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A reader asked how to score an A in SPM Bahasa Melayu at Malaysia Students Forum. Since I was able to score a 1A in my SPM Bahasa Melayu, I have the responsibility to help other SPM candidates to get an A in this subject too. ;-) For your information, you have to pass SPM Bahasa Melayu to be eligible to continue your studies in form six or local university. Those who don’t pass Bahasa Melayu will sit for SPM July Paper (SPM Kertas Julai) the year after they have had their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.
Firstly, I would like to share the effective tips to score well in Paper 1 (Kertas 1) with you. For section A (bahagian A), you will have to write an essay within 200 to 250 words based on the material (bahan rangsangan) given. You should ensure that the length of your essay is within the suggested length and should not exceed it though I learned from my teacher that candidate can actually write to the maximum of 255 words.
Lihat gambar di bawah dengan teliti. Huraikan pendapat anda tentang usaha-usaha yang perlu dilakukan untuk menangani gejala vandalisme. Panjang huraian anda hendaklah antara 200 hingga 250 patah perkataan.One of the questions often asked by the candidates is should candidate write the whole essay on the material given or on the topic given. For instance, in SPM Bahasa Melayu 2005 paper 1, the question for section A is just four pictures showing public property being damaged as the result of vandalism and graffiti. There is a title in bold type read: ‘GEJALA VANDALISME (Vandalism)’. Some candidates worry that they might lose the content marks if they do not write mainly about the material (images).
Source: SPM Bahasa Melayu Kertas 1 (1103/1) November 2005 Bahagian A
Actually, candidates do not have to write about the pictures (the wanton damage of public property); instead they should write an essay on the topic Vandalism. They should write about the causes (faktor/punca), effects (kesan) and/or actions (langkah mengatasinya) taken to overcome problem depending on the question. So, for SPM 2005 (referring to the question), candidate should write on the actions (usaha) to be taken to overcome vandalism. However, to play safe, candidate can include a sentence or two describing the pictures given. (Sebagai contoh, telefon awam dirosakkan dan dinding bangunan diconteng dengan bahasa kesat.)
For SPM Bahasa Melayu 2004 paper 1, the question for section A is similar to SPM 2005 in the way the question being asked, in which show four pictures of various pollution as the result of development with the title ‘PEMBANGUNAN DAN ALAM SEKITAR (The Development and the Environment)’ at the centre of the pictures. So, student should not write the whole essay about the pictures. Instead, student should write the essay focussing on the topic the Development and the Environment.
Since section A of paper 1 tests mainly on the Malay language and not the content, your essay should be grammatically correct (ayat gramatis) besides showing wide vocabulary (kosa kata luas) and interesting phrases (fasa menarik). These tips work well for section B (bahagian B) too!
Pilih satu daripada soalan di bawah dan tulis sebuah karangan yang panjangnya lebih daripada 350 patah perkataan.In section B, you have to choose one out of five questions provided and write a continuous essay (esei) more than 350 words. Please note that if you prefer writing formatted essay (karangan berformat), you have to write it in correct format to avoid mark deduction. Here is a secret to score well in this section: write a lengthy essay! Why lengthy essay? This is because a piece of lengthy writing gives the examiner an
Source: SPM Bahasa Melayu Kertas 1 (1103/1) November 2005 Bahagian B
Personally, I usually wrote my SPM Malay continuous writing more than 700 words (about three pages depending on your handwriting). Of course, your essay should not have too many errors including but not limited to grammar, spelling and word choice errors. If however you tend to make a lot of mistakes in your writing, I would advise you to write an essay about 500 words. (more than two pages depending on your handwriting). The trick is to write your words in big text size and ensure that there are not more than ten words in each line. In addition, use some relevant idioms in your writing. Some of the common Malay idioms which you should have mastered include but not limited to bulat air kerana pembetung, bulat manusia kerana muafakat; melentur buluh biarlah dari rebungnya; biar mati anak, jangan mati adat and berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing.
Some questions in section B are open questions which mean that you can write about the causes (faktor/punca), effects (kesan) and/or actions (langkah mengatasinya) taken to overcome a particular problem. For instance in SPM 2005, some questions have the keywords ‘ulas pernyataan di atas’ and ‘berikan komen anda tentang pernyataan tersebut’. Meanwhile, some other questions have limited the scope of your essay. You can easily identify this type of questions by looking for the keywords like ‘berikan pendapat anda tentang peranan keluarga dalam pembentukan sahsiah anak-anak’ and ‘tulis rencana tentang usaha-usaha yang perlu dilakukan oleh pihak berkenaan bagi meningkatkan mutu sukan negara’.
For your information, the fifth question is always a literature-type question (soalan berbentuk sastera). Most of the time, the question will ask the candidates to write a short stories (cerpen) based on a theme or idiom (peribahasa) given. Choose this type of question only if you have a sound mastery of Malay language. Generally, art stream students prefer this type of question more than science stream students.
To increase the use of textbook in classroom, our government via Malaysian Examination Council (Majlis Peperiksaan Malaysia) has decided to limit the scope of some SPM essay questions to the SPM syllabus since 2004. Hence you can actually spot the essay questions by excluding the past years’ topics. Besides that, you can analyse the trial papers’ (kertas soalan percubaan) essay questions. Here I show you a real instance where the trial question was similar to the real SPM question. Last year, the fifth essay question (tulis cerpen berdasarkan peribahasa ‘bulat air kerana pembetung, bulat manusia kerana muafakat’) in the real SPM examination was identical with Terengganu second BM trial paper’s fifth question. Was it a question leak (soalan bocor) or just a coincidence? There are a lot more real cases in other subjects too!
Below, a recap of the main tips of this post:
Essays should be grammatically correct (ayat gramatis) besides showing wide vocabulary (kosa kata luas) and interesting phrases (fasa menarik).
- Ensure that the length of your essay is within the suggested length.
- Do not write about the pictures. Instead, write an essay on the topic given.
- Write lengthy essay about 700 words.
- Use some relevant idioms in your writing.
- Analyse the topics covered in your form four and five textbooks, past years’ questions and trial papers.