Friday, November 17, 2006

How to Spend Our School Holidays Effectively?

Posted by Chong

Tomorrow will be the first day of our one and a half months school holidays before we return to our schools on the 3rd of January, 2007. Have you planned your school holidays? If not, I hope this guide could help you in planning your school holidays. Here are a few suggestions on spending your school holidays effectively.
  • Preparing for major examinations
  • Travelling – relax and refresh our minds and souls
  • Working as part-timer – gain working experiences
  • Taking courses up or joining a camp – driving lessons, computer classes, writing courses, to improve ourselves; English camp, religious camp to motivate ourselves and meet new friends

Prepare for our major examinations – Those who are going to sit for the major examinations like PMR, SPM and STPM next year should spend the school holidays to prepare for them. Revise all the topics covered in form one and two (for PMR) or form four (for SPM) or lower sixth form (for STPM) besides studying the topics covered in next year syllabuses ahead. A Malaysia Students blog reader suggested that we should always try our best to understand a topic ourselves before it is taught in the classes.
Study the topics far ahead of your teachers' pace. When your teacher comes to the part where you have read and understood, it would be like a revision for you. That way, revision would be made so much easier as you have gone through the information twice without you knowing it or feeling the stress.
Personally, I find this study method very effective and would recommend it to you.

Travel to interesting tourist attractions – Have you burnt yourselves out during the year-end exam weeks recently? Travel locally or abroad will certainly relax and refresh the tired minds and souls. Malaysia has a lot to offer with its rich kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and colours. There are plenty of ideal tourist attractions in Malaysia, ranging from vibrant cities of entertainment to breath-taking national parks to historic landmarks to the golden sandy beaches. Travelling can open our eyes to various things around the world and add memorable experiences to our lives.

Work as a part-timer – I would recommend working as a part-timer to those who have sat for SPM or STPM examination this year. This is because you will have approximately six months before you further your studies to form six or university next year. Since SPM and STPM 2006 examination results will be out on March 2007, you can gain a lot of working experiences and money by working while waiting for the results. The working experiences will be an edge for you, be it in your scholarship interviews or future job applications. Personally, I have had great experiences of working as a waiter in a five-star hotel, a promoter in a supermarket and also as a product promoter during TV3’s Jom Heboh carnival.

Take some courses up or join a camp – There are ample courses or classes specially designated for the students during the school holidays to choose from. For instance, computer classes, English courses, driving courses and extensive tuition classes, you name it. These courses are essential if you want to improve yourselves and learn new skills. Moreover, you may want to join a camp such as English camp and religious camp to motivate yourselves and expand your social circles.

Other suggestions – Do whatever you love to do but have not started it yet. For example, I have created Malaysia Students blog while waiting for my SPM result in March 2006. This blog has not achieved any big achievements yet it is something very meaningful to me and my life. ;-) All contributors of this blog enjoy the spirit of helping others and I hope that you would join us to be the contributors too!

Besides that, you might want to take a gap year off study to learn. This concept is very new to Asian countries including Malaysia. You might be interested to read the good write-up on Gap Years by Tiara on her blog.

I am sure that you have other great suggestions on how to spend our school holidays effectively. So why don’t you share them with us by leaving your comments on this post?


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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Enjoy Our Examinations

Posted by Chong

Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and Malaysian University English Test (MUET) examinations are just around the corner. Have you prepared yourselves mentally and physically for them? I hope that your answer is a confident yes. This post is not another post on SPM or STPM 2006 tips but serves as a gentle reminder on things you should have done before stepping into the examination hall and during the examination weeks.

First and foremost, you should have revised all the topics covered in your syllabus by now. You will never score well in your examination if you do not read the reference books. I know there are quite a lot of topics in the syllabus to be examined but you should have mastered most if not all topics during your form 4 and 5 for SPM or lower and upper sixth forms for STPM. So, it should not be any problem for you to revise all the topics at least twice or thrice before sitting for the actual examination.

Besides that, go to your school on time. If you are late, you will definitely mess up on your answers. If you drive, drive carefully to your school to avoid any possible road accident. Some candidates choose to return home immediately after the papers in the morning to take a lunch and maybe a refreshing shower at home before going back to the examination hall for the following papers in the afternoon. There are also some candidates choosing to take their lunch at school and do some final revision in the school library. Personally, I would advise you to return to your home to take a shower if your house is not too far from your schools.

