SPM 2013 Paper 2 Section D

Poem: He Had Such Quiet Eyes

1. In Stanza 1,

a) what made the woman attracted to the man?

b) which word has the same meaning as “begging”?

2. “If only she’d been wise, And had listened to advice”

What is the feeling expressed in the two lines above?

3. The woman in the poem has been cheated by the man. If you were her friend, what advice would you give her?

Advice 1:

Advice 2:



Write about an important decision made by one of the characters. With close reference to the text, explain how it affects the other characters.



SPM English 2012

Paper 1 

Section A – informal letter (advice on how to spend money wisely)

Section B

1) Describe an outing with your friends.

2) Should parents give children more freedom?

3) Saving money for the future.

4) Write a story beginning with: “The teacher walked into the classroom. It was the first period…”

5) Cleanliness

Paper 2

Section D

Poem – Nature

Novel – Write about an event that makes you feel angry.


Most students should be able to do well in Directed Writing. In fact, Continuous Writing seems quite alright as well although the last question is a bit narrow, in my opinion, in terms of the things that you can cover. The final question for Continuous Writing from previous years were mostly words with multiple interpretations (such as “stars”), common ideas that students can easily elaborate on (such as “music” and “food”) or slightly abstract concepts (such as “beauty” and “peace”).

There’s nothing much to be said regarding the poem although I believe most of us were aiming for “Are you still playing your flute?” The novel question however, took me by surprise. At first glance, I myself can hardly think of an event from the novels that is negative enough to invoke feelings of anger. On top of that, students will have to justify why/how the event they chose made them feel angry. Also, being associated with anger means that the events that students can choose are limited to the negative ones whereas I believe most teachers tend to focus on the positive aspects of a novel.

Any thoughts on this year’s SPM English paper? Share them in the comments!

SPM English Trial Papers 2012 summary

It is that time of the year again as Form 5 teachers left no Internet stone unturned in their search for trial papers from states across Malaysia in the hopes that they will shed some much-needed light on the upcoming exams.

To make the process a little easier for all of you, I have summarised the trial papers from 7 states (Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu & Pulau Pinang), MRSM and SBP into a single word document that can be downloaded from here:

[ideasforenglish] SPM English Trial Papers 2012 summary

*This is just a summary to provide you with a general overview of what the different states have been asking in their trials. For the actual papers, you will have to do some digging of your own. (:

**I’ve included only what can be found online. The states that are not included either did not have state-level trials or they are simply too elusive for a regular Internet user like myself. To the best of my knowledge however, Sabah, Sarawak & Johor definitely did not have any state-level trials.

Teaching to the Test – Part 2

Last week I wrote about Paper 1 for SPM English. This week I will talk about Paper 2.

Paper 2 has a total of 4 sections with a time limit of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Section A: Multiple Choice Questions (15 marks)

This section consists of 15 MCQs. Question 1 to Question 8 are based on a variety of graphic materials such as labels, road signs, tables/charts etc. Students often need to rely on both their language knowledge as well as their general knowledge in order to be able to answer the questions correctly. Question 9 to Question 15 are in the form of a cloze passage. The questions are usually based on grammar and vocabulary.

Section B: Information Transfer (10 marks)

Again, students are given some sort of graphic material either in the form of a poster, an advertisement or even a short passage. Students  have to transfer relevant information into a table or a graphic organiser. To be honest, this is by far the easiest section in SPM English. But because of that, it is also marked the strictest. Most importantly, students must not make any spelling mistakes. This includes mistakes with capital and small letters. Also, students must not change the form of the answer. For example, from “December” to “Dec”.

Section C: Comprehension & Summary (25 marks)

In this section, students will be provided with a passage based on which they have to answer comprehension questions and write a summary.

For the comprehension questions, each question typically refers to a specific paragraph. Make sure students are aware of this so that they know where to look for the answers. Question 33 typically asks for students’ personal opinion. As such, students should refrain from copying directly from the passage. Instead, they should try to form their own sentences. Also, because this question asks for students’ opinion, any answer is acceptable as long as it is logical and suitable.

For summary, it is important for students to be able to identify the relevant points based on the question given. Look out for the key words used in the question such as “factors”, “benefits”, “causes” etc. Make sure students look for points within the range given in the question. Refer to the instruction that says “use materials from Line … to Line …”.

Section D: Literature (20 marks)

For the Literature component, please bear in mind that only the poems and the novels will be tested. The short stories, “QWERTYUIOP” and “The Fruitcake Special” as well as the drama, “Gulp and Gasp” will NOT be tested.

The poems tested are:

  • “In the Midst of Hardship” (Form 4)
  • “He Had Such Quiet Eyes” (Form 4)
  • “Nature” (Form 5)
  • “Are You Still Playing Your Flute?” (Form 5)

Only ONE poem will be selected and FOUR questions will be asked based on it.

There are a total of three novels listed for this section but students typically learn only one depending on which zone they are located in. The novels are:

  • “The Curse ” by Lee SuAnn (Pahang, Johor, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan)
  • “Catch Us If You Can” by Catherine MacPhail (Perlis, Kelantan, Kedah, Penang and Perak)
  • “Step by Wicked Step” by Anne Fine (Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca).

ONE question will be asked. Please remember that this is an extended-response question as it is allocated a total of 15 marks.

***Students are meant to answer this question based on the novel that was allocated to their zone. However, there are no set rules regarding this issue. As such, should you feel that your students will do better with one of the other novels, you can actually consider a change of text although this should be done only with the approval of your Panel Head (Ketua Panitia), Department Head (Ketua Bidang) and School Administration.

Hopefully, this helps to clear things up a little for those of you who are still new to teaching the upper forms. (: