To do well in any subject you must be able to think correctly! Thinking skills are something you can learn and develop. Ask yourself questions as you read your textbooks and notes. Talk to other students whom you notice have good thinking skills. You can also sharpen your thinking skills by taking IQ tests available in books or the Internet, or playing games that require thinking such as word games.



Gauging The English Proficiency Of Undergraduates

Last update: 26/03/2013
By Hazlinda Hamzah

This is the first of two parts on the Malaysian University English Test or 'Muet'

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 (Bernama) -- It is a fact that English is an important language worldwide.

Recently, the Education Ministry said the English language subject will be accorded a compulsory 'must pass' status in school public examinations by 2016.

English is among the top three most widely spoken languages in the world today, alongside Spanish and Mandarin, and it is regarded as an important language to master, especially for business purposes.

Thus, Malaysians should be mindful of the proficiency required to communicate in this globally accepted language.

ENGLISH TEST

Malaysian universities are constantly taking steps to ensure their students are able to effectively communicate in English.

Hence, since 1999, local public universities have made it compulsory for their students to pass Muet before they graduate.

Proficiency in English helps these undergraduates to understand their lectures and tutorials better.

Why do local university students need Muet?

According to local university officials, passing Muet is compulsory for their students to graduate.

"This is to maintain quality. Imagine a graduate who cannot communicate in English. Their market potential is drastically reduced due to this liability (unable to communicate in English)," they said.

What does it take to encourage these young undergraduates to overcome the fear of scoring good marks in Muet and graduate successfully?

EXAMINATION COUNCIL

Recently, the Malaysian Examination Council (MPM) talked to potential candidates at a university about what to expect and the preparations needed to pass Muet.

The most recently held Muet in March 2013 saw 43,000 candidates appear for it, while the earlier Muet, which was conducted in November 2012, saw 75,000 candidates appear.

Muet is held over a period of two weeks, during which different requirements are tested. Some of these tests are conducted on different days, in separate sessions running one after another during each day.

Muet was first introduced in Malaysia in 1999 and conducted only twice a year. However, in 2012, its frequency was increased to three times a year to cope with the increasing demand from universities.

REQUIRED 'BANDS'

A local university undergraduate has various requirements to fulfill to graduate with a bachelor's degree in a local university.

The usual requirement is for these graduates to obtain at least a Band Three or Band Four (according to the requirements stipulated by the respective universities/faculties) in their Muet sitting.

According to an officer in charge of Muet at the MPM, Mazlina Mohamad Arif, "It depends on the course they take and the requirements made by the respective universities.

"An external student at a Law Faculty in a local university in the Klang Valley had taken Muet more than 10 times and had only obtained a Band Three pass, which is short of the minimum Band Four faculty requirement as far as that student is concerned.

"That has kept the student from graduating (yet) until today. This can be very frustrating (for the student)," she said.

In order to obtain a Band Four pass, a candidate must do well in all four parts of the test - Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

MINIMUM GRADE

According to Mazlina, the last Muet sitting saw only two candidates obtaining a perfect Band Six pass, while eight per cent of the November 2012 Muet candidates obtained Band Four passes.

More than 36 per cent passed in Band Three, which is the necessary minimum grade and achievement for most local university courses today.

To obtain the minimum Band Three pass, candidates must score between 140 and 179 marks, while a Band Four pass is obtainable through a score of 180 to 219 marks out of the full score 300.

Candidates who score 260 marks are eligible for Band Six pass.

-- BERNAMA