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Malaysia: Applying to University - Must read

Guide to the MUET (New format)

UPDATED guide outlining the 2021 format MUET. This is a general guide covering the "new" format of the test with links to more detailed updated tips for each section of the MUET.

General MUET guide

What is the MUET?

The Malaysian University English Test (MUET) is an English proficiency test similar to the IELTS or TOEFL test in that universities use it to test prospective students’ English abilities prior to studying with them.

Who needs to take MUET?

MUET is a prerequisite for admissions into all public universities and colleges in Malaysia and a few in Singapore like the National University of Singapore. In the UK, Manchester Metropolitan University and University of East London also recognize MUET.

MUET grades can be a significant factor in securing a students place at the university they wish to enrol with. Public servants in Malaysia are also encouraged take MUET as an English qualification and to broaden their career prospects.

When is the MUET taken?

There are 3 opportunities in the year to take the MUET: March, July and November. Registrations open roughly six months before each test.

How do I take the MUET?

You must register to take the test, this can be done online for private students at the Malaysian Examinations Council website (they oversee the test). Pre-University students can register via their respective institutions.

How much does the MUET cost?

The MUET costs a total of RM100.00. If you are not satisfied with the result you receive, you can apply to have it checked, though this will cost RM70.00. Usually the Writing, Reading and Listening parts of the test are done on the same day, while the Speaking section will be tested on another day close to that date.

Components of the new format MUET (post 2021)


  • Length: 50 mins
  • Five parts comprising of 30 multiple choice questions
  • Maximum score: 90marks
  • Weighting: 25%

You are given 15 to 30 seconds to read the questions before the audio is played for each part. The Multiple choice questions are based five parts:

  1. a dialogue between 2 people
  2. a monologue in the form of a lecture/talk/briefing
  3. 3 monologues from three people
  4. 1 dialogue
  5. 3 short dialogues between 2 people

Tip: Practise your ability to hear selectively the most important parts of a piece of audio and note these down quickly as you listen. While the audio should feature a speaker using standard English, try listening to some regional accents so you are at least familiar with the way they may vary – it will make you more confident approaching speakers from different regions. Watch TV shows and movies in English in the weeks before your test, without subtitles in your own language.


  • Length: 30 mins
  • 2 parts: Individual presentation & a Group discussion
  • Maximum score: 90marks
  • Weighting: 25%

Part 1 involves an Individual presentation (2 mins to prepare, 2 mins to present) and Part 2, a group discussion with 3 other students (3 mins to prepare, 8-12 mins to discuss)

Tip: When preparing for your test, speak with friends and family in English to sharpen your English skills. In the discussion part of the Speaking section, keep the discussion going by asking questions. Make sure your contribution to the conversation is heard, so speak clearly and loudly; don’t let the others in your group “steal the limelight” and talk over you.

For more tips and advice on the Speaking Test see our article on MUET Speaking Test Guide & Tips.


  • Length: 75 mins
  • 7 parts with a total of 40 questions
  • Maximum score: 90marks
  • Weighting: 25%

The test starts off easy and gets progressivly harder with multiple choice questions about different texts (e.g. newspaper article, academic text, journal article etc.). The seven parts are:

  1. Three short texts of the same text type, thematically linked, amounting to a total of 100 to 150 words
  2. Two texts each of 300 to 450 words
  3. Two independent texts based on the same theme (not necessarily of the same text type) amounting to a total of 700 to 800 words
  4. One text of 500 to 600 words
  5. A text of 700 to 900 words each
  6. Another text of 700 to 900 words each

Tip: Make sure you actually read the question and any other information given in full – it is the reading section after all! Underline words or phrases you don’t understand or recognise. When preparing for your MUET, expose yourself to a range of texts in your personal time which are well-written. These should be reputable sources such as the BBC or New York Times which use a good standard of English so you’ll broaden your vocabulary and ability to comprehend a range of texts.


  • Length: 75 mins
  • Two writing tasks
  • Maximum score: 90marks
  • Weighting: 25%

There are two parts to the written test:

  1. You will be presented with a stimulus in form of a letter or an email that you will need to respond to in at least 100 words, covering the requirements of the brief.
  2. You will recieve a stimulus of an idea or problem that you will then have to write an essay about in at least 250 words in a 50 min timeframe.

Tip: Complete task 2 first as this is worth more marks. Do not make “blind” statements; back up everything you write with facts.

How is the MUET test scored?

Since 2021, the MUET scoring changed from Six bands to Nine to align with the Common European Framework of References (CEFR). Below is a table showing the score ranges, the nine new bands, CEFR score and the user classifications.

Aggregated score Band CEFR User
331 - 360 5+ C1+ Proficient
294 - 330 5.0 C1
258 - 293 4.5 B2 Independent
211 - 257 4.0
164 - 210 3.5 B1
123 - 163 3.0
82 - 122 2.5 A2 Basic
36 - 81 2.0
1 - 35 1.0

Band 5.0 & 5+ (score of 294 -360) CEFR C1 & C1+: Proficient:

  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning
  • Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions
  • Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

Band 4.0 & 4.5 (score of 211 - 293) CEFR B2: Independent:

  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

Band 3.0 & 3.5 (score of 123 - 210) CEFR B1: Independent:

  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar, or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Band 1.0, 2.0 & 2.5 (score of 1 - 122) CEFR A2: Basic:

  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

What band or CEFR grade do I need?

Depending on the university and course you are applying to, you’ll need to aim for a certain band. Different subjects will have different band requirements, with law and medicine often requiring higher bands. You should try to aim for as high a band as possible, preferably in the top two bands. If you get into a band below this, you may be required to take additional English courses if you are still accepted by the university.

How long does it take to get MUET results?

Results are usually available in 10 Weeks after you sit the MUET. Candidates can check their MUET results online from the MEC website or by SMS by typing "MUET RESULT" "space" "identity card number" and send to 15888.
For example: MUET RESULT 658498123436

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