Saturday, October 18, 2014

Learn How to Save Money the Right Way

Closing Date: 10 November 2014: Malaysian Palm Oil Board, MPOB Scholarship Offer / Tawaran Biasiswa Pendidikan Lembaga Minyak Sawit Malaysia
SPM Straight A+'s for Dummies
SPM Guide: Tips on How to Get Straight A+'s for SPM

Learn How to Save Money the Right Way

by Miley Adalson (Share your great tips and get featured here!)

Knowing the roughness and toughness of college life isn’t certainly a rocket science at all. Every college student wishes to make the best of their tenure while being more considerate towards their parents’ limited budget. A similar situation is reflected in Malaysian students as well.

College life is the one final step of students’ life before they start off on their true defining moments of adulthood for which they subsequently attain a job, get married and raise kids of their own. This article was drafted to help upstarts and youngsters to persevere the monetarily challenging environment of their college days. Given below are perhaps the most basic and insightful considerations that you will need to take into account while studying in Malaysia:
Save Money Tips: Malaysian Student Deals

1. Make A Financial Budget Plan

It is always important to determine how much you are spending from time to time. Maintain a separate journal with you to keep a track of all that you spend daily, weekly and monthly, because this will allow you to be more financially aware and savvy. Consequently, you will know how much more you need for your expenses or how much you need to hold back for other basic necessities such as food and clothing. This method has proven to be effective, especially when it helps you save your parent’s hard-earned investment for something more useful like your college funds.

2. Malaysia Student Discount Card

This card is free and truly lives up to its title. Malaysian students can use this to save up to 60 percent of what they spend on retail stores. It is easily made available to college students from all over the country.

By using this card, students are able to save up on textbooks, learning material, food, transportation and products from retail stores. Students may also find that most discount prices range between 5-15 percent and are already set up for anyone with a proper Student ID.

3. Prioritize The 10 Percent Rule

Unless you are doing some kind of part time job, you are basically living off of your parents’ investment in the form of an allowance. The money that you get from them is not for your amusement or unrelenting spending spree, it is a part of their trust in you. If you don’t want to hurt your parents’ pride and trust, you will have to be more firm and restrictive of where you throw that money at. This is why it is advisable for you to adopt a 10 percent saving method, which means if you get a monthly allowance of RM 400, you have to save up to RM 40 for emergency situations. Aside from allowances, this rule additionally applies to PTPTN and MARA loans as well as scholarships.

4. Discounts For Conveyance

This step is targeted to those students who dwell in the Klang or the Selangor valley. All they have to do is to sign up for Rapidpass Pelajar Integrasi which costs about RM100 a month for bus, monorail and LRT, or a Rapidpass Pelajar Bas pass which is RM 50 monthly for bus services. These services are guaranteed to give students as much transportation as they need for a month.

KTM tosses a 50% discount for those students who wish to travel all over peninsular Malaysia. If all else fails, then you might want to resort to carpooling your friends’ rides and split the fuel money.

5. Start Investing

Don’t be a spendthrift or a person whose role is basically all about spending and start investing. Not only will you be saving on money but you will be earning some as well which will be your own income. You will be able to earn a good sum of interest following your commitment to investment. Be sure to read up various financial magazines, annual and financial reports to be more aware of the risks involved before you even try to opt for a suitable area to invest in.

6. Be Careful Of Your Credit Card

According to reports constructed by Department of Statistics, about 50 percent Malaysians under the age of 30, which most prominently indicate the college attending population, are declared bankrupt. If there is one thing that you cannot afford is being accounted for the many number of expenses that go beyond your budget. Be careful not to mishandle your credit card and use it only when the situation is most dire.

7. Using The Resources Of Your Institution

You will find that colleges offer resources and activities that provide a great means to save money. A conspicuous example would be that of your colleges very own internet connection. No matter how much time you spend on research or, at some point, mindless browsing, the cost of all that surfing and browsing will be borne by the university, and not the students themselves.

As one of the most expert assignment writers Miley Adalson offer education consultancy to students around the world. Her passion includes writing creative, fictional materials and someday be able to write like her favorite inspiration, JK Rowling.

► Read more on Learn How to Save Money the Right Way

Friday, October 10, 2014

Malaysia Budget 2015 (Bajet 2015) Allocation for Education: Students, Fresh Graduates & Schools

Malaysia Budget 2015 (Bajet 2015)

What implications does it has to students, youths, fresh graduates, teachers and lecturers in Malaysia? Read on the excerpts of Prime Minister Najib Razak's budget 2015 speech below.
Malaysia Budget 2015 (Bajet 2015) Report & Analysis
Malaysia Budget 2015 (Bajet 2015) / PicCredit

From Prime Minister's budget 2015 speech:

77. Currently, human resource is among the key factors contributing to prosperity of a nation. Wealth creation is no longer solely dependent on resources such as petroleum, oil palm or minerals but also includes ideas, creativity and innovation as well as people’s skills including invention of new products which are capable of driving economic growth and nurturing new entrepeneurs.

78. Consistent with the people’s economy, it is the Government’s aspiration to increase the component of wages to GDP from 34% currently to 40% by 2020.

Measure 1: Strengthening Teaching Professionalism and School Performance

79. The education sector will continue to be strengthened in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 – 2025. For this purpose, the Government will allocate RM56 billion to the Ministry of Education for various teaching and learning programmes. Emphasis will be given towards strengthening schools which require guidance and special assistance. In this regard, a sum of RM250 million will be allocated for School Improvement Specialist Coaches and School Improvement Partners programmes.

Measure 2: Empowering Trust Schools and Building New Schools

80. The Government will expand the Trust Schools programme which started in 2011. To date, 30 Trust Schools have been set up benefiting nearly 20,000 students and 1,500 teachers. Under the programme, Principals are accorded autonomy and are highly accountable for the management as well as the teaching and learning process in schools. As such, the Government plans to expand 20 more Trust Schools in Johor, Sarawak, Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and the Federal Terrritory of Kuala Lumpur with an allocation of RM10 million in 2015.

81. The Government will also build 12 new schools comprising seven primary schools, three secondary schools and two boarding schools nationwide.

Measure 3: Mainstreaming Technical and Vocational Education

82. By 2020, at least 46% of jobs will require technical and vocational qualifications. For this, the Government will increase the student intake in vocational and community colleges through the Vocational and Technical Transformation programme and upgrade colleges. For this purpose, the Government allocates RM1.2 billion.

83. Currently, applications for entry into Technical and Vocational Training (TEVT) programmes received by the Ministry of Education far exceed the capacity of 20,000 places. To open up more opportunities in this field, the Government will allocate RM100 million immediately to Ministry of Education for 10,000 placements in technical and vocational private colleges. Further, RM50 million will be allocated to MARA to implement TEVT programmes.

