Sunday, November 12, 2017

Reading and Comprehension

Ever wondered why you need to learn to read and write?
Welcome to reality where it isn't always fair. It will be a cruel teacher that teaches you with hard lessons.

If you don't read the terms and conditions in a contract/legal document, you might get an unwelcome surprise if it catches you unawares.

Recently, a letter to The Star newspaper was about children who could get A+ in their SPM 2017 English paper went viral. The writer said that the children didn't read the question properly. They were supposed to write about where they would move to, in another part of Malaysia, if they had the opportunity? The writer said that the students did not read the question properly, and since the section is worth 50 marks, the children shouldn't be severely penalized and only given a 3 marks penalty.


I'd like to purposefully comment on how the penalty should be doled out as it is. If the essay didn't answer the question, it would be looked upon as 'out of topic'. An essay question takes your reading, comprehension and writing skills into account.

If you're looking for exceptions in the SPM, I'd like to break this news to you. When you sit for MUET/IELTS/TOEFL or any proficiency test, they will not be lenient to you. MUET will cost you between RM100 to RM200, while IELTS can cost you RM845 (2017, including GST. It cost me RM700+ in 2009 when I studied for my first degree). You won't want to have to retake those tests if I were you.

In the year that I took IELTS, one of the essays question asked us to write an argumentative essay on 'Freedom of Speech'. Well, I took US Government during the semester when I took IELTS so that helped me since I already have some knowledge on governance.

If you'd like to see other examples of IELTS essay questions, you could visit this website:
https://www.ielts-exam.net/ielts-writing/

Not only will it be important to carefully read the questions for all proficiency tests, you will also need to write your answer based on the question, to the point, be as grammatically correct as you can, use the correct vocabulary and the correct spelling. Those are taken into account for the points to be given.

Even university examinations do not give leeway for carelessness. If you didn't answer the question correctly, you'll lose points for it or worse, get a ZERO for it. Meanwhile, dissertations have to:
1) Answer your Hypothetical Questions (HQ)
2) Introduction - invite the reader to read more of your dissertation
3) Information should be correct and properly cited
4) Closing must sum up and close the dissertation so that the reader is not left hanging
5) Data should be correct


Everything that you've learned whether it be in school, university or both, even in life itself will teach you some things that you never thought you'd need. Maybe you don't see it now, but you later will.

Reading and writing are equally important in today's society even as we move towards Fin Tech. Although everything has moved towards e-wallet, internet banking and so on, we still need to be able to read the terms and conditions. 

In the case of a contract/legal document, the person should be able to comprehend what is written and if not, refer to the people with legal expertise who could explain in layman's terms (simple terms). Before signing a legal document, one should carefully read what is given.

Maybe you don't want to pursue a degree , maybe you'd like to start your own business. Then all the more important for you to read and write, especially since you'd likely apply for business loans, perhaps one day perform a merger with another company, etc.

So why should you learn to read and write? It is important for most businesses. It helps you to prepare for other things in life and it will help you share your thoughts with others.

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