minutes.

My experience: Honestly, this paper was the most difficult for me. The passages were difficult to understand as a broad range of vocabulary was in use. The MCQ choices were very tricky and time constraint made it even worse. I didn’t even have the time to recheck my answers.

Tips: Truth be told, you need to practise answering some MUET sample questions as preparation. I didn’t try any questions and oh my, I was so stumped that it took me a long time to understand the passages! The passages are very difficult to comprehend but I suppose that if you’re used to reading newspapers it wouldn’t be a problem. When answering the paper, read the excerpt first (understand the main idea), then go through the questions briefly and finally read the excerpt again. Underline or highlight sentences that are related to the questions. Most importantly, FOCUS! Don’t bother looking at other candidates or build castles in the air. Trust me, the 90 minutes is not enough!

Writing Test

What to expect: 1 summary (comparison) question based on a graphic. The graphic can be tables, graphs, short excerpts or even bar/pie charts. You are required to make comparison based on the graphic provided. Also, 1 essay question; usually argumentative. 90 minutes.

My experience: The night before my MUET, I sat with my roommate and we brainstormed on points for the essay, new words, idioms, quotes and the like. I’ve always loved writing so I wasn’t very worried for this section.

Tips: For the summary question, familiar yourself with comparison words. Use words like ‘better than’, ‘higher’, ‘rise’, ‘elevate’, ‘levelled out’, ‘equal’, ‘reduce’ and ‘lessen’ to give your essay a boost. Concentrate only on the main points as you are to write a very short 200 words summary. You should first compare on the statistics/graphs/etc given, then add 1 or two points based on your understanding of the graphic. Or in other words, write a few lines on your inference on the graphic. As for the argumentative essay, try to memorise a number of bombastic words and idioms to beautify your essay. You shouldn’t simply memorise them but you ought to know how and when to use them. Also, check out a thesaurus to find synonyms for useful words that you may want to use repetitively. For instance, alternatives to ‘thus’ are ‘therefore’, ‘hence’, ‘consequently’ and ‘as a result’. In addition, to defend your stand, use words like ‘justify’, ‘strongly belief’, ‘affirm’, ‘emphasize’ and et cetera. If you are weak in writing, avoid composing a lengthy essay. The longer you write, the more grammatical errors you’ll make. Try to write a short but compact essay.

Listening Test

What to expect: 20 questions consisting of both MCQ and subjective questions. The tape will be repeated twice and extra time will be given for you to answer all the questions.

My experience: I have to say that I am very lucky for MUET. I was seated in the first row and the radio was right in front of my desk. Unlike my friends who sat far behind and could only hear whispers of voices, I could hear loudly and clearly – word by word. Very lucky, weren’t I? *grins*

Tips: Frankly speaking, the questions for listening test are pretty easy and straightforward. You just have to listen attentively and take your time in answering the questions. I have to warn you that the questions are not in sequence with the dialogue so you should first brief through the questions before the session starts. Don’t panic if you missed a point as the tape will be repeated for a second time.

Well, I hope that I’ve made MUET easy for you. May you have a great MUET experience and score one of the high bands. MUET is rather tough if your English isn’t strong but fret not because practice makes perfect. JBuy a MUET exercise/sample papers/past year compilation book to have a better grasp of this test. If I can score a band 6, why can’t you? I am neither a debater nor a public speaker. I speak in my mother tongue (which is not English!) 24/7 at home. So if I can ace a band 6, I’m pretty sure you can too.

Have faith in yourself and all the best, folks! xD

Recommended: Free MUET Tips & 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy This MUET Guide (Panduan MUET) written by MUET teacher & examiner at RM30!
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  1. oh yeah i like this post very much, but,writer are you trying to show off? showing off that " oh, I only spent a few hours the night before the test by going through several essay questions to kick-start my brain and that was it. Despite my little effort and much to my astonishment, I scored a Band 6 in MUET, blah blah blah. Please, you write this blog for guide those who are currentlt taking MUET, not trying to showing off how good is your English.

  2. dude chill anyone mature enough knows she's not showing off. =)

  3. yeah..dude..i agree you that she is not showing off. it is just a way to inspire others i think..