84. To encourage private companies, the Government proposes that the existing tax incentives be enhanced as follows:

First: Double deduction for scholarships awarded to students in vocational and technical courses at the certificate level;

Second: Double deduction on expenses incurred by a company to implement a structured internship programme for students at diploma and vocational level; and

Third: Further deduction on training expenses incurred by an employer for employees to obtain certificate qualifications from accredited vocational and professional bodies.

Measure 4: Development and Maintenance of Education Facilities

85. To ensure a safe and conducive learning environment, the Government will allocate RM800 million for the following:
- National Schools RM450 million;
- National-type Chinese schools RM50 million;
- National-type Tamil schools RM50 million;
- Religious schools RM50 million;
- Fully residential schools RM50 million;
- Government Aided Religious Schools RM50 million;
- MARA Junior Science Colleges RM50 million;
- Registered Sekolah Pondok RM25 million; and
- National-type Chinese Secondary Schools (Conforming Schools) which use the national curriculum RM25 million

86. The Government is pleased to announce that the electricity and water bills of all National-type schools under the Ministry of Education will be paid in full up to a maximum limit of RM5,000 a month compared with RM2,000 previously.

Measure 5: Sponsoring Education

87. In 2015, the Government will allocate RM3 billion for sponsoring education of which RM1.9 billion will be given to the Public Services Department, Ministry of Education RM759 million and Ministry of Health RM258 million.

Measure 6: Expanding MyBrain15 Programme

88. The Government has introduced MyBrain15 Programme to produce 60,000 PhD holders by 2023. To date, 34,525 students are pursuing post-graduate studies with a cost of over RM386 million. In 2015, RM112 million will be allocated for this programme. MyBrain15 Programme, which is currently for the private sector, is proposed to be extended to civil servants and employees of statutory bodies who are keen to further their studies on part-time basis in local higher learning institutions.

Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN)

Measure 7: Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional

89. Since the establishment of Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) in 1997 to date, 2.1 million borrowers have taken loans worth RM47.8 billion. However, as at 31 August 2014, only RM5.36 billion or 46% of RM11.76 billion has been collected.

90. Sadly, 174,000 borrowers have not made any payments since 2010. As such, the Government will take appropriate new measures to recover the outstanding loans.

91. It is a sin to die without settling one's debts as the soul will not rest in peace.

92. To encourage repayments, the Government proposes that a 10% rebate is given to borrowers who continuously make repayments for 12 months until 31 December 2015. An additional 20% discount will be offered to borrowers who make lump sum repayments from today until 31 March 2015.

93. Since 2005, National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN-i), SSPN-i account holders with a monthly household income not exceeding RM2,000 have been enjoying matching grants. To encourage more parents to become depositors and obtain the same benefits, the Government proposes contributors' monthly household income limit be increased to RM4,000.

Measure 8: Enhancing Graduate Employability

94. To date, it is estimated that 53,000 graduates remain unemployed after six months of graduating. To enhance graduates' employability, the Government proposes that the curriculum and skill training programmes at public skill training institutions as well as institutions of higher learning be reviewed. For this, Talent Corp will provide RM30 million for Industry Academia Collaboration programme where universities, Government entities and industries will collaborate to develop the curriculum for the internship programmes and industrial training.

Malaysian University English Test (MUET)

Malaysian University English Test (MUET)
Malaysian University English Test (MUET)
95. In addition, graduates’ self-confidence and English proficiency skills will be enhanced. Currently, students need to have a minimum of Band 1 in Malaysian University English Test for entry into public institutions of higher learning (IPTA). Beginning next year:

(i) for entry into IPTAs the minimum MUET band will be increased according to the field of study, for example:
(a) Arts and Social Science courses - Band 2
(b) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses - Band 3
(c) Law and Medical courses - Band 4

(ii) to graduate, students must achieve
(a) Arts and Social Science courses - Band 3
(b) STEM courses - Band 4
(c) Law and Medical courses - Band 5

96. In the second quarter of 2014, there were a total of 13.5 million jobs, an increase of around 1.6 million jobs compared to 2010. To safeguard the welfare of workers:

(i) The Employment Act 1955 and related labour acts will be reviewed, including better terms and conditions of employment, appointment and dismissal, flexible working arrangements and termination benefits;

(ii) The JobsMalaysia portal will be improved to meet the needs of an increasingly dynamic labour market;

(iii) The Government will introduce an Employment Insurance System aimed at assisting retrenched workers by giving temporary financial assistance as well as providing opportunities for reskilling and upskilling; and

(iv) Providing technical training and education assistance to Indian youth, particularly those from low-income families with an allocation of RM30 million.

97. In 2011, Skim Latihan 1Malaysia has enabled aound 45,000 graduates from the low-income households and rural areas to obtain jobs. The Government supports CSR effort by the employers in its implementation through double deduction incentive to companies for the purpose of tax computation until 31 December 2016. I propose the tax incentive be extended until 31 December 2020.

Measure 10: Globally Recognised Industry and Professional Certification Programme

98. To intensify upskilling and reskilling programmes, the Government will introduce a new programme, namely Globally Recognised Industry and Professional Certification Programme or 1MalaysiaGRIP with an allocation of RM300 million in matching grants between the Government and the Human Resources Development Fund to train 30,000 workers.

Measure 11: Double Shift Training

99. The Government will increase skills training programmes in institutes under Department of Labour (JTK). The training programme is for students with Malaysia Skills Certificate (SKM), university or college graduates as well as industrial workers particularly semi-skilled workers. In order to optimise the 32 JTK training institutes, the Government will leverage the double shift training capacity for full-time programmes comprising 176 courses with high demand in the labour market. With intake of two times per year, an estimated 48,000 students will be trained in the five year period of implementation with an allocation of RM570 million.

Measure 12: Promoting Startups

100. The Government aspires to position Malaysia as a choice location for Startups in the region. Among the efforts is the establishment of MaGIC which aims to create a more conducive ecosystem to facilitate the Startups to commence operations. To attract more expatriate entrepreneurs establish Startups in Malaysia, the paid-up capital for Startups is set at RM75,000. Eligible expatriate Startup entrepreneurs will be given Work Pass for one year.

All Primary and Secondary School Students Get RM100 Each

135. To ease the burden of school expenses incurred by the parents and guardians of students, particularly for low-income group, the Government will continue the schooling assistance programme. Starting January 2015, a RM100 each will be given to all primary and secondary school students with an allocation of RM540 million which will benefit 5.4 million students.

1Malaysia Book Voucher Programme (Baucar Buku 1Malaysia, BB1M)

136. In addition, for the purpose of purchasing reference books and instruments the Government will continue to implement the 1Malaysia Book Voucher Programme with the assistance of RM250 per student. A sum of RM325 million will be allocated for this programme and is expected to benefit about 1.3 million students.

Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M)

181. Taking into consideration the increased revenue collection from GST and the affordability of the Government, we will increase BR1M from RM650 to RM950. The assistance is for households with a monthly income of RM3,000 and below. It will be disbursed in three instalments of RM300 each to be paid in January and May with the balance of RM350 from September 2015.

182. For households with a monthly income between RM3,000 and RM4,000, the Government will increase BR1M from RM450 to RM750. This assistance will be disbursed in three instalments that is RM200 to be paid in January and May while the balance of RM350 from September 2015.

183. For single individuals aged 21 and above and with a monthly income not exceeding RM2,000, BR1M will be increased from RM300 to RM350 a year. This assistance will be disbursed early next year.

► Read more on Malaysia Budget 2015 (Bajet 2015) Allocation for Education: Students, Fresh Graduates & Schools

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

SPM Tips 2014 & SPM Trial Papers Collection

SPM 2014 trial papers and SPM tips 2014

The most complete and updated list of SPM 2014 trial papers and SPM tips 2014 (kertas soalan percubaan SPM 2014 dan tip SPM 2014). Share this post on Facebook and Twitter. This post will be updated regularly, please check often. Press CTRL + D to bookmark this page.

Now everyone can get SPM tips for FREE!
Ever wonder why your smartest classmates always have access to the most comprehensive and up-to-date SPM tips and trial exam papers? Enter your email to join 27,000+ SPM candidates in Malaysia to be the first to receive all SPM exam tips and trial examination papers via email for free!

SPM 2014 Countdown to SPM Date (Tarikh SPM 2014)

SPM Straight A+'s for Dummies
SPM Guide: Tips on How to Get Straight A+'s for SPM

Exclusive SPM Tips for SPM 2014

Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) Trial Papers 2014

SPM 2014 Exam Timetable (Jadual Waktu Peperiksaan SPM 2014)

Jadual Waktu Peperiksaan SPM 2014 Exam Timetable

► Read more on SPM Tips 2014 & SPM Trial Papers Collection

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Guide to Applying to Cambridge University from Malaysia

Write for us!

Help us help our junior students in Malaysia. Share with us your application process and interview tips for applying to world's top universities. Send in your personal experience in writing and get published here.

Posted by Celine Wan

This blog post of mines was written two years ago. Since it has captured the attention of many recently by consistently being one of the most popular post for these past few months (deadline to apply to OxBridge is coming soon), I thought it would be great to repost this here!

Cambridge University Application Guide

Dear self,

After all the mayhem, there is one ultimate lesson that I've learnt, and I'd like to share it with my readers here (I'll publish more of my application experiences next time :D After the entire process is done that is, because Cambie is the first to be completed; hence the first to be publicised. Stay tuned!):-

"Do not listen to what others have predicted for you. Just because a want is difficult to achieve, doesn't mean that it's entirely impossible. The only absolute way for you to be certain that you'll never get it is if you never try, and for once, believe in yourself and stop listening to others' opinions about you (just because they found it difficult or they can't do it). What's there to lose?"

Just saying. Since I got comments like "why bother applying. it's just a waste of time"

Random: Please tolerate my perpetual abusal of rhetorical questions and parentheses. It's a habit for me to type this way when I'm mentally-- and informally-- talking via writing. (well, when you read, you're dwelling into the inner thoughts of others, and this is how I really sound like in my mind. Pretty pathetic I know)

When I've decided to apply to UCAS, it was a week before the Cambridge application deadline. So you can guess: sleepless nights because I started my UCAS from scratch! Not to mention the additional essays and stuff in COPA. In all honesty, I do not think that Cambridge even bothers about your essays because I wrote mines in 5 days or so. If they do care, I don't know how I got accepted (or maybe it's because I work best under stress). The reason why I applied to Camby despite the 5 days mania is because of the course structure. I really wanted to apply to Oxford but I soon realised that they only have the general engineering route, and I was immediately taken by Camby's Natural Science route (it's Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences if you don't get what I'm talking about). There's a general engineering route too. Some may say that Bio or Phy Nat Sc is the same but for Chemical Engineering, it should be physical..? But I'm determined to do lots of Chemistry in my tripos! And so, I've applied to Cambridge and not the latter. (not because it's more famous for science and oxford, the arts...okay..)

Homerton College
Homerton College
My interview was held in Malaysia and I had to pay 100 pounds for that (all worth it)! People would normally get shortlisted during this stage (though I think everyone gets the interview if they're having their interview 'overseas' like me). In Malaysia, we would have one 30 minute interview but if you would like to be interviewed in Cambridge, then it's 2-3 interviews in total I think. Some have claimed that it's easier to enter if you go to UK because you'll personally see your tutor/decision maker and not the medium/messenger. But I'm not going to take my risk, because it's only under the assumption that a messenger reporting your interview would reduce your chances of admission. They are still the "Cambridge fellas" anyway. Oh, I've made an open application (despite the myths that it's harder to get accepted this way) because I want to avoid being asked why I want that college during the interview xD Haha I'm so so lame. I think I almost applied to Homerton College though. Because it looks pretty and stuff. But Cambridge is beautiful full stop.

Since I've applied for Chemical Engineering, I was required to take a Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) on a separate day from my interview (which is a day or so after). It's a one hour paper consisting of 50 questions. I had a 76% or 78% for the mock test (which is available online) and was pretty satisfied with it, till I know of a friend who got a 86% for it T_T I don't think this is significantly important too because some colleges don't even bother about your TSA. And we don't get to know our actual TSA results. But since I'm an overseas applicant being interviewed in Malaysia....I really don't know, for it's made compulsory regardless of the college I'm allocated to. Also, since I'll be interviewed in Malaysia, I was required to write a 30 minute essay (written assessment) in place of a second/third interview.

I had my interview in Taylor's College and my written test in Sunway College two days after. Speaking of TSA and written assessments (I'll start with that), our essay was right after our TSA. We were in the hall with the rest of the Cambie applicants (not including BMAT and stuff). There were lots of Caucasian people in the hall too, obviously representatives of the university. They weren't smiling so I got a little nervous; not to mention that they were wearing formal suits! I got really emo after the test because I wasted 10 minutes after my TSA wondering what was happening-- when everyone else was working on their essay! I thought my 20 minute work would ruin my entire application. The questions are very technical and course-related. So know your stuff. TSA was generally fine, though I couldn't solve approximately 5 questions or so (not enough time). After the tests, I went window shopping with my long lost friend-- Xuelin-- AND WE GOT INTO THE SAME COLLEGE! (still can't believe it) She is my best friend since I started my A levels...we were once classmates until JPA took her away...

