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Certainly, all candidates who have been scoring A-, A and A+ can write essays in the SPM 1119/2 paper. Nonetheless, what could be one of their weaknesses? How can ESL teachers further improve their writing quality? Based on my observations on my own fifth formers for the past years, some of them do not know how to write a topic sentence appropriately. The following is the first example of an attempt to respond to the tasks given without having a proper topic sentence.

It is apparent that the candidate straight away wrote his idea or detail in responding to the task given. For example, for task 1, candidates should write this topic sentence first before giving the details or elaboration: There are numerous benefits of reading e-books. Then, this topic sentence should be followed by the relevant supporting sentences which explain about a few benefits of reading e-books.

Similarly, for the second task, there should be this topic sentence first: Schools can promote the habit of reading e-books among students. Only then, candidate should write the relevant details.

Teachers, I am quite positive some of your intermediate or above intermediate candidates have the same issue as highlighted above. This weakness among some good writers should not be taken for granted. They should be coached and guided to know and understand about topic sentences and supporting sentences. Definitely, it would be better if they can have a thesis statement too in their introductory paragraph. With the inclusion of clear topic sentences which are supported by supporting sentences, the essay written by potential A candidates will have a better quality. Subsequently, readers/examiners will be able to see a better flow of written ideas and this without a doubt, will enhance their understanding of the essay.

The sample essay question (Part 2 of 1119/2) and sample answer shared below should be good for the potential A students to understand clearly about the importance of having topic sentences and supporting sentences. However, I would recommend that teachers explain about what topic sentence and supporting sentences are all about first to the potential A SPM 1119 candidates first before giving the sample essay below to them.

Question (Part 2 of 1119/2)

Your class has been discussing on environmental issues which are threatening the dying Mother Nature. Your teacher has asked you to write an essay about it. In your essay, you should include:

· an environmental issue that worries you the most

· ways to overcome the issue you mentioned above

· how to raise environmental awareness among teens

Use all the notes above and give reasons for your point of view. Write your essay in 125 – 150 words in an appropriate style.

Note: Besides highlighting topic and supporting sentences, this essay also highlights less common lexis (words in red) and cohesive devices (words in italic bold).


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