Strategies for Taking Muet and Getting High Scores

Successfully passing the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) is a prerequisite if you want to enter a public or private university in Malaysia. The reading section carries 40% of the entire exam's weight, which means it is extremely important that you study properly. But do not let this fact overwhelm you. Instead, your best bet is to utilize some tried and true strategies as you prepare for it.

Since the purpose of MUET is to test your English proficiency, there is no way you can fake it. You really need to develop a plan and work hard on improving your English abilities, as you get ready for the test.

It goes without saying that if English happens to be your first language, you will naturally go into the test with a built-in advantage. But this does not mean that you shouldn't study at all.

Suggestions That Will Help You Get the Score That You Need to Get into University

Familiarize Yourself with the Format and the Structure of the Exam

If you want to succeed on the test, the first step is to look it over. Familiarize yourself with the format and structure. This will help you better understand what will be expected of you when you take it.

Note that MUET contains 4 different components:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

Each component is graded on a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest.

Take a look at some sample questions or full test papers from previous years while you study for MUET. Feel free to ask the senior students about their impressions of the test. You can also ask your teachers or even enroll in an online training course to give you a real edge.

Master the Grammar

If you struggle with proper grammar, you will not fare very well on MUET. Make sure to focus on the various grammar aspects as well as correct punctuation. It is also not enough to read through a dictionary and try to memorize words. You should be able to apply them in the right context as well. You might think it is impressive to demonstrate that you know a new word, but it will look comical if you fail to use it correctly.

English Speaking Practice is Essential

If you want to do well on the speaking part, you should immerse yourself in English. Chat with native speakers online, participate in debates, attending English-speaking clubs. Practice in front of a mirror as well. Basically, do anything that allows your English speaking to become a regular routine.

Plan Well

Remember that exams are purposely designed to fail those who did not prepare well for them. Don't wait until the last couple of weeks to start studying, start well in advance. Make a schedule or timetable, determine what goals you want to improve, pace yourself so that you don't burn out and make sure you are doing everything possible to identify mistakes and correcting them accordingly. Of course, take as many practice tests as you can based on the actual conditions on test day. That way, when it comes to taking the actual test, you will treat it like something you've done before, since you sort of will have.

Don't Let Stress Get the Best of You

Feeling stressed out will unleash an unfortunate chain of events that is bound to cause problems on test day. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a wholesome breakfast, and think positively. Relax by listening to music without lyrics, take a hot bath, and even indulge with some dark chocolate. Getting some exercise or taking up yoga can also be effective.

So it is Exam Day. Now What?

You have made it to the testing center. Congratulations! Very soon, those weeks of preparation will pay off. Relax and do not chew on your nails. Take some deep breathes. Your peers will be in the same boat as you, so do not think that you are the only one who feels some anxiety. But anyway, you have to believe that you will do great! Just follow these Dos and Don'ts on exam day:

  1. Read (Obviously)
  • Read as much as you can.
  • Choose sources that are reputable such as Time Magazine, The Economist, Newsweek, etc. The articles that you'll find on the exam typically come from sources like these.
  • Read newspapers such as The New York Times and Times of London to stay up to speed on current events.
  • Write down words that are unclear to you and commit important phrases that you would like to use on the written essay to memory.
  1. Time management is Key!
  • Remember that you only have 90 minutes to answer 45 exam questions, which comes out to 2 minutes per question.
  • Start by reading the questions and underlining important words.
  • Now go back and read the text, answering each question along the way.
  1. Be Prepared to Demonstrate Your Vocabulary Skills!
  • The exam paper consists of 6 texts total, and the first text always includes a non-linear stimuli such as a graph, chart or diagram.
  • You will need to explain what the charts/graphs/diagrams mean using proper vocabulary
  • You will also use utilize vocabulary during the report writing part.
  1.  Back Up Your Claims!
  • For some questions, you will be asked to use critical thinking skills to reach conclusions based on the evidence presented in the texts.
  • When you are given True/False/Not Stated questions, make sure to provide objective answers, not merely state what you personally believe is true.
  • Highlight any evidence as you are reading the text so that you can go back to it.
  • When responding with "True," you must provide evidence of this fact. This is also the case when you indicate "False."
  • When answering "Not Stated," you will not be required to provide any evidence.
  1. Pay attention to root words, suffixes and prefixes
  • Remember that while taking the exam, you will not be able to use a dictionary or the Internet. But if you have studied up on root words, suffixes and prefixes, it will help you decipher the meaning of the words.
  • When trying to determine whether a word has a positive, negative or neutral meaning, focus on the entire text in order to check for context.
  • If you eliminate the obviously incorrect answer options, you will be able to increase the odds of selecting the correct one since there will be fewer to choose from.
  1. Use Critical thinking skills

The MUET level comprehension questions require you to understand the writer's intent. Focus on these three elements:

  • (A) Purpose of the writing

For example: to discuss, inform, argue, persuade, persuade, etc.

  • (B) Type of writing

Example: descriptive, compare and contrast, narrative, explanatory, cause and effect, argumentative, sequencing events, etc.

  • (C) Tone of writing

Example: supportive, opposing, indifferent, neutral, biased, etc.

  1. Evaluating the articles as a whole
  • You could be asked to summarize a particular paragraph
  • Or make up an appropriate title for the article
  • Or select the best conclusion among the given choices.
  1. Practice makes perfect!
  • The more you practice, the easier (and less stressful) the exam will be.
  • Study from practice tests. Using Oxford or Longman workbooks can also help you prepare.
  • When you take a practice test, do it under the same conditions as the actual test, which means don't use any notes, dictionaries, or other materials.
  • As you continue to take practice tests, you should see your scores improve. If they do not, examine the questions and figure out why you got them wrong. Do not forget to also determine why you answered correctly!
  • As a few months pass and you get closer to the real exam, retake your very first practice exam to determine whether you are still able to retain that information.
  1. Set realistic goals as you study

You are not going to ace a practice exam the very first time you take one. What you will really want to focus on is making gradual improvements. If you give yourself a few months, you are sure to improve and you will have nothing to worry about when test day comes!