Then came (actually this was before my TSA and written test) the notorious Oxbridge interview: what everyone has been talking about since I entered college. Unlike other interviews, an Oxbridge interview involves a lot of technical questions and doesn't bother much about your life and eca. Familiar with Taylor's College (I graduated there so duh!), I involuntarily wore a turtle neck t-shirt, jeans, and a pair of snickers. I thought that was okay, because based on the sample interview video in Emmanuel College's website (the one for Chemistry), I saw that the boy was wearing t-shirt and jeans.. so I thought it was okay here too...........The look on my face when I noticed that EVERYONE was wearing (I only saw ==) a suit!!! WITH A TIE!!!AND I WAS WEARING A T-SHIRT AND THREE QUARTER JEANSSSS Got so embarrassed I felt looked as if the Cambridge interview didn't matter at all to me -_- (but it really really did!). I had my interview in a really quiet meeting room (pin drop silence kind of quiet). It was bad enough that I could hear myself breathing, the chair was so big and I was sitting at the very end of the long table! And he was next to me! It felt nothing like my casual chat in Starbucks for my MIT interview (got gobsmacked when I heard someone brought an invention in his interview). In fact, the one for MIT lasted for an hour till I had a really bad stomachache after that (from talking while drinking). Still, 30 minutes was just too fast.

Side note: Mock interview was kind of helpful.

The Caucasian man must've obviously been a Chemistry expert because all his interviewees applied for Chemical Engineering and the like. He was very friendly and PROBABLY tried to calm me down when he noticed my tensed up demeanor. He smiled and said "I see that you've got 4A*s in your A levels *smiles* Good good, Cambridge likes that *smiles and stares at me*" I got so nervous from the silence all I could do was to smile back. I think my hands were shaking when he gave me a pen and a paper. Then the questions began. (my 4 subjects in a levels were: bio,chem,phy,maths.. i didnt take further maths but im currently self-studying it, including economics lol)

If I have readers who are applying to Oxbridge, here are my advises (otherwise you can ignore this bit of my post)

Guide to Applying to Cambridge University from Malaysia

Based on experience in an Oxbridge interview, I would say that I am generally lucky to not get creepy questions like "talk about a banana" and "how is snow formed?" (true story, friend who applied for medicine in Oxford got these questions). There are many more really awkward questions but I don't know if I'm allowed to tell them all here without formal approvals. So I'll just let that be. There isn't any standard/general model of a Cambridge interview too because some have claimed that theirs were strictly A levels, and some totally awkward (not even course-related I was shocked!). In summary, we can't really prepare much for it because based on my opinion, the questions are devised in such a way that last minute preparations will not be that helpful anyway. I've prepared random questions after re-reading my personal statement (because some have been asked based on that) and general questions like "why Cambridge?" Anyway, the questions that I got are not strictly based on A levels. I would generally feel that it has nothing to do with it. Why? I was given random mathematical equations and was asked to draw them out. I was also asked to interpret the graphs he drew. There are many more questions that are pretty surprising (as in, one wouldn't expect to even think of such a question). I had 3 "long" questions in total which was a combination of maths and chem (but everything included a lot of critical thinking). I had spent most of my time 'problem-solving' them on the spot. The interviewer had helped me along the way too, i.e when I got stuck during the 'deduction process.' Although 3 questions seem to be short, I'd spent most of my time "developing my thoughts" so it's something like I'm "learning on the spot."

In conclusion (just for the interview), the most important element is not the answer, but the process of getting it. Also, an interview is to see if you're teachable; thus, try not to act too stubborn, pompous, or anything else they'll not favor from a prospective student. More importantly, don't get too upset about getting anything wrong. Because I had one wrong out of three very open-ended, subjective questions and emo-ed till I received my offer. Even when I had the final question wrong, my interviewer asked me why was the correct answer--well-- the correct one! The 'lol' moment when I figured that out. It is expected to be hard anyway because they don't expect you to know that answer immediately, but a progressive discussion till you get it. Moments of serendipities :')

like this!
like this!
Note: during my application process is actually the time when I really got to know Cambridge. I didn't know they frequently have formal halls which includes wearing robes (so Harry Potter!) and the colleges are just places where you eat and sleep. You'll be studying with everyone from your course and have personal tutors from your college. And I got asked a couple of times if the Cambridge is in the UK or US, because the US Cambridge is in New England, which is where Harvard and MIT is (yes harvard and mit is in cambridge). So yeah, UK or US, WHO CARES! The England Cambridge is in Cambridgeshire to be more specific (like Oxford in Oxfordshire). The US's Cambridge is in Massachusetts (MA). Want to know a dirty little secret? I didn't know what was MIT, KCL, LSE, Imperial, UCL, etc till I entered college (but I know about harvard, cambridge, and oxford since primary school). Nor do I think that it's even possible for me to meet people who've actually attended Oxbridge and the like.

The outcome

Guide to Applying to Cambridge University from Malaysia
Am I dreaming?
Am I dreaming?

Till then!

One Year in Cambridge University: Awesome Experience Shared

► Read more on Guide to Applying to Cambridge University from Malaysia

Sunday, September 28, 2014

5 Top Tips to Make Your Revision Timetable More Effective

36 Scholarships for IPTA Undergraduate Students
44 Model Essay Samples for SPM English, O-level, IELTS, TOEFL & MUET Writing

5 Top Tips to Make Your Revision Timetable More Effective

Guest post written by James Timpson (Submit your essay and get read by 26,000+ students like YOU!)

Making a revision timetable may be at the bottom of your list of priorities, yet without one you will find it difficult to utilise time efficiently. A good revision plan will help you identify material that needs a bit of extra work, which will reduce your stress and anxiety come exam time. If you don’t know where to begin, these 5 tips may help you out.

1. Divide time between subjects wisely

When making your revision timetable, the first thing you'll have to do is decide how much time to allocate to each subject as not all of them will require the same amount of attention. Break down each of the subjects into different categories based on your confidence. Allocate more time to subjects that you find more challenging, and less time to the ones that you are more comfortable with.

The natural thing to do would be prioritising subjects you like and alienating the ones you find more challenging. Address your weaknesses early in the revision programme to ensure your confidence is balanced across the subjects. In addition, it’s very important to not overload the brain with information as retaining could be a challenging task.
 If you’re feeling stressed give yourself a break.
If you’re feeling stressed give yourself a break. / PicCredit

2. Mix up your subjects

According to researchers at Oaklands College, revising the same subject all day can negatively affect your concentration levels. Instead, mix up your subjects to keep yourself engaged as time goes on. Most students end up revising all their least favourite subjects together. Do not take this approach as it could prove frustrating and disheartening. Alternating between difficult and easy subjects will provide you a much needed mental break while you study.

Revision can be made more effective depending on the methods you choose. Balancing your weaknesses and strengths is ideal as mentioned above, mix up your subjects to compliment each other. E.g. your weakest subject is chemistry, therefore allocate a sufficient amount of time and follow the session with one of your stronger subjects. Repeating your weakest subjects hinders your focus and could become a detriment to your revision programme.

