LAST_UPDATESun, 22 Jul 2018 3pm

Is This English SPM 2017 Question Too Hard To Understand?

Filepic: BernamaFilepic: Bernama

For students taking their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), every single one of them would have sat for the English paper last Tuesday.

One part of the English Paper 1 questions has managed to trigger a debate on social media after a concerned adult wrote in to English news daily The Star.

The writer who signed off the letter 'Worried Malaysian' said that one of questions in the continuous writing section, which is worth 50 points, was simply not properly worded and reproduced the question below:

"The first option reads: “If you had the opportunity to move to another part of Malaysia, where would you choose to live? Explain your choice.”

How would you have answered?

According to the letter writer, many students did not realise they were confined to writing about Malaysia.

"Some wrote about living in Korea, Britain, Bali, Switzerland, Mecca, Madina, and etc.

"For excellent kids who wrote about living outside of Malaysia, they have made a mistake in one of the most important examinations in their lives.

"These kids have been in turmoil since they realised this horrendous mistake. Those who were aiming for an A+ in English are in extreme shock about this," the writer explained.

However it was the suggestion put forward next that triggered the reaction of netizens.

"I recognise that this was a mistake but the students should not be penalised severely just because they did not peruse the phrase “another part of Malaysia”.

"For example, deducting a maximum of three points for not keeping within the boundary of the question could be made while recognising that the students still wrote essays that captured the same intended themes.

"It would be truly horrible for kids with excellent English to be penalized severely and given Cs and Ds because of a mistake made under immense examination pressure," the writer highlighted in an appeal to the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate.

Was the question too tricky? Many netizens simply could not find anything wrong with it.

Here are some of the responses as shared on forum.

DDG_Ross: move to another part of msia" how is that difficult?

GreenSamurai: I think the question is very clear. Never read the whole question then want to blame the question not being clear. Kebodohan tahap gaban.

agewisdom: Terpesong, if write an essay outside Malaysia, I would grade 0/50 automatically. Save the marker a lot of time, many thanks.

But perhaps the best answer was provided by tampinmy who wrote, "I asked my 11 years old niece the exact question, and she said would choose KL.

"And when I asked, why KL and not other country, she said, "you said, any part of Malaysia what"

"So I wonder which level of "adult" is he."

- mD