Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tackling 1119 English


PAPER 2 of the SPM 1119 English Language paper is very manageable. In fact the questions have become so much easier over the past five years.

All in there are four sections and you are given a total of two hours and 15 minutes to complete this paper.

Section A comprises 15 multiple-choice questions and carries 15 marks; Section B consists of ten questions and carries 10 marks; Section C consists of 10 comprehension questions which carry 10 marks and one summary question which carries 15 marks; while section D is devoted to the literature component and carries a total of 25 marks (5 marks for the questions on the poem, 5 marks for the short story and 15 marks for the novel)

As with Paper 1, good time management is crucial.

I would suggest you allocate time for the different sections as follows:

Section A - 10 minutes for the first eight questions

- 10 minutes for rational cloze

Section B - 15 minutes

Section C - Reading Comprehension

- 30 minutes - Summary – 40 minutes

Section D - 30 minutes

The first part of Section A consists of eight questions on a variety of stimuli.

The stimuli are often referred to as graphic materials and short texts.

These can be in the form of advertisements, notices or signs, memos, graphs or charts, short extracts (like news reports, book/movie reviews), instructions and even cartoon strips.

Basically, these test your comprehension ability at a very elementary level.

Remember, vocabulary is also tested here and not in the rational cloze.

The stimuli given vary from year to year. Below is an analysis of the stimuli given for the past five years:


● Always read the question first not the stimulus. When you read the question first, you know what information to look for in the given stimulus.

● Use key words in the question (or stem) to guide you. Highlight these key words so that you know what to focus on.

● Highlight or underline the evidence you find in the extract to make sure your answer is correct.

● Read all the options given. Do not jump at the first possibly correct answer you see. Choose the option that best meets the needs of the question.

● If you are unsure of the correct answer, use the elimination method, by crossing out incorrect answers.

● Make educated guesses only as a last resort and never ever leave a question unanswered.

The sample questions below mirror last year’s SPM questions.

1. According to the chart above, which town will have heavy rain throughout the day?

A. Kuching

B. Alor Setar

C. Kuala Lumpur

D. Kota Kinabalu

In the above question, you need to be able to interpret the graphic and written information.

The legend tells you what each image represents.

You need to know that the phrase ‘heavy rain’ refers to a thunderstorm and that a thunderstorm is a storm of lightning and thunder usually with rain and strong winds.

You also need to know the phrase ‘throughout the day’ refers to the whole day. In the chart, a.m. means before noon while p.m. means after noon.

Having analysed the information, you need to be able to interpret the chart given.

In option A Kuching will be cloudy before noon and it will only rain after noon.

Thus, A is incorrect.

Option B is also incorrect as Alor Setar will have clear weather before noon.

Option C is also incorrect as Kuala Lumpur, like Alor Setar will have clear weather before noon. It will only rain after noon.

This leaves us with option D. The chart shows that there will be thunderstorms in Kota Kinabalu before noon and also after noon. Therefore, option D is the best answer.

THE farewell dinner organised by SMK Seberang Pulau for its former principal was a great success. Pn Latipah Mahmood, 50, had put in for early retirement due to health reasons.

In her speech, she thanked the teachers and staff for their commitment.

2. In the report above, the phrase put in can best be replaced with

A. asked

B. agreed

C. allowed

D. appealed

The above question requires you to identify the meaning of the phrasal verb put in. In this case you need to read the whole article and ask yourself what the phrasal verb means in the given context as put in has several meanings.

From the text you know that Pn Latipah has retired early although she is only 50 years old.

This means she must have asked for or applied for early retirement.

All the options given show some form of action.

A is the correct answer as she needs to get permission before she can choose to retire early.

B is incorrect. If Pn Latipah had agreed to an early retirement, it suggests that she was asked to do so. In other words, it was not her own decision.

C is also incorrect as the principal has no power to allow for her own early retirement.

D is also incorrect as the word appealed suggests that she pleaded for early retirement.

Let’s see if you can answer the following questions .

EDUECO – Cares for the Environment

KUALA LUMPUR: A new supermarket chain, Ecofriend Sdn. Bhd. is setting a good example that other supermarkets should follow. It has decided to use paper bags to reduce the use of plastic bags which do not decompose easily.

If customers insist on having plastic bags to pack and carry their groceries, the supermarket will charge them 50 sen for each plastic bag. Customers who bring their own reusable fabric.

1. According to the newspaper report above, what will Ecofried Sdn. Bhd. do to help care for the environment?

A. Provide reusable fabric bags for all first-time customers.

B. Charge 50 sen for biodegradable plastic bags.

C. Give free vouchers to all customers.

D. Use paper bags to pack grocerie s.

Little India along Jalan Tengku Kelana in Klang is the biggest Indian street in Malaysia. It is popular among local and foreign tourists. Shoppers are literally spoilt for choice as there are several rows of shops with stalls on the sidewalks and backlanes.

The fierce competition among shop owners means lower prices for consumers. A variety of items such as saris, stainless steel pots, colourful accessories such as bangles and necklaces, and textiles are sold here.

The best time to visit this

2. From the extract above, we know that Little India attracts tourists because of its

A. low prices

B. unusual stalls

C. display of lights

D. variety of accessories

3. From the cartoon strip above, we can say that the tourist was surprised because

A. Malaysians speak fluent English

B. Malaysians learn English at school

C. the woman was able to speak fluently

D. the woman had spent many years abroad

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