3. Allow for breaks in your timetable

Don’t make the mistake of cramming all your revision into one sitting. You’ll get much more done if you study in short spells and take frequent breaks. With shorter study periods, your concentration will be much higher. Frequent breaks will also give you time to walk around, stretch, and get yourself a nutritious snack, all of which are important stimulants for the brain.

By arranging a revision timetable like this, you will feel more confident going into the exam period and will have a fresh approach to the chaotic programme. Student’s perception of revision is the stereotypical design of cramming information in a short period, however the pro’s outweigh the con’s when devising short breaks between subjects in your timetable.

4. Use memory techniques

Use practical techniques to improve your memory. For example, make notes while reciting information out loud. Simply reading out of a book for hours on end may not cut the mustard. Making notes and summarizing facts while you read will help you more effectively retain information. While it may be tiresome and tedious, it will yield positive results. You could also use different colours to highlight facts and information that require extra emphasis.

The brain retains relevant information if certain layouts are highlighted or underlined to emphasize importance. Certain diagrams can become useful such as; brainstorms or mind-maps to categorise large amounts of information and enforce order to your notes. Evidence has shown that these methods are extremely effective with highlighting certain keywords in your choice of colour can be an advantage too.

5. Change your setting frequently

To keep yourself motivated and interested in studies, change your setting frequently. For example, if you usually study alone in your room, consider studying in a group with other students. In fact, studying with others could really help you stay motivated if you lack enthusiasm. If you just want to get out of the house then perhaps the library or a quiet cafe will help?

Even if you have a very short amount of time left before your exams, with a smart revision timetable you could still get a lot done. If you’ve got some time left and truly feel like you’re lacking in a particular subject you could even consider taking a part-time college or online course to strengthen your knowledge. Even degree-level institutions such as the University of St. Albans often offer additional short courses to help you improve your grades.

► Read more on 5 Top Tips to Make Your Revision Timetable More Effective

Sunday, September 21, 2014

5 Top Tips to Avoid Procrastination

5 Top Tips to Avoid Procrastination

Guest post written by James Timpson (Share your stories with 26,000+ students like YOU!)

Procrastination is the bane of revision and when you’re preparing for exams there’s nothing more boring than trolling through your notes and trying to fill in the blanks. It’s hardly surprising that most people leave it until the last minute. If this sounds familiar, then these five tips may help.

1. Start in the morning

Revision expert Justin Craig states that most people find the morning to be the most productive time of the day. There’s nothing like waking up, cracking on and getting all of your work done before the afternoon. Not only does this make the days feel longer, but it gives you more free time to relax and recuperate – which is half the battle.

The second you’ve had breakfast, set yourself a goal and see it through till the end. The longer you leave it the more creative your excuses will become, and before you know it you’ve wasted the whole day. Having a “Do it now” attitude will prevent delays. While it may be difficult to begin with, after a few days your mind and body will start to adapt.

Top Tips to Avoid Procrastination
Top Tips to Avoid Procrastination / PicCredit

2. Reduce your workload

This may seem counter productive, but it’s far better to get a little bit done than nothing. For example, it can be pretty daunting to look at your schedule and realise that you need to write a 2,000 word essay. However, if you split that up across five days, it’s now a mere 400 words – not quite so bad is it?

Don’t worry about completing entire projects in one sitting. Spreading it across multiple days will not only make it much easier to manage, but will improve the overall quality of your work.

3. Don’t prioritise small tasks

Of course you’ll need to get the smaller tasks out the way as well, but don’t do them to compensate for bigger tasks. Answering emails and reading research notes, etc., needs to be done, but is it really a priority?

Don’t kid yourself; prioritise by order of importance. Whatever you do make sure you tackle at least a small portion of a bigger task, otherwise you’ll just end up overburdened when all the smaller tasks are out of the way.

4. Get some company

According to The Happiness Project, studies have shown that we enjoy activities more when we have a partner. If you think you’d work better with someone by your side, choose your study partner wisely. If you’re not careful they could be an even bigger distraction.

Find a study partner who makes an effort to do well themselves. Their good habits will inspire you to try harder. If you don’t have any close friends doing the same course as you, ask your tutor to arrange an after-hours study group.

5. Create a schedule

Create both long and short-term schedules and stick to them. Having a detailed plan in front of you will inspire you to stay ahead of the game. Creating a schedule will also help you pinpoint problem areas so you can make extra time for them.

At the beginning of each week make a detailed plan outlining what you expect to achieve by the end. Then, at the beginning of each day – before you start working – write down a list of everything you want to achieve by the end of that day. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing something off a list!

When it comes to revision everybody is different and what could work for others may not work for you. Try to find a routine that you find beneficial, even if it doesn’t stick to conventions. Sometimes it’s the oddest and most ‘out there’ ideas that work.

► Read more on 5 Top Tips to Avoid Procrastination

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

UM Ranked at 151 in QS World University Rankings 2014/2015 (UKM: 259, UTM: 294, USM: 309, UPM: 376)

Source: London-based QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings 2014/2015

Rank    University
1           Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US
2           University of Cambridge,UK
2           Imperial College London, UK
4           Harvard University, US
5           University of Oxford, UK
5           University College London (UCL), UK
7           Stanford University, US
8           California Institute of Technology (Caltech), US
9           Princeton University, US
10         Yale University, US
22         National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
28         University of Hong Kong
31         University of Tokyo, Japan
31         Seoul National University, South Korea
39         Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
151       Universiti Malaya (UM)
259       Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
294       Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
309       Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
376       Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)

Universiti Malaya World University Rankings
The Malaysian Insider wrote:
All five institutions improved on their rankings compared to last year.

In the survey last year, UM was ranked at 167th while UKM at 269th. UTM and USM were both at 355th and UPM was in the 411-420 ranking.

The criteria used by QS to rank the universities are academic reputation, employer reputation, student to faculty ratio, papers per faculty, citations per paper, internationalisation, and student exchange programmes.

The QS Rankings grades a total of 863 tertiary institutions out of over 3,000 that it assesses.

Universiti Teknologi Mara made the biggest jump, up from the 701-plus level to the 651-700 group.

However, the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) did not improve its position and remained in the 501-550 tier.

In a statement today on the latest QS World University Rankings, QS Quacquarelli Symonds said with the exception of IIUM, all the other universities had improved or remained stable in three out of the six ranking indicators.

The indicators were Academic Reputation, based on 63,676 academic responses and representing 40% of the weight; International Faculty which weights 5%; the research impact indicator; and Citation per Faculty which weights 20%.

"USM is the only institution that has improved across all six indicators," the organisation that has been ranking universities in the world for a decade said.

