Friday, December 12, 2014

How HOTS is SPM 2014 ? Things You Wanna Know About HOTS

For people out of Malaysia ( Malaysians may skip this)

The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), or the Malaysian Certificate of Education, is a national examination taken by all fifth-year secondary school students in Malaysia. 


   SPM is equivalent to the O-level at the secondary school level before the entering tertiary level education at a university or other higher education institutions. Since , this is not our main topic today , Click Here to know more

Let's go straight into our main topic today

Just in case you are still in the dark about what HOTS is all about , I'm telling you now ,that  HOTS is the acronym for higher order thinking skills . KBAT (kemahiran berfikir aras tinggi )is the same thing as HOTS . So since 2013 , students had witnessed a slight change in the way the questions were asked.In 2014 ,i witnessed myself how was the questions were different from the past and it was much more challenging . So , 97's , R.I.P . We were fated to be the scapegoats .

1) Moral Studies ( Pendidikan Moral)

- I was informed that there was some changes in the paper specifically in the essay part in 2013 . In 2013 , the essay question did not even mention anything about moral values (nilai murni) as the way it was asked in the past . Candidates were confused whether the way they were taught to answer these questions are still applicable .

Essay part ( section B)

On your left , these two images shown are some examples of questions asked in the conventional way (before 2013). The keyword 'nilai' will surely present in a question .So certain techniques are taught to the students and they will get a good score if they obey them


            On your right ,these two images shown are examples of how the essay questions were asked in 2013 . However , the previous types of essay questions(refer to pivtures above) were also asked These type of question (without the keyword 'nilai' ) made its debut in 2013 and sparked an uproar among parents and ALL SPM candidates who took Pendidikan Moral . They were confused about the technique to answer the question .This was indeed a big surprise as they were not informed of the major change in the essay part which will contribute 20 marks out of 100 .


             In 2014 , the way that the question was asked was more or less the same as in 2013 . For us , the 2014 candidates , we still find it quite confusing about the expected answers from the markers. Some students from the other schools said that the way to answer it is more flexible and did not have to use the 'nilai' and 'kata kunci ' anymore BUT some said 'kata kunci' and 'nilai' are still applicable if the questions are like what you see on your right .Most of the moral teachers ( not sure if it was all ) were quite sceptical of their way of their teaching as they themselves were also confused about the change . According to the seminar which I had attended ,organised by my school , the speaker was one of the teachers who set the questions  . The techniques were exactly what an elite teacher from Penang Island told his students to write ( The teacher shared it on google) . So i decided to stick to the new way of answering it ( the more flexible ones ) .

Structure part (Section A)
The thing that has kept my jaw dropped for a few minutes was when

1) During SPM , I found out that there was actually not even one question that asked about the definition of 'nilai' ( moral values) as we are expected to have memorized all .

2) Questions on CASE STUDY were seen  in most of the structure questions . For example , they narrated a situation ,approximately less than half of an A4 size paper and asked on solutions or your OWN opinion .

 Example 1- a clone of one of the case studies from SPM 2014 (quite an exact clone from what I remember ) 
                   " Halim ialah anak tunggal yang menguruskan perniagaan di London.
                     Dia mempunyai seorang anak yang cacat . Isterinya meninggal seorang
                     anak yang cacat . Isterinya meninggal dunia ketika melahirkan seorang 
                     anak yang cacat .Ibu bapanya menjaga anaknya supaya Halim tidak
                     susah. Walaupun berpendapatan sederhana , mereka tida pernah meminta
                     duit daripada Halim. Mereka mendapat panggilan daripada peguam supaya 
                     mengosongkan rumah yang mereka diami kerana Haim yang menghadapi
                     krisis kewangan telah menjual rumah yang diwariskan kepadanya tanpa 
                     pengetahuan mereka. "

                    HOTS/KBKK questions asked was something like this
                    Q1 : Wajarkan Harry membiarkan ibu bapanya menjaga anaknya?
                          * Marks allocated was 4-6 marks which was something fresh.We were trained
                             to answer questions (that requires our opinion) that were worth at most 3 marks
                             all this while.
                    Q2: Bersetujukah anda dengan tindakan ibu bapa Harry ?

