"Mu-et....Moo-et....M-U-E-T...",different intonation and pronounciation for MUET,Malaysian University English Test and Puan Sharifah Adilah,the first speaker for MUET Seminar last week proceeded those before she started her session.A secret to master English was not just in one night but the whole journey of life or in other word,continuous learning but how?Of course she said,the key is reading.By reading,we could enhance our vocab,grammar and words.Puan Sharifah said that one English word leads to various meanings.I could still call to mind three different meanings of 'Put' when it is combined with preposition 'up','off',and 'in'.What I could say was "Wow..English is fun" and after all,I need to have a Reader's Digest from now on.
In addition,she exposed us in a different sight of English.For instance,how Malaysians use it in humorous way by direct translating words such as 'cow car' and 'flower tyre'.Funny right?Of course she told us that she stopped marking and started laughing.To make it worst,MUET candidates did the witty things while her PMR students could do better!What was in my mind on that time was if the paper was mine,it would be a major embarrassement and definitely I have to do something to cope with this.Still,I need a lot of reading and the enchanting thick thing,the dictionary,will be my companion from now on.
Moreover,she coached us to use the correct terms and appropriate words in a sentence.For example,"I found him exhilarating"Actually he or she wanted to say that his or her friend excites him or her but is it the correct word?Well,in this case,I don't think so!It is encouraged to use bombastic words rather than using the same monotonous words for every sentences or paragraphs but wrong usage of words would baffle the readers and the examiners alike.The same answer for this problem,reading is the clue to everything.
Then came our second speaker,Puan Hasnah Bt Mohd Rais.She leaded us on how to speak and listen properly especially in MUET.Amazing slides,great presentation and good sense of humour,all in 2 hours.She tried to demolish our fear when it comes to public speaking.She attracted the crowd and boosted my confidence and actually my voice was a little faint at first in front of hundreds of big crowds but 'Haah...what a relief..'.At last, I could voice out my curiousity.'Yay!I overcome an obstacle myself!' Thanks to her..
In details,she showed us how to manage limited time wisely during the communicative skills test including to take down notes whatever other candidates have presented during individual presentation and how fluency and confidence take place on that time.She tutored us to provide at least 3 points with the elaborations and the most vital things are not to dominate the whole discussion,make suggestions and express recommendations,that was how the Band-6 candidate achieve his score and hopefully I would be the one!
"Band 4 is the minimum level to pass MUET exam.."That was what both speakers said.However,would that be a satisfying level for me who have studied English since kindergarten?Definitely not!English is actually exciting,universal and can be 'exhilarating'.Just like Professor Barbara Seidlhofer from University of Vienna said,"English is a Lingua-Franca.As a result of the unprecedented global spread of English,it becomes reality."No wonder everybody speaks English nowadays as well as there are candidates who can achieve Band 6.I was attracted to my friend's words.."Nothing is impossible and actually impossible is nothing.."If the others can achieve the highest band for MUET,so do I!
When I first heard that we, ‘Tamhidian’ students of Islamic Science University of Malaysia, had to spend a whole day of our weekend listening to a lecture about MUET, my heart started to scream in protest. Not that I thought MUET is not really important, but it was just not the right time. Since the attendance is compulsory and I am a discipline student, I missed my family gathering in Malacca and reluctantly came to the campus. Moreover, I had already paid RM30 for the seminar’s fee. So, like it or not, I had to attend.
The seminar started an hour late than scheduled since it was raining and our speaker encountered a few problems on the way. So, while waiting we were fed with, in my opinion, quite a heavy breakfast, rice with anchovies and chicken. “ This really worth RM30. If we got this for breakfast, I wonder what we’ll get for lunch” I thought.
But, when our first speaker started to speak, I knew this seminar was really worth spending for. Both our speakers were full of experience and quite humorous teachers too. They were capable to force us, well at least me, to listen to them attentively. I found that their talks were rather enjoying and I knew I could learn a lot from them.
For a start, I had got clearer picture about what MUET really is from the first speaker. MUET actually stands for Malaysian University English Test set by the government. It is opened to any citizens who had seated at least for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). There are four components that will be tested, which are reading, writing, listening and speaking. The participants will be graded from Band 1, which is the lowest standard, until Band 6.
