The SPM English 1119 Exam comprises two papers: Paper I and Paper 2.
Paper 1, which is strictly on essay writing, requires candidates to write two essays: Directed Writing and Continuous Writing. Paper 2 tests students in the following areas: reading and comprehension, information transfer skills, vocabulary, summary writing skills, and literature. Although essay writing is reserved for Paper 1, students are required to write a summary and answer questions on poetry, novels and plays which test their ability to write.
It is evident that writing is prominently featured in the SPM English exam. This can be deduced from the marks allocated for the following:
Paper 1 - Directed Writing (35), Continuous Writing (50)
Paper 2 - Summary (15), Literature (25)
The total marks for the above is 125 marks out of the total of 160 marks.
What is the bottom line?
Students who want to do well in the SPM English exam should pay more attention to the above areas that require them to write. However, writing is a skill that most students find onerous or difficult. Writing is a skill that must be inculcated from young. Like reading, once you've got yourself into the habit of writing, you are hooked onto it for life.
Writing is a process that has to start from the child's primary school years. But is this happening? It is common for teachers to lament that students are unable to write despite having done quite well in the PMR English exam for 15-year-olds. I have personally facilitated a group of undergraduates in a public university and I was horrified by the deplorable standard of English displayed in their assignments.
So, where did we go wrong?
I have been a teacher, trainer and writer. As an English teacher I have taught General English, 'O' Level English, English for Business and Science, TOEFL and IELTS. I have written computer-based English and Phonics lessons for schools and kindergartens. I have also written a computer-based training course for insurance sales agents. Since last year, I have published two e-learning titles: My PMR English Success Formula and SPM English 1119 Self-Tuition Course. My company, Students' English Resource, aims to produce more e-learning materials for the Malaysian market.