Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Blog Day! and Some Announcements

Posted by Chong

Malaysia Students Blog Two-year-old


Actually the date that Malaysia Students blog was first created was March 1, 2006. Anyway, we celebrate our blog day only when we are in the right mood. :P Last year, we bought this blog its own domain name (www.Malaysia-Students.com) as its blog day present. How do we celebrate it this year? We officially launch our forum today, although it was created months ago. You will start noticing more cross-promotion and linking between the blog posts and forum posts.

Student Malaysia Forums Officially Launched


We created this forum as there are more and more irrelevant comments posted on the comment section of our blog posts. Also, we’re unable to answer all the questions promptly. So we thought “why not create a forum where members can help answering questions and guide each others?” Blog is led by bloggers and the topics posted are usually limited compared to forum, which is often led by its members by initiating a topic of discussion. Hope you enjoy yourselves and make new friends at our forum!
Online Community of Malaysian Students
Student Malaysia Forums – Online Community of Malaysian Students
Some of the active discussions:

Introducing Malaysia Scholarship Information Centre


Besides a new forum, we created a new blog specifically on latest undergraduate scholarships available. Do check out what scholarships are available for SPM- and STPM-leavers on Malaysia Scholarship Information Centre. Fill your email address in this form to subscribe for free if you don’t want to miss any scholarship updates.

We’re Hiring – Get Paid to Write for MS Blog


Yes, you hear it right. We are paying for blog posts. You write, you email us and you get paid! It’s that simple. Since most of the blog contributors live a hectic undergraduate life, they are unable to post as much informative and insightful posts as they used to. So, now we’ve decided to hire you, our dearest readers, to write for this blog. If you’re interested, please send an email to student at Malaysia-Students.com with the subject “Writing for Malaysia Students”.

Y! Point Hotspot


Y! Point hotspotMalaysia Students Blog is now a Y! Point hotspot. For your information, Y! Point is one of the projects by YouthMalaysia.com, which organized the first Malaysia Youth Conference two months ago. Do you notice a small blue banner at the sidebar of our blog? If you answer the simple question correctly, you will get Y! Points which can be used to redeem attractive gifts like T-shirt, sun glasses, skateboard etc. Read here for instruction on how to participate and redeem gifts.


Thanks for reading Malaysia Students Blog ;-)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

JPA Scholarship Interview Experience

Elaine, a JPA scholar, shares her JPA scholarship 2006 (SPM 2005) interview experience with Malaysia Students Blog readers.

Hmmm……how should I begin this post? Should I write it in a formal way? Let’s just be short (Though it’s quite long) and simple, or treat it as a friend telling you a “story”. (Though it might be quite boring..;p)

Should I introduce myself? Never mind, I am just a super ordinary student, currently taking a 2-year-A level course in UiTM campus in Shah Alam since July 2006. There are still other colleges or universities allocated by the government for JPA scholars such as Taylor’s University College and UCSI. Some of you may wonder why the A-level course provided takes 2-year-period instead of the usual 1 and a half year. For your information, the A-level which I am taking now is from London Board, which is slightly different from the Cambridge Board that takes 1-and a half year- period.

Since I am being invited to tell you guys something about my previous JPA’s scholarship application and interview, I shall begin by recalling back to 2006. I graduated from my secondary school in 2005 after sitting for my SPM and received the result in 2006 (around March). Soon I received the result, I applied for the JPA scholarship via internet, I remembered a friend urged me to apply it quickly as the closing date is very soon after the result has been released. The procedures were quite simple, a thing to note is that remember to choose a course and country that you preferred.

There is another way to mention here, after I succeed in getting the scholarship and entered the university which I am still studying now, a student told me that he purposely choose those countries that are less preferred by the majority (he has chosen the France) in order to have higher chance to get the scholarship and eventually he got it! This might be an alternative way but it does not mean that you are guaranteed to get the country you have chosen if you follow the same route. (Sounds meaningless right?..;p) Countries like UK, US, Australia are some of the countries which are most preferred by the majority. You can check through the internet of your application’s result after some time. (I forgot how long it took for the result to be released) If you are selected for your interview, congratulations! You are one step further from your target.

