Saturday, September 17, 2011

PMR Writing Tips - Brainstorming for ideas

For PMR Paper 2 - Section A, students are required to write an essay based on a series of pictures or notes.

An example of PMR-type question based on a series of notes. 
(Click on the picture to enlarge)


A PMR 2006 question based on a series of pictures & notes. 
(Click on the picture to enlarge)

The basic steps to answer this type of question are:
  1. Read & understand the question.
  2. Brainstorm ideas.
  3. Write the essay in an organised paragraphs. Write at least 5 sentences for each paragraph.
  4. Re-read the essay to check on your grammar and spelling.

Although the pictures/notes are given, a lot of students still have difficulties of finding ideas on what to write in their essay.

How to find ideas? The answer is BRAINSTORMING!

In this post, I'll show you how brainstorming can be a great help in elaborating the points/information given to write an essay. 

Ways to brainstorm ideas are discussed as follows:

1. Find the words related to the given words.

Let's say the word given is "holiday". So, think of other words which could be related to the word "holiday". For example:

(Click on the picture to enlarge)

Use the new words to write sentences for your essay. For example:

          School holidays came again. That means, there were no school and there will be a lot of free time. Students and teachers used this precious time to relax their mind. This was the time where most families planned some family activities such as going for a vacation or camping at any place of interest. 

2. Use "Mr. How & his 5 wives" technique.

This technique refers to the "wh questions" such as:
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Who?
  • Why?
  • What?
  • How?

By using the following picture, form as many questions as you can using the "wh questions".

(Click on the picture to enlarge)

  • Where did they travel to?
  • When did they go?
  • Who were in the car?
  • Why did they go there?
  • What were the children/mother/father doing in the car?
  • How was the weather?
  • How was the road condition?
The answer to each question will be the sentences that you can write for your essay.

Sample answer to each of the above question:

Where did they travel to? 
They travelled to Melaka.

When did they go? 
They went to Melaka during the school holidays.

Who were in the car? 
In the car, there were his father, Encik Jamil, his mother, Puan Sara, Johan and his younger sister, Lily.

Why did they go there?
They went to Melaka to attend a wedding.

What were the children/mother/father doing in the car?
Encik Jamil was driving while Puan Sara listening to the radio. Johan and Lily was chatting happily with each other. 

How was the weather?
The weather was sunny and the sky was blue.

How was the road condition?
The road was quite bumpy.

The paragraph will look like this:

          During the holidays, Johan and his family travelled to Melaka. They went to Melaka to attend a wedding. In the car, there were his father, Encik Jamil, his mother, Puan Sara, Johan and his younger sister, Lily. Encik Jamil was driving while Puan Sara was listening to the radio. Johan and Lily was chatting happily with each other. The weather was sunny and the sky was blue. The road was quite bumpy.   
          
3. Observe the picture and list what you see.

By using the same picture, list what you can see.


  • a car
  • a boy 
  • a girl 
  • a family
Use the words to write sentences for your essay.

4. Utilise all the words and information given in the picture.

Write sentences by using all the notes given to write your essay.


Form sentences from the notes given to write your essay.

I hope you'll find that it's not that difficult to find ideas to write an essay for PMR. You are advised to combine all the techniques which have discussed earlier when writing your essay. Nevertheless, it takes a lot of practice to write a good essay. 

In exam, spend about 10 minutes to brainstorm ideas for your essay. Don't forget to use your imagination and experience to write a well-elaborated composition.

I wish you all the best for the coming PMR :)

[Credits to Pn Z.Z of SMKD, Sepang] 

22 comments :

happysamsoon said...

Good to see the materials and ideas I gave at the course in Sepang being used with adaptation.madam hemalatha

Norlida AB said...

thank you very much to those who contribute the materials for the benefit of all... May God bless all of you for the good deed... TQVM

Teacher Nuha said...

Thank you Madam Hema & Pn Norlida. Happy new year!

ras adiba said...

