Six ways to secure Band 6 in MUET your teacher won’t tell you

April 21, 2015
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Based on a research by jobstreet.com, more than 60 percent of students today fail to secure jobs due to poor grasp of the English language.

In today’s world, effective use of language helps us in our interpersonal relationships at home and at work. Our government recognizes English as one of the widely spoken languages in the world and thus introduced MUET to ensure Malaysia produces global-class graduates.

Language is any formal system of gestures, signs, sounds, and symbols used or conceived as a means of communicating thought. Here are 6 ways you can improve your English not only for MUET but forever.

1. Grow a thick skin

Head of Department of English, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, UPM, Dr Sabariah Md Rashid said that students who try to speak in English at the university are often laughed at or ridiculed by their peers.

Keep motivated – think about why you need to learn/improve English and how this will benefit you:

  • In your social life
  • In your academic studies
  • In your future – employment and careers

Recognize your own capacity to learn and your learning style:

  • If you are a visual learner, seek out images, movies and graphics that complement this strength
  • If you are a verbal learner, use textual sources
  • Auditory learners benefit from listening to the radio

2. Make friends

“The arrival of international students to universities in Malaysia benefit local students very well in mastering skills in spoken and written English,” said a USIM student currently pursuing a Bachelor in Syariah and Law, Muhammad Amirul Razali.

If you’re shy and talking to people in real life still seems like a daunting idea, try creating an online presence that reflects yourself but still retain a form of anonymity and join forums, social groups and to the delight of some: MMORPG communities; which brings us to…

3. Play a lot of games

Board games such as Scrabble and Boggle have long been recognised as great tools to improve one’s vocabulary in English.

If you’re not much of a team player (yet!) mobile phone or computer games provide many alternative options to help you increase vocabulary and improve comprehension skills.

To improve vocabulary, try hidden objects games where they provide you with names of the item you need to look for, which in turn strengthens the bridge between phrases and image in your head.

You can also play visual novel games on Android or Apple phones where you will have to make choices to move the story along. This will improve your comprehension level as you become immersed as part of the story.

4. Keep a diary

Writing a personal diary is one of the best options if you want to really improve your English writing skill.

The advantages are:

  • You can write an entry EVERYDAY (7 days a week without excuse)
  • You can write more or less depending of your free time, inspiration or mood
  • You can write about anything you like and freely without fear of being evaluated – it’s for you, not for anyone else!
  • While writing your diary your are also keeping a record of the work done
  • You can check your progression looking back at what you wrote in the past

Use a computer software or phone app with built-in spelling checker and dictionary to build your vocabulary such as these (free for PC), these (for iPhone/iPad) and these (android).

5. Karaoke!

Singing in English will help you to practice diction and vocabulary. The rhythm provided by the music will ease you into pronunciation of words that may seem hard at first.

With mp3 players and mobile phones becoming cheap as dirt, you can now take music with you anywhere and learn and practise it on the move. While it’s pleasant to have music in the background, make sure to actually pay attention to the words if you want to learn something beyond just being able to hum the tune. Write down the lyrics before checking the accuracy online or with friends to practice listening skills.

Singing in the shower counts, so sing away and be amazed at how increasingly comfortable and easy it is to build confidence in using the language!

6. Travel around and meet people

More than 400 million people speak English as their first language, and estimates of non-native English-speakers vary from 470 million to more than a billion.

Travelling abroad has been proven to encourage people in learning English, develop abilities to speak fluently and help overcome the language divide.

Backpacking is not only cheap but it is also a good opportunity to speak English in situations where you really have to make yourself understood in order to survive. It is also a good motivator to study English seriously in the weeks and months before your trip. If possible, also try to use English even when you could use your own language.

Watch movies such as Eat, Pray, Love and Wild for inspiration.

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