Penilaian Menengah Rendah
Penilaian Menengah Rendah (commonly abbreviated as PMR; Malay for Lower Secondary Assessment) is a Malaysian public examination taken by all Form Three students in both government and private schools throughout the country. It was formerly known as Sijil Rendah Pelajaran (SRP; Malay for Lower Certificate of Education). It is set and examined by the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate (Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia), an agency that constitutes the Ministry of Education.
This standardised examination is held annually during the first or second week of October. The passing grade depends on the average scores obtained by the candidates for this examination.
The mandatory subjects that are taken in this exam include:
- Malay language (Bahasa Malaysia)
- English language
- Living Skills (Kemahiran Hidup Bersepadu)
- Islamic Studies (mandatory for Muslim students, optional for others)
Optional subjects are:
- Arabic language
- Basic Arab Communication
- Chinese language
- Iban language
- Kadazandusun language (From 2009)
- Punjabi language
- Tamil language
The Malay language is a mandatory subject. Before the PMR examination during October, there are oral examinations and listening comprehension examination which contribute marks to the actual PMR examination, as well as a certificate. These examinations are taken three times throughout Form 3, with the best results being selected for the PMR examination. The Malay language examination consists of two papers, that is Paper One, and Paper Two.
In Paper One, 40 multiple choice questions are given to test the student's comprehension of the written language being tested, and lasts for one hour. Paper One is usually tougher, with results above 30 considered distinctive ones.
Paper Two comprises four sections and is two hours long. For the first section, the candidates are required to write a summary based on the passage given, which also contains three comprehension questions on the same passage. For the second section, the candidates are expected to write an essay of not more than 120 words based on visual aids (such as graphs, charts, images, multiple images, tables and cartoons) that are provided to the candidates. For the third section, candidates must write an essay on one of five topics given to them. The composition must contain more than 180 words, and carries the most number of marks. For the fourth and final section of the second paper, the candidates have to write a description for any one of the three novels studied by them in lower secondary school based on the instructions given. The questions asked differ from year to year.
Similar in format to the Malay language test, the English language test usually has an oral examination, assessing the students' proficiency in speaking the language, a listening comprehension examination, testing the students' ability to comprehend speech in daily situations, an examination to test the student's composition skills, and finally an examination testing the student's knowledge in grammar and vocabulary.
- Oral and listening examination
The oral and listening comprehension examination is taken before the PMR, which will later contribute marks to the actual PMR examination, as well as a certificate. The oral examination is taken 3 times throughout the year with the best results selected for the PMR examination. The oral and listening comprehension examination are usually taken together. This examination for the English language usually lasts about 10 to 15 minutes per student. The maximum score for this examination is 40. The oral examination is divided into 2 sections. The first section is to interpret an illustration given as thoroughly and detailed as possible, and giving comments about their actions in a formal way and predict the outcome of such a situation, this being graded on a score of 10. It is advised that students do not point to the picture. No names should be given and everything is to be said in present tense. The next section is to give a speech in front of the class. This part of the examination is different for each of the 3 oral examination per year. For the first oral examination, this part of the test requires the student to present an impromptu speech based on a topic given for more than 3 minutes. For the second oral examination, this part of the test requires the student to memorise a passage and present it in front of the class as interesting as possible for about 5 minutes. For final oral examination, this part requires 2 students to strike a conversation in front of the class for about 5 minutes which is relevant to the topic given. The maximum score for this part of the oral test is 10. The final section of the English oral examination requires the student to answer questions spontaneously the examiners asks of them related to the previous 2 sections, which often require their opinion and inference, this being graded on a score of 10.
The listening comprehension examination follows once the oral examination has finished for the particular class. This examination will then test the students' ability to comprehend the spoken English language in various daily situations. This examination requires the student to answer subjective questions which is based on the information contained in the audio played to the students. This examination provides the final 10 marks.
- Written examination
For the first paper of the English exam, students are required to answer 40 multiple choice questions in the course of an 1 hour. Questions based on grammar, vocabulary, phrases and idioms are tested. Students are also required to interpret information based on graphical stimuli such as statistical charts, memos, signs, short texts, notices and pictures. A rational cloze passage with a total of 10 questions is provided to the student; the passage tests grammar and vocabulary specifically. There is also a section which tests the student's knowledge in English literature, such as poems, short stories and novels studied throughout the lower secondary English lessons.
