Monday, 9 January 2012

Guidelines to Directed Writing (SPM 1119/1)

Given appropriate guidance, even candidates who are linguistically weak should be able to handle this question. Why?
Candidates do not have to worry about what to write as they are given help with content. The content is provided in the form of points and candidates need to rewrite the points in the form of sentences without distorting the meaning. Candidates can score FULL MARKS for content if they are able to use the information given in grammatically sound sentences, irrespective of the sentence type or length.

Guidelines:
1. Read the question carefully.
2. Use the 45 minutes allocated for this question wisely. Bear in mind, no matter how much you write, you can only score a maximum of 15 marks for content.
3. Include an introduction and a conclusion and make sure your paragraphs are well-organised.
4. Use ALL content points given. Cross out the points you have used to make sure no point is left out.
5. Use the points in the order in which they are given to avoid leaving out a point.
6. Avoid paraphrasing the points given. This may result in distortion of meaning.
7. Include points of your own ONLY if you are asked to.
8. You should elaborate on the points given. Your elaborations can be in the form of examples, facts and figures or any extra information.
9. Use a variety of sentence structures so that your essay is not dull and monotonous.
10. Use effective vocabulary such as using appropriate words and expressions to convey meaning.
11. Include suitable idiomatic expressions or quotations to enhance your writing.
12. Always read through what you have written.
13. Submit a neatly written piece of work.

Common mistakes:
1. Poor time management.
What to do: Do not spend more than the allocated 45 minutes. Remember that Continuous Writing carries more marks.
2. Lengthy essay.
What to do: Do not write too much. A response of 1 ½ - 2 pages is sufficient.
3. Usage of Informal language.
What to do: Do not use spoken language. Avoid using slang words (guys, dudes, brekkie), contractions (can’t, mustn’t etc) and informal language.
4. Too many idiomatic expressions.
Directed Writing is NOT similar to your Bahasa Melayu paper where using as many idiomatic expression as you can in your writing is a required practice.
What to do: One or two idiomatic expressions is enough depending on the question.
5. Poor punctuation.
What to do: Make sure you end your sentence with a full stop and not a comma. Make sure that the pronoun ‘I’ is written in uppercase and not lowercase ‘i’ as is practised among some candidates.

(Adapted from SPM Series: English by Jugdeep Kaur Sunday STAR 3 October 2010)

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