► Read more on UM Ranked at 151 in QS World University Rankings 2014/2015 (UKM: 259, UTM: 294, USM: 309, UPM: 376)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Education in Malaysia: A Teacher's Perspective

Written by Izz Adha, first published as his public Facebook post last week. It has gone viral on Facebook with more than 13,000 likes and 8,000 shares to date. Have something to say? Send us your guest post and get published here.

Hari ini saya mengamuk di sekolah. This is not who I am. You will never see me this way again. Usually, if I am mad, I will disappear. Today, I sent three girls to the principal and called the parents of three boys. These are the problematic students from the first day I was here. They don't listen, they enter and leave the class as they want, they don't do homework, they don't do classwork, they don't do group work, they talk as they please, there is absolutely no manner in them, they don't go to surau for prayers, they bully other students, they make fun of other students, they choose to leave the class, and walk by every 5 minutes to scream over the door to disturb the class.

You know who they are?
The girls are a PPD and teachers' daughters
The boys are nelayan and social workers' sons.

One of their dads came to school after I talked to his wife on the phone. He said "He never says he had homework, and he always says that everything is well in school." I showed him his mark (21, failed) and his worksheet that I collected every day after class. Blank. Empty. I told him, "I am not toying with you. He doesn't care and do his homework. I am not mad that he didn't do the work; I am disappointed that he did not put an effort." to which the father replied "He's so kind at home." Other teachers who taught his son jumped to the opportunity to tell him the truth too. He was shocked.

The girls, on the other hand, cried, begging the principal not to call their fathers because who they are at home are the opposite of who they really are outside. Mind you that these are some of the most problematic students in the school yet none of their parents know about it.

Before this fiasco, I was teaching them how to write an essay and asked them to write an essay. They asked me to translate every single word. Cikgu, "Yang" apa? Cikgu "Dengan" apa? Cikgu "melaksanakan" apa? Cikgu macam mana nak mula karangan?

What did they learn in primary school? Why are their basics so poor? It is utterly difficult to prepare them for PT3 while having to teach them basics again that they were supposed to know, at the very least, during their six years in primary school.

How do you explain the complexity of this problem?

It is shocking to me because I came from good schools. I came from good primary school, then a good SBP, good middle school, and finally at a good MRSM. This experience was not expected, and I am thankful that I entered good schools. I am thankful that my mom humiliated me at report card days by telling everything about me, and exchanged numbers with teacher and called them every month — I am thankful for this. It is shocking to me because I came from schools, which environments built my interest to learn. It is shocking to me because my primary school provided me with ample and strong basics. As I write this, it is not to say that other teachers are not good, or other schools are not as good as my schools. What I mean is: I came from an environment that cultivates learning since I was a kid. I never thought of this situation before. It is a surprise to me because I never thought there are people out there who don't think education is important.

One of the teachers said to me; This is shocking to you because you come from a good school, and you are smart. This will not be surprising if you come from schools like ours.

So, how do you explain the complexity of this problem?

Are the teachers to be blamed?
Are the parents to be blamed?
The system?
The students?
The primary school teachers?
The Ministers?

Where do we even begin?

The teachers are giving up,
The parents are hopeless,
The system is troublesome,
The environments are demotivating,
The students lack interest.

I am not joking: a teacher confessed that she is teaching because of the money — and she is not the only one. I am not kidding: A few teachers gave up — and they are not the only teachers giving up.

My fear is that we are too busy building a better nation, by working harder, by creating better system, by raising the benchmark, and then quietly, without anyone noticing, we are demolishing every essence of education from its core; from home to school, from students to teachers.

The complexity of this matter demotivates and disappoints me — a fake teacher for a few months. What do you think of the real teachers who have taught for 15-30 years?

If everyone is to be blamed, then why we start with only one or two factors? A quote from an Ustaz I talked today: Kalau bumbung tirih (bocor), kita tak boleh dok letak timba kat lantai, kita kena tukar bumbung."

- - - - - -

First of all, I am not complaining. I am a temporary teacher who works during summer break, and I am leaving this school in 3 days. I am still studying. This is not complaining, this implies that I am worried about this situation. I volunteered to teach at different places before during breaks — from refugee camps to orphanage but the situations were different — because they don't have the privilege to learn hence an extra effort to acquire knowledge. However, that is not the case here. Some of them really don't want to learn. When something like that occur, you have to wonder what are the reasons someone doesn't want to learn?

Secondly, I am not blaming anybody but I am questioning everybody. Are we playing the roles we are supposed to play — as parents, as teachers, as students, as ministers? While there is an abundance of good teachers, students, parents, ministers out there, it doesn't mean that all of them are good. We are focusing on the problem right now, not to compare nor to compete on who is better. While the numbers of good students are increasing, that doesn't mean we have to ignore those who cannot perform.

Thirdly, I acknowledge the fact that they are various types of students, and I can't expect everyone to succeed in education. I acknowledge the truth that not everybody were born smart. Kids have different IQ and EQ, therefore, I am not expecting them to sit still and study. What I am expecting out of these students is an interest to learn — whatever that is. If you want to be a mechanic, then show your passion for that. If you want to cook, learn and cultivate your interest from now. I don't expect my students to be doctors and lawyers. I don't. My problem is different: They don't want to learn at all. Don't respect anybody. They don't even care.

Someone wrote among the comments "Kalau dah susah sangat jadi cikgu, kenapa tak berhenti je? Tau la gaji tinggi dan banyak cuti." Let me tell you something; This is not about the money. Right now, they paid me RM54/day. I have my own bakery and my own business. I have my parents' money. I have scholarships. If I want money, I don't have to be a teacher. This is not about money. This is about the education, and by default; it is about our future.

Teacher's Thoughts on Malaysia's Education System

When I was in primary school, my teacher gave me the first step into the world. She pushed to speak English. She pushed to conduct choral speaking; she made me join public speaking. She made me compete in dancing, boria, storytelling or science exhibition competition — and everything she did make me who I am today and allow me to experience the world differently. All I want, by writing this post, or by teaching, is to give the same experience to my students so they too, could experience the same things. Our students, no matter how smart they are on papers, are lacking skills in general. Thinking skills, speaking skills, writing skills, communication skills and other skills and these skills can only be installed and developed by giving everyone a fair chance to experience it themselves. If you want to be a sprinter, you don't think about sprinting on the track. You have to go to the field and run. If you want to be a writer, you cannot sit and think about writing, you have to write. Similarly, if we want our students to think outside what the examination questions are, we have to make them think outside the perimeter of textbooks by doing things. We need to give them the space they needed.

- - - - - -

I don't care about results. They can fail all they want. What's important to me is the knowledge. When you no longer want to seek knowledge — what is the purpose of living? Islam starts with Iqra'!, bacalah, read. If Nabi Muhammad (p.b.u.h) refused to read thousands of years ago, there would be no Islam today.

