Spm English 1119 Sample Essay Papers

A quick guide to SPM English 1119

by StudyMalaysia.com on March 29, 2016 | Top Stories

Ten things to remember for English 1119 Paper 1 Section A

  1. Section A contains tasks where the essay is usually a letter, report, talk, speech or article. All these types of writing tasks have formats; make sure you know them.
  2. Use all the given notes. Do not write too much. One elaboration per point and one additional point of your own is usually sufficient.
  3. Spend a maximum of 45 minutes. Do not waste too much time here.
  4. Reports, articles and formal letters require formal language. Do not use slang or ‘buddy’ language.
  5. 250 words should be sufficient.
  6. Many of the writing tasks require the past tense. Know when to use them.
  7. Language carries 20 marks; keep your sentences short, clear and accurate. Spelling is crucial.
  8. Addresses and names can be fictitious. Don’t worry too much about them.
  9. Some of the reports, formal letters and articles need the writer’s name and position, if any. Reports and formal letters must be signed.
  10. Here is a simple time schedule:
    • 15 mins to plan and write your draft
    • 10 mins to edit
    • 15 mins to rewrite
    • 5 mins to check grammar and spelling

Important: Please do not submit a blank piece of paper. Any attempt however small, garners marks. Please do not write more than the necessary in this section; many students do and find themselves short of time in section B. The ideal length is about 250 words or so.

Did you know?

Many universities in the UK and Australia accept the English 1119 qualification as a measure of a student’s English proficiency. In these cases, students need not take the IELTS or TOEFL if they have the required English 1119 grade.

Students who want to sit for the English 1119 as a private candidate can register with the Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri (http://www.moe.gov.my/my/direktori-jpn) or Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (http://www.moe.gov.my/my/selangor). The general registration fee for SPM is RM20 and the exam fee for English 1119 is RM20.50.

Registration is usually open from 1-31 March each year.

The writing tasks in Paper 1 Section B comes in five choices: narrative or descriptive, expository, argumentative, imaginative and now, a new type that has replaced the one word essay – proverb or idiomatic expression. The last one often comes with a given situation (this makes it easier!).


Here is an example of the 2014 questions:

Describe an important family celebration and how you felt about it. (Descriptive)

There is a lack of freedom given to teenagers today. Do you agree? (Argumentative)

Why are animals important to human beings? (Expository)

Write a story about a fisherman beginning with: “The wind blew strongly. Out at sea, …” (Imaginative)

‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’ Describe how a friend helped you in difficult time. (Proverb)


Ten things to remember for English 1119 Paper 1 Section B

  1. Underline key words in the question and read it several times.
  2. Use a mind map before starting. Each point should be followed by an elaboration and an example.
  3. Try to add facts and figures where necessary. Refer to newspaper articles regarding people, places and events.
  4. Keep a scrap book to read these articles before the exam.
  5. Keep sentences simple and vary them with long and short sentences. Use paragraphs to introduce new ideas and points.
  6. The word limit is a minimum of 350 words. A rough guide would be: introductory paragraph – 25 words; conclusion – 25 words; and six paragraphs of 50 words each for the body.
  7. Don’t write too much. This could cost you language points if you make grammatical and spelling errors.
  8. Try to be cheerful and positive in your writing. Sad essays may seem unappealing.
  9. Try practising for at least three essay types. Do not limit your choice to one essay type.
  10. Here is a sample time schedule for this essay task:
    • 5-10 mins for the mind map/outline
    • 10 mins to draft
    • 20-30 mins to write
    • 5-10 mins to check

Ten things to remember for paper 2

  1. Section A – 15 marks. The objective questions are tricky. Read them at least twice underlining key words in the question and answers.
  2. Read the cloze passage once in questions 9-15. They usually deal with tenses (simple present/past, present/past perfect tenses), articles (a, an, the), determiners (the, this, that), prepositions (in, on, of, for, at), pronouns (his, hers, its, their, our) – Write the answers in the blanks before deciding.
  3. Section B – 10 marks. The answers are usually short and precise. Do not put two answers in one blank. Answers that are copied directly from the source text will not gain marks.
  4. Section C – Answers for the comprehension task are usually short and precise. Lifting the entire sentence can result in errors. Underline main points as you read. Each paragraph has at least two points that you need for the summary. Keep the summary within the 130 word limit. Use the 10 words given. Connect each sentence with a sentence or sequence connector.
  5. Section D – Question 32 is on one of the poems you learnt. This section involves at least two questions that require you to quote lines from the poem and one personal response from you. Pay attention in class and you will be all right.
  6. Question 33 is about the novel you studied. Have quotations ready for each character in the story. Quote what they said to support your point.
  7. There must be an introduction, three points with elaboration and evidence from the text in three distinct paragraphs followed by a summing up or conclusion based on the question.
  8. The questions are on Theme, Characterization (like/dislike), Moral Values, Lessons and your personal response or evaluation of the novel, plot or storyline.
  9. The time and setting of the novel are as important as the author and his/her views. Read up on it.
  10. Never use a revision book as a substitute for reading the novel.

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These are the criteria for getting the best grades (A1 and A2, 41 - 50 marks):

1) Hardly any mistakes in grammar (including spelling and punctuation)

2) Effective use of varied sentence structures

3) Wide vocabulary, used expressively/precisely

4) Good and relevant points

5) Coherence in paragraphing

6) Well-organised paragraphing

7) Essay is very interesting and shows originality

(Click here for the full list of the marking band)


Here are the tips on how to write a good essay, based on each criterion:

1) Hardly any mistakes in grammar (including spelling and punctuation)

Good essays should be without any major grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors. So, focus on these key aspects. Make sure that you know the grammar rules well and apply them when you write. To learn grammar, click here. To understand the importance of learning grammar, click here.