Now let’s talk about my interview process, I need some time to recall the details as it happened 2 years ago (bear with me ya, I have short-term memory…;p). Regarding on the dress code, formal wear is a must, you can also go for baju kurung as my friend did last time. We were grouped in 5-6 (forgotten...) persons and are directed into a room.

I was having cold feet that time, looking others that dressed smartly and having the genius’s look really feared me off. However, I worked hard to be calm and confident. Since nobody could help me but myself, I tried to look “cool” and was thinking what would be the question later. Ooops! I am out of the point. Let’s stick back to the topic which is the interview process.

There were 3 interviewers in the room; they told us that we need to introduce ourselves and we would be given topics to be discussed. If I am not mistaken, we were given 1 minute to jot down the points in the draft paper given. (Remember to bring in your own stationery) The topic being asked is different for different groups, for mine, the topic is “The Reading Habit in Malaysia”. We were required to speak for about 2 minutes. After the discussion session, the interviewer would reconfirm our name and they asked each of the candidates for the country which we preferred the most.

After the interview, I got to know from my friends who went for the interview that my interview was slightly different from others as we were being asked for only one question and must answer in English but the others were being asked for 2 questions and they were required to answer 1 in BM and another in English. Guess this should be the more proper way. Here are some of the questions being asked for my year (from different states):

1) Patriotism among youths
2) Hukuman rotan
3) The Advantages of Reading
4) Math and Science in English

I noticed that the topics were related to the current issues that time. Therefore it would be a benefit for the future applicants to keep themselves updated with the latest happenings in our country.

Wow, I am writing more than I have planned. To end my writing here, I would like to wish all the students who want to apply for the JPA scholarship a very good luck for their future undertakings. Hope my post can at least give you guys a clearer image on how the system works. Stay confident and you can do it!


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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Life After School

Posted by CLF

I say, life in school is arguably the best time in our life so far, I think some of you here will agree this statement, don't you? (I absolutely stand up for this point, else I won't be writing this lol.)

When you step out from the school compound after finishing SPM/STPM, you'll realise that you might missed out or neglected some of the best moments.... but it's too late to get things fixed now, much to your regret. In this post I'll talk about something that you can do to reclaim back the precious memories, or at least, keep a bit out of the whole chunk.

Looking back at your school days few years later, the nostalgic memories of the good old days will tackle our brainwaves. Ah, the days when you're messing together with the best mates, putting a prank on the teacher, escaping disciplinary punishments, etc.

These experiences can only happen in school, and in your entire lifetime your job as a student is just the merely ±10 years. The next time when you return to the same scene, you wont be able to experience all of it again because your role is different then.

I have a feeling that I should try to jot down all the events, activities I've been through during my schooling days. To my own satisfaction, I've started it when I'm just begin to picked up those co-curricular activities. Co-cu activities are pretty much the best part of all, I think. Also, some events happened in school are worth to take note of, like the Teacher's Day celebration, cultural performances, etc. I've recorded down most of these activities in my blog as a journal. Of course, it isn't just words that speak for the events and activities, some posts are accompanied by images and videos.

Talk about the pictures and videos, I used to bring along my camera whenever there's any events/activities going on, much like a reporter for the school lol. Although I'm not a part of the Photography Club crew, I befriended with them and I've managed to sneak into the frontline take down pics and videos, rather than sitting in the hall watching from behind where you cant really get a clear view what's happening in front.

Do beware the school's policies for students to bring camera to school. Some schools, like mine for example, requires permission from the school admin to bring the camera as they fear students will abuse it for something nasty. So, remember to consult the authority before bringing it.  ;)

Most schools I believe publish their annual school magazine right? It serves as the "official" journal of events happened in the school in the year, also covering the graduates' profiles in it, particularly Form 5 and Upper 6 students. Keeping the school magazine is a good method for preserving some of the memories, though things are looked from the point of view of school admins, which might make the magazine boring for some (admins wouldn't be pleased to have the magz full of students' stuffs.)

If you got the chance, join the School Magazine Editorial Board (aka Sidang Redaksi Majalah)!! Play your part in it to make a better school magazine for fellow students!

Why I'm concern bout preserving all the memories of schools even after I've left school for years? I believe that school is a training ground for us to pick up and refine our skills. Say, if you're active in school debate team, you might find yourself in a favourable position if you wanna become a lawyer or presenter; learning how to run a society/club may prepare you for the future working in an organisation; playing your part as the society/club's chairperson or head can build up your leadership reputation, which is useful for further studies and job employment.

