I seem to get this question a lot in MUET classes or from friends, “how can I improve my english?”
Well, through what I’ve observed so far, understanding and communicating in english is definitely not a problem for most, if not, all KML students. However, to achieve a desired result in MUET, there is a few ways to improve the mastering of english in such a limited period of time.
Stop thinking, “oh, I don’t speak good english. People are going to laugh at me if I speak my broken english.” Instead, think, “I should improve my english, that’s why I must constantly speak it to get used to the language.” Don’t mind the fact that you might think you’re grammatically wrong, the point here is getting used to speaking in english. Once you get used to speaking in english, from there onwards, proceed to focusing on using proper grammar in your daily speeches.
You should chose to read articles, novels or any reading materials that interest you. That way, reading an english material wouldn’t be boring. When you chance upon a words you’re not familiar with, look it up in a dictionary. Write the word and it’s meaning down in a small notebook, or even better, on a piece of sticky-notepad and stick it somewhere where you can always see it. This is a good way to add variation to your vocabulary.
This is simple. You can apply this to your everyday life. Use English when you’re writing down reminders, leaving notes for your friends, text messaging and writing your e-mails. Be accustomed to writing in English as it will help in your essay writing.
Now, this is essential. Listen to your MUET lecturer’s instructions on the guidelines for acing your MUET test. Lecturers WANT you to get the best you can for the exam. Participate in activities organised by your MUET lecturer. This is all done to assist you with your preparation for MUET.
In summarisation, the key point is to make English an element of your life and familiarising yourself with the usage of english.
Here are some tips taken (contributed by good hearted lyners), a good guide to sit for your MUET Speaking Test.
More pointers for Speaking component:-
1. Task 1 is to be presented to the examiner - so greet the examiner, maintain eye contact with him/her. Don't just read from your notes.
2. Task 2
- One person starts the discussion by greeting the examiner and fellow candidates
- Proceed to state own opinion (not necessarily to stick to your choice in Task 1) - give one point only (not ALL, otherwise you will have nothing to contribute later)
- Then either ask for opinion or let someone continue
You are discouraged from waiting to be prompted by others for your opinion. This is a speaking test - a test of your ability to speak. No contents = no marks.
Of course if you have flawless English but weak content, you will be penalised.
3. Effective body language is important here. Maintain eye contact will all candidates. Nod or smile in approval. Don't rock your chair. don't play with your pencil or your hair. Don't just stare at your notes or write all the time.
4. Use variety of language structures. If Candidate A has used 'In my opinion..', you can use 'I think' ,'I feel' etc. To disagree, you can say 'I'm sorry I beg to differ','I'm sorry I have to disagree with Candidate...'. If you see a particular candidate is dominating the discussion, you can say ' I'm sorry, may I interrupt for a moment?' or 'May I say something here?'
Don't argue, don't use rude words like 'Why CANNOT??' or 'NOOOO, I don't think so'.
5. At the end of the 10 minutes, you are to come to a consensus. Only ONE choice. Worst comes to worst, combine 2 very relevant ones. If you have your own fixed group members, this is easier to achieve because you must have a lot of practices in order to come to a natural conclusion. Do not at the last minute, just simply say 'Ok, I agree'. Very fake...
6. Finally, another person ends the discussion. Eg. Based on our discussion, we have come to a conclusion that... or Thank you for a fruitful discussion. I can safely conclude that..
Do this only if everyone in the group has agreed with only one answer.
If you are looking for a sample of MUET Speaking test, I can give you the link. You can click the link but I am not responsible for any content of the video or the website. TQ.Click Here
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. 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.
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.
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 practice 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.
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!
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.
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.
Buy 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