I Almost Flunked in My Trialsby Balqis Badawi [Writing Contest 2014 ★ Winner ★]
THERE, almost there. Almost. I almost flunked in my SPM trials examination. People around do expect high from me, being one of the boarding school student, de cream de la cream, they say. SPM is about 3 months to go, and I almost failed in my trials, getting E's mostly in Science subjects; Biology around 42/100, Chemistry 44/100, excluding Physics, I was able to obtained a C+ with 56/100. Another E was for the so-called killer subject for students who hated numbers and counting; that is Additional Mathematics, which I passed the subject with the help of my project assignment, getting 41/100. Crying over the spilt milk, I have experienced that and it was not that worth it if it continues by days past. My friends asked me how did I get up and move on? And most importantly is how did I gear up till the end of 3rd December 2012?
So, what was the key to gear up the engine, having the continuous momentum till the end? The key is to get everything right from the beginning.
1. Get your time right.
The right time to study, the right time to rest, the right time to exercise, playing around, the right time to perform your prayers at time. When you put and use your time at the right time and right place, you will see everything seems right and nice accordingly. It is better if you could make an appropriate schedule that is within your capability. For instance, based on my experience before, the right time for me to study is not during the preparation class, which was from 9pm to 11pm. I am usually fresh early in the morning, around 3am to 5 am. So, what I did was I slept during the preparation class (prep) and get up early in the morning. Well, of course, I was awake when the warden came to check us during the night prep. :) Trust me, once you found the right time, you will get the time right.
2. Get the right schedule of yourself.
After you found the right time and you got it, it is advisable for you to make up a schedule. So, you would not get everything crammed up in your head. Sometimes, the schedule is not by you jotting down the daily activities done, as everyday would be different events happen, thus, you could make 2 types of schedule. First, the daily schedule based on your routine. What you usually do. Stick to it. And ensure the schedule lists are among the things that you want to do it and you can also do it. The second schedule is in your mind, you, yourself know about it. And you just need to visualize it!
Saying if today, you have additional class at night, what you usually do at night should be done at other time. Trust me, making schedule maybe look so 'skema' but it helps, or at least, it motivates you to move!
3. Get the right materials for the period that last.
These materials must include the basic of subjects, the references and the exercises. For me, as I almost failed in the Sciences subjects, I focus more on how to catch up in these subjects. What I did was to get the right materials. For the basic of subjects, I highly recommend the students to use the Pan Asia exercise books, especially for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. It is because, the exercises are based on the topics, and the answers include explanation as well. It helped me a lot to detect where I was wrong, and even I got it right, but my understanding for the question was wrong, it makes me clearer in that matter. One more thing about the basic concept of the subject is you need to know how to tackle it. You can either ask your teacher, ask your seniors, ask your friends, or ask yourself how you are going to deal with the subjects. Plus, you can also list down the sub topics so you could be clearer for the subject. Tick after you think you have quite understood the sub topic so, that you could know where you are at that time. Varying the type exercise books to improve your basic on the subject is encouraged too, but make sure you have time for it.
|(Among the books I used. The Pan Asia exercise books were bought at Pustaka Mukmin, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur)|
Next, for the reference materials, for reference books, besides textbooks as the primary reference, I usually get other references which are written by the textbook authors. And usually the Pelangi publisher got most of them. In my view, they are good to be used, as the examination is actually based on the textbook, and the writer of the textbooks must have the idea on what to elaborate further in the reference books. Besides, the notes given by the teachers are as well important, as reference materials, as the teachers have also years of experiences in teaching and keeping update with the requirement of the examination questions. What students can do is to digest those notes, and also exchanging notes with other schools, especially among SBP and MRSM. Not to forget, some SMK/SMKA/Maahad have also very good notes; thus, try to discuss among your friends and plan who will take which school to exchange notes with. However, do not take forever to exchange notes as it may waste your time later. Notes are essential but you need to be selective (picky) with it. Use the notes which you could understand better. Do not get lots of notes, and in the end they are brought home just to be recycled!
Lastly, for the exercises, at my end, I have done the trial papers from other states, SBP and MRSM trial papers as well as the past year questions. For the trial papers, make sure you have the answer as well. Based on my past experience, usually the teachers will help in this matter, distributing sets and sets of trial questions, to be done and discussed together, but, having lots of trial papers, sometimes, you will have insufficient time to check all of them. You are not just taking 3 subjects for your SPM, but 7 subjects at least! Hence, for this matter, I suggest students to get a copy of their own for the answers. If you could not get them from the teachers, I believe there are lots of other sources especially on the Internet. Make a copy of them, and identify your mistake. Improve yourself, and at least feel a little bit proud when you managed to answer the questions, although it is first question. :) What is a question without an answer, right?