In a nutshell , Moral paper got me like  ( It almost squeezed all my brain juice out ,well played , my dearest examination board of Malaysia ) I could say that almost 90 percent of the moral paper requires some deep thinking provided with evidences. I was not sure what the examiners wanted , and neither the people around me , nor on facebook groups . So , I wrote a lot ,I did my best ,just throw in whatever that appeared on my mind ,no choice but leave it to God .May God bless me !

2) History (Sejarah)

 In my opinion, sejarah paper did not look like a sejarah paper at all .

  •  Paper 1  

It was easy , questions were very direct and there was nothing confusing . I got the last question wrong because I didn't manage to study the last chapter of form 5 again ! Time was so tight even though I made a plan before hand =(  Urghhhh imperfection !!

  • Paper 2                                                                                                                                     Section A( structure )

There were 4 structure questions , 10 marks EACH and out of 10 there were AT LEAST 3 marks of HOTS/KBKK questions . Well , the crazy thing was , the last structure question(question 4 ) was filled with 100 percent of HOTS/KBKK questions . This was the hardest 10 marks to get for me .

 The questions weren't direct and I had wasted a lot of time on that question . I understand the question but I just couldn't figure out what was the expected answer from them . Besides thinking of the answers to fill in , it got me thinking about the question , what exactly they wanted ??!! So I wrote a lot  , in tiny fonts to make more space for my answers.In fact , this was the highest level of HOTS/KBKK question for me . I remember that question was asking about SUKMA ( form 5 , chapter 7 ), if you guys are study nerds /study kaki/ study kia or whatsoever , you will know that facts on SUKMA in our textbook is almost zero ! So , there was not a single thing about history on that question .

 One more thing was , Moral paper came into my mind when I was answering Sejarah paper . Some influences from Moral paper were spotted in Sejarah paper and I was like are you kidding me ?

There were questions asking about definitions (like what we usually encountered in Moral paper) . I remember this was asked in the 1st question and it went like , Apakah maksud sistem republik di Rom ?

 I guess we were tested on our understanding which was a great way to implement the HOTS/KBKK concept in our exams BUT not asking about our opinion and twisting the way of delivering their questions ! Twisting the way of asking just doesn't make any sense ! It was like testing on our IQ (Intelligent Quotient) instead of our knowledge about History . On the other hand , testing on our understanding makes us learn and know more about history , isn't that the reason why we have to study Sejarah ?

Section B : Essay

Choose 3 from 7 questions , 20 marks for each question . Each question was subdivided into 4 parts and 2 were history facts the other 2 was HOTS/KBAT questions that ask about our opinion and some random stuff related to the topic . Well , I think photos explain all so , take a look since we were allowed to keep section B of the question paper .
Question 5 and 6

Question 7 and 8
Question 9 and 10

Question 11

  •  Paper 3

Basically this paper is the chance to score ( According to teachers and seniors) . We were allowed to bring in whatever references except electronic stuff into the examination hall . Approximately one month (or more) before the exam , we were informed of the topic that would be asked and we should search for answers on the internet or through whatever sources . Bring whatever relevant only and make sure it's organised ,because you won't have enough time to search for the answers .

 Besides , you won't have enough time to copy them all ! Seriously , 3 hours wasn't enough for me , I remember I was the last one to hand in and the teacher just grab my paper away after collecting others'  =( Anyway , I managed to answer all , I just did not have time to add extra answers , so I think I should be grateful ? I used whole booklet with only one page left blank , not sure if the teacher would be annoyed by the length and also my handwriting towards the end . It was like this ,

Photo source : Virgin Radio Lebanon

3) Prinsip Perakaunan 

  • Paper 1

 The questions are quite easy and straightforward . 

