Badge of honour for student writer

PETALING JAYA: Ever since she discovered a writing platform for Form Six students in The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) pullout, Carrie Ann Lim Yi Wen has been submitting her essays in hopes of seeing them published.

As she flipped open a copy of this year’s first NiE publication, which rolled out today, she was ecstatic to find her essay, submitted for the Earn Your Band 5+ column, had been published.

This was the third time in two years that one of her essays had won three stars – the highest rating – in the column aimed at improving English proficiency among those taking the Malaysian University English Test (MUET).

“Having my essay selected is an honour, as it gives me more confidence to continue writing. The pride and joy I feel each time I see my essay published is irreplaceable, ” she said.

Previously titled Earn Your Band 6, the column has been renamed Earn Your Band 5+ this year in keeping with the latest revision of the MUET syllabus, as well as changes to the test specification.

“It was the first time I tried to answer the new MUET Writing Task 1 question, and I sent my entry in without consulting my teacher as we were pressed for time, ” she added.

In the two-page Earn Your Band 5+ column, selected student essays are featured alongside feedback from NiE’s MUET specialist writers.

In addition, students have access to activities based on The Star’s infographics designed to provide authentic information that will come in handy in their reading, writing, listening and speaking tests.All smiles: Carrie Ann reading her published essay in the first NiE pullout of the year.All smiles: Carrie Ann reading her published essay in the first NiE pullout of the year.

“The comments given by the experts helped me be more aware of the pros and cons of my writing style, and the maturity of my ideas, ” said the St John’s Institution, Kuala Lumpur, student.

Apart from Earn Your Band 5+, there is another writing platform for students in The Star’s English language resource for secondary schools.

Written by participants of NiE’s BRATs Young Journalist Programme, the section features various topics relatable to youths.

Starting out as a BRATs participant this year, Carrie Ann hopes to learn different writing styles and formats while getting a taste of journalism as a budding reporter.

NiE subscription is through schools only.

Published on alternate Wednesdays, the 16-page pullout tackles themes set by the Education Ministry.

It offers PT3 and SPM exam worksheets, and includes segments such as literature enrichment, character building, mental health and grammar.

There are 20 publications in a year.

For more information, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1-300-88-7827 from Monday to Friday (9am-5pm), or join NiE’s online community at

Read the full story in StarEdu this Sunday.

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