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TIPS FOR CONTINUOUS WRITING SPM

1. Write a story because your errors (grammar, spelling, sentence structures and so on) will not be so glaring in a story compared to a factual essay. 2. Always write about something real and close to you. It is easier than writing about something fictional, which you have to create and imagine. 3. Combine description with narration and you will get a wonderful story (see the example of this approach in short story entitled "Friendship"). 4. Prepare a story in advance. Write a story about two pages length; do not write too long because it will make the examiner spend longer time to read and mark your essay, which is quite annoying. Ask your teacher to check the grammar and the sentence structure. Then, memorize everything. Make sure that when you enter the exam hall, you have a story in your mind. Do not go there empty-headed; you will waste a lot of your precious time thinking on what to write on the spot. When you get the question paper, what you have to do is to adjust and adapt the story in your head to the question. Usually the question will ask you to write "a story beginning with..." or "a story ending with...". So, be smart and creative.

FRIENDSHIP I had a best friend. Her name was Asma. We had been friends since we were in primary school. Our friendship lasted for a long time because we understood and trusted each other. We were more like sisters than friends. Asma was a beautiful girl. She had a lot of admirers at school. Even though she was beautiful, she had never boasted about her beauty. Her flawless face was heart shaped. She had an attractive pair of big hazel eyes with heavy lashes. When she smiled her eyes smiled too. Asma was tall and slim, just like a model. She always looked nice in whatever clothes that she wore. Her favorite outfit was T-shirt and jeans because she felt comfortable wearing them. Asma's skin was fair. When she stood under the sun, her skin would turn reddish.

Having a pleasant personality, Asma was well-liked by people around her. She was friendly to everybody. She always looked beyond race and religions when it came to friendship, because she believed that it was the individual that one should be concerned with. Besides, she was a responsible person. Teachers loved her very much for they could rely on her to do tasks and duties. As the Head Prefect at school, she was well known as a good leader and a problem solver. Apart from that, Asma was kindhearted. Whenever she met people who needed help, she would definitely lend her hand. I had never seen Asma sad. Even though she had problems, she would never show it to others. However, something bad happened last year. After SPM, Asma and I went for the National Service program at a camp in Mersing, Johor. We were happy to be located at the same camp. The program was quite tough as it was meant to train us not only physically but also mentally. Everyday we had to do a lot of activities such as marching, running, climbing and so on. Life there was more or less like in an army camp. However, we went through all the difficulties happily because we had each other. One day, while we were marching under the sun Asma suddenly fainted. I was in panic and shouted for help. The trainer came to see what had happened. Later, Asma was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I went along with her. The journey took about half an hour since our camp was located a bit far from town. At the hospital, Asma was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit. She remained unconscious. Asma's parents were informed. Since Asma was their only child, they were so worried. When they arrived at the hospital about three hours later, I told them everything that had happened.

Asma was diagnosed of leukemia. She was at the critical stage. I was so shocked to hear the news because Asma had never shown any sign of illness before. Maybe the tough routines at the camp had worsen her condition. Asma's parents were devastated by the news. Her mother could not stop crying. There was nothing that we could do except praying for her recovery. Asma was under a coma for a week. Finally, on Friday morning at about 8.30 a.m. Asma left us forever. I had lost my one and only best friend but our friendship would always remain in my heart till the end of my life. MyWords: This essay was written based on the sample SPM question; a single word question "Friendship". For this essay, I combined description (describing a person, etc) with narration (story telling). In second paragraph I described a person's physical appearance, while in third paragraph I described her characteristics. From paragraph four onwards, I started writing the story which ends with the death of the person that I have described earlier.

