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Some SPM candidates fail to examine the Continuous Writing questions precisely, either during practices in class or in examinations. They normally think as fast as possible and then start writing. In short, some learners do not think critically about what should be written but simply start writing the essay. Consequently, their essay could be partially relevant or occasionally, totally irrelevant.

Personally, I believe the candidates can perform better in term of the content of their essay if they seriously think about what to write. No doubt, examination jitters are often experienced by some which affects their flow of thoughts. However, if the candidates are trained well, if they are always encouraged to pose questions about their essay question, they would be able to present accurate and good contents or at least present ideas which are in line with all the essay requirements.

I will share tips or reminders based on the weaknesses shown by some of my own Form 5 learners in the recent school-based examination. The sample questions which learners should ask themselves based on the questions given are also included. Hopefully, this write-up can be a useful material to other teachers out there.


Describe your last day in your old school. Explain about special activities planned for you and what you did to hide your sadness.


  1. What are the keywords? Last day, old school, special activities PLANNED FOR YOU, hide sadness

  2. How many parts does this question have? Based on the keywords above, there are three parts – the last day in old school, special activities planned for you, hide sadness

  3. What could be the reason for the farewell / school transfer? Followed parents because father got his promotion? Had to stay with grandparents after both parents were killed in a car accident? You were expelled?

  4. Who are you? (that other people planned special activities for you) Handsome head prefect? Pretty cheerleader? Top student? Leader of a school gangster? The point is, you must be someone that others like, admire or respect.

  5. What kind of special activities? Surprised party? A prank? Funny games?

  6. When and where did they have the activities? After school? In the hall? Classroom?

When did you feel sad? How did you hide your sadness? If possible, present 2-3 different ways how you tried to hide your sadness because it is one of the essay requirements.For examples, “I was sad to leave my friends but I hid my sadness: I …”

  • I cracked jokes.

  • I laughed with my friends.

  • I ran to the toilet and cried there.

  • I looked away/ at the blue sky and took a deep breathe.

  • I pretended to be busy.

  • I ate and ate more food.

  • I reminded myself about my promise not to shed any tear in front of them.


Do not write about the last day of your Year 6 or Form 5! Why? Yes, there will be special activities on that last day of school but are those special activities planned for you?


Imagine you had a chance to spend a weekend with an amazing Malaysian. Describe your different experiences which were surprising, worrying and funny.


  1. What are the keywords? Spend a weekend, an amazing Malaysian, surprising, worrying, funny

  2. Who is that amazing Malaysian? This person cannot simply be anybody. It is better not to create a fictitious character because it is simply easier, better and more logical to choose someone who is really amazing such as Dato’ Nicol Ann David, Tun Mahathir, Datuk Dr Sheikh Muzaffar or Pandalela Rinong.

  3. How come that amazing Malaysian was willing to spend a weekend with you? Create a logical reason for instance, you get a chance to spend a weekend with Dato’ Nicol David because she is your sister’s close friend. Another possible reason could be your father is hiring her to coach you to play squash.

  4. What is the surprising experience? Be creative and imaginative! For example: You went to a café with Nicol David. She ordered a cake and surprisingly celebrated your birthday. She knew it was your birthday. She gave a very expensive gift she bought in London (another surprise).

  5. What is the worrying part? The three emotions can be presented in any order. It is up to your creativity or storyline which one comes first or last. For an instance, “…before the surprised party, I was blindfolded. Everybody purposely kept quiet for ten minutes. I was really worried. I could smell something burning and then people screaming, “Fire! Fire!”. I was panic, instantly took off the cloth but only saw the fire of the candles on the birthday cake.”

  6. What is a funny incident? Just a suggestion: “There were a few activities. Music chair was organised in the café. It was so funny when I fell on the floor. It was also hilarious each time the music was stopped; my friends clumsily fought for their seats.”


The 24-hour restaurants are to be blamed for the increase of obesity in Malaysia. How far do you agree with this statement? Give reasons to support your view.


  1. What are they keywords? Underline each of them.

  2. What is the best stand? Blame the 24-hour restaurants or the lifestyle of the obese people? Personally, disagreeing with the statement is a better choice because people are obese due to other stronger factors such as their diet and exercise routine. The availability of 24-hour restaurants is only one of the possible factors that may contribute to obesity.

  3. (After deciding the stand) What are the top 3 reasons for agreeing/disagreeing with the statement? You should list a few factors or reasons and the select the best three or four to be developed in your essay.

  4. What about the details? Do I have facts? How am I going to support my arguments? Because the essay is written in an examination, do not worry too much if you do not have any data or statistics to support your arguments. Use logic to explain your points.

No doubt writing an argumentative is a tough choice especially for those who do not have strong debating skills.


What kinds of activities held outside school you would recommend to teenagers to be involved in so that they will become better individuals? Discuss.


  1. What are keywords? Underline them.

  2. What kinds of activities held OUTSIDE school that teenagers should take part? Preferably, list down several activities and select the best four. For examples:

  • Doing charity work at an old folks home

  • Going to a public library

  • Attending a short culinary course

  • Taking part in a beach cleaning project

  • Doing a part-time job

  • Doing house chores

3. What could be the top four activities for teens and how can each activity make them better individuals? Decide based on these two main factors; the most suitable activities for teenagers and the possibility of making them better persons. Choose activities that you know best how to elaborate. Be persuasive.

Avoid suggesting activities that could also be carried out in school such as playing badminton, football or hockey. Better suggest activities which are not conducted in school such as visiting an orphanage or having a gotong-royong to clean a beach.


Write a story about a school dropout who was given a second chance to succeed in life. End your story with: “…Everybody in the hall applauded and gave their standing ovation.”


  1. What are the keywords? Underline them.

  2. How many parts does this essay question have? It is very important for you to know the number of parts in the essay question to ensure you do not leave any of the parts. Your failure to include any of the parts or requirements will affect your overall mark.

  3. Who is this school dropout? What happened to him/her that he had to leave school? Think of a few logical reasons but only choose one. It could be poverty, serious discipline problem or family issues.

  4. Who gave the second chance? How did he or she get the second chance?

  5. When did he get the second chance? The answer could be a month after he/she quit schooling or it could be after three years leaving school. It is up to your creativity and storyline.

  6. What did he/she do to succeed in life after being given the second chance? You should include a paragraph to explain about the struggle and determination to succeed.

  7. What was his/her success? The success must be outstanding. It should not be a normal or simple success because of the last sentence (Everybody in the hall applauded and gave their standing ovation).

This narrative essay should focus on three parts; the reason why he/she had to quit schooling, the second chance offered to him/her and the great success he/she finally achieved. Each part must be developed well.


The questions which are posed above are only instances of questions that SPM candidates should be actively asking before they start writing the Continuous Writing. I believe, the more they are trained to pose questions on essay questions, the more critical they will become in term of the selection of ideas for their essays. Consequently, there will be two main positive outcomes; they will fulfil all the requirements mentioned in the essay question and they will be able to present ideas of better quality. These impacts would positively affect their mark too, in shaa Allah.

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