If you could see the school's role in this way, then I think you will appreciate all the things you get involved in school.  :)

One of the most important thing you have to do is to keep in touch with friends, regardless whom they are. It's also good to build up contacts early on, as they might come in handy in the future ^^. As I mentioned bout the school magazine, much of the contact details are inside there, just a matter whether it's up-to-date or not. Alternate methods to maintain the relationship, can be easily achieved by IMs, forums, and blogs. Nowadays, keeping in touch with friends is much easier than years ago, just see whether you got the initiative to do so or not. A random "Hi!" or "Hey!" in IM is good enough to start conversation with someone. Unless they hold some grudge on you, else they'll usually reply your message.  :)

I've seen teenagers write about their wonderful moments in school on their blog, accompanied with pics. Heh, if you're one of 'em, try to read those posts again years later, all the flashbacks of school life will struck you again, as if all the activities are running again inside you. I did this, so I know the "feel good" factor, heh.

My ultimate contribution to preserve school memories are condensed into a video I made sometime in Dec 2006, the time when I finished SPM. I'm glad that I did it, as I heard some peers and juniors are doing the same thing after I started it. Glad to have people who holds the same beliefs as mine, heheh.

I think this post might be useful for students who're still studying in school. If you're running your blog in such fashion, then congratz, we're the "same kind" lol. Then again, comments and critics, are welcomed here.  :)

Cheers.


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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Schools in Malaysia (Part II)

Posted by CLF

Howdy folks! This is the continuation of the Part I post regarding schools in Malaysia. Part II emphasis more on secondary education available in Malaysia, from the government schools to private schools.
Before the post I would like to clarify that the following post is solely based on my personal experience and observation. Should you think the post has any mistakes, feel free to leave a comment to correct me, thanks in advance.

After 6 years of primary education, young Malaysians will proceed their education in another level, which is the secondary level.

The minimum requirement for a student to gain entry into a secondary school is a UPSR cert, an exam students sat during their last year in primary school at standard 6. Based on the most common government type secondary school, normally students are enrolled in the school at the age of 13. Their enrolment will be based on the UPSR result.

Students that passed UPSR will be placed in Form 1, Tingkatan 1 class, while those who failed their Bahasa Melayu subject in UPSR will be placed in a probation (peralihan, or called "remove") class, which they'll be taught the basics of secondary education syllabus, before allowing them to move to Form 1 the following year.

Here's a summary of types of secondary schools students can choose to pursuit their study.

#1 Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan, SMK (national secondary school)


Like its primary counterpart SK, this is the most common type of schools you can usually find it almost anywhere in Malaysia. In most cases, when there's SKs around, you'll find a SMK nearby as well, sometimes adjacent to each other.

Students will be spending the rest of their 5 years in this school (6 years for those in probation class). The 5 years can be divided into 2 parts, which is the lower secondary (Form 1 - Form 3) and higher secondary (Form 4 - Form 5). The teaching language is heavily based on Bahasa Melayu, except for respective language subjects like English or Chinese Mandarin.

Students from SMK will be siting for 2 government exams during their tenure in the school, which is the PMR for Form 3 and SPM for Form 5. Further info bout the exams can be obtained in other posts written by other contributors.

After a student completed his or her 5/6 years in secondary school, they are no longer bounded by the mandatory education rules. They can decide where they should further their studies (there's posts bout post-SPM guide which you can find it in this blog), or maybe head out to the world and find a job. Some secondary schools do provide optional Form 6 studies, which will last for another 2 years to prepare for STPM, the entry towards local universities.

An interesting note is that, MoE assimilated some English-based schools decades ago into SMK, notably Victoria Institute, St John's, and Penang Free School. These schools are the pioneers of secondary schools in Malaysia, setup long ago during the British colony period. Now, these schools are regarded as the elite secondary school in the country for their historical value as well as outstanding academic & co-curriculum performances.

I almost forgot to mention that, SMK is fully-funded by the government, so basically it's free for all (exclude extra fees imposed by the school for other usage).

#2 Sekolah Asrama Penuh, SAP (national boarding school)


This is another form of SMK, except that students are required to stay in the school hostels. Students are allowed to go back home during weekends or school holidays.

