A quick guide to SPM English 1119
by StudyMalaysia.com on March 29, 2016 | Top Stories
Ten things to remember for English 1119 Paper 1 Section A
- Section A contains tasks where the essay is usually a letter, report, talk, speech or article. All these types of writing tasks have formats; make sure you know them.
- Use all the given notes. Do not write too much. One elaboration per point and one additional point of your own is usually sufficient.
- Spend a maximum of 45 minutes. Do not waste too much time here.
- Reports, articles and formal letters require formal language. Do not use slang or ‘buddy’ language.
- 250 words should be sufficient.
- Many of the writing tasks require the past tense. Know when to use them.
- Language carries 20 marks; keep your sentences short, clear and accurate. Spelling is crucial.
- Addresses and names can be fictitious. Don’t worry too much about them.
- Some of the reports, formal letters and articles need the writer’s name and position, if any. Reports and formal letters must be signed.
- Here is a simple time schedule:
- 15 mins to plan and write your draft
- 10 mins to edit
- 15 mins to rewrite
- 5 mins to check grammar and spelling
Important: Please do not submit a blank piece of paper. Any attempt however small, garners marks. Please do not write more than the necessary in this section; many students do and find themselves short of time in section B. The ideal length is about 250 words or so.
Did you know?
Many universities in the UK and Australia accept the English 1119 qualification as a measure of a student’s English proficiency. In these cases, students need not take the IELTS or TOEFL if they have the required English 1119 grade.
Students who want to sit for the English 1119 as a private candidate can register with the Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri (http://www.moe.gov.my/my/direktori-jpn) or Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (http://www.moe.gov.my/my/selangor). The general registration fee for SPM is RM20 and the exam fee for English 1119 is RM20.50.
Registration is usually open from 1-31 March each year.
The writing tasks in Paper 1 Section B comes in five choices: narrative or descriptive, expository, argumentative, imaginative and now, a new type that has replaced the one word essay – proverb or idiomatic expression. The last one often comes with a given situation (this makes it easier!).
Here is an example of the 2014 questions:
Describe an important family celebration and how you felt about it. (Descriptive)
There is a lack of freedom given to teenagers today. Do you agree? (Argumentative)
Why are animals important to human beings? (Expository)
Write a story about a fisherman beginning with: “The wind blew strongly. Out at sea, …” (Imaginative)
‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’ Describe how a friend helped you in difficult time. (Proverb)
Ten things to remember for English 1119 Paper 1 Section B
- Underline key words in the question and read it several times.
- Use a mind map before starting. Each point should be followed by an elaboration and an example.
- Try to add facts and figures where necessary. Refer to newspaper articles regarding people, places and events.
- Keep a scrap book to read these articles before the exam.
- Keep sentences simple and vary them with long and short sentences. Use paragraphs to introduce new ideas and points.
- The word limit is a minimum of 350 words. A rough guide would be: introductory paragraph – 25 words; conclusion – 25 words; and six paragraphs of 50 words each for the body.
- Don’t write too much. This could cost you language points if you make grammatical and spelling errors.
- Try to be cheerful and positive in your writing. Sad essays may seem unappealing.
- Try practising for at least three essay types. Do not limit your choice to one essay type.
- Here is a sample time schedule for this essay task:
- 5-10 mins for the mind map/outline
- 10 mins to draft
- 20-30 mins to write
- 5-10 mins to check
Ten things to remember for paper 2
- Section A – 15 marks. The objective questions are tricky. Read them at least twice underlining key words in the question and answers.
- Read the cloze passage once in questions 9-15. They usually deal with tenses (simple present/past, present/past perfect tenses), articles (a, an, the), determiners (the, this, that), prepositions (in, on, of, for, at), pronouns (his, hers, its, their, our) – Write the answers in the blanks before deciding.
- Section B – 10 marks. The answers are usually short and precise. Do not put two answers in one blank. Answers that are copied directly from the source text will not gain marks.
- Section C – Answers for the comprehension task are usually short and precise. Lifting the entire sentence can result in errors. Underline main points as you read. Each paragraph has at least two points that you need for the summary. Keep the summary within the 130 word limit. Use the 10 words given. Connect each sentence with a sentence or sequence connector.
- Section D – Question 32 is on one of the poems you learnt. This section involves at least two questions that require you to quote lines from the poem and one personal response from you. Pay attention in class and you will be all right.
- Question 33 is about the novel you studied. Have quotations ready for each character in the story. Quote what they said to support your point.
- There must be an introduction, three points with elaboration and evidence from the text in three distinct paragraphs followed by a summing up or conclusion based on the question.
- The questions are on Theme, Characterization (like/dislike), Moral Values, Lessons and your personal response or evaluation of the novel, plot or storyline.
- The time and setting of the novel are as important as the author and his/her views. Read up on it.
- Never use a revision book as a substitute for reading the novel.
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There are two basic types of summaries: a reader summary, that you compose to develop a better understanding of what you have read, or a summary essay, which is written for others and is an overview of an original text. The point of writing a summary essay is to convey an understanding of the essence of a source text to readers, without them having to read it in its entirety.
Steps for Writing a Summary Essay
- Thoroughly read and study the original text. When you read it, get a feeling for the author’s style, tone and mood, and try to identify the main ideas expressed.
- Divide the text into several sections, and sketch a rough outline. Breaking the text into several parts will make the material easier to grasp. Then read each part once more, but this time highlight some of the key points. Mark areas you want to refer to in your summary, as well as those that shouldn’t be included in your essay.
- When you have a clear understanding of the information in each part of the source, write down the main idea in each section in the form of a short overview.
- Write an introduction. It should briefly present the main ideas in the original text. The introduction should include the name of the author, the title of their work, and some background information about the author, if needed.
- In the main body paragraphs, state the ideas you’ve chosen while reading the text. Expand on them by including one or more examples from the original text. Include important information only and avoid describing minor, insignificant points.
- After you have summarized the main ideas in the original text, your essay is finished. A conclusion paragraph should be added if your teacher specifically tells you to include one.
Summary Essay Topics
You can write a summary essay on a scientific work, an interesting article, a novel, or a research paper. This type of essay can be on any subject. For example, you might want to write a summary essay on:
- Catcher in the Rye (book)
- Citizen Kane (film)
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (book)
- Captain Fantastic (film)
- Lord of the Rings (book)
- Song of Two Humans (film)
- Of Mice and Men (book)
- Mad Max: Fury Road (film)
- Moby Dick (book)
- Ben Hurr (film)
- For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
- A movie by Ingmar Bergman
- A novel by Jack London
- The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
- An article in The New York Times
- A blog post of a famous journalist
Key Points to Consider
- One of the most important aspects about a summary essay is its connection to the source. Keep in mind that your interpretation of the source can mislead your readers or even distort the meaning of the original text.
- Your summary essay should serve as a substitute for the original source; by reading your summary essay, a reader should be able to develop an understanding of the original work.
- This type of essay is about summarizing the original text, not criticizing it.
Do and Don’t
– Including too much or too little information in your essay.
– Forgetting to cite quotations, so that the words of the original texts’ author looks like your own.
– Concentrating on insignificant details, examples, and anecdotes.
– Trying to interpret or explain what the author wanted to say in his or her work. You must give a concise overview of the source, not present your own interpretation.
Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic summary essay writing tips and rules, you can check out our summary essay samples to link theory with practice.
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