A CRUSH
I was only seventeen and I was head over heel in love. Never in my life had I expected that I would have a crush. My goodnessit was so wonderful. It happened this morning and since then I became restless. I just could not stop thinking of her. What a pleasant torture! The first lesson this morning was Chemistry. As usual, we waited for our teacher, Miss Lee, at the lab but she did not show up. After ten minutes my classmates and I went back to our classroom and started doing our own things. Some gathered at a corner and gossiped while some others preferred to read books. I was telling a joke to my buddies, Ayap and Jeff when a beautiful young lady stepped into the classroom. She was there to replace Miss Lee. Stunned, I just could not take my eyes away from her. The beautiful young lady later introduced herself to us. Her name was Cik Hayati and she was going to do her Praktikum at this school for about three months. Since today was her first day, no wonder she looked a bit nervous. Listening to her talking stirred an emotion deep inside me. Her voice was very soft, and when she spoke it became music to my ears. I kept staring at her. Her symmetrical face was oval in shape. She wore a pair of blue contact lenses which looked surprisingly perfect on her despite the fact that she was not white. Her heavy lashes were made thicker by layers of mascara. How did I come to notice all these? Wellthere were things about ladies that I was concerned with. For me, a true lady had to be well groomed. On top of everything, her pink lipstick had softened her complexion and made her looked really sweet. Once in a while, she would smile and one could clearly see the dimple on her left cheek. The attraction was very strong. I kept observing Cik Hayati. She had a slim figure and was not very tall; I guess she was about five feet high. She was wearing beige with purple floral motifs kebaya. The sleeves were heavily embroidered. A large dangling

brooch decorated the front of the kebaya. She was wearing a purple scarf on her head and a matching colored pair of stilettos which were three inches high. She carried a chic Guess monogram handbag which was light brown in colour. The way she carried herself around was perfectly feminine and I loved that very much. Even after she left the class, I still could not stop thinking of Cik Hayati. I started building castle in the air, that one day Cik Hayati would become my wife. Of course she was older than me, but nowadays people did not really mind about the age gap. Just take a look at Azizah Ariffin and her young husband, Khafairil; they were happy together. Ayap and Jeff noticed my condition and started making fun of me. "O my Godsomeone is having a crush!" I had no intention to defend myself for what they said was true. I was in love. Cik Hayati fitted all the criteria that I looked for in a wife; she was feminine, beautiful, well groomed, educated and had a good career. She would make a perfect future wife for me. MyWords: This essay was written based on actual SPM 2008 question; My perfect future husband or wife. Instead of writing a usual boring description of a person, I wrote from a school boy's point of view. It is a casual recount of the boy's experience, having a crush on a beautiful young lady teacher. It is actually something common in a school boy's life to fall in love with his teacher, but of course it doesn't go any further. That's why we call it a crush. HONEYMOON Being a teenager, I always liked to explore new things. Friends were very important to me. We spent time together doing many interesting things such as watching movies, hanging out at Mamak stalls, but our favourite was playing video games. We spent hours at cyber caf after school, and sometimes even at night.

My parents nagged at me for spending too much time on my leisure activities instead of focusing on studies. They always reminded me about the SPM which was just around the corner. They were worried that I might not be able to perform well in this important exam; hence my future might be affected. However, their words seemed to get in one ear and out the other. I was indifferent to their advice. I was overconfident. Of course, I scored straight 'A's in my PMR. Receiving endless praises from friends and relatives, I started to feel too proud of myself. Form 4 was a honeymoon period for me and a few of my friends. We were not focusing on studies at school and didn't do our revision at home. Most of our time was spent on enjoying ourselves doing our favourite leisure activities. It was all because we thought that we were very smart. Teachers were complaining about my performance at school. I always failed to complete my homework, and my test results were also not satisfying. Although I passed the tests, it was not what expected from me. Being a perfect scorer, I was expected to pass with flying colours. The excuse that I always gave to my parents and my teachers was that I had ample time ahead of me. I wanted to enjoy my teenage life first for there were so many interesting things to be done besides studying. I kept saying that I was smart and I 4

knew that when the time comes for me to start preparing for SPM, I would just study smart and not study hard. However, things turned out to be different from my expectation. I did burn the midnight oil a couple of weeks before the trial exam. I used the same technique that I used when preparing for my PMR which was memorizing all the facts and formulas. I thought I did well in the trial exam. On the contrary, the result was a total disappointment. I was at my wit's end. It worked for my PMR, so why it didn't this time. I argued with my teachers regarding the marks given to me since I thought I deserved better. Keeping their heads, my teachers tried their best to explain to me that SPM is totally different from PMR. Since I was not focusing on the tips and techniques of answering which the teachers had been trying to teach me in class, my answers didn't meet the requirements of the exam questions. I was in panic. There was not much time left. My parents gave me their piece of mind everyday. I was under a great stress. I knew that I have to do well in my SPM because my future depends on it. I continued burning the midnight oil, hoping that I could cover everything in time. I should have started earlier. In fact, I should have focused on my studies since I was in form 4. How I wish I had listened to my parents. My Words: This essay was written based on a sample SPM question; Write a story that ends with "How I wish I had listened to my parents." Most form 4 students would usually undergo the same experience. They think that it is a honeymoon year for them; a break after struggling hard for their PMR.

