In March 2020 last year, the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced that all the Form Four students will follow the new English format following the Malaysia High School Standard Curriculum (KSSM), starting from 2020. This new format will be used for the Malaysia High School Degree (SPM) 2021 examination.

As you may know, English is one of the core subjects in Malaysia. This new format will be aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), which is an international standard for describing language ability.

This implementation can be seen as a significant effort to reform the English language education system in the country for the better. In my opinion, these changes are a good thing for all Malaysian students.

It is believed, through comprehensive studies on the experiences of other countries that have implemented CEFR, there are pieces of evidence that this new format could enhance the English language teaching and learning process.

So, you do not need to freak out about how the examination format changes as the government have gradually implemented the new format for in-class teaching and learning ever since 2014!

Thus, in 2020, this new format will finally be used in the examination too!

Here, take a look at the Malaysia Government’s Press Release For SPM on the implementation of the latest SPM 2021 Format.

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The Perks of The Latest 2021 SPM English Format

learning english group lesson
Analysing the SPM English Format to get a better understanding on how to score in the examination (Source: Unsplash)

I can confidently say to all SPM 2021 candidates, ‘You are lucky!’. The new SPM format is so much easier to score an ‘A’, especially for the English paper. Are you wondering why? 

Let’s take a look at the comparison shown in the table below.

 Paper 1Paper 2Paper 3Paper 4Oral Exam
Prior 2021WritingLanguage
Literature
XXSpeaking Test
2021 FormatReading & Use of EnglishWritingSpeakingListeningX

Comparison Between the Latest SPM Examination and the Previous SPM Prior to 2021 (Superprof)

You must be thinking, why did I say that the new SPM Format is easier when you need to sit in for more papers just for the English subject?

Well, as I said earlier on this blog, the government has started implementing this format in the classroom teaching and learning session for quite some time. So, this is actually NOT a new thing. You are more than familiar with this format already.

Secondly, the marks for each paper will be broken down into four papers instead of 2 papers. Definitely, it will become easier for you to score! How so?

Each student has different capabilities. Some are good only in written examinations such as writing and reading, whilst some others are more comfortable with speaking and listening.

The latest SPM format is more comprehensive and covers all aspects of English learning. So, you should be relieved that you might get more marks on the papers that you are good at.

Again, ‘You are lucky!’ Just so you know, the new English Format will be preparing you for a life-long English Learning process.

Once you step into higher education, whether into a university, college or academy, you will still have to take English subject as a second language. However, the format for the English course will be the same as what you have learnt at school.

If you would like to study further in a local undergraduate programme, you must take the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) since English will be used as a teaching and learning medium.

Besides, if you wish to further study abroad, you would need to take an English test too, either the  International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Can’t you see how lucky you are now? Some of the previous generations had difficulties adjusting to the changes once they entered a higher level education institution. The English format that they have learnt at school was vastly different from the format they teach at universities or college.

These changes are actually beneficial for the current students as it will give them an early preparation for the world ahead, whether in their studies or at work.

You can also download the comprehensive Latest SPM 2021 Format Assessment.

The Aims of SPM English 2021 Examination

According to the Curriculum Development Division (2018), the aims of CEFR is to enable pupils to communicate confidently, proficiently and competently; be knowledgeable, respectful of other cultures and well-versed in emergent literacies; make calculated decisions through critical and analytical thinking, and collaborate with others to solve problems creatively and innovatively in the real world”

English 1119 has been accepted throughout the world as a test for non-native English speakers. This exam targeted Level B1 and B2 in the CEFR. There will be a combination of pre-test, trials and expert judgement to ensure that the examination will measure the difficulty at the B1 – B2 level accurately.

Don’t get depressed if you obtained a B2 result as it is actually a higher grade than B1. The CEFR level sequences are not like our standard grade which A1 is the highest. Take a look at how CEFR grades work below.

CEFR language level framework
Source: Superprof

The grading system on CEFR from the lowest A1 to the highest C2 and also IELTS standard from band 1 until band 9 (Superprof)

The English CEFR Level for high school standard is only up to B2. This system has been broadly used to measure the language level of foreign language learners.

Basically, these levels are based on the ability of students to communicate and understand English. These abilities cover 5 language skills which are as follows.

  • Making conversation (Spoken Interaction)
  • Replying to the conversation (Spoken Production)
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing

Read more on Superprof's compilation on the Complete Guide to Tackle ‘A’ in English for SPM 2021

SPM 2021 Examination’s Breakdown and English Essay Format

You have just been brief by Superprof on the latest SPM Examination 2021 Format. In this chapter, you will understand further the breakdown of SPM English Examination. Have a look at the table below.

