Friday, April 15, 2011

The MUET Quarantine

MUET Quarantine?

So, what is MUET Quarantine?

It is my calling to write something on MUET quarantine.  Some of you have been making queries about MUET quarantine.  How do I know?  (I know, laaaah! … Heh, heh, heeeh … I know!!)

The Speaking 800/2 paper is already over and the other papers will be done with on 16 April 2011.  Therefore, this information will be somewhat not very useful for many of you as the Speaking paper is over.  As a consolation, it is still useful though, for prospective MUET candidates maybe for quite a number of years to come.

The word quarantine:
As the word quarantine crops up maybe the first thing that comes to people's minds is that of the animal or livestock quarantine maintained by the authorities at the country's entry points to prevent the free entry of unhealthy animals.  They can pose a danger to the local livestock or even to humans.

Animals will be quarantined for a certain length of time to detect diseases.  For example, cattle could be the culprits for foot and mouth disease.  If these sick animals were allowed entry, the diseases could create havoc.  

The MUET Quarantine
As far as MUET is concerned the quarantine procedure is only imposed for the Speaking 800/2 paper.  It is mandatory.  It does not mean that the candidates come for MUET afflicted with diseases!

This measure is necessary to prevent the candidates from getting in touch with people outside for the purpose of cheating.  It is also to stop them from being in contact with other candidates who have just undergone the speaking test.  The problems of test “leaks” and other dishonest practices can be prevented.

The candidates are required to come early for the test.  If they are scheduled for the first morning session, they should be in the quarantine room by 07:30 am.  There are a few things to be done and be completed.  Then they wait for their turn.  The test proper usually lasts thirty minutes for each group of four.

A Supervisor
A supervisor will inspect their National Identity Cards and examination slips.  He will assign them to their groups of four alphabetically.  He will also take possession of mobile phones from them for temporary safekeeping.  No outgoing communication at all!

Any other forms of devices will have to be surrendered too if they can double as a telephone.  Failure to do so (and if they are caught) will result in the disqualification of the candidates.  

Having finished with the preliminaries, the candidates will be given a briefing on the Test procedures and one of them will be called to inspect the Speaking papers which are still under wraps.  Having their integrity ascertained, their seals are opened - snipped up, under the watchful eyes of the candidates.  Reliability is maintained throughout the test or it is null and void.

Let The Test Begin!
As everything is ready, the candidates will be ushered into the test room that could be one or two doors away.  The examiners, as well as the candidates – being ready – the test begins.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

To Infer Or Not To Infer, That's The Question!

Dear readers,

This is the revised version of the posting that I made on 9 November 2011 on the subject of inference. I believe that here, in this posting, I am giving a better explanation and I hope readers will understand the topic better.

As for the former posting I shall have deleted it by the time that this posting is published in this blog.
The First 7 Questions of The Reading Paper
The first seven questions of the Reading Paper (MUET 800/3) is a section which requires candidates to answer, in MCQs (multiple choice questions, i.e. objective test).  The text could be purely graphical texts or a composite or mixture of graphical and linear texts.

The question arises where there are three answer choices:-  A. True, B. False and C. Not stated.  At times we can find the relevant information directly in the passage, therefore we can safely answer either TRUE or FALSE.  At times we are sure that the answer cannot found in the passage, so we choose the answer "Not stated".

A Linear Text and a Non-Linear Text
What you are reading now, under the topic “To Infer Or Not To Infer Is The Question” is a good example of a linear text.   A linear text is a piece of finished reading material that is made up of “lines” upon “lines” of sentences in an article.  What you are reading now is made up of rows upon rows of sentences from which you can get information.  They are made up of lines, thus we get the word “linear”.

A graphical text is a text where we get stinuli such as charts, graphs, pictograms and tables in which certain information (such as the sales of certain things over a period of time) are conveyed.  The information portrayed is something that can be analysed and assumptions can be made.

Sometimes you are in a dilemma, choosing between "not stated" and "true/false".  The question arises as to what kind of answer we should give as there is no direct answer in the passage (which can be either purely graphics or a mixture of linear and graphical texts).  At times we can make inferences by referring to the text and come up with either a “true” or a “false” answer.

