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Monday, July 27, 2015

SPM 2017 Tips: How to Score A+ in SPM Chemistry

How to Score A+ in SPM Chemistry

by Lucas Ting (Email us your SPM tips to share with 40,000 students)

SPM Tips: How to Score A+ in Chemistry
SPM 2015 Tips: How to Score A+ in SPM Chemistry

Many a time SPM Chemistry can be an absolutely interesting subject among the three science subjects namely Physics, Biology and of course, Chemistry. Unfortunately, students nowadays find Chemistry a daunting subject and thus, fail to even pass the examinations, not to mention the SPM examinations which are just around the corner. In line with the education outcomes outlined in the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025, here I have written several ways to score A+ in SPM Chemistry.

Well, the rule of thumb is to understand and master each chapter. In Chemistry, a chapter is interconnected to one another. Therefore, if you cannot understand the first few chapters, which are mostly basic knowledge in Chemistry, you will then suffer in the following chapters. It is like you have a broken chain. In other words, you ought to start understanding the earlier chapters now if you have not mastered them. It will be a helpful way too if you can ask yourself a lot of questions which in turn develop your critical thinking skills.

Chemistry is mostly about understanding. Chapters which require memorisation are only a few. It is, thus, a strict no-no for you to memorise Chemistry concepts. You can memorise the electrochemical series (ECS), the colours of salts, the names of the chemical processes, but not the rate of reaction, ionic and covalent bonds, just to name a few. If you have a hard time to understand them, immediately find someone who can lend you a helping hand!

Doing exercises is particularly important to score A+ in Chemistry. Repeated exercises ensure that you truly understand a chapter. But, in my opinion, understanding comes before exercising. Only if you understand one chapter very well, then you may proceed to exercises. This makes quality learning process occur. Someone once said that Rome was not built in a day. The point I want to make is only continuous exercises will help you in Chemistry. Besides, choose the exercises which have contents adhere to the current syllabus for Form 4 and Form 5, and target those sitting for SPM examinations.

It is no doubts that you can score an excellent result in SPM by doing past year questions. It is a fact too when it comes to scoring A+ in SPM Chemistry. Past year questions, not only shows you how the questions are set, have given you a view on how the answers are marked schematically and what the popular questions are. More often, your teacher will provide you past year questions to complete, but it will be great if it is provided topically. Such past year questions are already made available in bookstores (Analisis Bertopikal). You will have a much clearer idea on what will be tested. You can go that extra mile by going on certain websites and with their multimedia-rich contents, you can download and do trial papers too, if time allows.

In an effort to score A+ in SPM Chemistry, I can guarantee that your chemistry will improve by leaps and bounds. Bear in mind that you will only reap what you sow. Good luck!

Lucas Ting is a form 5 leaver who scored straight A's in SPM 2013 and is eager to share his learning method with everyone else out there. Now, he has completed his pre-tertiary education at Kolej Matrikulasi Labuan.

SPM Chemistry Note Form 4 & 5


SPM Chemistry Note Form 4 & 5 from Rossita Radzak

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SPM 2017 Tips: How to Study Chemistry, Biology & Physics?

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How to Study Biology, Chemistry & Physics for SPM?

by Fabian Yii (Email us your exam tips to share with 40,000 students like YOU)

BONJOUR guys! I am pretty sure that there are some of you out there who are facing much trouble or difficulties when it comes to preparing these three pure science subjects for the upcoming SPM. Just CHILLAX, dude! After all, you have come to the right place to seek help!


My very first tip to you would be:

UNDERSTAND The Core Concept Of The Topic


Now, this is extremely crucial if you wish to study smart. I mean, it’s definitely more time-saving if you first comprehend the core concept of the covered topic before proceeding on to the details. This happens because you know what the topic is talking about and you got a rough idea of the entire thing. Hence, IDENTIFYING the core concept is the first step you should always start off with. After that, you have to UNDERSTAND it CLEARLY by hook or by crook, and always ask yourself: What the general idea or the logic of the topic is?


In order to make this clear, I would like to give you an example of Physics chapter 4.1 (Understanding the Uses of the Cathode Ray Oscilloscope). The core concept (thermionic emission) is: Electrons will be emitted from the surface of a HEATED metal. After you understand this, then only you can proceed to the mechanism of the cathode ray oscilloscope. This is just a simple example so it is rather easy for you to understand the concept. Nevertheless, there are some other complicated topics such as radioactivity which you may find them hard. Don’t panic! Ask yourself the aforementioned reddened question. It’s generally related to quantum mechanics so you are advised to first understand the nature of an atom.