  • Paper 2

This was the killer paper that provoked an outcry among us , the 97's batch . Especially Section B , question number 2 , the topic is covered in our syllabus , yes BUT the way they asked left us scratching our heads .That question was also one of the spotted question , so I had done numerous times of different exercises on that . Unfortunately , I have never came across that kind of question before , are they expecting some certified accountants to sit for the exam ? I would say that the topic was my main focus when I was revising for this subject and I was quite familiar with it. ( form 5 syllabus )

During my practices at home , i usually managed to balance the accounts ( it wasnt like that when I started my practice ) In the exam hall , i did not manage to balance it , my mood was affected a little on that day ( not during the exam of course , you cannot afford to do that ! ) . After that paper , I realised I have done some silly mistakes on that question too , OMG , 25 marks , I hope you love me please ! For accounts , if you done some mistakes on that particular figure , the consecutive figures will be incorrect as well , so I hope I will get some marks for applying the correct method to do that question. The most important thing is NOT TO BE PANIC ! Nothing much to say on this subject , I'm just quite speechless and disappointed in myself . *Still Mourning * To my juniors , you gotta get this question to practise and consult your teacher too , I'm serious !

Wait , wait , don't be so stressed out ! Chill and watch this video

So, it seems Arwind Kumar a.k.a Makcik Rosmah was really pissed about these stuffs especially the Prinsip Perakaunan paper . He did mention that pass year papers are no longer relevant anymore . In my opinion , pass year papers might NOT be as relevant as before but it's still useful . It's useful in terms of learning the basics and MORE PRACTICES ( practice makes perfect !) makes you understand better !

4) Additional Mathematics and Modern Mathematics 

This two subjects did not damage my brain as much as the 3 subjects mentioned above . The amount of HOTs questions was only around 10 marks.

 Taking the topic, simultaneous equation as an example, they gave us a situation or a story, instead of just throwing an equation for us to solve it .You just have to understand the story and come out with two equations and solve it . Just have to be really careful reading the story or the situation given .They were just reviving the old trend , this kind of questions are common in SPM during the '00 . I came across to these type of questions while I was doing these pass year questions which are about 10 years ago . (\/)

Another similar example from the additional mathematics spm 2014 paper was ,
They gave us a bowl ,asked us to find the volume of water needed to fill the bowl to a certain depth.

All relevant numbers were given . They even included a quadratic equation . Obviously that bowl represented a quadratic graph and you just have to integrate it . Instead of directly giving you a quadratic graph , they gave a bowl to confuse you .

I also spotted some combination of physics and mathematics in the modern mathematics paper last year . They gave us a question about a rocket and a physics equation . The physics equation was just like the equations we learnt in form 4 physics chapter 2 . The physics equation contained a few unknowns . It was something like this :

h = 2t + v  ( i forgot the equation , but these are the unknowns)

They asked us what will be the velocity of the rocket when the rocket lands on the ground . They gave us the time (t) but not height(h) and asked for the velocity(v). If you think again , the height was actually given INDIRECTLY , the height was actually zero ( because the rocket lands on the ground )

5) Bahasa Melayu and English

They didn't ask us directly what they want like the previous years . So it's pointless if you memorize all the themes, characters, characteristics ,lesson learnt, values in the novel . They actually want to make us read the novels and understand them .

For English Literature , they wanted us to prove the statement below,

"One has to struggle to improve one's life"

Knowing all the little things of the story , I was able to write . I even gave extra evidences to support the statement . Only realised that I might understand the  question wrongly after I handed in my answer booklet . Is it  A has to struggle to improve A's life or A has to struggle to improve B's life ? It's important to understand the question first before answering it . I wrote the latter but I believe the former is more accurate . It was an emotional day for me , I could not concentrate on studying my next paper . Thank God it was only modern mathematics the next day  and I almost finished studying that subject.

For BM literature , it was almost the same as English but I forgot . Sorry . =)

6) Biology , Physics and Chemistry

No HOTs/KBAT questions , everything was direct and similar to past year and trial questions. Physics and Chemistry are surprisingly easy . Yayy ! (\/)

Enough said . =)

Is it informative enough for you guys ? Never hesitate to comment and ask me questions . I wrote this long long thingy is to help you people ! Share it with your friends , the share button is just below ! . Be a member of my blog/follow my blog or follow me by email . Read my latest post on 9 ways my driving instructor annoyed me to laugh at my painful experience ! teehee =D

Peace out (\/)

Kaylyn Ang


  1. hey !
    nice post ;)
    your juniors will be very grateful ^.^

  2. Borrow for share :) thanks

  3. Holy cow... I'm so glad I'm not a student in the 21st century. My brain hurts just looking at this. :p