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Thursday, January 30, 2014

SPM Straight A+'s for Dummies: How to Score Straight A+'s in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia Exam

Update: Get 2014 SPM tips and trial papers here.

Editor's Note: This guide on how to score straight A+'s in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) was first published as an ebook in 2012. SPM 2014 candidates might find the below tips and experience sharing practical and inspiring. Start your SPM 2014 preparation now! Make sure you do not regret getting straight A's in SPM.
SPM Straight A+'s for Dummies
SPM Guide: Tips on How to Get Straight A+'s for SPM

SPM Straight A+'s for Dummies

Written by Andy Lau, SMK Section 9, Shah Alam

Hey! The name’s Andy Lau. Seriously! I’m 18 years old this year, and have just sat for the 2011 SPM. Although I’ve met with an accident (more like a fall) almost at the end of the exams, I still managed to score 10A+’s! Praise the Lord! Okay, more on that later…

In this post, I would like to share a few tips with you guys on how to score straight A+’s in your SPM exams. You may not realise this yet, but the SPM exams are really, really important if you’re looking to further your studies in the future, especially if you’re aiming at scholarships! Don’t worry, it’s not impossible. Just, not a walk in the park, that’s all…

A lot of people think that I spend hours and hours studying at home. The truth is far from that! I spend at least one hour on homework (more if I bring home a mountain) and at least one more hour revising the subjects that I’ve learned at school. The rest of the time, I spend sleeping, watching tv, gaming, photography, and the internet. You see, the secret to success is really to prioritise your work, and make the most out of the time you have. Remember, you only have 24 hours in a day.

One more thing that I would like to emphasise is your relation with teachers. Teachers are your friends, not enemies. Treat them well, and you will be treated well. I’m not saying that you have to be a suck-up to get teachers to like you. Just treat them like how you treat your parents and friends! Try not to anger them, because they are the source of your knowledge.

You also have to discover your own style of studying or revising at home. Personally, I study with music through my headphones while doing maths and accounts where all you do is count and count. I’m more of a trance guy (that’s a genre of electronic, if you didn’t know), because I find pop songs too distracting while studying. However, subjects like Biology and History need complete silence to process. And I mainly study at night, mostly because I will always fall asleep in the afternoons. :P Everyone has their own way of studying. Just find which one works best for you, and stick to it!

The most important piece of the puzzle is actually quite simple. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE LEARNING! Why I say learning is because learning is different from studying. Learning something lets you have a deeper insight on subjects. It’s pointless to stare at a book, memorise every single word, but not understand the meaning of it. So, when the teacher is teaching in front, make sure you understand what he or she is trying to tell you. If you’re confused, don’t be shy to ask for help! You can always ask your friends as well! And when you’ve finally got it down, life would be so much easier! And always remember to revise what you have learned so that you won’t forget.

Time to address one of the most used tactics of students; last minute studying! Everyone I know will always try to stuff everything in their brains before they enter the exam hall. I will also study last-minute. But, my definition of studying at the eleventh hour is actually REVISION. You don’t learn something new an hour before the exams. That would be disastrous… It’s actually important to study consistently. I know it’s really cliché, but it’s true. You should have already covered all the topics in all your subjects BEFORE you sit for your SPM. And you have to feel confident that you can ace the test! A negative attitude will only bring bad results, trust me. So, just be optimistic and think of all the fun you’re gonna have after this war called SPM is over! :D

And one last thing, try not to get into an accident before (or during) your SPM… I share this from experience. :P Try not to do anything stupid or extreme. You have plenty of time for that AFTER your exams! Just something I would like to share, I actually got the whole day to do the accounts paper, since I sat for it in ICU (head injury). No time limit! But I finished it according to the original time limit, of course ;) And you’ll get to do it in bed! HAHA! But, please don’t run into a speeding car just for this. It’s not worth it…

