MUET Speaking Test 2021 – done!

Recently, I completed the MUET speaking test with much relief at my university. As I had mentioned earlier, I am taking MUET because I need a BAND 4 to enter my medical degree. I am taking MUET with the new format implemented since this year in 2021. Having been allocated the first possible test date and the first possible time slot, which was on the 17th of February, 7.30am early in the morning. I knew with some amusement that I was among the newbies for this new format.

On the day of the test, I entered the block after scanning the respective QR codes and taking my temperature, due to the current COVID situation. We entered the quarantine room of which we weren’t allowed to leave after 8am. The quarantine room consisted of chairs and tables arranged in columns and was divided into two halves, each for students designated to two test rooms (known as test centres). The quarantine room was right at the end of a corridor, while the two test rooms were both right outside the quarantine room, facing each other on opposite sides.

A lady examiner announced to the entire room of the MUET speaking 2021 new format, and any new expectations of us that we may not be aware of. There were a few rules that were surprising to me, but I took it in my stride. Here are some things she said.

Notable things the examiner said regarding the 2021 new format:

  1. Task A (individual presentation) and Task B (group discussion) are no longer related to each other. Therefore, during Task A, it is not necessary to jot down notes to use in Task B when other candidates are giving their individual presentation. Just listen to them will do.
  2. Due to the COVID pandemic, the current rules for stationary are that you bring in your own pen and pencils, but paper will be provided to you.
  3. If you are accustomed to underlining keywords on the question paper, this time you cannot, as the questions are within a clear holder for COVID SOP.
  4. For Task B (group discussion), you may add your own ideas that are not included in the mind map provided.
  5. You may not ask for clarification on the meaning of words in the question paper (while previously it was possible).

As for other details of the 2021 new format (links to Youtube videos and other sources), and things you must bring along, I will include BELOW at the end of my blogpost.

We also had to surrender our phones into a plastic bag labelled with A, B, C or D (indicating the candidate that you are) and seal it with masking tape. We were told to take everything with us when it was our turn, since we would not be allowed to reenter the test centre.

I observed what people were wearing and realized that I had chosen much more formal wear as compared to them. The attire we were told to wear was semi formal / smart casual. To be safe, I had worn a long sleeve red office shirt, with black slacks and black, slightly heeled flats; whereas for others, although they had avoided jeans and T-shirts altogether in compliance with the semi formal rule, had worn sneakers / jogging shoes and less formal tops. Anyway, it can’t hurt to be safe! The quarantine room was cold on my wild predictions, and my long sleeve shirt kept me warm.

This was my third time on campus, and I was becoming more at ease in this strange environment. I felt a little nervous, but really I was more nervous in the days leading up to the exam than today. It was as if now that the test was so close to happening, it’s already almost over! Anyway, I had my mind on the topic that we would be given, and on mentally preparing myself for the flow of the exam, how I would begin my presentation etc.

Finally, it was my group’s turn! My nervousness had already subsided almost completely, since I had had some time to even speak with my allocated three other group members and get to know them a little. They are all older than I am but very friendly. I do regret not having exchanged contacts with them. I packed my bags and belongings and moved to the test centre. We had to put all our belongings at a corner of the room. Then we sat down at the tables meant for each candidate, which were all a few feet apart to maintain social distancing. The two examiners sat at each end of the small room.

I think everything mostly went quite smoothly as I focused on generating ideas for the topic given, which was on technology. My specific situation was How Technology Helps In Housework, and I thought of the recent Chinese New Year Eve and dished out a few remotely technologically canggih equipment that I had used in cleaning the house. Haha! I may however have neglected to relate back to the question though, which is crucial. I only realized that after the exam. The group discussion on the use of technology in education also went great, though I wished we had covered more of the other points (which were given in the mindmap in the question). But time was running up already, and one of us concluded the discussion.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable exam for me. This is because I always love the opportunity to learn, and as I spoke on this topic, I saw many opportunities for me to offer some general knowledge that I had, and as I shared these things with my groupmates and expressed them out in formal English, I found myself learning things that I didn’t really realize before. However, for Task B (Group discussion), I believe I did not manage to consider properly the other points given, and I focused only on debating one side of the equation together with my teammates. It is in a small way a lost learning opportunity, and also a less complete discussion that should supposedly debate every aspect of the topic. All in all, it was still very enriching and fun. It is times like these where I truly do appreciate exams such as MUET, because I find it to be such an enriching experience, though I know it is also a nerve-wrecking one for many others. I wish we had more opportunity to carry out more discussions like these, perhaps without the weight of grades and without heavy criticism from others. Then we would learn so much!

