Thursday, October 13, 2005

PMR Too Easy?

The Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination has just been completed on Tuesday this week, and apparently, many are of the opinion that the examinations this year has been of a lower standard, particularly for Science and English Language papers. This is reported in the Star today.
A Mathematics and Science teacher from Seremban said her students were “disappointed” with the Science paper as the questions were “too easy.”

“One of my students commented that had he known the questions were to be that easy, he would not have studied so hard! They were disappointed that the paper was not a challenge”.
Apparently, even the average and weaker students found the paper easy and not challenging. One of the teachers interviewed was even harsher with her comments, claiming that “Science was easy and English was closer to the UPSR exam”.

Is it just a one-off? Or is it representing another decline in standards in the Malaysian examinations? The immediate speculation that comes to mind is the fact that this was the first year whereby Mathematics and Science examinations are conducted in English (though not yet 100%, as Malay translations are still available) - is the lowering of standards meant to coincide with this so that students will fare "better"? This was similarly speculated by one of the teachers interviewed.
“I do not know if it has anything to do with the fact that this year’s candidates were the first to study Maths and Science in English. But the standard of most of the papers was much lower than Form Three level.
What lends credence to this speculation is the fact that just one month ago, the Ministry of Education released the results of the July trial PMR examinations conducted for Mathematics and Science in English which was apparently very poor. The New Straits Times reported on the 16th September that "Form Three teachers who have been teaching Science and Mathematics in English since January are a worried lot."

In a subsequent NST report, the Ministry of Education Director General, Datuk Ahamad Sipon said "the questions were designed to test students on their understanding of questions posed in English and Bahasa Malaysia, and Maths and Science terminology and their grasp of concepts, ideas and information presented in both languages."
Teachers were to have used the results of the "diagnostic assessment" test given to Form Three students in July to remedy weaknesses in the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English. He said the test was not meant to be a trial examination for the Penilaian Menengah Rendah and could not be used to assess students’ performance in the exam...
The Malaysian Examination Syndicate director Dr Salleh Hassan, who has been under a little bit of pressure in the recent PMR examinations due to issues blogged here and here, naturally "begged to differ". The best way for our civil servants to answer some of the tough questions posed, is by apparently "answering without answering".
He said the level of difficulty was about the same for every examination – including this year's – so the syndicate could chart and compare students’ performance over the years.

"Every examination has a combination of six levels of difficulty – understanding, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Some questions will be difficult and some questions will be easier, depending on the level of testing."
Errr... how does that convince the public that the PMR examination standards were not lower, I have absolutely no idea.


globalsan said... with previous years, we will have many of students with string of A's..

and what will happen when they go to higher form, they will face difficulties if they dont study
consistently in form 4 and 5.

I often wonder if PMR is necessary? (Btw, I took SRP way back in 80s)

When I met with one of my old classmate whom had finished her O-level while we were still waiting for our SRP results back in 80s,
I often wonder if SRP is really neccesary ?

The questions are all MCQs and do not test the students' indepth understanding of the respective subjects.

Ya, we may have a string of A's, but does it reflect any real value of scholastic achievement.

Why dont we just abolish PMR, and let our students take SPM or GCE 'O' level straight away.

And we should revamp our system such that students sit for O-level after 4 years of secondary school, and sit for A-level after 6 years of secondary school.

Anonymous said...

Can the papers be obtained and posted on the net? Easy to judge with so many parents out there.

English more like UPSR? It sounds pretty bad though.

John Lee said...

This is why I'm writing a book about education in Malaysia (sample chapter available here). To give you an idea of the book's contents, I reproduce test questions of laughable quality, ranging from one question about intellectual property piracy on a geography paper, to questions about the meaning of simple English phrases in PMR practice papers. For example, one paper I sat for as a PMR student asked me about the meaning of a sign saying something like "Danger!". Another question showed me a sewing machine, scissors and thread, and asked me what occupation would use such equipment. Easier than UPSR? The test was probably even easier than the PTS.

And yes, the science paper was damn easy. Seriously, you didn't even have to memorise any formulae; everything was provided. For maths, I understand, but science?

黄德峻 said...

this is what they did throughout the yeras.. as you can see, they said there're more students doing better than previous years.. which means the standard is getting lower and lower... i went through it and i know that it's really getting easier and easier

wyejon said...

It's not just PMR... the SPM standard declines with each passing year as well. It's so bad that I often wonder how people manage to fail those 2 exams.

Anonymous said...

I always thought that all these exams are graded on a curve. It doesn't matter how difficult the paper actually is. All that is needed is to agree upfront how many percent of the students are to get an "A", "B" etc., and then just set the minimum marks for each grade accordingly. This system only becomes a problem if the paper is too easy. Imagine a situation whereby 40% of the students were to get an all correct score. This means that anyone with only 1 wrong answer will only get a "B".

So, there is really no necessity to make any exam papers easier as long as we don't use raw scores to grade students.

Anyway, don't governments like to show increasing number of students who do well as a sign that they [the government] has been doing a great job?

Anonymous said...

i'm just someone from a remote village in keningau, sabah..happen to come across this so called intellectual or academic comment. maybe it sound funny and easy to you all the question in pmr eng paper..the sign 'danger' sound familiar to you, but for the students here the other way round. many questions in the pmr eng paper are 'urbanised', for the rural students, many questions esp the signs and symbols or advertisements are aliens, they come across in textbook or model papers but never experience. maybe if you are in our shoes, you'll be more understanding.

Anonymous said...

espeacially the history and malay.


Anonymous said...

damn my science paper jz going to be on tomorrow ..hope as easy as u guys said..errrr..jz wish there is no pmr they need pmr for..jz to maintain to get wat class next year?

Anonymous said...

hi im LoNeLy EviL n im from kl jz to drop by.. im one of a student in f3 tis year which take pmr..i jz took bm1 & 2 this morning guess wat paper 1 all da answer r damn near n almost da same meaning .. expeacially question from 8 - 14 urghh jz hope tomorrow science n english will be easier...

Could u stay 4 another min beside me? said...

I'm also a form 3 student which taking PMR. What i can tell is, some subjects are very easy, and some subjects are DAMN HARD! The BM questions are very Hard, the answers are confusing. I nearly can't finished the whole question paper due to think of which is the MOST suitable answer. Today, the science paper is very easy!! The paper 2 is asking about the seed covered with black box, cooled boiled water, oil all those, which is UPSR standard i think. The PMR questions are imbalanced this year i think. English is crazy! Too many advertisement question, which are the question that give us marks easily. It is mad, and the imformal letter, all the points given, need to elaborate only. So easy. I hope tomorrow's maths and history will be easier...=)

Anonymous said...

i finished my PMR redi n i got heart attack when i saw my english paper.....i thought they accidently switched exam paper with UPSR English paper....i'm a MARA student n i hope u guyz can imagine how hard v studied...i think i can even do da paper with da eyez closed........wat is it????

plato's disciples said...

Couldn't we all write in properly spell English?

It's better to over study than to study less.

p/s: I took my pmr back in 2001.

Anonymous said...

i took my PMR back in 2005.

in which we were the first batch to experience the "change" from malay to english in science and maths.

right now im studying in australia for year 12 (form 6 and higher).

i'll tell u a little bit about the differences between the education here and malaysia.

australian students dont experience major exams until they sit for their one major exam when they're in year 12. throughout these years, they have tests, mid year and final year exams.

when they're in year 11 (form 4-5) they get to choose their subjects. not 11, but minimum of 4. and they will go in depth study for all these subjects. i get to see all kinds of graph shapes in maths at this age because we get to use graphic calculators.

u might ask, are we dependent on them? honestly most of us are. but in this real world you all live in, accept the fact that when you solve a problem nobody will restrict you on using calculators and look for formulaes you need to use.

understanding the concept is what we really need to grasp in our education. let it be bad or good results, the final understanding of what you have spent 12 years in school is the whole point of education right?

efficient education is all i can use to sum up malaysian standards. it is one thing that malaysian education should look into and do something about it. we really have wasted a lot of time during PTS , UPSR and PMR. save those time and you can put in more knowledge into malaysian students during those time.

Anonymous said...

Is PMR easy?
Let look at the statistics..

26,000 out 440 000 candidates
pass with all A in all subjects..
That is about 5% of the total candidiates in 2007.

Is PMR easy?? Think?
If PMR is easy 90% student will get all A in all subject..but now only 5 %.

Anonymous said...

Is PMR or UPSR necesarry?. Should it be a abolish?

a. Many of us went through the examination system (UPSR,PMR,,SPM,STPM) and the system make us so sucessful. No on ever complain about the system.
b. Nowadays many students fail examination and only alternative is to abolish it, as exam is stressful and students tend to be book worms etc..etc..etc

c. All PMR sudents can move up to form 4 even they fail all subject or even they didn't take PMR exam.The end result is no one bother to study hard. The standard of education drop tremendously. Many form 5 student doesn't know how to calculate percentage, draw a simple graph or a table properly.Examination is not important and mastering the skill and studying hard is not more important. Who bother about quality of education?
c. Exam nowadays is and will be replace by course work. Course work are not valid form of evaluation. Student copying course work from friends or outsourcing their course will be rampant.
Where are we moving?....form a successfully examination orientation system with critical thinking question to a system where exam are abolish and largely replace by course work that is not valid..copying and outsourcing of course work will be the order of the day.