(Note: I make this as the preceding tip considering the implementation of the Higher Order Thinking Skill (HOTS) which requires more cognitive processing in order to answer this type of question. As long as you clearly understand the core concept of the covered topic, this should not be a big problem.)

Secondly……

Get Yourself Familiar With All Of The IMPORTANT Scientific Terminologies


You have to know all of the IMPORTANT scientific terminologies out there in the syllabus in order to answer essay questions particularly BIOLOGY. By the way, what are the IMPORTANT terminologies? Well, you need not to screw yourself up in this case— they are usually those highlighted NOUNS in the reference book. However, most students find it downrightly tedious and grueling to MEMORISE those terminologies.



Hey, my piece of advice is: Don’t Memorise Them INTENTIONALLY! In fact, PLAY with the terminologies. Regard them as your fellow friends; after all, you never forget your friends’ names, and you even MOCK at certain funny names, am I right? The same goes with these terminologies. For instance, xylem tissue— I can always remember xylem tissue transports water and mineral salts as its pronunciation sounds like shishishi which gives me the impression of FLOWING WATER, and MINERAL WATER comprises MINERAL SALTS. See, isn’t it fun to learn a new word in this way?



Thirdly……

Utilise Your Imagination To Full Extent


“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”

Well, Albert Einstein did tell us the importance of imagination. You might have encountered this before— getting tired of the wordiness of the reference book after an enduring time of study. Worse still, you start to lose interest in your study and get distracted easily. Why this happens? It’s because you are forcing a great deal of WORDS into your brain, and of course study gets dull after some time. Thus, don’t just read the lengthy words all the time; instead, you might as well create an image in your MIND in associating with what you are studying.



As a VERY, VERY simple illustration, imagine acid (e.g. hydrochloric acid) as a father while base (e.g. potassium hydroxide) as a mother; when they get married (reacted), a baby (product/salt) potassium chloride (notice that chloride is the surname, HAHAHAHA) is born (formed). The parents are very joyous, and they can’t manage to hold back their tears. (water is formed in the process) GUYS, look at how imagination makes the whole thing much more interesting than it was though this is just a very simple example; but it certainly gives you a rough idea on how this works!

Fourthly……

Brush Up On Your Knowledge Frequently


“Good grief! Everyone knows this!”

I know this might be your response right now, but hold on; I am going to teach you a study hack, but the prerequisite is, you must have the knowledge fresh in your mind while doing this. NOW, come back to the topic, recall what you have studied REGARDLESS of when and where you are at the moment. It can be while you are waiting at the bus stop, strolling in a park or even when you are EATING! If you are muddled up right now, I apologise for my bad explanation; I will give you an example to make this clearer.



Let’s say you are now eating, what will be in your mind? Well, there are two possibilities— you are either thinking about how delicious your meal is, or, sad to be told, the opposite of it… HAHA!

OR, if you want to brush up on your knowledge, there is a third possibility! That is— I am chewing the rice now, so salivary amylase is helping to digest complex carbohydrate into maltose. When I swallow the chewed rice (which is now in a ball formation called bolus), it enters my stomach and so on…

YEAH, that’s how you can prevent your knowledge from getting rusty even though your REFERENCE BOOK is not with you at that moment! However, do this in an adequate manner, or else you may eventually get yourself into indigestion @.@

Lastly……

Be Observant


As a student who studies science, one MUST be observant.



I mean, scientific phenomena are all round us no matter you are conscious about them or not. For instance, gravitational pull is incessantly acting on every matter on the earth though you were not aware of it when you were small. Hence, be observant about the phenomena that are happening around us, and TRY to explicate the science behind them. Besides, try to explain how something (e.g. machinery etc) works based on what you have studied. To sum up this part of the article, I would just say, observe the scientific phenomena or things around us, and endeavour to explain them to yourself based on your knowledge. Through this, you will find it easy to deal with application question.

For example, ask yourself how does soap gets your oily hands clean when you are washing your hands using it.

All in all, if you want to get good grades in these 3 subjects, you have to UNDERSTAND the CONCEPTS completely. Bear in mind, it’s all about INVESTMENT— invest your time and energy WISELY and study SMARTLY!    