I left the exam room happily. At ground floor there were lots of chairs and tables in a corner, and my friend beckoned for me to come discuss the topic. Together with me that day was this friend who had travelled quite a distance (interstate) to sit for this exam, whom I was meeting for the first time, due to our studies being completely online ever since June last year, since I entered my foundation year at this university. It was fun to meet them and say hi, and discuss the exam topic with much enthusiasm and amusement after it was all over.

I texted my relative, and they said they would pick me up in about 45 minutes time. Meanwhile, I explored the university a bit, trying to familiarize myself with the place I would soon call my second home.

Then it was time to go.

I’m glad my speaking test is over now! I can finally heave a sigh of relief. I have two exams coming soon and I do need to focus on studying. Later on, I would have to prepare for the rest of the exam components – MUET reading, writing and listening test, which is on a later date. For now though, the speaking test is out of the way and I can focus back on my studies for a while.

Do let me know in the comments below if this blogpost benefited you, it would make me really happy to know that I could be of help! πŸ˜›

If you’re taking your MUET speaking test soon as you are reading this, I wish you all the best!

MUET Must Brings:

  1. IC (identification card)
  2. MUET registration slip (printed from MPM’s site)
  3. Any police letters or supporting documents from your university / institution that will allow you to pass roadblocks (specific to the current COVID-19 situation)

MUET 2021 new format resources attached below!

MUET 2021 exam new format briefing:

MUET speaking example video by MPM (Majlis Peperiksaan Malaysia) according to MUET 2021 new format:

Discovering a new audience

Hi everyone! My semester break has already ended, and I am now already in my 3rd week of my final semester in foundation πŸ˜€ As you might have noticed, I have not been posting since the semester began.

This is because I have noticed that lately, more and more people from my university are discovering my blog, and I stopped posting for a while – simply to think about how I feel about this matter, and how I should adjust the way I write.

After taking into account the people who may have visited my blog, and realizing how I felt as I considered abandoning my passion for writing, my final decision is that people discovering my blog is not a bad thing. I just have to get accustomed to writing for the public eye, and tailoring what I write toward the new audience I am discovering. So after proofreading and editing all my previous blog posts, I have decided to continue posting! πŸ™‚

I have a message for my fellow peer coursemates who have found my blog, and anyone who has read or are involved in my blogposts. One, this blog is specifically targeted at our immediate juniors who are considering medicine, and to give them some insight into what medicine is really like, while covering other minor details of university life and my experiences in general. I do not do this for followers. Two, I will change facts and protect your identity if ever I wish to touch on anything that even slightly involves you in this blog. I will also try to restrict most written experiences to my own only. If ever you are uncomfortable with what I have written, for any reason at all (not necessarily privacy reasons), do let me know!

I am well aware that, by telling stories of my experiences, there is a huge crowd of amazing people involved: my family, my previous and new friends, and my ex-colleagues. It is difficult to talk about my experiences when they are so intertwined with other people.

However, I also understand that your privacy and your comfort must be ensured. I will definitely take these factors into account for every post that I write.

I realize that this is a learning process, and I am grateful for my decision to start a blog, because it constantly refines my line of thought and expression of self, and thus my maturity.

Thank you! I really do hope you will enjoy the contents of my blog πŸ˜›

Dear doctors, be kind to each other.

Very important message here. Whether you are a patient or any member of the healthcare profession, please read this.

Dharmaraj Karthikesan's Blog

I met a young doctor who used to work with me recently. I had just completed my night rounds in the hospital and I was leaving for home.

And then I saw him. He was unkempt, exhausted and appeared famished. Worst of all, he looked like a man who has totally given up on being a doctor. He appeared hesitant when I asked him what was wrong,but I could not just leave him there.

After much persuasion and insistence on my part he agreed to join me for a late supper. While he ravaged through his first proper meal of the day, he finally opened up. He has started working for the past week in a new speciality. Though the hours are longer, it was not an issue. He was well aware of the sacrifices he was expected to make.