No one will study hard.....student will play truant...absentee will be rampant...

Anonymous said...

Not only is PMR easy, but all the government exams are just too easy. Let me give you first hand examples-
I went through PTS(1999), UPSR(2001), PMR(2004) and SPM(2006) and I passed all of them and score all As and for SPM, all A1s. I admit that I did MINIMAL studying. I could not answer one whole structural question in SPM for biology and what do I end up with? An A1. For BM(SPM), I went out of topic for 1 essay and what happens? Still an A1. I'm even surprised with my results. Malaysian education is not even education anymore. I'm not saying that I am a bad student though, I just didn't study a lot during my SPM years. But, thank god I am now in Melbourne University doing medicine (but no thanks to Malaysian Education).

Anonymous said...

i am having pmr this year...
hope it will be as easy as you said..

Anonymous said...

thnk god for the one who scored flying colors in all the exams,,,pursuing in aussie ek? hehe..thank enuff to the exam then only u r there now,, thanks to malaysian education uh? well that system actually turned u to a medicine student, without ur ungrateful u r,,

Anonymous said...

i took PMR way back in 2005,but i'll talk about my recent SPM

i got to admit that all the general exams were easy especially SPM..Yes, SPM!! i didn't pass with flying colours but i do know it was too easy!

i'm a student that is really 'malas' and my grades are always under i was kinda expecting a not-so good result..and BOOM! a good result!(well,atleast for me)

to make it sound real bad..i don't think i ever studied hard! UPSR,sleep,sleep ..PMR, reading comic everyday..SPM, watching YT videos everyday.. :p

and my result?? all i can say is..i'm thankful!

Anonymous said...

yup it was easy...(SPM)

i never get a B for all my past exams, UPSR, PMR, and SPM...all A's...

the great thing is, i never actually study; if sitting at your desk and reading the crap out of the book is what you guys call study...

now, i'm in INTEC, international education centre, undertaking AUSMAT...where i found that we, are taking SPM (our so MAJOR exam) to take their (i don't know what they call it) form 6 exam...

the irony i'm doing a research on th validity of the education system of MALAYSIA...ironic, isn't it...

anyway, i'm very grateful to MOE that i scored all A's

Luc said...

I wouldnt say it is too easy... I sat for the exam and I know it... especially for BM, a lot of people did not get straight A because of their BM paper. Also, English is not even close to the UPSR paper >.>

Think twice before you talk, think thrice before you do... do some research before you judge. Maybe the examination stardart has gone a bit off limit but it does not mean that it is crappy. Maybe people should be given a chance to sit for PMR and SPM; again, to see how much one would score...

*I got straight As :D

Anonymous said...

The problem of PMR is not because the standard of the examination low but the standard of students low.
About 20,000 out of 500,000 students score all A in all their subjects. Is the exam standard low or the students standard low??

Cibaikia said...

I tell you what,PMR is simply joke.
Most of peoples dont even wanna study coz teachers usually said ''most formulas given'' for maths and sejarah is simply ''remember all''..malay and english ,well,some said the truth,it is easy.
And geography,same as sejarah,trivia,thats why pmr shouldnt even exist,it provides no literal meaning at all.simply waste of time..

Anonymous said... arrogant.u get all A's then u say malaysian education not gud? maybe u pay attention in class.what the teacher thought u,doesn't matter 2 u? foolish words from the so "smart" stupid u are.if not for malaysian education,u wud not be in aussie now.maybe u can't even spell ur name,stupid.

Anonymous said...

are you guys studying just to get A's for any examinations? shouldnt all of us just study to gain knowledges?

Anonymous said...

I have taken my PMR last year(2007).. And my juniors are coming to me and claim that their paper is hard. Especially BM.. But from what i had gone through thier paper.. My PMR paper was far more harder.

I must say that the PMR exam levels have been very bad this year. Believe me, if you let me choose between this year's paper and last year's, I will definely choose this years! Why? Is easy?

What is all this.. BM only came out Latar Tempat? I think this year's PMR student and the one's taking it in the future shouldn't complain much as the standards have been lower down.

And I do agree that Malaysian education's system is a bit nt good(no offence). They follow politics! We go to school not just to get a freaking A.. we go to gain knowlegde. You can't say a person is dumb if he didn't get an A in their exam.

And to PMR students.. please don't complain about how stressful you all are, because when you come to form 4 or SPM level.. you will know how good and easy PMR is.

