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Sample Answer (Step by Wicked Step) Compare and contrast 2 characters from a novel you have studied.

With close reference to the text, give reasons to support your answer.

I choose the novel Step by Wicked Step, written by Anne Fine. I am going to compare and contrast Claudia and Pixie. There are similarities and differences between them which can be observed clearly throughout the story.

First of all, Claudia and Pixie share similar fate where their parents are divorced and their fathers live with another women. Claudia's father lives with his girl friend named Stella. Sometimes Claudia spends her time with her dad and Stella even though she hates Stella. She refuses to enjoy her stay with her dad out of loyalty to her mother and she also ignores Stella. In Pixie's case, her father marries Lucy who has two daughters, Sophie and Hetty. Pixie hates her step sisters. Her father promises that she would have her own room whenever she stays with them but later her step sister, Hetty moves into her room after having a fight with Sophie. This really makes her mad and she tries many ways to get rid of Hetty. Life is miserable for both Pixie and Claudia.

However, the biggest difference which can be observed between Pixie and Claudia is that they have different approaches in dealing with their problems. Claudia is fair and sensible. Even though she hates Stella, she does not blame the lady for her parents' break-up. She is more gentle in her actions. For example, at the dinner party, she thinks that the guests are rude for not appreciating Stella's hard work. She realizes that ignoring Stella would not help solving matters between her parents. Feeling sorry for Stella, she decides to help her get accepted by showing off the green pyjamas which Stella has given to her.

On the contrary, Pixie is more aggressive in her actions. In order to get Hetty out of her room, she creates stories that her room is haunted and when that fails, she tries to irritate Hetty by asking her to help with her maths. Finally, she tries the silent treatment on Hetty and that makes the girl tell Lucy everything. When Lucy confronted her, Pixie refuses to submit but instead she stands up for herself and expresses her feelings. She hates to pretend that her family is normal and she could not accept strangers as family.

However, after they both pour out their frustration, things become better for them.

In a nutshell, Claudia and Pixie have both similarities and differences between them. I learn many lessons while reading the story about them and the other children in this novel. 0 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: English Literature, Pusat Tuisyen Minda Elit, Spot Questions SPM, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spot Questions (English 1119) SPM 2011 Spotting questions for SPM requires 50% calculation and 50% instinct. The texts for literature component are all new, living no room for me to make any calculation. Therefore, I have to depend solely on my instinct (I am not a fortune teller so I might be wrong anytime). However, students are lucky to have only 4 poems to study now compared to the last time when we used to have 5 short stories and 6 poems. My sincere advice is to prepare for all four, but if I were asked which might come out, then I would say 'Are You Still Playing Your Flute' might be the one (remember that it is only 50% and it is a very risky game we are playing here).

As for the novel, knowing by heart that teachers who prepared the exam papers would always try their best to make things not too easy and not too difficult for students all over Malaysia including those in the rural areas, I

personally believe that the question should be on character (again, this is only 50%).

Do not worry too much about Directed Writing. Whatever the format will be, you will find it stated clearly in the question (look at the bottom part of the question). Just make sure you use all the 12 points given. Some people said that formal letter might come out this year, but I think it is not very practical since it is a bit complicated to award marks for the format of formal letter. Anyway, it would be wise to know by heart all the formats of Directed Writing as learned in form 4 & 5, but if you insist on spotting then I would say that it might be a speech.

Continuous Writing will confirm your A. The most useful tips is to memorize an interesting story, and later when you see the question "Write a story beginning/ending with...", just adjust and adapt to it. NEVER write an essay on discussion (not even if it sounds very easy) especially if your language ability is limited.

Good Luck. 2 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: Are You Still Playing Your Flute?, Continuous Writing SPM, Directed Writing SPM, English Literature, Pusat Tuisyen Minda Elit, Spot Questions SPM, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119, Writing Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sample Answer (Step by Wicked Step) Based on one of the novel that you have studied, write about a memorable

event and how the event affects one of the characters in the story.

Support your answer with close reference to the text.

I choose the novel Step by Wicked Step written by Anne Fine. The memorable event from the novel is the honest conversation between Pixie and her stepmother Lucy. I think that the conversation is important because it affects Pixie's life.

