My MUET Experience: Reading, Writing and Listening (July 2013)

Read the first part of my MUET experience here.

I had my written papers for MUET last Saturday and to sum it up in one word, it was: tough. Let’s start with Reading.

I was super sleepy that morning and I regretted so much on not drinking a cup of coffee before going to school, and let me tell you, it’s the worst day ever not to have coffee. The actual Reading paper, compared to my two other school trial papers, was miles tougher. The passages given were not only boring (you know, facts, data and all), it also contained one literature passage sourced from some US material, so it was quite hard to understand and I had to read its sentences a few times before getting it. To top it off, I was literally half conscious through it all and at that time I was already hoping for the worst. lol. Frankly, after doing a few past year Reading papers, I came to realize the actual papers are always more difficult, not only compared to my school trial papers, but also to other MUET reference book exercises (the ones that I’ve done at least), so I couldn’t say I was surprised at the turnout.

Reading, I expected it to be bad. As for Writing, I didn’t expect it to be worse.

For the Report Writing, I was hoping to get tables ’cause I’m better with interpreting those compared to graphs. But as you know, that day the world was against me, so I got 2 graphs for the first Writing question. That wasn’t why Writing was so bad though. The graphs were a bit tricky but to me, they’re considered doable, like if you analyze it properly, you’ll be able to write. No Einstein brain required. So moving on to the second question, when I first saw it, I was dumbfounded, baffled, mind-blown, whatever you like to call it. Behold:

“Everyone should aim to become a millionaire by the age of 35.” Discuss.

Cue Jackie Chan meme.

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I was like, is this even legit? Why would you even ask such a question? How was this “general knowledge”? (My MUET teacher told us time and time again that MUET is not only an English proficiency test, but it is also a test of maturity, as in you have to have sufficient amount of general knowledge in your head to be able to answer their questions) I was just shattered, to put simply. I’ve spent the past year doing essays relating the topic of education, social problems, ICT, of the sorts, and now it was like everything was done for naught. I was like on ground zero at that time and had to really dig into my mind to come up with something that sounded logical. With only 1 hour left, I just wrote out the first thing that came to my mind and I had no time to rethink or reanalyze my thoughts on whether it was good enough, or if I could put it in better words, things like that. I chose to disagree with the statement because having a stand in any essay, regardless of the question, is safer than not having one at all. In the end, I–as my MUET teacher would put it–bluffed my way through saying how it was unrealistic and impractical to aim to become a millionaire by the age of 35, or a millionaire at all at that. It was something I personally thought true, so I managed to save a little time on that ’cause I was mostly just expressing myself, I guess. Not sure if it made much of a difference though.

I still think the question was bonkers.

The last paper of the day was Listening. And let me tell you, this paper was off the charts, downright ridiculous.

The paper in itself I have to admit, was quite easy compared to Reading and Writing, but the case with Listening was not about the paper; it was about the CD. With the exams going on each year–3 times a year to be precise–you would have expected them to at least prepare a good audio CD, right? Well, that was not the case, not from what I’ve experienced, at least.

When the invigilator inserted the CD into our school’s player and pressed the Play button, I was immediately horrified, and I was sure the rest of the room was too. It was so freaking soft that it sounded like a whisper. And the invigilator already put it on full volume. I even heard them saying they’ve tried other CDs and it worked out fine.

Like, are you kidding me right now? A glitch? This is not happening. How could this happen? I’m so gonna fail MUET.

Yes, I had those thoughts while the invigilators tried to fix things. There were chatter in the room and some even laughed out of disbelief and one of the invigilators had to ask us to keep quiet, ’cause you know, we were supposed to be having exams. Calls were made and one of the other MUET teachers of my school came along with a different player and weirdly it worked. I mean, the audio was louder when put into the other player. So, was it the CD’s fault or the player now? I don’t even know what happened back there…

Anyway, so our paper was stalled for 10 minutes because of the glitch but luckily the teachers were able to fix it. The volume of the CD was still not loud enough to a point that it was crystal clear, even when the player’s volume was maxed out, but it was much better still. I really thank God for letting me sit directly in front of the player, otherwise I would’ve had a harder time trying to listen to the CD. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was really frustrated at that time. Even when my MUET teacher warned us about this (apparently mishaps are bound to happen), I thought it wouldn’t happen to us. As in there is a possibility for such an occurrence to happen, but I just thought it would be rare.