Since it's a boarding school, the system in the school is different compared to ordinary SMK. There's a warden-figure in the hostel act as the student's guardian who take care of students' welfare. Also, the students will be spending more time in the classroom than their SMK counterparts.

For most SAP, they're considered to be more superior than SMK because of the academic & activities results, because students are able to dedicate most of their time to study or participate in activities without external interference. Notable SAP are Royal Military College and Malay College Kuala Kangsar.

#3 Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaam, SMJK (national type secondary school)


SMJK is the "big brother" of SRJK (national type primary school). It's function is almost identical with SMK, except there's something different in SMJK, in terms of administrative works and its policy. Unlike SMK, not all SMJK are fully-funded by the government. In some cases, the schools are partially funded. To put things more simple, it's a SMK administrated by Chinese instead of others.

From what I observed, SMJK schools have something to do with Chinese population. Say, in KL, there's 2 SMJK, which is SMJK Confucian and SMJK Chong Hwa (I've heard SM Kepong Baru is populated by Chinese, but it's SMK instead of SMJK, correct me if I'm wrong). These 2 schools are dominated by mostly Chinese, but students from other races can be seen in SMJK as well. In most cases, the students are required to have at least primary education knowledge of Chinese Mandarin.

If I'm not mistaken, there are quite a number of SMJKs in the northern region, eg: Keat Hwa & Jit Sin at Kedah. Since I'm not staying in the northern part so I apologize I cannot give you additional info on that.

#4 Independent School (private school)


Independent schools are a different story compare to the schools mentioned above. As it name suggests, it's a private school and it's not funded by the government. Students will have to pay for a fee in order to study in private school, obviously.

Independent schools in Malaysia, mostly compromises of Chinese independent schools, are administrated by a board called United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (USCCAM), in Chinese is called 独中 for short.

Since these independent schools aren't directly administrated by the MoE, so the rules and regulations are different from government schools. USCCAM is the boss here. They do have their own unified exam system (an exam which all the independent schools took part), just like SPM and STPM. Also, a very distinctive feature of an independent school student is their uniform, which for boys are full white top and bottom instead of dark green trousers for boys in gov school.

In independent school, the class rank differs from the Form system used in gov schools. Here, Form 1 to Form 3 students are called as "Lower 1 - Lower 3", while Form 4 to Form 6 are called "Higher 1 - Higher 3". Like other schools, students are able to decide whether they'll stop their study in Higher 2, which equivalent to Form 5 in gov school, or to continue another year at Higher 3 level, which is almost the same as Form 6.

Some independent schools shares the same history as its SMJK counterparts, as they used to be a part of a "big family", before splitting into government-based SMJK and privately-based independent school. The stories of this merging and splitting can be referred to respective schools. Some examples are Chong Hwa Independent, Confucian Independent, Kuen Chen, Shun Ren etc. As for northern region, I only know Chung Ling.

You may argue that why I did not include international schools in this post, because it's another types of schools and I'll cover it in the next point.

#5 International School


International schools are private education institute which differs from independent schools mentioned above.

International school's syllabus consist of standards from other countries, such as the GCE O Levels and A Levels, Australia Matriculation, and the International Baccalaureate (IB). The teaching syllabus differs from school to school, depending their affiliated countries or international education boards.

Some notable international schools are Garden International School and International School of Kuala Lumpur.

The international school mostly cater for foreigners, mostly UKers, Koreans, Japanese, Mid-Easters etc, and not to mention a number of local Malaysian students as well. This provides an early exposure for students to came across multi-racial culture, not just the 3 major races in Malaysia only. Talk about building up an early international relationship. ;)

The cost of attending international school isn't the cheapest around, but given the quality of the facilities, one may say it's worth the money spent on the better education quality.

With the above post, I end my series on Schools in Malaysia. Any comments are welcomed.


► Read more on Schools in Malaysia (Part II)

Monday, March 03, 2008

SPM and STPM Exam Results Out Next Week

Posted by Chong

Update: SPM and STPM 2007 results out March 12 (Wed) and March 11 (Tue) respectively. Thank Nevaehelle and Syasha for linking us to the news. ;-)

It has been confirmed that STAM and SPM 2007 results will be released on March 12, 2008 (Wednesday). Students can get their results at their schools after 10am.