Fabian Yii Photo
Fabian Yii, an SPM 2014 candidate, got A+ in all three pure science subjects. Science never fails to tickle his fancy since small and even to date. He hopes his tips would give you much help, or if not, at least boost up your confidence level. CHEERS! Visit Fabian's personal blog to connect with him!

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Oh My English! A Self Journey in Mastering English

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Oh My English! A Self Journey in Mastering English

by Atiqah (Submit and share your story with 40,000+ student readers like YOU)

Getting my primary education in a developed city, I easily got access to various reading materials & being taught by skillful and creative teachers. Hence, English (as well as other subjects) had been my favourite subject since I was seven. But the fact is, when you are studying in a city school, most of the kids there are really, amazingly clever. (Well, I guess it’s because they’re genetically clever since their parents are either doctors, engineers & have whatsoever jobs that need a good university education. My second theory is, since their parents are mostly graduated from universities, their children had been taught at home earlier before they enter the school.) .The competition was really tough to get  number one in the class list whenever there’s examination. So, I was considered as an average student with a high potential to be more successful (as stated in my report card :p ) though I was in the first class out of five at that time. But, hey! Such thing had never been in a thinking of the 7 years old kid! The only thing that I cared was that I love going to school & learn new things everyday (though I don’t like doing homeworks :p)! And for sure, I had a good time playing with my friends and doing crazy ‘kids things’ that will make my parents angry. Everytime there’s examination; I’ll try to do my best & then hoping I don’t get the 15th and above position in the list. That was my target because I knew my classmates would do better than me.  Teheheee….

When I was eleven years old, I changed school. That was mainly because my family had moved to my mom’s hometown for several personal reasons. So my status from a ‘city kid’ (budak bandar) had changed to a ‘rural kid’ (budak kampung). Making friends at the new school was never a problem for me at that time. Well, kids get along easily, right? Besides, all new students will easily be known by the entire school because they are the ‘new faces’ there. But, what shocked me the most is that (yes, I could hardly believe it up until now!) I was considered as one of the cleverest student in the school! Yes, you don’t get it wrong; I was among a few of the top scorer at the new school back then. Though the fact is, every time there’s examination, my marks were still merely the same as what I got at the previous school, which is between 70% - 90%. Only a few times I got more than 90%. But still, in my new school, I was considered as a very clever student & I quickly become well known among not just the students, but also teachers and parents! (Fact: Everything is quickly wide-spread when you’re living in a village). But one thing that they amazed most about me is that, I have a good English skill compared to the rest of them. Of course, when I was in the previous school I had never been considered like that. (I’m saying this as a matter-of-fact, not to show off, & the English skill that I mentioned earlier only applied to my writing skill. There’s no oral test in UPSR right? Hehe). Hence, I became their second reference person after their English teacher every time we got English homework.

Then, the next ‘surprise’ came. Some of my friend’s moms met me personally & asked me to help their child with English subject mainly, as well as other subjects of course. Ok, I got no problem with that. I’ll try & help whenever I can. But, the next request made me fell silent at first. They ask me how & what did I do in order to excel in my English. At first, I was like, “Oh my God! How should I know?? I just did whatever my teachers asked me to do back then in the previous school, & when I came home after school, my mom will help me to reinforce whatever that I had learned that day”. However, I only keep such answer to myself & replied them, “Ouh, sorry I really don’t know”, and smiled shyly. But as that question become more frequent, I usually replied by telling them I love reading books and my family will usually bought me English storybooks apart from my mom become my teacher at home.

Well, that is half true because I think the major contributing factor at that time was the environment itself. I mean, I was surrounded by creative & experienced teachers, have lots of reading materials (storybooks, magazines) easily available from various bookstores & school library as well as my friends themselves at that time. Compared to the new village school, I can see that the teachers weren’t that creative & I can hardly found bookstores here. If I want to buy any books, I’ll have to ask my dad to bring me to the nearest town. But still, the reading materials & books available were very limited. Some of the magazines that I usually bought when I lived in the city such as ‘Kuntum’ & ‘Dewan Pelajar’ were hardly to be found. And if there’s any, it was usually outdated by a few months back & the latest issues were not restocked yet (or they don’t restock it anymore, I’m not sure with that). Library? Forget it. It was just almost the same as the bookstores that I told earlier. So, what choice do these kids have to improve their English?