P/S: Past year questions are compulsory to be settled before entering the hall. If you could possibly make it, why not? :)
4. Get yourself the right and clean intention.
Ask yourself, why are you struggling in learning all of this knowledge? What do you want in the end? Remember, to work with the end in mind. The right intention will bring you to the right track, having the clear vision and mission, as well as to gain continuous motivation and best support from the right person. When I was at this 17 years old age, counting weeks to SPM, I took a piece of paper, I wrote on it, "Kenapa NUR BALQIS BINTI MOHD BADAWI mesti dapat 11A+?". And I listed down about 7 concrete reasons, hoping with having a look later, it could motivate me better. Around the empty spaces on the paper, I jot down, what my parents had always advised me, what my teachers motivated me, what my siblings and relatives promised for me if I achieve good results, (at least with no subject failed). Along the way, there will be two sides, the positive sides, and vice versa. It is up to you to choose which one you want, as sometimes, people will bring you down, but there will always are people who will push you to your limit. If think you are a Ferrari, act like a Ferrari engine, and do not act like a Kancil car. And I do believe everyone is not a Ferrari, you are much better than that car. :)
5. Get the right company.
Especially when you are studying by yourself. The right company is among them who excel in their studies. Or at least they who have passion in studies and learning. So, when you are studying, learning, or doing exercises, once you stuck up on a question, at least you could have someone to ask. Someone to refer to. If you are always with the friends who are same level with you, when you both bottled up at a question, to whom you should refer then? For me it is not only about the right company, but it is also about time. At this very end, time is really precious and you do not want to be stuck up at a question too long. It is like you need experts around you. For instance, when I was gearing up in my momentum, I woke up around 4am to do the trial papers. If I could not understand or find the solution for the question, I would wake up my roommate, who is good in that subject. Well, it was a plus for me to get a bright friend and also someone who is willing to help me early in the morning, although by disturbing her sleep. :D
6. Get the right study group and the right people in the study group.
Making study group in a smaller size should be just nice too. For example before, for my Additional Mathematics, I was put in a group of 5. When I stuck on a question, the leader, usually who got A in the subject, will guide us. And for that matter, my tutor could explain to me from the basic about that question, and I got it clear and as easy as that. I did not have any idea about the question and the topic related to it, but it seems really effective by having that small study group. An additional point that I would like to add up, study group is not about discussion all time long, but it also needs one-to-one interaction. Some people may be too weak and shy to ask, hence, by the leader giving more attention to one another, I think that should help. When the group is smaller, the attention is better. The smaller, the merrier!
7. Get the right attitude.
Why? Simply because attitude shows what is in your mind, and the most important is, it resembles who you really are. You cannot learn about attitude, but you can rather practice and train it in yourself. You can install the positive or negative elements in your mind, and look how you respond to it. At this point, attitude is really essential, as it helps you to motivate yourself, to maintain a good mind and to keep going, like what the Dory in the Finding Nemo movie once said before, “Just keep swimming!”. Here, it means, “Just keep moving on!”.
Get the attitude of being self-discipline, taking care of our hygiene, respecting time and using it wisely, be nice to everyone around you, so, that, you build a positive healthy lifestyle inside yourself and around you. Avoid doing mischievous things that soon, you know that you will regret, sooner or later. Between the SPM gaps, is among the critical time you should take care of. Avoid from doing outrageous, weird, harmful things, and even when you say you want your time out; reading novels, onlining throughout the hour passed, seems really not beneficial and may drag you to regretting it later. Why? Because I am afraid if we are an addict of novels or surfing the Internet, we just could not bear to leave it although three hours has passed! I experience that before. So, if you want to have time out, do exercise, or take a walk for a while, talk to your friends about good and positive stories and matters (but not gossiping, that is quite inappropriate), and other things that you enjoy doing it! Or like me before, give a call to your parents, their voice will cheer you up and also calm you down. :D
Lastly, one of the good attitude that you must instill inside yourself is to always pray to God. Each of us has their own religion and their own way to recite and perform prayers. Thus, as our nature is being dependent to our creator, always ask for His guide, bless, and ease in our works and daily life. Prayers will grow us stronger and having deep faith in facing obstacles and circumstances. If it is not sooner, it will still come later. I remembered before, when I got these 3 E's in my trial, my aunt who is a teacher said that I should not worry because if God wills, at least I could get C for those subjects. I keep on praying and working hard, asking for strength from the Strongest One, eventually I achieved 2 A- and an A for those subjects. Who said miracles could not happen? Miracles could happen, for them who believe it will happen. So, keep on praying, guys!
I think that is all what I would like to share. I believe there are lots of seniors out there who had made a drastic change and succeeded in SPM after they had slumped in their mid-terms or trials like me. So, no worries guys! Though challenges are everywhere, but do the best you can! If the past candidates have proven it, so, this would be your turn to prove it too! I wish all of the SPM candidates all the best for the upcoming examination. Thank you for reading this post and may it helps though a little. Bonne continuation!
Balqis Badawi, 19, completed her SPM in 2012. Though not that successful, she is grateful to achieve 10As and 1B in her actual SPM. Feeling blessed, she wanted to share her experiences, thoughts and opinions with the SPM candidates, to highlight that it is never too late to work for your SPM proper even after your trial examinations. She is now completing her matriculation in law at Centre of Foundation Studies of IIUM in Petaling Jaya. Liked this post? Subscribe now to read more post like this one! Tweet