The Star Online reports,

SPM, STAM results out March 12


PETALING JAYA: The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) results will be released on March 12.

Education director-general Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom said students would be able to obtain the results after 10am from their schools.

“Private candidates will receive their results through the post,” he said in a statement.

A total of 439,255 students sat for the SPM while 6,522 students sat for the STAM last year.

Alimuddin said an analysis of the results would be announced on the same day.
After you have got your SPM results, you can visit JPA eSila (http://esila.jpa.gov.my/portaljpa.php) to apply for the prestigious PSD scholarships (biasiswa JPA). In the past, SPM candidates have to get an A (A1 or A2) in Bahasa Melayu subject to be qualified for the application. I believe this requirement will be applied in this year too. The application form will only be available after the release of SPM 2007 results. Good luck!

Although the release date for Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) results has yet to be announced, I can predict it is just a few days after SPM results announced based on previous years' release dates. Last few years, SPM and STPM results were released in the same week but different days.

The Release Date of Public Examination Results
  • SPM 2005 - March 13, 2006 (Monday)
  • STPM 2005 - March 16, 2006 (Thursday)
  • SPM 2006 - March 12, 2007 (Monday)
  • STPM 2006 - March 15, 2007 (Thursday)
  • SPM 2007 - March 12, 2008 (Wednesday)
  • STPM 2007 - March 11, 2008 (Tuesday)
  • SPM 2008 - March ?, 2009
  • STPM 2008 - March ?, 2009


STPM 2007 exam takers can also check their results via Short Messaging Service (SMS) and Majlis Peperiksaan Malaysia official website (http://www.mpm.edu.my/main.php). To check STPM results (semak keputusan STPM) via SMS, SMS: STPM<space>I/C No. and send to 39003 on the release date.

Update from The New Straits Times Online,

STPM results on Tuesday

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia 2007 results will be announced on Tuesday.
Candidates can collect their results from their schools from noon while results of private candidates will be mailed.

Malaysian Examination Council said candidates can request their results by SMS by typing "STPM IC number" and sending it to 39003 or by visiting http://mpm.edu.my.

Last year, out of the 66,047 candidates, 57,395 were from government schools and 3,122 were from private schools. The rest were private candidates. End of update.

Utusan Malaysia Online reports,

Keputusan SPM dan STAM diumum 12 Mac

KUALA LUMPUR 3 Mac - Keputusan peperiksaan Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) dan Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) 2007 akan diumumkan pada 12 Mac ini bermula pukul 10 pagi.

Ketua Pengarah Pelajaran Malaysia, Datuk Alimuddin Mohd. Dom memberitahu, calon persendirian boleh mendapatkan keputusan peperiksaan melalui pos yang akan dihantar oleh jabatan pelajaran negeri masing-masing.

Katanya, seramai 439,255 pelajar menduduki SPM di 3,913 buah pusat peperiksaan pada 12 November hingga 6 Disember tahun lalu.

“Daripada jumlah itu, 386,265 atau 87.9 peratus adalah pelajar sekolah kementerian pelajaran dan 14,672 atau 3.4 peratus adalah pelajar sekolah kerajaan negeri dan tajaan badan-badan tertentu.

``Selebihnya, 10,687(2.4 peratus) adalah calon sekolah swasta dan 27, 631 (6.3 peratus) adalah calon persendirian,’’ jelasnya dalam kenyataan akhbar di sini hari ini.

Alimuddin menambah, bagi peperiksaan STAM pula, seramai 6,552 pelajar telah menduduki peperiksaan itu di mana 878 (13.4 peratus) adalah calon sekolah bantuan penuh kerajaan diikuti 3,991 (61.0 peratus) adalah calon sekolah agama tadbiran kerajaan negeri.

Ia diikuti 902 (13.8 peratus) calon sekolah agama rakyat, 23 (0.4 peratus) calon swasta dan 748 (11.4 peratus) calon persendirian yang dijalankan di 84 buah pusat peperiksaan dalam tempoh yang sama.

Sementara itu, menurut beliau, Majlis Pengumuman Analisis Keputusan SPM dan STAM turut diadakan pada hari yang sama di Putrajaya pada pukul 9 pagi sebelum pengumuman rasmi dikeluarkan.


► Read more on SPM and STPM Exam Results Out Next Week

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