Before stepping into the examination hall, make sure you have brought the examination slip, identity card (IC), scientific calculator and essential stationery. If possible, bring two scientific calculators (borrow it from your brother or sister) instead of one because your calculator might run out of electricity during the test. I am not joking or trying to be funny in advising you to bring a spare calculator. Last year, one of the candidates in my school broke his calculator accidentally and luckily he managed to borrow a calculator from his friend.

During the examination, you should utilize the time allocated for each paper. There are many candidates who love to sleep or pass up their answer sheets just after they have finished answering the questions especially the multiple choice questions. I do advise you to redo all the objective questions if you are able to finish answering them early. For subjective questions, you should check for spelling errors. Proofread your essays and make sure that your essays do not contain any first draft slips, spelling and grammatical errors.

In addition, I would advise you not to discuss the questions immediately after you have submitted the papers. It is because you might lose your confidence once you have found out that some of your answers are wrong. Indirectly, this will affect your confidence in answering the following papers. Why busily comparing your answers with your friends’ ones while you can save the time to read through your notes for final preparation before the next paper begins?

Last but not least, sleep well and eat healthily. You have prepared yourselves about two years for the examination and you definitely want to answer the questions at your best performance. As we know, lack of sleep or tired minds will certainly decrease your performance. Keep in mind that most of us will sit for SPM and STPM examination only once in a lifetime, so enjoy the experience!


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Friday, November 03, 2006

On Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia (KUTKM)

Posted by Reign226

Update: Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia (KUTKM) has changed its name to Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM).

First of all I do apologize for an extended hiatus that I have taken. I am currently enrolled in a local public university called Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia (KUTKM), which is a relatively new pubic university in the state of Melaka.

In this post today, it is my hope that I can tackle the stigma associated with being admitted into a local college university, instead of the so called 'full fledged' university that many people have misconceptions about. I also hope that by starting a dialogue, students who are keen to find out more about college universities will now have an avenue in which to voice their enquiries rather than continue ignoring it.

First of all, it is true that I have not chosen this place in any of my eight selections of the BPKP registration procedure. While I sometimes struggle to come to terms with the fact that my friends of similar CGPA is able to study in universities such as USM and UKM, I realized that it was a futile and ultimately dissatisfying way in which to continue my life in tertiary education. Hence as time passes, the circumstances which I have spent time trying to understand eventually turned into something that I derieve pleasure from instead.

What is a college university exactly (Referred hence as KU)? Well, the oldest KU has been around for more than thirty years and have grown to encompass several disciplines of studies. The more notable ones are KUSTEM and KUKUM. Most of my observations are however based on my own KU, KUTKM, which is if I am not mistaken the newest KU, opening in 2001. As such, any deviations of my observations from other KU is sincerely regretted.

The history of my particular KU is that it used to be a faculty that had ties with UTM. In fact, there was another KU that also used to have ties with UTM, which were eventually severed and out of that a new KU was born. I am not sure of the exact nature of the ties, but I am told by my seniors that many of the teaching staff still maintain close relations with UTM.

Nevertheless, as a result of these ties, KUTKM is purely an engineering university. All five faculties award engineering degrees and with the exception of FTMK (the IT faculty), all graduates from KUTKM can legally refer to themselves as engineers. Our universities also have close ties with German engineering Ecole Polytechniques and many of the staff at KUTKM have continued their Masters there. The syllabus is also supposedly created with close scrutiny of the German Ecole's own.

The reason why KUTKM is conferred a university college status is because first and foremost their specialization in only the engineering discipline. The second is that with less than 10,000 students, they cannot refer to themselves as a full fledged university. This is akin to a town, which can only be conferred a full city status upon reaching a certain population.

As a result of this, classes in KU usually have a very desirable teacher:student ratio. In my own class, we only have 18 students, so the teachers are able to devote time for each student. Lecturers also have a comparatively open schedule and can be approached easily as their responsibilities are only towards a small pool of students.

Indeed, the more established KUs are virtually indistinguishable from other universities both in terms of diversity and student population. As my own KU is relatively new, there are some annoying inconveniences that I have to put up with, chiefly the lack of a proper campus for my own faculty.

Recently, the government have announced that the college will probably be dropped from the name of the university, but I feel somewhat ambivalent on this as it would mean removing the distinguishing feature of many KU, which is the specializing of that KU in a particular field (engineering in my own, for example). Nonetheless, it is felt that the removal would allow less stigma to be attached to the name. I personally don't really agree in the significance of names per se, but that's just me.

I hope that you have learnt some things from this article. I plan to write more in the future regarding life in KUTKM, and I am open to any enquiries. Just attach a comment with your questions and I will try my best to get back with you in a timely manner.


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