After getting 5A’s in my UPSR, I went into a religious school to continue my secondary education. This school is still in the same district with my second primary school. But since in this school, students came from all around the state, I became an ordinary student again. Yippieee!! (The truth is I hate being famous in my 2nd primary school because of various reasons.) However, for English subject I was still considered as among the best student. To cut the story short, I was still considered as a reference person when it comes to English until I finish my SPM.

Alhamdulillah, all praises to Him, I managed to get the JPA’s scholarship after I finished my SPM. It was something beyond my imagination because even from the beginning I realized there are thousands more candidates who are far better & eligible than me. Even during my secondary school years, I’m just an average student although I was placed in the first class.

From even the beginning (since my secondary years to be precise), I knew that I’m only good in writing. As for speaking, I had never been much exposed with this skill ( since all my family speaks Malay)  & even when I want to try to speak in English with my friends, they’ll give me such a look that will make me think, “Ouh, never mind. Just do what other people do, you won’t draw their attention & you’ll not be ridiculed. End of story.” I know it wasn’t a good mind set, but I don’t think I have much choice at that time. So upon entering the college that I’m studying now, I realized I can & I have to upgrade my English skill. Because; one, there are many students here from all over the country who can speak in English very well, & it had even been their main language. So, it is safe if I want to start learning to speak in English even I was quite shy at first, because I need to take a baby step. But since everyone are so supportive (my classmates especially), I had gain my confidence now to speak English, even at times, I got stuck & my tongue got twisted. Hehee... Secondly, the fact that I’m going to continue my degree in NZ & need to sits for IELTS had been a stronger driving force for me to upgrade my English skill. And during my second semester here, which had just ended a week ago, we’re focusing on speaking & writing components of the IELTS. And Alhamdulillah again, I managed to get band 7 over 9 for my speaking tests. This kind of things makes me feel confident that everything can be achieved as long as I trust in myself & work hard for it.

Being in this college also makes me realized that there’s always rooms to improve myself, be it in terms of my English skill or other aspects as well. Since there are a lot of people who are far better than me, I can always make them as my indicator to know which level I am and how much I need to improve.  And I know this time; I wouldn’t be ridiculed if I’m trying to change for the better, which make me feel really grateful with my decision last year to continue my studies in this college.

So before I end my writing which is already lengthy (hehe) I would like to share a few tips that I had been doing since I was a child to improve my English. I have to confess that I’m not even a very good English user actually; it just happened that I had been in a situation where some people are more disadvantages than me. And the tips that I’m going to write are actually just the basic ones, but maybe some of you out there had never tried it yet. And if you’re someone like my past, then it is highly recommended to you:
  • READ: Yeah, I know you guys might already feel bored with this word, but no, I’m serious. Reading does not just limited to books, novels & magazines, but newspapers, blogs and websites as well. I even actually read the English subtitles whenever I watch Malay dramas or movies. Trust me, it is very fun!
  • IMITATE: When I said imitate, I don’t mean to ask you to imitate your mother when she is nagging for your laziness! Haha. But instead, when you’re watching any English movies or dramas, try to imitate a dialogue or two that they said. This will help your tongue to be familiar with the English pronunciations. But not the cursing part, of course -.-
  • SING A SONG!: This is another way to make your tongue familiar with the English pronunciations as well as adding your vocab. Of course when you’re singing you’ll find new words that you’ve never heard of before! So you’ll get the same advantage as the first & second tips when singing. 2 in 1!
  • USE IT! : Whenever you got new vocabs, don’t forget to write it somewhere (make a note book if possible). This will help you to remember the new words better & try to make a sentence or two using the word. This is a typical tip from most English teachers actually ;)
  • As for grammar, all the 4 tips above will indirectly helps us with that. Because I’m actually not even that good when it comes to grammar (oh you can see it since the start of my writing right?). I don’t really remember all those grammar rules, but I can detect if there’s something wrong with the sentence structure through my experience in reading lots of things. But to be a good speaker, one don’t have to pay too much attention on grammar, but more to the vocabulary used & the sentence structure (ok, it is still part of grammar actually, but you got what I meant right? =.= )
I think that’s enough from me now. Though I know I had been writing too much and I’m not even sure if there’s anyone going to read what I’m writing up until this point, but if you do, lots of thanks & hopefully my writing will benefit someone out there even if it’s only a little.

