Aug 30, 2010

PMR Tips_ Writing Essay

Analysis of past years questions and ..... prediction and tips- Guided Writing

  • 2000 Informal letter & picture series
  • 2001 Giving opinion & newspaper article
  • 2002 Newspaper article & report for magazine
  • 2003 Giving opinion & description of robbery
  • 2004 Speech & Article
  • 2005 Report on National Day Celebration (picture series & note expansion)
  • 2006 Informal letter - Letter to uncle (note expansion)
  • 2007 Story (picture series & note expansion) •
  • 2008 Speech – ‘Safety Measures in School’ (picture series & note expansion)
  • 2009 Article - experience at an old folks' home (picture series & note expansion)
  • 2010 What will come out this year???? It could be a report, a letter (formal or informal) or a story. And maybe opinion based essay that has not been tested since 2001.

Tips in writing essays

  1. Understand the task given

e. g. a. Study the pictures carefully. Imagine you are one of the people in the picture. Describe

what happened. Basically understand the situation stated in the question.

b. Look at the task at hand. Write a speech / Write an article. Do look

at the structures wanted... for example: persuade your uncle.
c. Determine the tenses/ time for the task. If it is an article recount – Past tense/ time

  1. Use the rubrics in their given form.

e. g. Shopping – many people – curious- crowd – watching – snake charmer

saw – pick pocket – wallet -

  1. Use all the notes given in the question.
  2. Always write in paragraphs to organize your ideas. (Main point, elaboration, examples)
  3. Use linkers to correlate one paragraph to the other.


To show difference - On the other hand, In contrast, On the contrary, However,

Despite, To add to point - In addition, Besides, As a result, Similarly,

  1. Use the correct format

a. formal / informal letter – know where the address and signature should be.
Remember: "yours faithfully" is use only for formal letter.

b. Talk / speech – must have title, greetings to the audience, end with thank you.

c. Report – must have title and the name of the person who wrote the report at the bottom.

d. Article – must have title and appear formal

e. Giving opinion – must make sure to state your opinion at the beginning of the essay.

Letter of Complaint: More Sample Essay and tips on elaboration of points

Your class is unhappy with your school canteen. As the monitor of your class, you have been asked to write to your principal, to complain about the following:

- food left uncovered

- attract many flies

- food served is stale

- food too expensive

- oily plates and cups

- rude workers

- workers not properly attired

- dustbins not cleared daily

- same menu daily

In your letter, you would also like to offer three suggestions from your classmates:

- stringent checks

- cheaper food

- serve a variety of food

When writing the letter, you should remember:

- to set out the letter correctly

- to include all the points given

- to write in paragraphs.

(35 marks)

Look at the model answer below to revise the format of a formal letter and see how the points are elaborated.

The Class Monitor,

Form 3 Amanah,

SMK Kayu Ara Pasong,

82010 Pontian,


Encik Juhair bin Jumaat,

The Principal,

SMK Kayu Ara Pasong,

82010 Pontian,


6 OCTOBER 2010

Dear Sir,

Unsatisfactory School Canteen

On behalf of the students of 3 Amanah, I would like to lodge a complaint about the school canteen.

2. First and foremost, the food served is not covered and many flies can be seen hovering over the food. This may lead to food poisoning. Moreover, the canteen also serves stale food. The ‘nasi lemak’ turns bad by the time the upper forms have their recess. Last week, a few of us had diarrhoea after consuming food from the canteen.

3. Apart from that, the food is also too expensive. A small plate of fried mee costs RM1.50 and many poor students cannot afford it. Besides that, the canteen serves the same menu daily. The students are bored with fried rice and fried mee every day.

4. Another complaint is that the cups and plates are oily and not washed properly. The workers are also not appropriately attired although they have been told to wear aprons and caps. Moreover, these workers are rude to students. They shout at us and use foul language whenever they get angry. They also do not clear the dustbins and rubbish daily. This is very unhygienic. As a result, there is a foul stench whenever we eat in the canteen.

5. Thus, we would like to suggest that the school authorities make stringent checks on the canteen daily or weekly. They should also ensure that the canteen serves a variety of food at a reasonable price.

We would like to appeal to your sense of fairness and hope prompt action will be taken regarding these matters.

Yours faithfully,


3 Amanah

Note how the points given are arranged into paragraphs and elaborated where needed.

The last paragraph states the action you want taken.

To elaborate on a point, you may:

- give a reason

- state one effect/outcome

- give details

- explain further with facts or statistics

- give an opinion

Let’s look at some examples from the sample essay.

1. food left uncovered - attract many flies

First and foremost, the food served is left uncovered and many flies can be seen hovering over the food. This may lead to food poisoning.

Since the two points are connected, group them in one sentence. It is all right if you do not wish to use the exact words given but you must stick to the original meaning when writing. The underlined sentence are elaborated by stating one possible effect of the flies.

Remember that you only need to give a sentence or a phrase. Do not elaborate more than three or four lines. You will be wasting your time and effort.

2. same menu daily

Besides that, the canteen serves the same menu daily. The students are bored with fried rice and fried mee every day.

The phrase “same menu” is elaborated by giving a few examples.

Can you identify more examples of elaboration and the methods used?

Pay attention to the structures in the sample essay above.

Notice how the use of First and foremost, Moreover, Apart from that, Besides that, Another complaint is and so on. These are transitional words and phrases which help to make the essay flow smoothly and to lead the reader from one point to another.

You can use many other transitional words and phrases to make your essay more cohesive.

  1. To add to what you have just said: also, similarly, furthermore, in addition, then, moreover, in other words, in the same way
  2. To use a specific example to support what you have said: For example, especially, for instance, to illustrate, as an illustration, such as
  3. To show sequence: First and foremost, first, The second advantage is, Next, Another reason is, Lastly, Finally
  4. To indicate that you are about to contrast what has just been said: but, on the other hand, yet, nevertheless, on the contrary, however
  5. To indicate a conclusion: In conclusion, consequently, thus, therefore, in summary, therefore, as a result

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