For Paper 2, students are required to write a long essay and a summary, as well as to answer a literature component. Section A, guided writing, tests the student's ability in functional or situational writing. If a functional writing question is provided, students are required to write an informal or formal letter. If a situational writing question is provided, students are required to write an essay in the form of a narrative or third person drama. Generally, this part of Paper 2 is tough and difficult to score. Section B of Paper 2 requires students to write a summary based on a passage given. The final section of Paper 2 is the literature component, where students are required to write an essay based on their knowledge in the novels studied in Form 3. The novels being tested in the literature component include How I Met Myself, The Railway Children and Around the World In 80 Days .The time limit for this paper is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Effective from 1 January 2012, the new format set by the Ministry of Education Malaysia is as follow:
Section A : Guided Writing (Remains the Same) Marks: 25 marks (Reduced from 30 marks)
Section B : Literature (Section changed from Section C to Section B). Two (2) questions: Question 1 : Poem, short stories & drama Marks: 3 marks Question 2 : Novel Marks: 12 marks (Increased from 10 marks)
Section C : Summary (Section changed from Section B to Section C)Marks: 10 marks (Unchanged)
The mathematics examination in PMR is divided into two papers, that is, Mathematics Paper 1 and Mathematics Paper 2. Paper 1 consists of 40 multiple choice questions and is worth 40 marks. The time limit for this paper is 1 hour and 15 minutes. The Mathematics paper 1 has faced complaints from students and parents who complain about the very short timeframe to complete and its difficulty. Students usually score lower for Paper 1, with scores above 30 being distinctive. The usage of a scientific or four operation calculator is allowed for this paper. Programmable calculators are not allowed.
Mathematics Paper 2 requires open-ended input, and comprises 20 questions in increasing difficulty. This paper is worth 60 marks. Marks for each answer ranges from 1-6, depending on the complexity of the question.The time limit for this paper is 1 hour and 45 minutes. The usage of calculators of all sorts are prohibited for this paper.
For both papers, the questions are usually in the form of:
The science examination in PMR is also divided into 2 papers, that is Science Paper 1 and Science Paper 2. Paper 1 consists of 40 multiple choice questions in escalating difficulty and is worth 40 marks. The time limit for this paper is 1 hour. The Science Paper 1, similar to Mathematics Paper 1, is usually very tough to score above 30. The usage of calculator for this paper is allowed, this is to help the students to answer the questions based on physics.
Science Paper 2, similar to the Mathematics Paper 2, requires open-ended input. This paper consists of 8 to 10 subjective questions. The marks allocated for the questions in Paper 2 vary from 1 mark to 6 marks, each measure proficiency in several units of the science syllabus, with a total of 60 marks. The time limit for this paper is 1 hour and 30 minutes and the usage of calculator is not allowed for this paper. The last 2 questions are usually experimental ones, which requires the student to formulate a hypothesis, determine the variables of the experiment and tabulate the data for the experiment. The marks allocated for this section of Paper 2 are usually more because it requires the student to explain further based on their knowledge in science. The syllabus covers various aspects of chemistry, biology and physics. These distinctions into different fields are not made in the examination format but can be derived based on the different themes:
- Matter and materials science. Chemical and physical properties. The phases of matter and the changes it undergoes.
- The variety of resources on earth. Chemical elements, compounds and mixtures.
- Testing for results of biological processes.
- The composition of air. Combustion.
- Water and solution. Acids and bases.
- Silicon compounds and calcium compounds. Reactions of metals with non-metals.
- Pollution and steps to combat pollution.
- Manufactured substances in industries. Chemicals for consumers.
- Cellular biology. Unicellular and multicellular organisms.
- Adaptation of life to the environment.
- The evolutionary theory.
- Scientific classification of life.
- The sensory organs.
- Biodiversity and the interdependence among living organisms and the environment.
- Biological production and population growth: recognising reasons for an exponential and logistic function in a graph.
- Animal gestation and plant germination. Life cycles. Photosynthesis.
- Harms and uses of different plants and animals, overall knowledge of role each organism plays in an ecosystem.
- Human growth
- Nutrition. The classes of food and a balanced diet. The human digestive system. Absorption of digested food and reabsorption of water and defaecation. The habits of healthy eating.
- The human anatomy.
- Respiration in humans, animals and plants.
- Blood circulation and transport in humans and plants.
- Support and movement in humans, animals and plants.
- Excretion in humans, animals and plants.
