Try not to treat or think of MUET as a scary test. However, don’t under estimate the preparation, time and effort required for this test either. If you have friends or classmates who have taken the test, ask them about it. You’ll probably get many many different types of answers. “OMG! It’s tough!” or “Actually, its not that hard.” Their experiences may vary depending on the amount of preparation done as well as their background in English.
Well, MUET is a test. So, you have to put some effort and time into preparing for it. Many students ask me all the time. “How many hours do I have to study?” Then, I would ask in return. “What’s your target band score? Band 6? 5? 4? 3?” If you know that you need Band 3 to pursue and continue your studies in Business Management, Marketing, Accounts etc, and you’re not very confident about your English proficiency and ability, then, be prepared to work on it. If you know that you need Band 4 or 5 to pursue your education in Law, Pharmacy, Medicine etc, then, be prepared to work very hard.
The time and effort that you put into preparing for MUET also ensures that you won’t struggle with English when you are pursuing your degree or Master’s. Imagine the frustration of struggling with English words, vocabulary etc. It makes studying your course tedious and challenging. You should be trying to understand the concepts and ideas of your course rather than waste time on looking up almost every single word in your text book.
Ok, so once you’re mentally prepared to work hard on getting your target band score for MUET. What should you do?
Tip #1 Check out the structure and format of the test. Get your hands on model test papers or past year papers. You can obtain this easily from the bookstore or from your MUET tutor. How many papers/components do you have to take? How many questions? What type of questions? How much time do you have to complete the test?
Tip #2 Prepare a plan of action When do you need to take the test? When do you need to submit your results to your university? You need to decide and draw up a timeline or schedule. If its July now and MUET is in October/November, ask yourself, how much time would you have to allocate to MUET preparation for the next 3 months or 12 weeks? 3 times a week, 2 hours a day? Self-study? Form a study group? Join a class? I would suggest all three.
Tip #3 Practice, practice, practice Yes, its just that simple. However, easier said than done. You need to manage you time and motivation level. How badly do you want this? Think about the consequences. If you don’t get the band you need, what happens? You really want to pursue tertiary education or in some cases, graduate from university. Then, practice, practice, practice. After attending sessions with your MUET tutor and study group, do the following.
Practice Speaking. Get MUET speaking questions and simulate the test. Speak to yourself. Pretend you are in the test. Visualise the test scenario. This is the best way to prevent going blank, panic in the REAL speaking test session.
Practice Reading. Its important to attempt model questions. You need to practice skimming and scanning for answers. You need to know that you can finish the 45 questions in 90 minutes.
Practice Listening. When attempting the listening test, DON’T listen to every single word of the recording. You need to learn the techniques of listening for meaning and gist. That takes practice. If you are struggling to spell words, don’t despair, just practice even more.
Practice Writing. Yes, the questions that have appeared in past year papers will not come out again. And how likely are you able to predict the questions for writing. So, what should you do? You need to practice expressing your thoughts, views, opinion, ideas in writing on paper, in the most coherent manner and with suitable vocabulary. This, takes practice.
Tip #4 Read, read, read What should you read? Be smart about it. What kind of topics are you likely to get in your test. Read articles that are relevant to those. Do you know about Plastic surgery? Social problems? Crime rates? Crime prevention? ICT updates? Work related stress? Not much? Then read about them. Read online magazines, newspapers, good quality blogs, articles from english language websites. Save them, email to your friends, share and exchange articles.
Tip #5 Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary Get a good academic workbook and work on it. Academic vocabulary which is required for MUET is different from normal everyday English. I’ve uploaded a vocabulary workbook on my blog. Download the pdf file, get it printed and complete it.