SPM Examination Instruments’ Format 2021

ItemPaper 1 (1119/1)Paper 2 (1119/2)Paper 3 (1119/3)Paper 4 (1119/4)
InstrumentsReading and Use of EnglishWritingSpeakingListening
TypeObjective (Multiple choice objectives)
Objective (Multiple form objectives)
Subjective (Limited responses)
Subjective (Limited responses)
Subjective (Open responses)
Subjective (Limited responses)
Subjective (Open responses)
Objective (Multiple choice objectives)
Objective (Multiple form objectives)
QuestionsPart 1: 8 Questions (8 Marks)
Part 2 : 10 Questions (10 Marks)
Part 3: 8 Questions (8 Marks)
Part 4 : 6 Questions (6 Marks)
Part 5 : 8 Questions (8 Marks)
Part 1: 1 Questions (20 Marks)
Part 2 : 1 Questions (20 Marks)
Part 3: 3 Questions (Choose & Answer 1 Question Only) (20 Marks)
Part 1: 4 Questions per candidate
Part 2 : 1 Questions per candidate
Part 3: 3 Questions  for both candidates
Part 1: 7 Questions (7 Marks)
Part 2 : 8 Questions (8 Marks)
Part 3: 5 Questions (5 Marks)
Part 4 : 10 Questions (10 Marks)
Total Marks40 Marks60 Marks24 Marks30 Marks
Percentage25%25%25%25%
Questions' Construction Reading Skills
Remembering and Understanding
Applying
Analysing
Evaluating
Writing Skills
Applying
Analysing
Evaluating
Creating
Speaking & Listening Skills
Remembering and Understanding
Applying
Analysing
Evaluating
Listening Skills
Remembering and Understanding
Applying
Duration1 Hour 30 Minutes1 Hour 30 Minutes13 Minutes40 Minutes
LevelCEFR : B1 - B2CEFR : B1 - B2CEFR : B1 - B2CEFR : B1 - B2
Scoring Approach/esDichotomyAnalytic & HolisticAnalytic & HolisticDichotomy
Getting ready for final exam
Getting yourself ready for the SPM by understanding more about the latest SPM format  (Source: Unsplash)

Basically, you will have to sit in 4 papers solely for the English subject. These papers will evaluate the level of your language on several skill sets.

Paper 1 is to evaluate the reading and comprehension of students. There are 40 questions in multiple-choice objectives, multiple form objectives and limited response. You can look at Sample Paper 1, SPM 2021. 

Paper 2 is a writing paper where you will have to write 3 essays. The first and second essays is a limited response essay, whilst the third question is an open response essay where you can choose 1 title to write. Here is Sample Paper 2, SPM 2021.

Paper 3 is a speaking test. You will take this test with another student. There are 3 parts for this test, the first and second part needs to be answered individually, whilst in the last part, you will need to make conversation with your partner. Get a Sample Paper 3, SPM 2021 here.

Paper 4 is a listening test where you will need to listen to a conversation and answer the questions given. Find out here for Sample Paper 4, SPM 2021.

You need to bear in mind that every language learner is not always at the same level in language skill -   your writing may be a lot stronger than your speaking capabilities, or your reading might be better than your grammatical accuracy.

The breakdown of the English subject into 4 papers can level out your grade. It seems more fair, right?

Besides, the progress speed is different between individuals so it is not very helpful if you keep comparing yourself with other people. These divisions can help you set a realistic goal to identify your weak section and focus more on that particular skill set.

To sum up this article, I have mentioned this many times earlier in this article, you are very lucky to be the next SPM candidate as the format has gotten more comprehensive.

The latest SPM English Grades can be used for applying to any college or scholarship programme that needs you to have a CEFR certificate up to level B2.

Yes, you will get another certificate for SPM English GCE-O Level (1119). This is the result graded according to the British standard. This certificate has been given to all other SPM leavers before the year 2021.

However, the framework of the exams is not as comprehensive as the latest 2021 SPM Format. Be rest assured, your SPM GCE-O Certificate will be more trusted and of higher quality compared to the previous format.

We, from the previous generation, say that our certificate does not have much good for us, it is just a lousy indicator of our English level. Fingers crossed, yours will be 1000 times better!

Good Luck in your high school final year!

 

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Alia

Alia is known as a passionate teacher, full-time writer, and researcher. She always loves to explore new things, and will rather spend money on experiences and knowledge than on materialistic items, except, chocolates!