However, the degradation, humiliation and constant harassment have finally taken…

View original post 1,733 more words

Final Exams: 2nd Semester (University)

My exams began on the 21st of December and ended on the 26th, a day after Christmas. For Christmas, I received a little stand-up makeup mirror, with a little container as its base to to place a tiny number of makeup items. I don’t have a lot, so I filled it with just my 3 nail polishes that each cost only about RM5 from Shopee, and a few of my mom’s lipsticks she gave me. I am quite a simple person; little things like these are enough to make me happy.

The edges of the mirror even has a light. You just touch the mirror itself and the edges light up! Cool.

On the 21st of December I sat for Math. My math is a little weak, and I did not really like the chapters we were studying for math in the 2nd semester (we study different chapters of math in all the 3 semesters), so I’m not sure how I did. I had reviewed all my lectures, but not done enough tutorials and did not do any past years, so I must admit that I did not practice enough. I have resolved to do much more practice for the math course in my 3rd semester. There were quite a few questions that I did not know how to do, so I definitely did not do as well as the other courses. (At university, we do not call subjects as “subjects” but rather “courses”. This is because three courses, such as Math I, Math II and Math III are all under the Math subject, but are separate courses).

On the 22nd of December, I sat for Communication Skills. I watched some debates on Youtube, and a video with very simple English on conversations at a workplace, just to get my mind set for writing dialogues. Eventually, though, I did not write a dialogue, I wrote 5 really short stories on cultural interactions, which was pretty fun, since I based many of it on my personal experiences. In the hours before my exam, I perused all m lecture notes at top speed and made handwritten summaries on them.

On the 24th of December, I sat for Inorganic Chemistry. Since it was an open book test, I made a handmade content page to make referring to my printed lecture notes easier. I had gone through most of the lecture notes in the week before the exam. Since there was a one day break between communication skills and chemistry, I used it to read all of my tutorial answers and a past year paper that our lecturer mentioned would be similar to our final assessment this semester. For Chemistry, all answers must be handwritten, so everything was rather rushed, but I still completed everything in record time and I believe I did well.

On the 26th of December, a Saturday, I sat for my last paper, Modern Biology. Modern Biology is the most interesting course this semester. So far, all the biology exams at university, being completely open book, were the most enjoyable for me because I get the joy of learning while sitting for an exam. I can search the Internet for a better answer, to complement my knowledge from our lecture notes. (Since all our courses have to have open book exams, the examiners have increased the difficulty of the questions, making them much more indirect and requiring much more thought. Yet with the Internet, my lecture notes, my tutorials and past years all next to me as I do my exams is one of the most powerful and enriching exam experiences I’ve ever had. It is, really, a food for thought on how we structure our exams in the future, even when the COVID crisis is over.) For Modern Biology, I reviewed my tutorial videos. I also made a summary on what we’d learnt for all the topics, and it made for great reference during my exam.

Then, phew! It’s time to relax! “You have to study soon, you know,” said my father immediately after my exam, pouring cold water all over my head. Oh well. But I still get to relax for a while first. Haha!

My results will be out in a 1-2 weeks. I do hope I did well! Then comes a hectic 3rd semester…. I am ready for the challenge.

3rd Semester for Foundation Year at university: Exams, Commitments and Opportunities

Having completing my exam, I am having my three week semester break now. One week has nearly passed already. It hasn’t been a very busy 2nd semester, at least not relatively as compared to the previous and coming semester. This is because I took only four courses in my 2nd semester, while for the 1st and 3rd sem I am taking 5 courses. It is fixed by my University, for foundation in science Health Science Stream students.

On top of that, I have signed up to take my MUET exam (an English Language Proficiency Test) which I must score at least a BAND 4 as a mandatory prerequisite to enter MBBS (medical course). I am also hoping to involve myself in some extracurricular activities, specifically helping the freshmen adjust to university life, and possibly taking potential students and their parents on some campus tours if we return to campus. One thing though – a few dates for training and bonding during the semester break have been set aside by our senior mentors, which I am still not sure I can commit to. It has been on my mind for a while, ever since I found that we will have training soon.

All these will fill my 3rd semester with the most commitment required so far, but I know medicine is going to be tougher. So the effort doesn’t daunt me. It is my father that may get in my way of participating in these co-curricular activities. Yes, even if these activities are all online, due to the COVID situation and rising cases. I have yet to break it to him, these activities. But these are things I want to and feel like I can contribute to. I am also hoping that these opportunities will open my eyes to interesting things.

My exam results may come out in a week or two, and so will our universities announcement on their decision regarding our academic study mode (physical, mixed or online). I will update you guys again when the time comes!