First of all, I think that the conversation is important because Pixie has a chance to tell the truth about her feelings. Pixie tells Lucy that she hates to pretend that their family is normal. It is hard for her to accept strangers as family. She dislikes her stepsisters. When Hetty moves into Pixie's bedroom after quarreling with Sophie, Pixie is very angry. She tries many ways to get rid of Hetty.

Apart from that, I think that the conversation between Lucy and Pixie is important because Lucy also gets a chance to express her feelings towards Pixie. Lucy hates being a step mother. It is very hard for her to take care of someone else's child. Lucy is angry when Pixie when Pixie tries to get rid of Hetty from her bedroom.

Last but not least, I think the heart to heart conversation is memorable because it improves the relationship between Pixie and Lucy. They understand each other better. at the end of the conversation, they are crying and hugging each other. After that day, their relationship becomes better and they are more like a normal family.

In a nutshell, I think that the honest conversation between Lucy and Pixie is memorable because it improves the relationship between Pixie and her step family. I learn many things from this novel. 0 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis!

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Labels: English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119 Monday, August 8, 2011

Sample Answer (Step by Wicked Step) Sample Question: What is the most important moral value that you have learnt from the novel you have studied? With close reference to the text, give reasons to support your answer.

I choose the novel Step by Wicked Step written by Anne Fine. The most important moral value that I have learnt from this novel is honesty. There are many examples which show the importance of honesty throughout this novel.

First of all, we can see that in this novel, parents are not being honest to their children. They do not tell their children what is happening between them. This causes the children a lot of stress and worry. For example, Lilith Harwick does not tell her children that their father is dying. We see how distressed Richard is when guessing the truth about his father's condition. When Colin's mother decides to leave Colin's dad and move up north, she does not explain the reason to Colin. Colin does not like his new life and misses his dad a lot, but his mother does not seem to be aware of how he felt.

Apart from that, the parents' lack of honesty makes the children keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves. This is bad because it may cause the children to take the wrong action. For example, Colin stops talking about his dad to his mother, but plans to run away to find him one day. However, when parents are honest about their feelings and open up to their children, their relationship will get better. This can be seen in the case of Lucy and Pixie. After they burst out and tell each other their true feelings, their relationship improves a lot. Pixie respects Lucy and Lucy gives Pixie time and space to adapt to her new family.

In a nutshell, honesty is the most important moral value that can be learnt from this novel because it helps to heal and rebuild relationships in the family. I hope everyone can practice honesty in their lives. 0 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119 Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tips to Study English Literature for SPM (part 2) NOVEL

Important things that we need to understand are:

the question on novel must be adaptable to all three novels (The Curse, Catch Us If You Can and Step By Wicked Step). the question will always be in positive tone. For example, the question on character will always ask you to discuss the good aspects being portrayed by a particular character (usually the main character). Therefore, you should always see a question that looks like this "Choose a character who you look up to from a novel that you have learned in Form 5, and give reasons to support your answer by giving close reference to the text." but nothing like this "Choose a character that you hate from a novel that you have learned in Form 5, and give reasons to support your answer by giving close reference to the text." your answer must be properly written in an essay form. I suggest that you write five paragraphs; 1st paragraph for introduction, 2nd-4th paragraphs for

content and last paragraph for conclusion. To make sure that you answer falls into higher band (7-8 or 9-10), it is important that you organize your content well by stating your points clearly and provide convincing elaboration which is supported by as many evidence as possible from the text for every main point. not to worry to much about your language. Just try your level best, and leave it to the examiner to judge. After all, the examiners are Malaysian too so I believe they would be able to understand your English (or at least they would try hard to understand you...teachers are the most kindhearted people in this world). 0 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: Catch Us If You Can, English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, The Curse, Tips for SPM English 1119 Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tips to Study English Literature for SPM (part 1) NOVEL

I would like to share some past experience in dealing with novels for Form 5. When literature was first introduced to Form 5 students in Malaysian schools, there were three different novels which have to be studied by students based on the regions divided by the government. They were The Pearl, The Return and The Jungle of Hope. On the first year, everybody (teachers and students) was so obedient. They studied what had been decided for them (I was in Johor then, and we studied The Jungle of Hope which was the most difficult and complicated among the three. It was very thick and hard to read because it was translated from BM) and chose to answer Section D in SPM English 1119 based on that particular novel. However, on the following year onwards we learned our lesson and started to play smart (of course after seeing what

the question looked like). I believe that others around Malaysia also learned their lesson too. It was so obvious that The Pearl was the easiest to study since the plot is simpler and the language used is easier to be understood. Since then, teachers all over Malaysia started to teach The Pearl to their students who didn't seem to mind buying the text on their own (which means putting aside the other text provided by the SPBT).