Till we meet again, bye! :D

Biology lab experiment student
Last Biology lab experiment for the 2nd semester. I’m at the front row wearing light blue scarf with a lab coat on.
Atiqah, 20, has finished her A-Level at INTEC Education College as a JPA’s scholarship receiver. Majoring in Pure Science, she goes to New Zealand in 2015 to do her first degree. Other than reading, she really loves foods but at the same time she really cares about a healthy eating habit. And for that reason, she’s aiming to be a nutritionist or a dietician one day. Her latest updates can be found from her blog, http://luvrendra.blogspot.com.


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Thursday, July 09, 2015

Top 5 Reasons to be a School Prefect

Why You Should at Least Try to Be a Prefect

by Wong Jun Tat

Having gone through at least 11 years of education, I had been a prefect for my last two years in my secondary school. Undoubtedly, it was an enriching experience which was more than just earning a few bonus co-curriculum marks to make your scholarship application form presentable. Below are reasons on why you should at least try to be a prefect. (Even if you feel you are incapable of being one)
School Prefects / Barisan Pengawas Sekolah
Barisan Pengawas Sekolah / Credit: burhan.fadzil

1. It’s not a dull job, you get to take part in all sorts of activities.


During my years as a prefect, we organized many prefect outings (to the jealousy of our previous seniors because they had not such experience due to lack of funding). We had whole tons of fun during a trip to a beach and even played the RunningMan-styled race. We had our prefect’s night (which was one of the SUPER RARE events to watch the girls as they transformed themselves from ordinary pinafore-wearing, hair-bundled female students to BEAUTIES.) Trust me; you will be surprised at how amazing your female friends look at such events to the extent that you doubt they are the original ones.

2. It tests greatly on your abilities and soft skills.


To those who don’t believe in this, try persuading 40 students in a single class who never fail to give excuses to remain in their own class, and thus skipping the weekly morning assembly. When I was a junior, I simply gave them deadly looks with stern expression, which were returned with the same response! They wouldn’t even care if you haven’t done your job well. Thanks to my seniors, I later learnt the alternate way of persuading them, which is ‘pujuk-pujuk’. Instead of going mad at them, try starting a conversation with them with lines such as ‘Bro, nice weather man. You should get outta your class and go for assembly now.’

3. You will know anything about the latest happenings in your school.


As a prefect, you will know the dates for school events such as the teacher’s day because you will be involved in them. You might also be the first few ones to know about any happenings in your school, for example a fight between a student and a teacher (which will really be A BIG NEWS). The highest privilege you will own is to know when the next spot-check will be. This ‘highly-confidential’ secret is usually shared among the leaders in the prefect committee only. I’m sure you can remember how kepo your friends (or even yourself!) used to be in secondary school, always eager to be part of the gossip community.

4. You get unexpected rewards, by this I don’t mean it in material form.


As a prefect, I have widened my circle of friends because I interact with many people, ranging from teachers to my juniors. One important thing about this is that I became friends with a few blind students as I guided them to their destinations, and along the way we would always have short chit-chats. (my school also offers special education for students with visual disabilities) I admit, sometimes I would feel really down due to many reasons, especially during my Form 5 year as it was the SPM year. When your trial results were not on par with your efforts and the time was ticking fast, you would feel completely frustrated and at the same time, hopeless. I lost my aim several times, but managed to drag myself up because I was really inspired by the blind students. With their world in utter darkness, they do not flinch at the idea of walking in the midst of a crowd, depending solely on their senses and a walking stick. One even sensed the depression in my voice when I talked to him and encouraged me to stay strong.

5. Let’s get real; the co-curriculum marks rewarded is really good.


With high co-curriculum marks, you will have an extra edge to spare when it comes to standing out from your peers. One of my friends, a Biasiswa National scholar, told me that he was really grateful for taking the right decision to be part of the prefect’s community. If he hadn’t, he would not have earned the scholarship as one of the criteria was good performance in co-curriculum.

In a nutshell, being a prefect is not about being a teacher’s pet in every case. Believe me or not, I initially joined the committee because I was the only sibling who had not been a prefect by the time and my younger brother had always teased me for that reason. But I can tell you this; I never regret being a prefect.

Wong Jun Tat, 19, has completed his SPM in 2013 and is a local matriculation student. He likes to go outdoors and usually jogs to spend his late evening time. Being the elder brother in a pair of twins, he is said to have no distinct difference between him and his brother, except for his comparatively mature mind.


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