I think all lower sixth formers had gone through their orientation week since enrolled into form six on the 15th of May, 2007 and have been streamed into their chosen streams and classes before the midyear break which commenced on the last Saturday. Being the vice president of my school form six student council, I myself have had a busy yet satisfied week organizing activities for lower sixth formers. While it was fun to meet new friends and play games with them, I found that majority of them are not well prepared themselves to meet the upcoming challenges in form six – the main challenge will be to successfully enrol into local public university and get the chosen course after form six.
Some of them, sad to tell, were still in the holiday mood while a few had their hair dyed in fancy colours (maroon seems to be the most popular colour) on their form six registration day. Did they expect form six to be free of any school rules especially rules on proper attire and pleasant appearance? In this post, I am going to write on what you should and at the same time shouldn't expect in form six.
- Lax school rules – I notice that the administrators of school usually treat sixth formers more lenient compared to form one to five students. While Ministry of Education of Malaysia does not grant permission for governmental schools to allow students to bring mobile phones to school, schools usually ignore this regulation when it comes to sixth formers.
While the school may not be promoting the sixth formers to bring mobile phones to school, administrators usually close their eyes to it, as long as sixth formers do not violate the rules too obviously. In other words, do not use their handphones during the teaching and learning process, show off them to form one to five students or use them to play songs or music in front of their teachers.
The same lax school rules apply to attire. The days when the discipline teachers pull you out during the assembly to humiliate you because your hair (for male only) are longer than permitted or you have a fashionable hair style are gone! However, I would like to stress that while some school administrators choose to shut their eyes on sixth formers, you should always follow the rules and regulations. Bear in mind that we live in a world governed by laws and regulations and hence we could never run away from them. We should train ourselves to adhere to the rules instead of breaking them.
- No textbooks; reference books are used instead – Yes, you don’t have official textbooks for all STPM subjects. Hence you don’t have to apply Textbook Loan Scheme (Skim Pinjaman Buku Teks, SPBT). Instead, you could buy any reference books and use them in your class as textbooks. While some teachers will recommend certain reference books for you, it is your decision to buy which reference books from which publishers for your STPM subjects.
Thanks to the salesmen, teachers will often have many sample copies of reference books from different publishers. I would suggest you to borrow the sample copies of your teachers to compare them and perhaps make the right decision of which reference books suit you best and which to buy.
For your information, it is illegal to make a pirated copy of the original reference book as it infringes the copyright laws. So I highly recommend you to buy the original reference books from the local bookstores. If you do not afford to buy them, why don’t you apply Biasiswa Kelas Persediaan Universiti (BKPU) Sastera or Sains offered by federal government? For your information, you will get RM90 per month if you are granted BKPU (Sastera) while RM110 per month for BKPU (Sains). You can apply for this scholarship during the first month of your lower sixth; enquire your teacher-in-change for more information.
- Teachers guide you instead of feeding you – The teacher will act more like a lecturer lecturing the students using transparency and visuals from compact discs (CD) prepared by Ministry of Education. Do not expect your teachers to be feeding you with comprehensive notes and detailed explanations like they used to in your secondary education. The teachers will regard you as young adults instead of ignorant teenagers since you are now completing your pre-tertiary education. Self-learning is a keyword for your success in form six. You are just one step away from the university!
- A lot of assignments, presentations, projects and practicals – You should expect your form six life to be very hectic with many homework assignments, presentations, projects and Science practicals to complete. You should learn how to search for information online, create presentation using Microsoft PowerPoint and complete projects if you are not familiar with them. A little computer skills will surely make your life easier.
- Quizzes, tests and exams – Quizzes to test your understanding of certain topics; monthly tests to force you to revise what you have learnt so far; midyear exams, final year exams and trial exams which challenge you to do better and do your best in the actual Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) examinations. Not to forget Malaysian University English Test (MUET) that you are going to take once, twice or even thrice to get your desirable results or bands. Mind you that you have to get Band 3 or above to qualify yourselves to enrol into degree level courses offered at local public universities.
- Learn Mathematics and Science subjects in English – Since you (SPM 2006) are the last batch of students studying SPM Science and Mathematics subjects in Malay, you are going to experience the drastic change in medium of learning. Like it or not, you have to adapt yourselves to learn these subjects in English. Personally, once I have overcome the obstacles to learn in English, I find learning Mathematics and Science subjects in English very enjoyable. Since English is the international language and most resources and information available on the internet are in English, learning these subjects in English is certainly an advantage.
- Leader of club, society and uniform body – Sixth formers are usually elected to hold the crucial positions in most clubs, societies and uniform bodies since members are confident that sixth formers have valuable experiences in leading an organization or carrying out an activity. This is not true, however, if you come to another secondary school to study your form six as your former secondary school does not offer form six. In that case, members tend to choose form five popular students or former students from that secondary school instead of “strangers” (sixth formers) to hold crucial positions. Read more about assessment of co-curricular activity participation.
Form six is very meaningful to most of the people that have gone through it. One of our blog contributors, Melanie wrote “Form 6, [n]o regrets” at the end of her STPM Blues post and I totally agree with her on this. Do you have other expectations for your form six? What do you expect in your form six life? Do comment to share them with us.
► Read more on What Should You Expect in Form Six / STPM?