We are discussing on higher ground here; knowledge. One, anyone, must always learn. Learning and seeking knowledge is a continuous work. If we are not trained to seek, respect and love knowledge, we will grow up as someone who blindly follows instructions.

I've written many thoughts on education previously but as a student and as an observer. The reason I applied to be a teacher this time around is to see the system and the management from a different point of view; a view of a teacher.

- - - - - -

To all of you; Parents, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunties, grandparents, friends, seniors--anyone, who is related to a student, as you come home from work today, ask them about school. Ask them about homework. Ask them about each and every subject. Ask them about their teachers. Ask them about their interest. Get to know your sons and daughters. Then, tomorrow, or after the school holidays, call their teachers, visit their school and meet the teachers themselves. Ask them about your children. Ask them about their weaknesses and strength. Ask them what can you do to help. Ask them about their marks. Contact each other and keep updated.

There is a lot of work to be done and let's do it together.

(I'm a "he," by the way. Somehow, a lot of you think I am a woman.)

► Read more on Education in Malaysia: A Teacher's Perspective

Thursday, September 04, 2014

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 2015 (Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2015)

Related 2015 Calendars:
  • School Calendar 2015 (Kalendar Persekolahan, Tarikh Cuti Sekolah, Takwim Sekolah 2015)
  • UPSR, PT3, SPM, SPMU, STAM, MUET & STPM 2015 Exam Dates / Examination Calendar (Kalendar Takwim Peperiksaan)
Malaysia Public Holidays Calendar 2015 Kalendar Cuti Umum Malaysia

Malaysia Public / National / Federal Holidays 2015 Calendar (Kalendar Jadual Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Persekutuan Malaysia)

  1.         January 3 (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. / Maulidur Rasul)
  2.         February 19 (Thursday): Chinese New Year (Tahun Baru Cina)
  3.         February 20 (Friday): Chinese New Year Second Day (Tahun Baru Cina Hari Kedua)
  4.         May 1 (Friday): Labour Day (Hari Pekerja)
  5.         May 3 (Sunday): Vesak Day (Hari Wesak)
  6.         June 6 (Saturday): Agong's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong)
  7.         * July 17 (Friday): Hari Raya Puasa
  8.         * July 18 (Saturday) Hari Raya Puasa (Hari Kedua)
  9.         August 31 (Monday): National Day (Hari Kebangsaan)
  10.         September 16 (Wednesday): Malaysia Day (Hari Malaysia)
  11.         * September 24 (Thursday): Hari Raya Haji / Qurban
  12.         * September 25 (Friday): Hari Raya Haji / Qurban Hari Kedua
  13.         October 14 (Wednesday): Awal Muharam (Maal Hijrah)
  14.         * November 10 (Tuesday): Deepavali (Hari Deepavali)
  15.         December 24 (Thursday): Prophet Muhammad's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. / Maulidur Rasul)
  16.         December 25 (Friday): Christmas (Hari Krismas)

State Holidays 2015 (Jadual Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Negeri)

  1.         January 1 (Thursday): New Year 2015 (Tahun Baru 2015)
  2.         January 14 (Wednesday): Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan)
  3.         January 18 (Sunday): Sultan of Kedah's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kedah)
  4.         February 1 (Sunday): Federal Territory Day (Hari Wilayah Persekutuan)
  5.         February 3 (Tuesday): Hari Thaipusam
  6.         February 20 (Friday): Chinese New Year Second Day (Tahun Baru Cina Hari Kedua)
  7.         March 4 (Wednesday): Anniversary of Installation of Sultan of Terengganu (Hari Ulang Tahun Pertabalan Sultan Terengganu)
  8.         April 3 (Friday): Good Friday
  9.         April 15 (Wednesday): Declaration of Malacca as a Historical City (Hari Perisytiharan Melaka Sebagai Bandaraya Bersejarah)
  10.         April 26 (Sunday): Sultan of Terengganu's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Terengganu)
  11.         May 7 (Thursday): Hari Hol Pahang
  12.         May 16 (Saturday): Israk dan Mikraj
  13.         May 17 (Sunday): Raja Perlis' Birthday (Hari Ulang Tahun Keputeraan Raja Perlis)
  14.         May 30 (Saturday): Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan / Pesta Menuai)
  15.         May 31 (Sunday): Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan / Pesta Menuai)
  16.         June 1 (Monday): Perayaan Hari Gawai Dayak
  17.         June 2 (Tuesday): Perayaan Hari Gawai Dayak
  18.         * June 18 (Thursday): Awal Ramadan
  19.         July 4 (Saturday): Hari Nuzul Al-Quran
  20.         July 7 (Tuesday): Georgetown World Heritage City Day (Hari Ulang Tahun Perisytiharan Tapak Warisan Dunia)
  21.         July 11 (Saturday): Penang Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Pulau Pinang)
  22.         September 12 (Saturday): Sarawak Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak)
  23.         * September 25 (Friday): Hari Raya Qurban / Haji Hari Kedua
  24.         October 3 (Saturday): Sabah Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah)
  25.         October 9 (Friday): Malacca Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Melaka)
  26.         October 24 (Saturday): Sultan of Pahang's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Pahang)
  27.         November 11 (Wednesday): Sultan of Kelantan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kelantan)
  28.         November 12 (Thursday): Sultan of Kelantan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kelantan)
  29.         November 18 (Wednesday): Hari Hol Almarhum Sultan Iskandar
  30.         November 22 (Sunday): Sultan of Johor's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Johor)
  31.         November 27 (Friday): Sultan of Perak's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Perak)
  32.         December 11 (Friday): Sultan of Selangor's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Selangor)
Note: * Subject to change (Tertakluk kepada perubahan).

Kalendar Jadual Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2015 Persekutuan & Negeri

► Read more on Malaysia Public Holidays 2015 Calendar (Kalendar Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2015)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

SPM 2014 Tips: How to Score Straight A+'s in SPM

Who Says You’re Not Gonna Score?

by Hoe Zhan Hui [Writing Contest 2014 ★ Winner ★]

SPM Tips Straight A+

So, who said so?

All in all, I am not talking about anyone scoring a hat trick in a soccer game. I’m talking about real business! I mean, some serious study plan! Everyone wants to be somebody. I wish to score STRAIGHT A+ in SPM, you too! Now, what to do? Easy…

1) Leave everything behind (for the time being while doing something)
‘One target at a time.’ It’s more effective in reducing your overall workload and stress. Trust me, you’ll feel much lighter. I won’t say, ‘Prioritise’. It’s more like getting the job done rather than prioritizing something else that you should not be. FOCUS on the task in hand. Say, you are in chemistry class. Then, don’t do other stuffs during your chemistry class. Strictly, only do chemistry stuffs. It’s a good time to finish your undone chemistry homework!