Salam.Cikgu.Nama saya ras adiba.tahun ni saya PMR. cikgu ajar di sma ya.saya pun brskolah di sekolah agama tetapi di klang,selgor.saya nak minta tlg cikgu.saya tak mahir sgt bercakap dan membuat essay dalam bhasa inggris.jdi saya nak minta tolong cikgu.saya duduk di kls yg prtama.tp saya takut gagal krana matapljaran b.inggeris.jd macam mana saya nak mngatasi bahasa inggeris saya.seumur hidup saya.dapat A dlm bahasa inggeris baru brapa kali.jadi saya takut saya tak boleh dpt straigt A's dlm PMR 2012 hanya kerana mtplajaran bi.tolong sgt2 cikgu.pra pmr bulan 3.apa-apa hal boleh tak cikgu e-mailkan ke rasadibarodzuan@gmail.com atau sms di fb=ras adiba rodzuan.sekian.wassalam.

vanessa said...

Teacher Nuha can you pls tell where can i get example of various kind of English essay ( PMR ) .... god bless :))

Teacher Nuha said...

dear vanessa, there are a number of reference books out there that focus solely on essay writing. u can also buy berita harian on tuesday to get the minda pelajar pullout and learn how to write different type of essay each week :)

vanessa said...

thanks teacher:)) teacher , do you know any web that I could look out for ?? I do have reference book on PMR essays but it does not contain what I want....One more question teacher , what does pada era globalisasi called in ehglish , pada zaman yang serba moden dengan teknologi ini and so on ?? Quick reply is kindly appreciated :))

Teacher Nuha said...

vanessa, what kind of websites are u looking for?

to find the english translation, y don't you try google translate? i'm sure it's going 2 b fun to "hunt" for the answers yourself :) good luck!

vanessa said...

okay ,anyway thanks teacher Nuha :))

Teacher Nuha said...

you're welcome :)

Anonymous said...

Salam Nuha...
I really interested with the ideas you have written in the blog...good to find what i need to teach my students...i need your permission to share those ideas in my classroom teaching...

amira said...

Salam . teacher , can i know how to expand the main idea ?

Teacher Nuha said...

Waalaikumussalam Anonymous, thanks for visiting my blog. You are free to use the materials & ideas in this blog. If you have other ideas for the teaching & learning of English, do share them with us :)

Waalaikumussalam Amira, you may refer to the above post. Please let met know which part that needs further explanation.

✿ Si Jie ✿ said...

Hi! Teacher Nuha :) may i know how to start a catchy introduction of a holiday essay? :D

Teacher Nuha said...

Hi Si Jie, instead of writing "Last school holiday, ......" you start your essay with an proverb. For example:

According to a saying/proverb, "Be an explorer. The universe is filled with wonder and magical things." (and you can continue your essay from here.)

or you can start with an anecdote:
The morning was filled with happiness. The sky was blue and clear. Birds flew jovially in the bright sunny day. My family and I were welcomed by picturesque surroundings upon reaching Pulau Tioman.

Hope this helps :)

aniss elles said...

teacher nuha, could u please give me some ideas for my english oral test??

Yong Cheng Lai said...

Hi,Teacher Nuha!! May I know how to write about my dislike character from the novel "How I Met Myself"?

Yong Cheng Lai said...

Hi!Teacher Nuha, can u give me some ideas about how to write about my dislike character from the novel?
Thank You!!:)

Anonymous said...

assalamualum teacher nuha, first of all, how can I write an essay but my grammar teruk giler? can you pls post (let's back to basic-focus on most basic grammar maybe?) since brp hari je lagi nak pmr I'm so panic.

Anonymous said...

thank you very much 4 ur support teacher...thorough ur help in this blog i able to elborate my sentences and also my ideas...thank u very much 4 ur supportive blog!!!

Anonymous said...

that really helped me out ! thank you

ayiem said...

Hey
Just to tell you Im using the notes here with some adaptations to suit my students. I have them in mind but too lazy to write proper notes like this. Thank you so much!
Mr Fahim (SMK Chung Hua Miri, Sarawak)

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