Cassie said...


i sat for my PMR this year.
maths was ridiculously easy. i was afraid i'd make careless mistakes cause there was absolutely no challenge. i'd been trained by my tuition teacher to do questions..hard questions. these were so simple.

english was easy as well. scienc was reasonable. some peole said it was hard. maybe you should get the opinion of students before concluding whether it was easy or not.

all in all, the malaysian education system is doomed..

Cassie said...

also, some poel commented that other's who've now moved overseas are ungrateful?? hello! wake up...

the reason they did so well was due to their own effort not the screwed education system.

whatever we do and succeed at, we should be given full credit for. this malaysian edu. system helps no one. it's so disasterous.

we should have stayed under the british ruling...

Anonymous said...

well..... its so easy,,,,,,,,, actually i my self were not that good in stdy.......... in january i got terrible problem catching up wit dat stupid maths......................on secon taught its not dat stupid but okey2 juga lahh.................. in mid year exam sososo UNEXPECTEDLYYYY igot two exam and both become top student .......... i don say day pmr is easy as abc but.............................................................. it make me thing...... I GOT 7A, well im not islam so consider its7 saja'lah'

Anonymous said...

Well I would say the only subjects that everyone will definitely get an A is math and english. If I were to compare Singapore PSLE math (which is UPSR sg) and PMR math,both are very similar. I'm actually teaching my 15 yr old brother PSLE math. As for english, oh gosh..I really do not know how to comment. Let's hope that the ministry will do something bout it.

I think PMR should be abolish then

Anonymous said...

I took my PMR back in was easy. Not that i know if it change to extremely hard paper. But i remembered back then especially Kemahiran Hidup(I spell correctly rite?) paper, i wasn't like what i expected. My monthly exam result was like crap.Why? I don't know. But monthly exam paper was harder than PMR one. I'm talking about KH only here. The rest, it's unfair to say whether its easy or not since we already learn higher level on those subjects. Basically, it may look easy to us, but it actually kinda hard to student who are facing PMR. And of cause, those who've taken PMR would say it is easy. But those who are taking PMR would find it otherwise. I said the same thing for SPM. I got straight A1s...and i would say that it is an easy paper because i'm in college now, and i've learn more and deeper in sciences subjects. Back then, SPM was HARD!

Cassie said...

well, i heard the pmr results will be out on Christmas eve. i'm of course far from happy about it. i hope it's just a random rumor or something. i mean why the hell would they be so fucking racist and release the results on an eve of a celebration. seriously! damn.

but anyway, i move to an international school the monday after my pmr ended so my holidays just started on wednesday, 12/17.

whatever. i'm glad i'm leaving the malaysian edu. system.

Cassie said...


Anonymous said...

cassie , its good also if you just leave this country and get a good education from a well known varsities oversea.

but most briliant students are stupid ;when they come back , they let a bunch of stupid politicion to rule the country, who pass PMR ,SPM , with flying colours after graduting from local varsities.

amal said...

hmm..from all above i agree that upsr,pmr just waste our me,i even score 4 pmr n spm but see what happen to my spm..soo bad..lets focuss on spm first i think

Anonymous said...

plez care about others..not all students who sit for the exam are from brilliant type..students come from different backgrounds n different type of lifestyle..the exam is for all type of students,so the education system need to care about the standt of the candidates..if it is easy,u just need to be thankfull.......

Anonymous said...

well...i am a form 3 student too.
i don't think a teacher should comment about science and English paper...English and science objective questions were easy.that's why all of them said the papers were too easy...but they never see paper 2(subjective question).they should't comment the paper...and also..they are teachers..sure that they thought the questions were about a student?science paper 2 questions were so strange for me.I don't think the questions were formal question.

Anonymous said...

Ah well it does sounds Easy.

I'm from Brunei, here we used to have the PMB until 2009(last year) and the new system took place.

In my PMB, I got 5A's and 3B's. Not Amazing right? but I think you should see the papers, the Maths and Geography itself were almost like O level papers.I think PMR setter's need to be selected from Brunei.Then the head line will be "100" candidates get straight A's or something like that.

In Brunei we only have like 500 candidates who get 4A's-8A's(I'm included) and like 30 students who achieved all A's last year?
Better, that's the real exam.


Anonymous said...

My UPSR in 89 I got B for English, SRP in 92 I got C3 and for SPM too.. I am really not good in English and I come from Felda. But I excel in Math and science, thus I got accepted in AUSMAT and went to study in UNSW for Chemical Engineering. When I was in AUSMAT, I really have some trouble to study Math, physics and chem in english, but I survive.. In my opinion, when you are the one taking the exam everything seem hard, but when you are just spectator you have different view. Now I am married with German guy, and english are our bridge (english are our second laguage). We plan to move to M'sia and with all the comment about M'sia education I am worried about our children education..