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So yeah, I guess that’s about it. Everything that I’ve posted here and on the first part of my MUET experience are just the things that happened during my MUET exams, meaning the same thing wouldn’t necessarily happen to you, and everything that I’ve typed out are based on my own opinion, with my point of view. Others may have differing thoughts, I don’t know, since we’re all wired differently. Optimists might find nothing wrong with the exams, that I’m over exaggerating, but I’m naturally a bit pessimistic, so in reality it might’ve not been that bad? Don’t just take my word for it and don’t be freaked out just because the things I’ve typed sounded scary because like I said, everyone’s experiences are different.

My advice (if you’d bother taking it at all) would be to buy a MUET reference book that has harder Reading questions, the sort that doesn’t have direct answers to the questions, so you would get used to that kind of questioning and you wouldn’t have as hard a time as those who practiced with easier questions, comparatively speaking. If that makes sense. For Writing, I would suggest to read different kinds of materials and to start early on it because you need to familiarize yourself with the format and of course, practice, practice, practice. Don’t just read without writing, it doesn’t work that way. As for Listening, it’s best to try out different Listening CDs at home and try to get the hang of the way they speak (’cause obviously they don’t speak Malaysian “rojak” English) and train yourself to write according to the speed of their speech, ’cause you never know what would be given for the actual exams. Last but not least, don’t do preparations at the last minute. You would only be hurting yourself. Unless if you’re an English expert, I strongly urge you not to.

Alrighty, that’s all for my super lengthy post. Just walk into the exam hall fully prepared and you’ll do just fine πŸ™‚

15 thoughts on “My MUET Experience: Reading, Writing and Listening (July 2013)

  1. HI there! Im currently doin my form 6 and will be sitting for muet this July. That was some good tips and sharing of your wonderful experience. is there any way for me to contact you? Your e-mail id at least? Cause I got tonnes of questions to ask πŸ™‚

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    1. Hi there, sorry I took so long to reply! (The WordPress notification has been a bit buggy)
      If you still need to contact me, you can PM me on my Instagram account @suzannewritesstories πŸ™‚

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  2. Hi ! Lol, I had already thinking about this exam. Of course worrying about this sort of things. Actually, I’m still waiting for my SPM’s result. But I keep curios about all those things. By the way , thank you for your entry about your experienced facing MUET . Really appreciate it πŸ˜€

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    1. Well, I guess to put it simply I practised a lot. I’m not stating this to brag but I’ve never gotten anything lower than an A for my English throughout high school and even then I find I needed to work hard for MUET because it’s so different. If you’re serious about scoring then I suggest you buy MUET exercises to do. That’s basically what I do in classes, just lots of exercises. It takes practice πŸ™‚

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  3. Hi, a question for the writing part, task 1: are we allowed to compared the information that we find in the tables/graphs/charts? And about the reading “different kinds of material”, what other things can we read on aside the newpapers? Thanks in advance

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    1. Hi πŸ™‚

      For task 1, I believe you’re SUPPOSED compare the information given, at least that’s the feedback I got from my MUET teacher when I asked her how to get better marks. There’s this question I did way back, about the different perspectives of adults aged 20-30 and adults aged 40-50. Their goals are different, like their desired income, marriage, stuff like that, so you can compare those two and maybe say like, (imagine there’s a table or a graph with the details) “Adults aged 40-50’s desired income are 3k-4k, while the other group prefer 5k-6k, which is influenced by their priority of wealth over family” (if they stated something about wealth and family…You have to always refer back to the table/graph/chart/whatever and not come up with your own assumptions.)

      As for the “different reading materials” I meant that as a way to improve your overall English skills, not as a way to tackle just MUET. I normally read articles I’m interested in, even gossip sites (lol) and I read a lot of novels so I think that helps with the way I write ’cause I believe one cannot write if one does not read. As for MUET itself, honestly I just read the sample band 6 or high band 5 essays that my MUET teacher provided us. I tried to understand how they elaborate the essay and what they wrote and the words they used and compared it with my own essay, like what could I add in order to improve my writing, or what should I change, stuff like that. It’s more of understanding how they write (like the level of maturity, what examples they gave, etc) as opposed to understanding the topic they are writing about.

      I hope I’m not being too confusing. Heh.

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