  4. she is not showing off at all...i really love this post n think its going to be really useful for me n others to..

  5. i like the way u write and inspires others at the same time. im taking MUET next semester and this post helps a lot - mindset. :)

  6. thnk u so much for the tips...like it!;)

  7. thanks...for the tips..I will try my best for my MUET test this year..

  8. Congratulations for getting Band 6.
    I was the one of the first batch students taking MUET. It was a huge mistake introducing MUET, and taking away another subject. Most students did badly in university after that.
    So guys, better buckle up in non MUET subjects. MUET is just a silly test. Besides, you only need like Band 3 to get into local university. That is just too easy.

  9. congratz!!
    thanks for the tips.
    very useful to me.

    i am taking muet exam this april...
    hope i can get good band :)

  10. I actually think that muet is the best damn thing the government thought up of cause lets face it, english is the most important language and for someone who isn't able to use "has" and "have" properly..that's like the most tragic thing ever. I love your post, I'm currently waiting to start form 6 and im already getting prepared for the whole thing. I was in the science stream back in high school - that was the biggest mistake in my life, I sqrewed my spm and i'm not gonna repeat the same thing again in form 6. My spm results were an eye opener, 4 credits including my A's in Malay and English (yes it was that bad). Enough about me, once again I love your post and I'm pretty sure it has benefited alot of peeps out there and i'm one of them.

  11. Joi,
    SPM and STPM leavers can definitely take MUET. MUET is a requirement only if you are applying for any public college or university in Malaysia.

  12. Actually I'm quite agree with the writer as it is important for us to focus on MUET test first as if we can get a good result or in other words good band, then we can spend the time left to do our revision in other subjects that we will face or confront during the STPM...

  13. Thanks so much Nurly. This post helps me a lot in improving my English. Frankly speaking, I'm too scared of taking MUET this Saturday as the requirement for my course is Band 4 and I think my English level is average. I'm quite scared of the writing test because I'm not too good in grammar. But I guess I should do something beyond the ability because MUET is really not the easy test. Thanks again Nurly. (:

  14. Hi.... I am so happy you gave us this valuable tips.. I'll have MUET soon. So, wish me good luck~

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your tips and experiences. I'm taking MUET this Saturday for the first time and I was clueless on how would it be like, and what should I be expecting during the test. @_@ Well, one reason is the lecturers didn't expose us to MUET so much (..or, at all -- until recently). So I'm happy to found this and more at peace now. 8D

    Thanks again~!

  16. agreed She is tRying to show off here,,what on earth.jz a small MUet test and u think ur english is good enough to show off here?

  17. Thanks a lot...
    you have been very helpful...
    your words may inspires or help others who are going to seat for this upcoming MUET...

    congrats for getting band 6...

  18. Oh dear,..and i'm still doing my revision right now...last minute preparations?..is it worth it?..please,please,pleaseee...let me borrow your Lady Luck..?

  19. thanx for the tips nurly.. :)
    -disagree! she is NOT showing off..

  20. thank you so much!my english level is quiet low and i hope this useful tips can help me in the MUET test.

  21. tq for the good tips...actually im not good in English..im got band 3 for muet (old syllabus).. and i needs to achieve at least band 4 to further my studies in MA level... i didn't have any experiences taking new muet's syllabus ..huhu im not confident with my self... i needs to struggle to take muet in this October..
    (huhu..sorry for broken english..)

  22. Although I do agree she does emphasize her outstanding achievement quite often but I guess it's just an individual's way of expressing her happiness over her own achievement and can't seem to contain her excitement and would want to share it with others...

    Nevertheless, she does provide an inspiring and motivating article to others who feel less confident of themselves when preparing for MUET.....I thank you for it and the tips will be helpful.

