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FAQs for IGCSE Malay - First Language (0696)


When can we start to teach Cambridge IGCSE First Language Malay?

You can start to teach the syllabus in September 2019. The published syllabus and associated specimen papers are now available on our public website and the School Support Hub.

When will the first examination be?

The first examination is June 2021.

I have a very strong foreign language candidate. Can I enter them for a First Language examination?

You can, but the level of sophistication, accuracy and fluency required in a First Language examination is that of a native speaker. The assessment objectives for Foreign Language examinations are quite different, rewarding communication and giving opportunities for Listening and Speaking. 

What previous study is recommended?

We recommend that learners starting this course should have studied a lower secondary programme of study in Malay at first language level.

What topics should candidates study?

There is no list of specific topics. Teachers should make sure that learners are familiar with a range of text types for different purposes and audiences, across various genres and types, including fiction and non-fiction, plays, essays, reviews and articles. Learners are encouraged to become appreciative and critical readers and writers of Malay. Learners should be able to apply the skills they learn during the course to any text or topic.

What set texts are there for this syllabus?

There are no set texts for this syllabus. Learners should practice reading and responding to fictional short stories from the 20th and 21st centuries and non-fiction texts as part of their preparation for Paper 1. Fiction and non-fiction material can also be used in classroom preparation for Paper 2 as learners’ own writing will benefit from exposure to a variety of types of writing.

Can students take dictionaries into the Cambridge IGCSE First Language Malay examinations?

No, dictionaries are not allowed for any paper.

Should candidates use formal language? Is slang or foreign-influenced language acceptable?

The syllabus tests standard Malay. The main reference book for this is Tatabahasa Dewan by Nik Safia Karim et al. When candidates are writing, they should adopt the register most appropriate to the medium and audience of the task.

In the Writing exercises, how important is it for candidates to get the word count exactly right?

Candidates should not be excessively worried if they are slightly over or under the word count.
However, if an answer is significantly longer or shorter than the word count, it will most likely be self-penalising. Answers that are too short are very likely to be penalised for lack of content, whilst answers that are too long will probably not be written with concision and precision, and so be penalised for style and possibly for repetition.

We suggest that candidates should practise answering these types of questions before the exam, and take note of how many lines/pages they should write in order to answer within the word limits (this will be different for each candidate, depending on their handwriting).

In Paper 1, Question 2 (Directed Writing task), how many points of information do candidates need to include? Can they include information that is not in Texts B and C?

There is not an exact correlation between the number of points from the texts that the candidate uses, and the number of marks awarded. For example, a piece of writing with 10, 15 or even 20 points of information may fail to persuade the reader, and therefore not fulfill the task. Another piece of writing, with fewer points of information, may score more highly if the candidate has evaluated and analysed the points they have included, and written in such a way as to engage the reader and achieve the task as set (e.g. to persuade the reader of their point of view). This is why the mark scheme is holistic rather than points based: it is the way the candidate uses the information that matters, not the amount of information provided.

Candidates should only use information found within Texts B and C. They do not need to show any knowledge of the topic outside of the information provided in Texts B and C. However, when using the information in the Texts, candidates need to analyse, evaluate and develop the ideas contained within (it is insufficient to lift the material by copying word for word from the text). Candidates will make links between the information provided in the text, use the information to engage the reader in the way required by the question: persuading or encouraging the reader to a point of view, for example.

It is essential to keep the reader and purpose of writing in mind. For example, is the candidate writing to persuade others to share their point of view? To win a competition? To raise awareness of an important issue? Any information they choose to use from the texts needs to be used in such a way as to achieve this purpose.

Is Cambridge IGCSE First Language Malay recognised by local universities and professional bodies such as the Institute of Engineers Malaysia?

We are holding discussions with local universities and the relevant professional bodies in Malaysia, seeking to gain appropriate recognition for this qualification.

What Curriculum Support is available?

Here is a list of the teaching and learning support available online through the School Support Hub

  • Comparison guide – a brief comparison between the Cambridge IGCSE First Language Malay 0696 and the Cambridge IGCSE Malay as a foreign language 0546 qualifications.
  • Scheme of work – a medium-term course plan including a possible teaching sequence, activities for the classroom as well as tips and advice to support you in your lesson planning.
  • Specimen paper answers – develop your learners’ understanding of what is required to gain marks based on high-standard specimen examination responses.
  • Suggested resources – provides a range of resources developed by publishers to support Cambridge IGCSE First Language Malay. 

Is there an endorsed textbook for this syllabus?

Collins have published a text book to support the teaching of this syllabus. The textbook is endorsed by Cambridge. Read more on the Collins website 

Is the syllabus available in my administrative zone?

From assessment in 2021, this syllabus will only be available in administrative zones 4 and 5. Check the administrative zones for your school.

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