How I got A+ in SPM English by memorising 1 story essay
by Tan Le Tian
Writing English essay on the spot in exam is tough. 😐
What if I tell you there is an easier way?
By just memorising one story essay, you can answer all possible questions in exam. 😲
This is how many of my friends and I got the A+ in English. 🙆♀️🙆♂️
Techniques from SPM Chief Examiner
I have memorised 1 story essay word by word and practice using the SAME ESSAY to answer more than 50 different story questions.
In the real SPM and Trial exam, I was able to easily churn out the same flawless 500 word essay in merely 50 minutes.
All it takes is some techniques to link your story essay properly to any given title. 😇
I learnt the techniques from my teacher, who used to be an SPM English chief examiner.
And YES, I am going to share with you the secret techniques to use one story essay to answer all possible questions in SPM. 😋 So keep reading.
How I answer the essay question in actual SPM
To get started, here is my real experience in taking English exam in SPM 2014.
The 500 words essay I memorised is a ghost story. Below is a summary of it.
A few friends and I challenged each other to visit a haunted hospital. In the hospital, I was chased by a ghost until a dead end. I punched the ghost and the mask fell. It was my friends playing a prank on me.
It looks like a short and simple story. But in fact, I have written a lot of things happening in the hospital.
For example, dark alley, heavy raining and lightning, mysterious woman crying sounds, bloody doll in the cupboard, white shadow zoomed past me, etc.
Below is the question I got in actual exam,
SPM 2014 Story Essay Title:
Write a story about a fisherman beginning with:
“The wind blew strongly. Out at sea, …”
Fisherman story = Ghost Story ??!
From the question, story have to happen at the sea, and is about a fisherman.
But the story I memorised happened in a haunted hospital, involving some students.
Look totally unrelated right? How to answer a fisherman story with a ghost story?
In the actual exam, I took a deep breath and within 1 minute, I got an idea and started writing rapidly.
Excerpt of my essay in real exam
“The wind blew strongly. Out at sea, I had spread out the fishing net, and was resting on the boat, waiting for fish to get into the net.”
“On the wall of the boat, there is a yellowish photo with a few fisherman including me, smiling happily. ”
“As my gaze fell upon it, tears started welling up in my eyes, and rolled involuntarily down my cheek. They are all my dearest friends, but now I am the only one left.”
“Looking at this photo always bring back a lot of painful memories for me. I still vividly remember the night when I was chatting with my friends on the beach. ”
“I started to grumble to my friends about the tough life of a fisherman. The sea had been rough recently, and we were unable to go out to the sea to catch fish. Our income was cut off completely. ”
“One of my friends suggested to go to an abandoned hospital nearby to steal some valuable items and generate some income. We agreed...”
Continue remaining with memorised story
After that, I continue the story with everything I memorised, with slight modifications in the ending.
Something like this: I was chased by ghost in the hospital but manage to escape from it. But all my friends have went missing.
The modification I made here is, ghost is real now, instead of pretended by my friends.
End story with moral values = Higher marks
Then I end the story with a Moral Value.
My friends paid a heavy price for stealing (went missing due to ghost). No matter how tough is the life as a fisherman, I promised myself to never steal anything in future.
Examiner will award marks for good moral values in your story. So try to end your story with a moral value whenever possible.
The story had been modified too much?
Now you might asked,
“So you have modified your story a lot to link to title! That is not the same essay you memorised anymore!”
The bulk of my story(middle part) is how I explore the hospital and got chased by ghost. I did not modify them at all.
Although I only memorise 1 essay, I have prepared multiple different versions of starting and ending of the story. So the modifications I did in exam is prepared beforehand as well.
Different versions of ending of story for different title
Below is different version of endings I have prepared, after chased by ghost until a dead end:
- I punched the ghost, the ghost was pretended by my friends [funny ending]
- Ghost is real, I survived, my friends went missing, [sad ending]
- My friend bravely punched the ghost to protect me, ghost ran away [Moral Value/Friendship ending]
- I punched the ghost and it ran away, I felt happy for defeating the evil. [happy ending]
Linking story by recalling past event
For the starting of the story, I use the reminisce technique (recall past events). The typical way of using this technique is usually like this:
I look at some yellowish photos/ancient items, and started crying/smiling. I still vividly remember XXX… [your story starts here]
Depending on the requirement of the title, I will decide which version of the starting and ending of the story to use.
Examples of linking my story to other titles
Here is another examples of linking a memorised essay to a real SPM question.
SPM2017 Story Essay Title
Write a story of a small town girl who worked hard to become a successful chef. Begin your story with:
"She had used the last of her savings to get to the cooking competition in the big city and ..."
From the question, first identify the key things to link our story to it.
- cooking competition in big city
- worked hard to become a successful chef
- small town girl that used the last of her saving
Here is how I will answer the chef story with my ghost story.
Excerpt of Chef Story
"She had used the last of her savings to get to the cooking competition in the big city and could not afford to fail at it. Tears started welling up in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks involuntarily. "
"A few friends and I felt helpless to see Lily crying so sadly. After a few days, it will be the final round of cooking competition. "
"Lily had managed to enter the final round due to her hard work and determination. "
"However, life had not been fair to her. The final competition required participants to cook dishes with an expensive ingredient, lobster."
"As a poor small town girl, Lily had never have the money to taste lobsters, or even practice cooking it in her life . We knew that she did not stand a chance in the final."
"One of my friends, Alice suggested us to go to an abandoned hospital nearby to steal some valuable stuffs, so that we can use the money to buy required ingredients for Lily. Lily eyes immediately light up and she agreed..."
Continue remaining with memorised story
After that I continue the essay with my ghost story in the hospital.
In summary, I was chased by the ghost until I reached the dead end. The ghost dropped a pile of cash in front of me and go away. Lily, my friends and I managed to escape from the hospital.
I gave the cash to Lily for her to buy the ingredients.
She worked incredibly hard, mastering how to cook lobster dishes in a few days, and won the competition. She was hired by a Michelin 3-Star restaurant and become a successful chef.
Many years later, I recalled back the incidents and realised Alice is the one pretending to be the ghost, to give Lily cash indirectly.
Message your story titles for more examples
I hope you have now get the concept of linking your story essay to any possible questions in exam.
Basically, the middle part of the story can usually remain same as your memorised essay. You just need to write a few sentences as linkers for starting and ending.
The linkers can be prepared beforehand if you practise your story with enough titles.
I have created an ebook with my full ghost story essay and examples of linking it to different titles. 😍
The ebook is available on the homepage of spmpaper.me ❤️
You can also message me, and I will send the ebook to you for free ☺️
Message me via IG: letian.tan, or WeChat: skyletian97
Since I published this post 2 years ago, a lot of SPM students have messaged me to help review & improve their story essay 😇
So if you need some suggestion in improving your essay, feel free to message me ya. 😊
I will try my best to help and answer any questions 😝
Also feel free to check out another article, where I elaborate on how to prepare an A+ story essay to memorise for your exam.
Thanks for reading. ☺ Good luck for your exam!