This article on Malaysian University English Test (MUET)preparation, tips and experience was written by Michelle Tam, one of the 176 candidates who got band six in MUET April/May 2007.
HOW TO GET BAND 6 IN MUET
The only things I did was read up on how to do the summary section as I always find cutting down on words the tricky part. As a former debater and public speaker, I needed no preparation for the speaking section, but only took part actively in class discussions and since I'm quite a chatterbox (and 99% of the time I converse in English, so that helps.)
As for the writing section, once again I did not prepare or look out for 'hot' topics, but I am an avid reader, having started at the tender age of 3. I devour books, finishing an average of 2-3 novels/fiction pieces a week. That helped me build a tremendous vocabulary bank and also helped me with the subtle nuances of the English language, allowing me to add flair and flavour to my writing.
As for the objective section, I got a perfect score here (135/135, I think?) by simply being careful and using every minute I had to go over the questions.
The only tips I have would be :
- Read as much as you can, not just for the exam, but for your own enrichment and enjoyment. This is seriously the best way to prepare yourself for MUET, as it helps you understand the finer nuances of the language and the subtle meanings and slight but critical differences in the meanings of similar words.
- Speak English as much as you can. I speak English all the time (and I mean ALL the time) and this has helped me to speak clearly and confidently. Even if you're weak in it, persist at it. There is no better way to better yourself in this area than by speaking the language.
- Participate in the UNSW (
) International Competitions for Schools, English. It is an international competition that I participate in every year, and I find it extremely useful as they give you detailed descriptions of your mistakes, how proficient or accurate you are compared to the rest of the country, and how you rank amongst the students in your country. Universityof New South Wales
I've been taking part in it for 3/4 years now, and every year I rank among the top 2% of the country, getting a Distinction. I find it to be very useful as it is MUCH TOUGHER than MUET, and is great help for your objective section, although it does focus on literature and 'deeper' pieces compared to MUET.
- Get involved in English based activities. I was actively involved in public speaking and debating in my secondary school, and this helped to further refine and polish my English speaking skills (plus it helps with the counter arguments during the speaking test - quick rebuttals always save the day!). Also get involved in drama as this helps you think creatively and also to express all sorts of emotions/convince the audience etc.
My MUET experience was pretty ordinary. I missed my Band 6 the first time by a mere 4 points and that was pretty upsetting - I breezed through the objective part too quickly, I think, causing me to lose those much needed marks.
Second time around, I was more careful. I made sure I went through my objective session thoroughly and also drew on my National Service experience and knowledge to make my essay on firearms convincing. I practiced the speaking section with a group of people on the same level of eloquence and intelligence (such as other national level best speakers + drama champions), ensuring that I wasn't just out talking the rest, but actually facing a challenge with answering their sharp and incisive questions and also thinking on my feet.
When I got my Band 6, I was elated, as it wasn't just a scrape through but a comfortable score of 273. I knew I could do it, and I wish I had been more serious during my first try as it would have saved me RM 60, hee.
All in all, it was a pleasant journey that was not taxed by arduous preparation. technically, I had been getting ready for it all along, as I read a lot, speak English all the time, enter English related competitions and get involved in English related school activities. I'm glad that it has all paid off - the Band 6 truly was the icing on the cake.
About the Author
Michelle Tam is currently an Upper Sixer in
She is also an avid reader and writer, as she loves anything and everything to do with the English Language. She takes part in as many writing competitions as she can, garnering Highly Commended's in the international Royal Commonwealth Essay Competition and emerged as runner up in the Oxford-Cambridge Essay Writing Competition in 2005, am the school's drama team's script editor (they are going to the nationals in Langkawi!) amongst a few achievements