  23. I am a MUET teacher and I contend that Nurly obtained a Band 6 due to her proficiency in the language. However, those who are not, cannot afford to sit on their laurels. You have to go the extra mile to prepare well ahead for the MUET papers. Use the language more often; in fact as much as you can, with your friends, family and teachers. Spend time reading the newspaper to keep abreast with the current issues. Keep a scrapbook to collect articles. Look up the meaning of words and record them down to help enrich your vocabulary. Purchase a simple reference book for basic grammar, even the ones used by the lower secondary would do as grammar is grammar and will not change no matter what level you are in. You would be surprised how these simple efforts can go a long way in helping you improve in the language.
    All the best to those who are sitting for the Oct/Nov Muet papers :) If you require more help please contact me : [email protected]

  24. thank you so much!
    you've made my day, MUET is a nerve wrecking test since my English is just so-so. I hope I've still have much time to prepare..

  25. my muet is just around the corner..so worry..pliss help me.
    i`m not good enough in englishh

  26. well thank to the writer a very useful and informative and all the best to the all candidate on this coming MUET 2010......cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. my speaking test is this 12th october, im so nervous now huhu

  28. i want to tranfer exam center and already fill up the form and paid the fees,but upon checking still did not change,anyone experience same prob.for infor register earlier in kedah now i study in East Malaysia
    is expensive to travel fr.East Malaysia to Kedah ,the exam is just rond the corner

  29. i would like to congratulate you in gotten band 6 for MUET. it couldn't be deny that you are quite proficient in English. and my MUET is just in two days time and i'm afraid if i screwed up for the speaking test.

    i'm majoring in TESL and i've been exposed to MUET skills a lot. but still it really gets on my nerve knowing that i'll be doing the speaking test with unknown people. i need to at least get band 4 for my MUET. thanks a lot for your inspiration and encouragement. this would be of much help for me and other candidates :D

  30. i'm the first one .... so me not redy yet ...

  31. i'm going to sit for the speaking test tomorrow,plus i'm the first candidate and of course, i'm extremely nervous! but after reading all the comments and shared experiences here, they kind of helped me calm down.

  32. She is not showing off... lol XP...
    but u are really lucky.... can i borrow ur da*n lady lucky luck....? hehe XD...

  33. thank u so much for the tips..
    this is my only tips for my muet tomorow..huhu
    god bless..

  34. i dont how to speak english in pblic... i knew tht my english is not good thts y .. im feel shy when i want to speak with my friends...and i need ur help to suggest some easy tips to make me cnfident in spking english,,i wiil take muet test next year ..

  35. hi there...
    tomorrow i will sit muet speakg paper...
    i'm poor in english..
    verry afraid 4me...
    pray for me pleaseee....

  36. Nurli had had a very good experience that we can share together in order to do well in MUET. My modest contribution to readers who need to do MUET. If you would spare some time to read my blog on MUET (I hope you find it useful)


  37. congratulation.....
    and thanx a lot for the tips...
    i luv it....

  38. nice. thanks for the tips. awesome explanation.

  39. Nice one!... i was thinking to sit for it this coming April just for fun of it, but after reading this i guess my English is too weak and i don't think I'm ready for it. I better take English course first... hehehe... Thank you for the tips though..

  40. you're my inspiration...MUET, here I come !!

  41. does muet have an expired date?

  42. thanks for the tips nurly..it's quiet inspiring me to do well in my muet test next year. frankly speaking, i am not the one that good in english but i decided to take form 6 and sit for muet test because i think i should do something that beyond my ability, and i want to improving my english and the same time, my course indeed me to get at least band 4 . so i'll work harder.pray for me =)

  43. can u tell me how you write your point on a draft.And what tips you an give that useful when write a point, and lasty completed all point
    and present it in public.Any tips?

  44. ohmy, i'm so freak out !!! my speaking test is due on 18 oct. truthfully, i'm not good at speaking, i dunno,, lack of confidence maybe,and plus miss nervous , that is me. what am i gonna do ??????

  45. thumbs up. :) muet tomorrow, really helped. A LOT. thanks. much love. <3

  46. thanks for sharing your experiences. Your post really helps me a lot. :) thumbs up for you.

  47. thanks for the tips. my muet will be on monday

  48. Nice tips. My muet will be on the 24th of October :( Totally nervous now

  49. Band 6?! CONGRATULATIONS! And you did so little preparation. Good on you, Nurly!

  50. wow !! thank you so much for the tips..! it really helps me to prepare for my MUET exam this year !!!! i really hope that i can do my best !! thanks..


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