Besides that I also learned more about English Language from this seminar. In English there are also certain words that are usually used in speaking only called colloquial, just like in Malay Language we called ‘Bahasa Pasar’. This kind of words I usually used in my writing since I did not know about this rule. I also learned how to pronounce certain words correctly. From that day onwards, I was aware that I had to be very careful in writing and also speaking so that I would not jeopardize this language and also make a fool of myself.
Furthermore, we, the participants had been reminded again and again that in order to improve our skills either in speaking or writing we have to read. Reading is really vital if we want to learn any language. From reading, first of all, you can increase the number of your vocabulary since you will bump into many words that you never encountered before. In addition you can also distinguish the usage of words in sentences. Some words cannot be used in certain sentences although the meaning seems correct. Moreover, your grammar will also be better.
The most important lesson that I had learned from that seminar was the reason why do we have to be fluent in English, why do we have to master this language? It is not because English is the main language of the world and we have to speak in English everyday. It is just for survival. For instance when you are searching for a job you have a major advantage if you are fluent in English. Most employees state that they required employers that can speak in English because if you are going to have a business with foreigners you need to communicate in English. But, this does not mean we have to use English language for the whole life. As Malays we also have our own language that our ancestors had used, our parents use and even our Prime Minister uses it. Malay language also once had been lingua franca. So we have to be proud of it, we have to preserve it or it will be forgotten, if not now in the future. If we Malays do not want to preserve it who will? The Chinese? The Indians? They have their own language why would they bother about ours? It is really vital for us to learn English, but it is up to us also to preserve our national language.
In a nutshell that seminar had taught me a lot of lessons that I thought I would never get them anywhere else. It was a RM30 program after all so I had to grab all the information and lessons or it would be a waste of money and time. I also will strive to try and reach my target of getting at least band 5 for MUET that will be hold in this upcoming October.
MUET stands for Malaysian University English Test.It is taken by students who intend to pursue their tertiary education at local public universities since it is a mandatory test to gain entry into degree courses offered at all Malaysian public universities.It is also a test to measure candidates english proficiency comprising from reading,writing,listening and speaking skills.In order to assure candidates pass the test with flying colours,seminars have been made by profesionals to expose to them about the ins and outs of MUET.Fortunately,the seminar was held at my university and I was grateful to attend the seminar.
The seminar was divided into two sessions: the first session was about reading and writing which was done in the morning,in the evening,was on listening and speaking skills.To make things smoother during the seminar,students were given handouts as a reference.At first,my intention towards the seminar was a bit dull,I thought the test would be like the same SPM level question and probably there's not going to be a big problem in answering.However I was wrong about it,the presenter told that as we are now in a university,therefore the question level should suits our standards.She explains that due to students tend to take the test for granted,as a result many of these students end up with getting band scale 4.0 and below and unfortunately,students that got band scale 3.0 and below had to resit the test for the second time.I really hope that I will take the test just for once.
The presenter then cools us down by explaining that there's nothing to be worry about,'that is why I'm here to help',she said.For reading,we must be able to understand the passage or text in order to answer the question and some of the words in the text are quite flowery thus we need to be able to guess the meanings.I viewed some of the samples in the booklet,and I admit it is slighty hard from the one I had during SPM.She gave us some tips on reading,which is to get the general idea about the passage and read twice for some of the important words we might overlooked.She also told us to be prepare with some of the current issues that are being discussed at present.For instance,Global Warming,Diseases,Innovations in Science and so on. I'd rather say my weakest capability is in writing,because I need ample of time to generate ideas before putting it into sentence on a paper and sometimes I felt that somewhere I'm stuck in generating ideas and there's no connection to be related from one idea to another.Therefore,the presenter told us to train our minds to give points in a second as many as we can and identify the main points, supporting details and some implicit points which are necessary.
The evening sessions was a bit lively I say,probably it's because it revolves around speaking and listening.We were shown a real recorded video on speaking,involving candidates just like us whom have took the test.Although there were laughter in the hall but I believe that deep inside each one of us were the feelings of nervous when we will be facing the same situation.The presenter for this session invigorates us by showing some students who got band 5.0,4.0 and 3.0.This is just to make sure that we are determine to get at least band 4.0 to be safe.For listening she just reminds us to be attentive,such a simple word but hard to achieve.
In a nutshell,this MUET seminar undoubtedly have given me a rough idea on what's going to happen during the test.I need to prepare mentally,do a lot of readings,practise on speaking as the presenter stress out that we need to create english environment,and to be able to handle the pressure and feelings.
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