2) Blend in with the education system
Hey, don’t go fussing about the downside of our education system. Eventually, you’ll be the one going through it. Save your effort! You don’t like to memorise, do you? Well, don’t memorise! Instead, you lean on the ‘practicing’ approach. Trust me, you won’t even realize that you could answer questions you are already so familiar with. This technique is much more effective for slow-learners like me! I need all the time I could get to digest raw information and making them a part of me. However, some ‘facts and figures’ are unavoidable. You need to memorise somehow. But here’s the trick. You practice ‘remembering’ the facts. In other words, you might need a few days, maybe weeks to get them familiar with. You will remember them in times of need!

3) Never stop asking stupid questions! – Not annoying ones
Have you ever wanted to know minute details of how to solve a question but sounded like asking stupid questions? This is perfectly fine in my point of view as long as you stick to the rule of thumb. Firstly, don’t ask repetitive questions, it’s annoying, yes. Secondly, explain what you are trying to do before asking what you wish to know further. You get the picture. Feeling better? Keep your questions simple and straight to the point. By asking always, I actually knew what to do when I’m on my own during my exams! Glad I asked. Believe me, trying to be stupid to gain extra info is better than trying to be “Mr-Know-It-All”.
You Can Do It
4) Dream BIG & Dream ON!
You got to have something in your mind that you want so badly! In this case, say, “I want straight A+ in SPM!” Now, I got a BIG dream and I must literally ‘dream on’ to keep the spark alive in me. With this, I’ll have just the right push to be successful. Motivation is a very powerful tool to spur one on. No man will be successful doing things that they themselves are not passionate about. To quote it, you must be goal-oriented and optimistic plus a little bit of extra effort. Bon voyage!
Walt Disney if you can dream it you can do it

Narrowing down on how to do well in different subjects…

a) Language Subjects (Bahasa Melayu & English)

How often do you speak Malay Language or English? You might find them a little difficult to score in exams. However, surprisingly, some can write better than they speak. In writing a piece of essay, it’s all about expressing out your ideas. Having good ideas are as important as knowing how to write.
  • Start practicing your grammars.
  • Try grabbing maximum scores in grammar, comprehension and literature sections.
    • Grammar – Start off easy with building simple sentences to writing complex and compound sentences with beautiful words in it. Here, I’m not stressing on bombastic words but anyhow a handful of beautiful words would definitely suffice to add colours to your essay.
    • Comprehension – Grammatical errors in this section are rarely penalized as this part tests on the ability of a student understanding a passage. As long as you write down the answers that are understandable, you might be in your way to scoring a few marks here.
  • Don’t cheat in your literature sections by just reading the synopsis on everything. This is not going to work.
b) The Sciences (Physics, Chemistry & Biology)

Science subjects are often the far most interesting ones in school, well, at the very least.
  • Start off slowly by doing topical assessments, which includes actual-exams format questions.
    • By doing this, you’ll get to know every topic inside out. (Possible questions, definitions, level of difficulty and most importantly, your mastery of the topics.)
  • Do questions first before memorising facts.
    • Frankly speaking, I can’t memorise facts on the go. Instead, I felt better memorising facts in question form that is a much easier technique. The question and answer are paired. Thus, the moment when you look at questions even if they’re twisted, you’ll still know the answer.
  • Paper 2 is where you need to pay attention to the most.
    • Throw away PMR habit of spending so much time revising objective questions.
    • In exercise books, there are already answers provided in factual form for essay practices. Make them your “reference book”! It is a much easier and convenient way to look at your facts than reading your thick, bulky reference book, which you don’t even know where to start!
c) Math Subjects

Again, all you need is practice, practice and practice.
  • Get yourself familiarize with all types of questions.
  • Use the ‘topical approach' mentioned earlier in (b).
  • In Additional Math Paper 2, you’ll normally find ‘application questions’.
    • Therefore, start practicing with real-exam format questions after understanding the concepts of each topic on the whole.
    • Invest more time on the must-score questions especially in Section A and Section C just to play it safe. The topics involved are still manageable like the ‘Index Numbers’ and ‘Simultaneous Equations’. At least, you can still get a good mark if Section B is too hard.
  • Modern Mathematics should not be a problem compared to Additional Mathematics.
    • Some easier questions do carry a lot of mark such as the ‘Venn diagram’ or the ‘Plane and Elevation’.
    • Again, practise more and you’ll get the hang of it! This subject would be easy if you did your homework back in lower secondary.
Good Luck in Your SPM
d) History and Moral
  • Start early.
    • By doing so, you not only create more time to remember the facts, but also lessening your burden during last-minute study.
  • History
    • Use the ‘topical approach’ to remember facts from each topic without jumbling up everything.
    • Refer and answer questions simultaneously.
    • Slowly after some time, try answering without textbooks. You don’t want ending up being too dependent on textbooks, right?
    • A must-score in Paper 2. Using the same technique, use answers provided at the back of the exercise books as quick notes! They are perfect to use as long as the facts are extracted from the official textbooks.
  • Moral
    • There is nothing much to do but to memorise the definitions first.
    • Easily, you can break down any one of the definitions into key words on the spot. You save all the time memorising definitions alone and then key words another.
    • Last year, there were slight modifications in the format! That was pretty scary. I was thinking whether I should approach the questions like what I used to do before or to use a totally different approach according to the new instructions. Well, I packed in both just to be on the safe side. Quite lengthy answer, though.
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)

So, what’s the moral of the story? Be flexible! ‘Blend in’, remember?

This year, questions requiring higher order thinking skills (HOTS) might be trending. Anyhow, think out of the box! Remember, you can always apply concepts and formulas that you have learnt in class. The problem is, how can they be applied in a question itself?

Hoe Zhan Hui
I really do hope the techniques shared earlier will come in handy! Those are just my personal opinions and experiences throughout my years in school. I was once an SPM student no more than any of you. Enjoy your secondary school life and hey, WHO SAYS YOU’RE NOT GONNA SCORE!
Make yourself SHINE. Make the people around you PROUD!

Hoe Zhan Hui, 18, has achieved 10A+ in his SPM and also 7As in his PMR. He opted to continue his study in Taylor’s College Sri Hartamas for the IB Diploma Programme under KPM Bursary and is still waiting for the Maybank Scholarship Award scholarship. He is a slow starter but that’s not stopping him to achieve his goals! His life goal? He is interested in tech entrepreneurship and he wished to take up computer engineering course. He dreamt of having all the modern science fiction technology coming to life one day!

► Read more on SPM 2014 Tips: How to Score Straight A+'s in SPM

Recent Posts @ Malaysia Students Blog

Join over 21,000 people who get latest scholarship updates via email!

Free Scholarship Updates:   

Malaysia Scholarship Information Centre

More scholarships available at Malaysia Scholarship Information Centre

Education Malaysia for Students

Student Part Time Jobs

Do Not Miss Any Job Offers! Get Student Part Time Jobs via Email!