HOME ALONE Kim was nervous when the door opened that she could hardly breathe. She was hiding under her bed, hoping not to be found. The fancy frills of her bed-clothing proven to be useful in such time. Unless somebody flip them up and peep under the bed, it was a perfect hideout. Kim was studying in her room when she heard the noise coming from the kitchen. She was alone. Her parents went to Seremban earlier in the evening, and won't be coming home until the next day. They had urgent business meeting there. The first thing that came across her mind was burglars. She walked to the door. Too scared to open it, she just stood there and listened. She heard the noise again, and it sounded like somebody was cutting the iron grill of the kitchen window. This time she was sure that burglars were breaking into her house. Spontaneously, Kim pushed the lock on the door knob and switched off the lights. When her eyes had grown accustomed to the darkness, she paced to her bed. It was the only hideout that she had in mind at that moment.

Kim's bedroom was the nearest to the kitchen and the first to be searched by the two burglars. They were wearing black clothes with the ski masks covering their face. One of them had used a master key to unlock the door. After switching on the lights, they started searching for money and valuables. Under the bed, Kim was holding her breath.

Her hands were covering her mouth. She wanted to cry but she could not afford to make any noise. It was her life at stake. Then, she heard footsteps coming nearer and later stopped just beside her bed. "I found a hand phone here," a male voice said. It was Kim's hand phone. Earlier, she was charging the phone and had placed it on the side table. "There's nothing else in here. Let's search the other rooms." It was the other man's voice. Kim was sure that the burglars were nowhere nearby. Slowly she came out from under the bed and tiptoed to the door. She peeped outside to see where the burglars were. She could hear them talking upstairs. They were searching her parents' room. This was her chance. She had to get to the phone in the living room and call the police. Holding her breath, she tiptoed to the living room. Once she reached the consol table where the phone was placed, she ducked and listened. The coast was clear, so she slowly picked up the phone and dialed 999. Help was on the way. While waiting for the police to come, Kim had to hide somewhere. She was considering the store room when she clumsily knocked a vase that her mother had decoratively put on the consol table. She tried to catch it but failed. The vase shattered on the floor and the sound alerted the burglars as much as it had made Kim panic. She rushed to the store room and hid inside. In just a few seconds, she could hear footsteps coming down the stairs. Kim was praying nonstop. "Please God don't let them find me in here." "Somebody broke the vase," a burglar said to his accomplice. "I thought you said the house is empty!" Kim's cat Tompok appeared from nowhere. It purred and walked pass by the two burglars. "See it was the cat! I told you no one is at home." The burglars seemed relieved and continued searching the house. It was not very long before they heard the siren approaching the house. Panicked, they left the sack containing all the things that they had collected earlier, and rushed to the kitchen window to escape. Luck was not on their side. The moment they stepped outside, the police were already waiting. They were arrested. Kim was thankful to God that she was safe. When the police asked her to go with them to the police station to make a report, she had no objection. Earlier, she had called her parents and they were on their way home. After such an experience, there was nothing she wanted more than to be in her mom's comforting arms. My Words: This story was written based on actual SPM 2007 question; Write a story beginning with, "Kim was nervous when the door opened". It is a girl's home alone experience, which is full of suspense but the ending is quite pleasant. We can always get the inspiration to write from movies that we watched.

A DREAM COMES TRUE It was a dream comes true. I just could not believe what I was experiencing so I pinched my cheek. Ouch! It hurt. I was not dreaming after all. It was my wedding day, and the man that I was going to marry was none other than my beloved, Khairi. Two years ago, I was driving home from work. Suddenly my tyre went flat. I had to stop on the road side to change the flat tyre. While I was struggling to take the spare tyre out of my car boot, a car stopped behind me. I turned around to see a young man coming out of the red car. He was tall, dark and handsome. He walked towards me and offered to lend a hand. Without any objection I let him change the flat tyre for me. When he had finished, I thanked him for his help. Before leaving, he gave me his name card and I gave him mine in return.