P.S. – What I know about this new Malaysia Education Ministry bursary (National Scholarship Programme) thing is that, you MUST have at least 9A+’s to get it. This bursary is actually a sponsorship to do matriculations, A-levels, International Baccalaureate (IB), or Form 6 (STPM), if I’m not mistaken. If you get 9A+’s and above in your SPM, you’ll automatically get it. No tests, no interviews! You just have to select what pre-U course (pre-university programmes) you want, and it’s free! I’ve registered for A-levels, as it is more recognised internationally, and it’s also quite valuable compared to matriculations. However, I’ve heard that it’s also tougher than matrics. I’ve also heard that they changed the STPM to new modular assessment system, so I have no idea on how it actually is. In the end, it all comes down to your own choice. Make sure you ask a lot of people and do some research before you make your choice!

So, that’s all that I can come up with as advice. Please, don’t just spend all your time studying. Have plenty of fun at school with your friends, because high school will be one of the best times or your lives! To all you guys and girls that will be sitting for SPM 2014, I wish you all the best! Try your hardest, because your future depends on it! God bless!


► Read more on SPM Straight A+'s for Dummies: How to Score Straight A+'s in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia Exam

Sunday, January 19, 2014

School Calendar 2014 (Kalendar Persekolahan, Tarikh Cuti Sekolah, Takwim Sekolah 2014)

Update: Click here for Malaysia School Calendar 2015 (Kalendar Persekolahan Cuti Sekolah 2015)

Source:
Ministry of Education Malaysia MOE Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia KPM

School Calendar 2014 (Kalendar Persekolahan, Tarikh Cuti Sekolah, Takwim Sekolah 2014)

Planning for school holidays or family vacation trips? You might find 2014 school holidays calendar useful. Click on the school calendar to enlarge.

Related 2014 Calendars:
Malaysia Public Holidays 2014 Calendar (Kalendar Jadual Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia)
UPSR, PT3, SPM, SPMU, STAM, STPM & MUET 2014 Exam Dates / Examination Calendar (Kalendar Takwim Peperiksaan)

School Calendar/Planner 2014 (Tarikh Persekolahan, Kalendar Cuti Sekolah, Takwim Sekolah 2014)

Kalendar 2014 Cuti Sekolah Malaysia
Malaysia School Holidays Calendar 2014


► Read more on School Calendar 2014 (Kalendar Persekolahan, Tarikh Cuti Sekolah, Takwim Sekolah 2014)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Malaysia Public Holidays 2014 (Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2014)

Update: Click here for Malaysia Public Holidays 2015 Calendar (Kalendar Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2015)

Source: Bahagian Kabinet, Perlembagaan Dan Perhubungan Antara Kerajaan, Jabatan Perdana Menteri

Malaysia Public Holidays 2014 (Kalendar Cuti Am Malaysia)

Malaysia Public Holidays 2014 (Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2014)


Related 2014 Calendars:
School Calendar 2014 (Kalendar Persekolahan, Tarikh Cuti Sekolah, Takwim Sekolah 2014)
UPSR, PT3, SPM, SPMU, STAM, MUET & STPM 2014 Exam Dates / Examination Calendar (Kalendar Takwim Peperiksaan)

Malaysia Public / National / Federal Holidays 2014 Calendar (Kalendar Jadual Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Persekutuan Malaysia)

  1.     January 14 (Tuesday): Prophet Muhammad's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. / Maulidur Rasul)
  2.     January 31 (Friday): Chinese New Year (Tahun Baru Cina)
  3.     February 1 (Saturday): Chinese New Year Second Day (Tahun Baru Cina Hari Kedua)
  4.     May 1 (Thursday): Labour Day (Hari Pekerja)
  5.     May 13 (Tuesday): Vesak Day (Hari Wesak)
  6.     June 7 (Saturday): Agong's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong)
  7.     * July 28 (Monday): Hari Raya Puasa
  8.     * July 29 (Tuesday) Hari Raya Puasa (Hari Kedua)
  9.     August 31 (Sunday): National Day (Hari Kebangsaan)
  10.     September 16 (Tuesday): Malaysia Day (Hari Malaysia)
  11.     * October 5 (Sunday): Hari Raya Haji / Qurban
  12.     * October 6 (Monday): Hari Raya Haji / Qurban Hari Kedua
  13.     * October 23 (Thursday): Deepavali (Hari Deepavali)
  14.     October 25 (Saturday): Awal Muharam (Maal Hijrah)
  15.     December 25 (Thursday): Christmas (Hari Krismas)