- Asexual reproduction in organisms.
- Sexual reproduction and organs in male and female. The menstrual cycle, fertilization, pregnancy and pre-natal care.
- Sexual intercourse and safe sex. Research in human reproduction and cloning.
- Pollination, flowers and dispersal of fruits. The development of fruit and seeds. Vegetative reproduction in flowering plants.
- The scientific method. Physical quantities and their units. The use of measuring tools. The concept of mass and the importance of standard units in measurements.
- Energy. Its forms such as heat, thermodynamics in a system and the conservation of energy.
- Biogeochemical cycles: water cycle, nitrogen cycle, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere.
- Air pressure and its application.
- Dynamics. Forces, work and power.
- Simple machines.
- Reflection and refraction of light. Concave and convex lens. Vision and optical illusions.
- Sound waves.
- Electricity and electrostatics. Ohm's law. Concept of series and parallel circuits. Current, voltage and resistance.
- Magnetism and electromagnetism.
- The generation of electricity. Electronics. Transformers. Electrical supply and wiring system at home. Fuses and Earth wire.
- Astrophysics. The solar system, stars, galaxies and the universe.
- The history and developments of space exploration and the field of astronomy.
Geography, History and Living Skills
The format of the Geography, History and Living Skills examination in the PMR are the same. It has only 1 paper which consists of 60 multiple choice questions in escalating difficulty. The time limit for Geography and History are 1 hour and 15 minutes while Living Skills is 1 hour and 30 minutes. The Geography and History papers are commonly deemed very easy as questions are normally recycled from previous years.
The Geography paper focuses more on human geography rather than physical geography and is primarily focused on Malaysia. It features environmental geography, geomatics and regional geography. The usage of calculator is allowed for this examination. The Geography examination is widely considered as the easiest subject to score "A". The topics covered in the examination include:
- Basic geography: Map reading, bearing, interpretation of topographical map and other basic techniques in geography.
- Physical geography: Weather and climate, natural vegetation, plate tectonics, weathering, rivers, coasts, climatic, manmade and natural disasters.
- Human geography: Population, settlements, agriculture and aquaculture, natural resource management, industrialisation, tourism, physical and human resources.
- Living Skills
For the Living Skills (similar to Design and Technology in many countries) paper, the subject is categorized into 4 elective groups where students can choose any one. Then there is the mandatory section where students must take engineering drawing, technology, invention, domestic piping, electronics, electrical engineering, basic economics, home decor and safety, tailoring, horticulture and gardening, telecommunication, cooking, consumerism, and signs. The 4 elective groups are:
- Choice 1: Technical Skills (such as engine, electromechanics, motor and technical drawing)
- Choice 2: Home Economics (such as sewing, baking, catering and fashion)
- Choice 3: Agricultural Science (such as landscape, pets, gardening and plantation)
- Choice 4: Business and Entrepreneurship (such as marketing, entrepreneurship, accounting and commerce)
This paper is closed and is not allowed to the public. This is done mainly due to the sheer amount of recycled questions every year.
Students are also required to complete three projects, that is folios, for these 3 subjects in order to receive their PMR slip and certificate. Similar to the Malay and English language examination which requires the students to have their oral and listening comprehension examination, these 3 folios will contribute marks to the actual PMR examination during October. This project is to help the students to score distinctions as these papers are tough.
The results are released in late December every year to all candidates through the relevant schools. The grades ranges from A (excellent) to E (failure), or even T for non-attendance (Tidak hadir). The grading scores may be slightly readjusted based on general performances.Hospitalized student can take the examination at the hospital they are staying.
Based on the results and individual interest, students will be streamed into Science, Arts, IT, or vocational streams for the following 2 years in the higher secondary education level. The government aims for a ratio of 60 Science to 40 Arts students.
The results for the last batch of PMR (2013) was released on the 19th of December 2013. 
In 2011, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has declared that the PMR examination may be abolished in 2014, and the Form Three students' performance by that year would be tested through the School-Based Assessment (SBA) conducted by the schools themselves. The SBA will be monitored by the Examination Board to ensure the examination questions are of quality and can truly gauge the students' achievements. Stated by the Deputy Prime Minister, this measure will also enable parents to obtain the latest information on their children's academic performances in school. With numerous debates, it was finally confirmed in early October 2012, which PMR will be officially abolished.
- Education in Malaysia
- Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR)
- Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM)
- Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)