What I am trying to say is that the situation is going to be the same this time around even with the new texts. Since the question allows us to choose one of the three novels (Step by Wicked Step, The Curse or Catch Us If You Can), why don't we figure out first which one is the easiest to be taught and studied in class before we start preparing for SPM. I have great respect for those who are very concerned about using creative approaches in teaching literature (musical theater as done by Ms. Hafeezah Sulong or her Cast Name Adreena Aleeyza Adli, a teacher from SMK Permas Jaya 3, Masai Johor is a very good example). However, being me, I am far more interested in helping students to perform in their SPM. Understanding the story doesn't mean that one would be able to write proper answer in exam. You must know the correct technique before you could write an aswer that will confirm with the highest band possible. At the end of the day, it is your A that would make a difference (if you aim to get 5As, by confirming an A for English you would only have to work for another four...) 0 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: Catch Us If You Can, English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, The Curse, Tips for SPM English 1119 Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sample Answer (Step by Wicked Step) Sample Question:

Choose a character that you admire from a novel that you have learned in Form 5. With close reference to the text, give reasons to support your answer.

I choose the novel Step by Wicked Step, written by Anne Fine. The character that I admire is Claudia. There are many reasons why I admire her very much.

First of all, I admire Claudia because she is a gentle person. Listening to Richard's sad story, makes her weep. Besides, she is loyal to her mother. She tries not to sound too happy when speaking to her father because she does not want to hurt her mother's feeling. She rejects Stella and refuses to enjoy her time with her father out of loyalty to her mother. She knows that her parents break-up is serious even though her mother sounded cheerful.

Apart from that, I really admire Claudia because she is a fair and sensible person. She does not blame Stella for her parents' break-up. At the dinner party, she thinks that the guests are rude for not appreciating Stella's hard work. She realizes that ignoring Stella would not help solving matters between her parents. Feeling sorry for Stella who is being ignored by the guests, she decides to help her get accepted by showing off the green pyjamas which Stella gave her.

In a nutshell, the character that I admire from Step by Wicked Step is Claudia because she is gentle, loyal, fair and sensible. I think we could learn a lot from her character. 5 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119

Friday, April 29, 2011

Analysing the Characters in Step by Wicked Step Claudia

Claudia is a gentle person. Listening to Richard's sad story, makes her weep. She is loyal to her mother. She tries not to sound too happy when speaking to her father because she does not want to hurt her mother's feeling. She rejects Stella and refuses to enjoy her time with her father out of loyalty to her mother. She knows that her parents break-up is serious even though her mother sounded cheerful.

http://images.search.yahoo.com

Claudia is a fair and sensible person. She does not blame Stella for her parents' break-up. At the dinner party, she thinks that the guests are rude for not appreciating Stella's hard work. She realizes that ignoring Stella would not help solving matters between her parents. Feeling sorry for Stella who is being ignored by the guests, she decides to help her get accepted by showing off the green pyjamas which Stella gave her. 3 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Analysing the Characters in Step by Wicked Step

Richard Harwick

Richard is a loyal person. He is too loyal to his father that he becomes so angry with his mother for betraying his father's memory by marrying Coldstone. He hates his stepfather and calls him a black bat. He also thinks that his sister is disloyal for getting along with their stepfather. He refuses to listen to his sister's advice to make peace with their stepfather.

http://images.search.yahoo.com Indulging too much in his own grief, Richard becomes an irresponsible and thoughtless person. Feeling that no one cares about his feelings, he runs off to the sea and explores the world. Disappearing without a word, Richard has caused his mother and sister much grief. He does not even realize the damage that he has done to these two people who really love him until it is too late. 1 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119 Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stories (Vignettes) within Step by Wicked Step Colin's Story: The Bluebird of Happiness Colin and his mother left his father when he was a few weeks old. His mother takes up with a person whom he thinks of as his father. However, his immature mother also leaves this stepdad after a while. Now he misses him so badly that it hurts.