State Holidays 2014 (Jadual Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Negeri)

  1.     January 1 (Wednesday): New Year 2014 (Tahun Baru 2014)
  2.     January 14 (Tuesday): Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan)
  3.     January 17 (Friday): Hari Thaipusam
  4.     January 19 (Sunday): Sultan of Kedah's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kedah)
  5.     February 1 (Saturday): Federal Territory Day (Hari Wilayah Persekutuan)
  6.     February 1 (Saturday): Chinese New Year Second Day (Tahun Baru Cina Hari Kedua)
  7.     March 4 (Tuesday): Anniversary of Installation of Sultan of Terengganu (Hari Ulang Tahun Pertabalan Sultan Terengganu)
  8.     April 15 (Tuesday): Declaration of Malacca as a Historical City (Hari Perisytiharan Melaka Sebagai Bandaraya Bersejarah)
  9.     April 18 (Friday): Good Friday
  10.     April 19 (Saturday): Sultan of Perak's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Perak)
  11.     April 26 (Saturday): Sultan of Terengganu's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Terengganu)
  12.     May 7 (Wednesday): Hari Hol Pahang
  13.     May 17 (Saturday): Raja Perlis' Birthday (Hari Ulang Tahun Keputeraan Raja Perlis)
  14.     May 27 (Tuesday): Israk dan Mikraj
  15.     May 30 (Friday): Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan / Pesta Menuai)
  16.     May 31 (Saturday): Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan / Pesta Menuai)
  17.     June 1 (Sunday): Perayaan Hari Gawai Dayak
  18.     June 2 (Monday): Perayaan Hari Gawai Dayak
  19.     * June 29 (Sunday): Awal Ramadan
  20.     July 7 (Monday): Georgetown World Heritage City Day (Hari Ulang Tahun Perisytiharan Tapak Warisan Dunia)
  21.     July 12 (Saturday): Penang Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Pulau Pinang)
  22.     July 15 (Tuesday): Hari Nuzul Al-Quran
  23.     September 13 (Saturday): Sarawak Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak)
  24.     October 4 (Saturday): Sabah Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah)
  25.     * October 6 (Monday): Hari Raya Qurban / Haji Hari Kedua
  26.     October 10 (Friday): Malacca Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Melaka)
  27.     October 24 (Friday): Sultan of Pahang's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Pahang)
  28.     November 11 (Tuesday): Sultan of Kelantan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kelantan)
  29.     November 12 (Wednesday): Sultan of Kelantan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kelantan)
  30.     November 22 (Saturday): Sultan of Johor's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Johor)
  31.     November 29 (Saturday): Hari Hol Almarhum Sultan Iskandar
  32.     December 11 (Thursday): Sultan of Selangor's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Selangor)
Note: * Subject to change (Tertakluk kepada perubahan).



► Read more on Malaysia Public Holidays 2014 (Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2014)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Who Ever Said That Matrix Was Easy? Malaysia Matriculation (Matrikulasi) Experience Sharing

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Who Ever Said That Matrix Was Easy?

Written by Max Ng, former Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan (KMNS) student.

The Malaysian public has been fed with the false information that the matriculation program is a very easy program that is intended to produce large quantities of mediocre students and that STPM is a very much harder program and the students graduating from STPM are of higher quality than those who graduated from matriculation. Well let me tell you the true story of the life of a matriculation student. I am not here to degrade or belittle STPM but rather to shed some light and reveal to the general public that matriculation is not as easy as it seems.

After graduating from KMNS and becoming a university student, I noticed that when people started comparing matriculation and STPM, they would always say that we had it easy while they had two years of hell and every time I hear someone say this, I would always say that if you were never in matriculation, you will never understand what hell is.

Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan Asrama Cendekia
KMNS Asrama Cendekia
Yes, we got our 4.0s relatively easier due to the fact that the marks we needed to score to obtain an A would be relatively lower than what our STPM counterparts would need to score to get an equivalent A but it is very untrue that our examinations and papers are much easier. Our examinations and the syllabus that we had to go through was tough. Yes, the syllabus is shorter and more simplified than the STPM syllabus but there is also a reason to this and the reason is that our program is a very short one when compared to the 2 years our STPM counterparts had to fight through.

Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan Asrama Blok Tutoran
KMNS Blok Tutoran
In matriculation, holidays are short and nearly non-existent. We spend most of our time in places far from home confined within the walls of our colleges with curfews that would put an army boot camp to shame. The only time we were ever allowed to go out is during weekends and we had a very strict and short curfew. Even if we did have extra time to go out, there would not be any place to go to. The nearest city from my college was a very long and expensive taxi ride to Seremban. So we would just stay in college for the weekends and study. There is no entertainment and hence all we do everyday is study with some occasional exercise in the evenings but other than that we would be studying every single day.

Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan Asrama Bilik Gerakan JPP
KMNS Asrama Bilik Gerakan JPP
Speaking of curfews, we also had a lot of rules, and when I say a lot, I really do mean A LOT. It's analogous to a boarding school if u will and the rules we had ranges from the down right ridiculous to the weirdest.

We had to wear formal attire (yes, with a tie and all) to class everyday. We had to walk from our dorms to the lecture halls and from the lecture halls to the labs and from the labs to the tutorial rooms and the moment when class ends (at 5pm) we'd be covered in sweat from top to bottom. The distance from one location to another is also ridiculously far and no matter rain or shine, we still had to go to class.

Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan Asrama Bestari
KMNS Asrama Bestari
You could say that matriculation students were spoon-fed, but the most help that we'd receive are lecture notes and some exercise questions. To those out there who still think that we matriculation students receive the exam papers prior to exams, let me burst your little bubble right now, we DO NOT receive exam papers prior to our exams.

Our classes start at 8am and end at 5pm every day. Sometimes we would have extra classes in the early mornings and also late at night just to cover our lectures. Being tired is no longer a feeling, it has become a way of life.

KMNS Residential College Bus Transport (Asrama Bas)
KMNS Bus
My college was in a very rural place which seems very very far from civilisation and hence we would see tons of wildlife in the college. After a downpour, there would be tons of bugs everywhere. There would be cats everywhere. Monkeys now and then. The water supply and electric supply would sometimes be cut off all of a sudden and we would have to shower with mineral water or go stay in a motel in the small town 10 minutes from college. Water shortages will not last for an hour or two but for days.

Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan Asrama Balai Pengawal
KMNS Asrama Balai Pengawal
Times get even tougher when home sickness strikes. The reason that we seem so laid back whenever we are back during our short breaks is because we rather enjoy time at home than think about anything else and when the time comes for us to go back to college, that feeling of despair deepens and makes you want to give up, it makes you think why have you chosen this path in the first place.

Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan Asrama Astaka
KMNS Asrama Astaka
There are so much more bittersweet experiences that I would like to share with everybody but I'm afraid that if I continue, this would get very boring and veer off the main reason I was writing this paragraph in the first place but before concluding everything, I would like to tell you the feeling of freedom that hits you when you graduate from matrix. That feeling that it is finally over. It completely overwhelms you but again you will not fully grasp this feeling if you have not been through it yourself.

Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan Asrama Jauhari
KMNS Asrama Jauhari
We had it rough too. Maybe not so rough in our examinations but in our daily lives spent there. It is mental and physical torture that we had to endure that made our lives there a living hell. We did not have the comforts of home to go back to after a day at school. We could not see meet our families when we needed them most. We did not even have a familiar bed to sleep in at nights when you feel totally worn out. This is our story. This is the true story. With this I hope that we can stop comparing matriculation and STPM. There is always two sides to a coin. If you do not understand it then do not hate it. Comparison is the death of joy. - Mark Twain

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