In early 2020, the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MOE) has introduced a new format for SPM 2021 examination. The new format is concurrent to the introduction of new SPM subject packages of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), as well as arts and humanities to all form four students, starting in 2020.
When I looked at the instrument type for SPM English 2021 outline, only one paper which is the Listening test will be marked by the Lembaga Pentaksiran Malaysia (LPM) or external markers. Meanwhile, all the other 3 papers will be marked internally by the school teachers.
This is a piece of good news as your teachers might give you tips and tricks to answer the questions. So, you’ll only need to focus more during class and answer according to how the teacher taught you.
The weightage for all papers or I can say, skills (Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking) is up to 25%. The marks will then be added up for an overall grade, which is similar to MUET, TOEFL & IELTS.
CEFR Marking Scale For SPM English 2021
Previously, we used the grading system using the letter A for the advanced learner; followed by A-, B+, B- and so on to distinguish between their levels of proficiency. However, since the new format is adapted from The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the grading will follow the CEFR Measuring system too.
Based on the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MOE), the aspirational target for SPM leavers would be at level B2 where they are equipped with adequate English for further career enhancement, walking towards the real world.
At level B1, students should be able to understand the main point when talking about familiar matters. They should also be able to communicate in English when needed, such as when encountering English tourists which requires them to speak of any local places of interest or the description of foods, events, culture and can express their brief opinions.
Meanwhile, if the SPM leavers are able to score at level B2, their ability to understand complex sentences and advanced topics is higher. They can comfortably communicate with any native speaker.
Let us see how is the marking breakdown for SPM English paper 2021.
Marking Scheme for SPM Paper 1 - Reading
Paper 1 English SPM will test your reading and the use of English. It is almost similar to the Paper 2 formats prior to 2020. The total mark for this paper is 40 marks. The time allocated for paper 1 is 90 minutes. The paper will be divided into 5 parts. Each correct answer is awarded 1 mark.
- Part 1 - There are 8 questions to answer in this part. The question will be on short texts taken from books and magazines, where you’ll be tested on your English understanding. (8 Marks)
- Part 2 – This part is pretty easy to score. You should try to get all 10 answers correct. You can find these types of questions in all English Tests. You will be tested on grammar and vocabulary. (10 Marks)
- Part 3 – Here is where you’ll need to read a longer essay and answer 8 questions related to the text. You will be evaluated on your reading comprehension. (8 Marks)
- Part 4 –There are 6 correct sentences over 8 choices needed to be filled in the gap to ensure the paragraph is correctly structured. (6 Marks)
- Part 5 – The last part will evaluate your understanding of the English Language. You’ll be needed to select 4 paragraphs to fit in the statements given. Then you’ll need to find information from the text to correctly construct a sentence. (8 Marks)
Marking Scheme for SPM Paper 2 - Essay
The essay and writing paper will have 60 marks in total. However, the total weightage is still at 25% in the overall SPM English paper. The overall time allocated for paper 2 is 90 minutes. This paper has 3 parts.
- Part 1 – Writing a short note or email in less than 80 words. Here the accumulated marks are 20.
- Part 2 – Directed writing in 125-150 words with a total of 20 marks.
- Part 3 – There will be 3 questions on descriptive writing. You’ll need to choose 1 essay to write in 200-250 words. The total mark to get here is 20.
The scores are calculated based on several criteria as follow:-
You will be needed to answer all tasks according to the question. You should always highlight the key answer and support it with any proof as well as give a definite opinion, especially on descriptive writing at Part 3.
English Coherence and Cohesion
The structure of your essay should be well organized with paragraphs that contain the key point. Link your sentences and cohesive devices wherever possible – thus, therefore, in contract etc.
English Vocabulary and Resources
You’ll need to show a wide range of vocabulary by using a more complex word in structured sentences. REMEMBER, you need to avoid spelling errors and word formation.
English Grammar Accuracy
Use the correct tenses all the way through your essays. DON’T overlook the punctuation mistakes too!
Check out how Superprof decoding SPM Essay Paper for you.
Marking Scheme for SPM Paper 3 – Speaking
Now, we have come to the shortest test duration that you’ll need to sit in. Yet, this is going to be the most nerve-wracking exam for most Malaysian. Why?
Because you will need to SPEAK!
Don't worry, you’ll just need to speak for a total of 12 minutes only! Yeah, 12 minutes is nothing. You can always speak with your friends, girlfriend, and boyfriend for hours either face-to-face or on the phone.
This test aims to evaluate your fluency as well as your level of command in the English language. To be frank, you will need to sit in the test for about 24 minutes as this will be done in pairs.
This test will be carried out internally. Therefore, you’ll be more comfortable conversing with your teacher and one of your friends as a speaking partner. The overall mark for SPM Paper 3 test is 24, meanwhile, the weightage of the test is 25%.
So here is the breakdown of the test.
- Part 1 – This part is very easy, you’ll be asked a general question. You’ll need to answer 4 simple questions within 3-4 minutes. There will be 2 phases, where at the first phase, the question can be as simple as, “What is your name?” or any two questions that require you to introduce yourself. For the second phase, the examiner might ask another 2 questions about yourself or your family.
- Part 2 – You’ll receive a random booklet for any topics and there will be few questions to answer. The assessor will give you 20 seconds to prepare. You need to answer the questions within 1 minute.
- Part 3 – The last part is where you’ll need to make a conversation with your partner for 3 minutes. For the first 2 minutes, you’ll need to have a discussion with your partner and another 1 minute to make your stand or state a conclusion.
The marking scheme for the speaking test will refer to the CEFR Global scale.
Marking Scheme for SPM Paper 4 – Listening
For the listening test, there will be 30 questions and each correct answer will be awarded 1 mark. As I said at the beginning, only paper 4 for the SPM English Listening test will be marked by an external examiner.
This test is divided into 4 parts which will take an overall weightage of 25%. You’ll be tested in your English understanding and how well you can adapt English in your everyday situation.
- Part 1 – Listen to people talking in 7 different situations and answer 7 questions. (7 Marks)
- Part 2 – There are 8 questions where you’ll need to answer according to a conversation. (8 Marks)
- Part 3 – At this part, you’ll need to listen to 5 different short extracts and choose answers related to the text. (5 Marks)
- Part 4 – Here you’ll be tested on both your listening and spelling skills. You’ll need to write 10 words where the information is missing from the texts. (10 Marks)
All 5 parts will total up to 30 marks!
To sum up, the total marks for SPM 2021 Examination and weightage for each paper are as follows:-
|Test Paper||Total Questions||Total Marks||Weightage|
The weightage combination of all papers will give out 100%
Since the new SPM English format has just been introduced in 2020, there won’t be any past years' SPM paper available for you to refer to, yet. SPM 2021 candidates will be the first batch to sit for it.
However, you don’t need to get panicked as the latest format is the adapted version from CEFR, whereby, the format is similar to Cambridge English Exam, Malaysia University English Test, and IELTS. Therefore, you can always take a look at the exercise book or take past years' questions from the test I have just listed.
There might be a little hiccup in the test as this is natural for every new format introduction. Even, Thomas Edison tweaked his invention and developed several improvements to give us an efficient electric lightbulb. So, we should not easily give up on something new. Everything will improve over time.
Superprof has compiled the past year's SPM paper for you to refer to.
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