2) Effective use of varied sentence structures

Many students face problems with the sentence structure of the English language. The problem can be solved through plenty of reading. When you read, your mind is fed with the correct sentence structures over and over. In time, you will be able to write sentences with the right structure. When you write an essay, use a variety of sentences - simple, compound, complex, sentences in both the active voice and passive voice, etc. Thus, it is advisable to make good use of as much variety of reading material as possible - storybooks, magazines, newspapers, etc. to expose yourself to different types of sentence structures.To read, click here for the reading room of this website and click here to read SPM model essays.


3) Wide vocabulary, used expressively/precisely

Reading helps to increase your vocabulary. When you see a new word, look it up in a dictionary to learn its meaning. To score high marks, you need to show that you have a wide vocabulary. For example, you can use 'delighted' or 'overjoyed' instead of 'happy'. Instead of using 'sad', use 'upset' or 'downhearted'. Try not to use the same word repeatedly. Use different words with the same meaning to impress the examiner. It is also important that you use a word precisely or accurately. Wrong use of words result in mark deduction. So, make sure that a word is suitable to be used in a sentence or a particular situation before using it. Make good use of the 'Increase your vocabulary' section of this website to help you build your vocabulary. Reading helps you understand the meaning of a word accurately. When you read extensively, you tend to be familiar with words and know when to use them and when not to. Look it up in a dictionary again when you forget the meaning of a particular word. To learn a new word each day, go to the home page of this website or click here. To learn the words that were featured in the past, click here.


4) Good and relevant points

When writing an essay, it is important to write about relevant points, or write about what the question ask for. For example, for the title 'Describe an outing with your friends', the whole essay should be about the outing. If you write about other things such as your friends' hobbies, that would be irrelevant. As long as you understand the title and write relevant points, you will be safe. The lack of points or ideas is a common problem faced by students when writing essays. Reading model essays helps a lot, since it gives you plenty of ideas. To read SPM model essays, click here. To look at past year paper essay titles and the model answers, click here.


5) Coherence in paragraphing & 6) Well-organised paragraphing

An Oxford dictionary defines 'coherence' as 'the situation in which all the parts of something fit together well'. For instance, when writing an essay entitled 'My Hero', it is advisable to write about things that are of the same nature in a paragraph. For example, after the introduction, you can write about the childhood of your hero in the first paragraph. Then, in the second, third, fourth and fifth paragraphs, you can write about his educational background, occupation, personalities and accomplishments respectively. It is unwise to mix them up as it lacks coherence and is not well-organised.


7) Essay is very interesting and shows originality

An interesting essay does not talk about the boring stuff. For example, you decide to write an essay entitled 'Describe an enjoyable weekend you have experienced' and describe a camping trip at the beach with your family. Avoid including stuff like:

"When I woke up that morning, I went to the toilet to brush my teeth and wash my face. After that, I dressed up and went downstairs to have my breakfast. I have bread and butter for breakfast..."

You can put it this way:

"When I woke up that morning, I was excited as my whole family would be going on a camping trip at the beach. After getting everything ready, we set off for the beach in my father's van..."

You can continue the essay by describing all the interesting things that you and your family saw and did at the beach. It is a good idea to write about your own experience, since it shows originality. When writing essays, it is also important to write about logical things.

Click here for Dr Grammar's tips on how to write a good essay.


Stated above are the important points to note. Apart from those based on the criteria, other points to take note of include:

i) Practise writing essays, since 'practice makes perfect'. Besides school assignments, try to write more essays and have someone qualified to correct them for you. When you make mistakes, learn from them and make it a point not to repeat them again, in order to improve your writing skills effectively. When practising, learn to finish an essay within the time frame given. For instance, in SPM, you have about an hour to complete an essay. Spend about 10 minutes, 35 minutes and 15 minutes on planning, writing and checking the essay respectively. If you wish to, you can submit your essays to Dr Grammar. After Dr Grammar has corrected your essays, they will be included in the "Students' Essays" section. You can then compare the corrected essay with your original essay to find out where your weak points are and improve accordingly. To submit an essay, click here.

ii) Remember, there are no short cuts to success. Essay writing skills take time to develop. There goes the saying, 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. Diligence and perseverance are the keys to success. Do not give up until you succeed. If you face problems or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Dr Grammar. To submit a question, click here.

iii) Look at the past year papers and study the examination format. Then, refer to the model answers and familiarise yourself with the answering techniques in order to score high marks. To look at the essay titles of past year papers and model answers, click here.


To summarise:

1 Learn the grammar rules well and be familiar with them.

2 Do more reading, as it helps in all aspects of writing good essays.

3 Practise writing essays and learn from your mistakes.
(*Note: while it is good to learn from your mistakes, it is even better if you are able to learn from others' mistakes. You can do so by possessing the ebook entitled '48 Essays Corrected and Explained'.)


**Note: Dr Grammar's assistance is available after you make a purchase of the ebook entitiled '48 Essays Corrected and Explained'. You can purchase either Book 1, Book 2 or the combined edition of Book 1 and 2 at a discount price. The books are available for reading instantly after your payment. After purchasing the book(s), you can fill in the form on this page to get unlimited help from Dr Grammar. Please note that a purchase is valid only if you make the purchase by using Dr Grammar's affiliate link, which can be performed by clicking the ad below, or by clicking here. If you need assistance purchasing the book, feel free to email us at admin@english312.com.

Good luck to you in all your examinations!


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