Ralph's Story: A Tale of Three Stepmothers Ralph's life, though merry, is as complicated as a maze as he has three stepmothers and many step-family members.

Claudia's Story: Green Pyjamas After Claudia's parents' divorce, Dad finds a girlfriend, Stella. Claudia feels disloyal to her mum whenever she has a good time with her father and his new girlfriend. Even though Stella tries her best to be accepted by Claudia and her daddy's friends, she is being ignored. Finally, Claudia realises her rudeness and she comes out of her closet by wearing the green pyjamas given by Stella.

Pixie's Story: The Pains in My Life Pixie has to deal with two really irritating stepsisters and a father who pretends he doesn't notice how difficult things are for her. One day her stepmother (Lucy) and Pixie have a fight. They pour out their frustrations. Only then they realise that it is all because of Pixie's father who is selfish, always pretending he didn't notice things, and leaving them for Lucy to sort out the mess.

Robbo's Story: Dumpa's the Problem Robbo and his sister, Callie always think that the birth of their stepbrother, Dumpa has caused numerous problems between them and their step father, Roy. When the relationship between Robbo's mother and Roy is on the rock, Robbo realises that Roy does not move on because Dumpa's the problem. Finally, Robbo realises that his mother is always stuck in between when Callie and Roy quarrel. This has caused mum and Robbo's stepfather to be upset. 1 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119 Synopsis of Step by Wicked Step This novel is really five stories within a story that are induced by a story, like a nesting puzzle. So, we have six stories in the book. There may be a lack of a principal plot here but it is of no consequence as the novel's main purpose is to serve as a forum for six various stories of Richard Clayton Harwick, Claudia, Colin, Ralph, Pixie and Robbo.

In Step by Wicked Step, five boys and girls find themselves in an old house on a stormy night. In a hidden tower room they discover an old diary, that of Richard Clayton Harwick, who left behind a journal account of his wicked stepfather. 'Read and Weep' says the spidery writing on the cover of the book. After Richard Clayton Harwick's father passes away, he was sent to Mordanger School for four long years. He wishes to burn Mordanger to 'ashes' as to him, 'there's no meaner place on earth' than this boarding school. When he returns to Old Harwick Hall, he could not get along with his wicked and loveless stepfather, Reverend Coldstone. Being robbed of all his precious tokens from home, Richard makes the decision to leave and become a cabin boy on a great ship. His decision has caused anguish in his mother and sister, who have spent a fortune seeking his return. He did not return to see his mother or sister until he read a square print from Riddle & Flook which requested him to claim his ownership to Old Harwick Hall. By then, Richard knows that his stepfather, mother and sister have passed on. Only then, he realises his decision to leave has changed the lives of his family members.

Harwick's story prompts Claudia, Colin, Ralph, Pixie and Robbo to tell their own tales of stepfathers, stepmothers, and stepsiblings, who are in turn eccentric, beloved, unwelcome, and almost always misunderstood. Each vignette (descriptive passage within a larger work) is a wonderful study of human nature. As the lightning flashes, the children begin to relate their own tales of step parents, stories that are full of warmth and humour, yet with a fair share of sadness. At first it seems the children could have nothing in common. Sports-mad Robbo, quick-witted Ralph, sensible Claudia, fiery Pixie and dreamy Colin seem as different to each other as it is possible to be. Yet they soon find they have one thing in common, and that they are all the products of broken homes and they once have a turbulent relationship with a

'step-' or 'steps-'. 0 comments Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Labels: English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119 Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Step by Wicked Step (The Text Book) Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls...introducing the new novel text book for form 5 students Step by Wicked Step, written by Anne Fine.

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Labels: English Literature, Step by Wicked Step, Tips for SPM English 1119 Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Step by Wicked Step (by Anne Fine)

Starting from 2011, the form 5 students will have to learn a new novel. The

Pearl will be a history. For the students in Selangor, the novel that they have to learn is Step by Wicked Step written by Anne Fine.

Yesterday, I bought the Step by Wicked Step text book which has a different look from the one that I posted here. It is quite funny the way they use the illustration of people's feet stepping on stairs on the book cover, since it has nothing to do with the content of the story.

I am going to finish reading the book first. Then only I could offer a further discussion on each aspect of the story, and think of the best approach to help students to understand the novel.