A week later, I received a phone call from him. He introduced himself and explained that he was attracted to me since the first time we met. I liked his voice. There was sincerity in his words and I simply couldn't resist him. We started seeing each other, and our relationship grew stronger as the time passed. I was in love with him and I couldn't live without him. Sometimes I felt that I would go crazy if I didn't hear his voice even for only one day. There was a problem. My parents were planning to marry me with their friend's son. How could my parents want me to marry somebody I never met? They said that the man had just returned from overseas. He was a lawyer and had good looks too. It seemed that my parents liked this man very much. I told them that I already had a boyfriend, who was also a lawyer and was drop dead gorgeous. However, my parents appeared indifferent to my explanation. I was so frustrated. I wanted to marry Khairi, and I would not let my parents force me to marry this son of their friend. Khairi was quiet when I told him about my parents' plan. He asked me to submit to my parents and not to go against their will. It was my duty as a daughter to obey them. Parents always wanted the best for their children. His words sliced through my heart and I cried heartily. How could he do this to me? I thought he loved me. He should at least fight for me instead of simply letting me become another man's wife. The engagement ceremony went as planned. Tears filled my eyes when my mother's friend Puan Hanim put the engagement ring in my finger. How I wished that it was Khairi's mother, but I knew that it would never come true. Then Puan Hanim called her son, my fiance, to come into the room. We, the newly engaged couple, were going to be photographed by a hired cameraman. When I looked up at the man standing in front of me, my heart skipped a beat. It was Khairi, the man that I loved with all my heart. What was he 7

doing here? It turned out that Khairi was my fiance. He was Puan Hanim's son. I was speechless for this was indeed a pleasant surprise for me. I just couldn't stop thanking God for granting me my wish. My Words: This story was written based on sample SPM question; Write a story that begins with "It was a dream comes true..." It is a love story with pleasant surprise at the end. Most people who read this story loved it very much. If you can write something like this, I really believe that you will attract your readers attention. Write about your personal experience, and you will be surprised to find how easy the ideas will flow. Of course language is important but don't bother too much... TILL WE MEET IN HEAVEN I looked at my friends who were writing furiously and I wondered whether they were struggling like me. I glanced at my watch and realized that it was already 10.30 in the morning. We would be going for Ali's funeral in about half an hour. How was I going to say goodbye to my dearest friend?

He was there for me through thick and thin. When my father passed away three years ago, I was very sad. It was Ali who offered his shoulder for me to cry on. He had always been like a big brother to me. I would confide in him whenever I had problems. I could still hear his jokes, his clowning around with us after the exam yesterday. How could I not know that he was sick?

Twenty-four hours ago, Ali was sitting in front of me, struggling with the Chemistry exam. He was so relieved when the exam was over. We went to the Mamak stall, where we usually hang out with the gang. He ordered his usual teh tarik and I noticed that he looked a little under the weather. "Are you okay?" I was worried.

"Yeah I'm fine," he said. "Don't worry, it's just exam fever". Little did I know that it would be the last time I see him alive.

Later that night, I received a call from Aunty Salmah. She told me that Ali had been admitted to the hospital for suspected dengue fever. Then, she paused for what seemed like ages, and said in a tearful voice, "Ali had left us. He slipped into a coma and never regained consciousness." I was numbed. This couldn't be happening to me. I slumped on the floor by the phone,

trying to digest the dreadful news. When I came to my senses, I started calling our friends and we went to Ali's house. I could not recall how I spent the rest of the night. When the exam had finished, my friends and I went straight to the graveyard. I could see many familiar faces there including our school Principal and a few of our teachers. Aunty Salmah looked calm, but her eyes were red and swollen. Ali's father, Uncle Mat was helping the villagers to lower Ali's lifeless body into the grave. Tears blurred my vision. Aunty Salmah suddenly fainted when people started filling Ali's grave with the earth. A few ladies who were there helped to hold her and tried to calm her down. Everybody was unusually quiet when the Imam started saying the prayers.

About half an hour later, everybody started to leave the graveyard. I looked at Ali's grave for the last time. It was covered with colourful petals from different types of flowers. Goodbye, my friend. Till we meet again in heaven. Then, I walked away slowly. I shall never forget this day for the rest of my life. My Words: This story was written based on sample SPM question; Write a story which ends with "...I shall never forget this day for the rest of my life." We can actually write either sad or happy story based on this question, but I have chosen to write a sad one. Since I am a Muslim, the background of the story is based on the Muslim tradition. If you are not a Muslim, you may write about your own traditions and rituals regarding deaths and funerals.