Many students/candidates find this a problem because they find that "to read between the lines" will be difficult due to their own problems (such as not being able to understand certain words or the sentences in the passage).

We infer when there is no clear cut answer that can be found in the linear and non-linear texts.  So, we make an intelligent guess for what is not explicitly stated in the texts.  We cannot use our “knowledge of the world” even though that “knowledge” is relevant as an answer.  We cannot use that fact as the answer if it is not found or mentioned anywhere in the text.  It may sound logical but it is still not the answer – that is because, it is not found anywhere in the graphical texts.  That makes it irrelevant information and does not help you arrive at a plausible answer.

Choosing "C.  Not stated" option
When we choose the "Not stated" option we are sure that the relevant information is absolutely not found in the text given.  We choose this “Not Stated” option after having considered that the applicable information is not given and we can neither ascertain or infer a true or false answer from the text given.

An Example
This is an example of answering by inference.
The scenario in the graphical texts (or a composite of graphics and facts in tables):

The residents of Diamond Garden keep on buying the new ice cream product.  They are very satisfied, so they recommend it to their neighbours and are not bothered by the higher price.
The following example answer is the one for No. 6:
6. The residents give a positive response to the new ice cream product:

A.  True
B.  False
C.  Not stated
The answer is "A. True" after we have done an inference of the statements made. The inference is accepted as True because the inference is made through the statements found in the passage. Here, no background or knowledge of the world is used.

I hope that will give you a better grasp of this matter. Happy reading and best of luck for your coming Reading 800/3 this week!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

All The Best To MUET Candidates!

Wishing You All The Best!

I would like to wish YOU ALL the best in the MUET Mid Year Tests for 2011 that starts tomorrow, 04 April 2011. I hope all of you have got rid of your nervousness, qualms and the butterflies in your stomachs!

I hope you will not sleep too late tonight as tomorrow some of you will be taking the MUET Speaking 800/2 test. Please be early as the test starts early. You will have to be at the MUET quarantine room by 07:30 am as you will have your attendance noted. Then you will be assigned to your Speaking groups of fours.

Do not forget to have your IC and exam slips that you have obtained from the MPM - either the official exam slip posted to you or downloaded through the net and printed. 

Please treat this Test as though it is a very important interview for you. Show your best impression and well rested the night before. Have your breakfast before you enter the Quarantine room.

If you are the "cold engine" type try to engage in a conversation with somebody in the room where you can "warm up your engine" - that is you get yourself as a person ready mentally and emotionally for the test in the next room which is the Speaking Test room proper. With a "warmed up engine", I hope you will be more creative and will be able to come up with ideas that you can talk about in the test.

In task A make full use of the two minutes speaking time. Fill up the two minutes with your speech. It is not time to keep quite. In task B please get involved in the discussion and try to help your fellow candidates that seems to be hesitant or "lost". There are marks for participation, there are marks for your content and there are marks for the way you convey your spoken words. Of course none for being quite. 

All the best to you!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vocabulary In Context

Contextual Clues

This is the installment for the article posting I made sometime ago (Friday, June 18, 2010) on vocabulary in context where we can make an educated guess on the meaning of a new word. We do that by a strategy where we look for contextual clues that take us to the meaning of the word.

Definition As Contextual Clues
In this example the writer of an article or journal uses a strategy of giving the definition of the new word or phrase so that the reader will straightaway get the meaning of the new word.
"Everyone in the working world is a potential candidate for job burnout. It involves a long period of frustration with work, a loss of motivation that lingers, physical, mental and emotional exhaustion and poor health on the part of the employee."
Can you pinpoint what is the new word or phrase in the excerpt quoted above? Yes, the phrase is job burnout. The writer uses the word 'involves' to introduce the meaning of that phrase. Therefore, when the employee has job burnout, he is frustrated, loses motivation; has physical, mental and emotional exhaustion with poor health. The writer knows that some people do not know the meaning of that phrase. So, he gives the definition of that phrase.