Tak kenal maka tak cinta. Jom Kenali Universiti Awam (UA) Malaysia.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

iTalk Buddy – Malaysia’s First Instant Messenger that Gives You More

Can you make cheap voice calls (both local and international) to fixed line, mobile and domestic and international destinations (with no access fee) using your instant messenger?

Can you keep and care virtual intelligent pet using your instant messenger?

iTalk BuddyNow you can do these with iTalk Buddy. What is iTalk Buddy? It is an instant messenger that has not only all the basic functions you could imagine like chatting, sharing files and folders, but also more advanced features like making voice calls (PC to PC / fixed line / mobile phones), keeping virtual intelligent pet, sharing your computer screen and even sharing Internet connection with your online buddies and much more.

MojiKan Sol-MojiiTalk Buddy has recently entered Phase 2 by introducing a lot of new features. One of the new feature in Phase 2 that I like very much is the 3D Moji. My Moji is able to move in 3D and show emotions and intelligent responses. It is able to understand the context of speech and hold conversations on its own due to the built-in artificial intelligence (AI) features.

Did I mention that you can buy food and purchase accessories like clothing, toys etc to customise and personalise your own Moji? You can get your own free Moji through iTalk Buddy too!
iTalk Buddy Chat
iTalk will soon introduce new feature i.e. mobile blogging and smsfeatures… maybe in early 2008. You can update your blog with latest posts and photos via your mobile phones. If you subscribe to the premium services at RM2.50 per month, you can get unlimited internet and screen sharing.

iTalk BuddyI like the concept of iTalk Buddy. It is a combination of all of iTalk’s features and the power of the internet. It brings the best from similar products like Skype or Windows Live Messenger with more useful features. Hence it is definitely value added to existing or potential iTalk users.

iTalk Buddy also offers free offline services (Self Organising Network, SON)! It allows you to create local area network (LAN) without hassle configuration, enabling files and printer sharing. You can play network games, chat and make PC call within LAN without connecting to the internet.

I meet a lot of new buddies through iTalk Buddy. Do remember to add me (my nickname is Student) to your buddy list so that we can chat (discuss) on topics like education in Malaysia, exams, scholarships, schools, colleges and even universities! If many readers of this blog use iTalk Buddy, we can organize chatting session so that readers can chat with each other in chatroom using iTalk Buddy.

So what are you waiting for? Download iTalk Buddy for free now!

► Read more on iTalk Buddy – Malaysia’s First Instant Messenger that Gives You More

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Popular Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia

Posted by Chong

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM, English: Malaysian Higher School Certificate) / Form Six

All form five students who have taken their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM, English: Malaysian Certificate of Education) examinations will be automatically offered form six as long as their SPM exam results meet the entry requirements. Application is not required for form five students.
Entry requirements:
(a) Science stream - a combination of points from Mathematics and two science subjects must not exceed 18 points
(b) Art stream - a combination of points from Mathematics and any two subjects must not exceed 8 points
Duration: 1.5 years
Fee: Free in terms of tuition fees and examination fees
Intake: May
Recognised and accepted:
Local public universities, internationally (Most universities consider STPM results equivalent to GCE A-Level results)

Read more on Form Six (Tingkatan Enam) STPM

Malaysian Matriculation

Students may apply for admission into local matriculation programme during their form five before sitting for SPM exams via their respective secondary schools.
Entry requirements:
90% of the places are reserved for the bumiputeras, and the other 10% for the non-bumiputeras. The selection criteria are not publicly declared. Actual SPM exam results will be used. Generally students living in rural areas stand a higher chance to be accepted.
Duration: 1 year (2 semesters)
Fee: Free (All expenses paid by government)
Intake: May
Recognised and accepted: Local public universities

Read more on Malaysia Matriculation (Program Matrikulasi)

Advanced Level (A-level)

Entry requirements:
SPM, O-level or its equivalent with five credits including in English, Mathematics and Science with a pass in a second language. Conditional offers will be given to students with forecast results.
Duration: 15 / 18 / 24 months
Fee: RM 16,000 - 18,000
Intake: January, March, July
Recognised and accepted: Internationally

Read more on A-level

Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)

Entry requirements:
Minimum five (5) credits in SPM, 'O' Level or equivalent, including English and Mathematics. Conditional offers will be given to students with forecast results.
Duration: 10 months / 8 months
Fee: RM 10,650
Intake: January, March
Recognised and accepted: Internationally

Read more on Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)

South Australian Matriculation (SAM)

Entry requirements:
SPM, 'O' Levels or equivalent - 5 credits including English and Mathematics/Science. Subject pre-requisites apply. Forecast examination results are accepted for provisional admission.
Duration: 1 year
Fee: RM 8,550 - 9,000
Intake: January, March (express intake)
Recognised and accepted: Internationally

Read more on South Australian Matriculation (SAM)

International Canadian Pre-university (ICPU)

Entry requirements:
SPM or 'O' Level or equivalent - 5 credits including English and Mathematics/Science. Subject pre-requisites apply. Form 5 students who want to apply for the Pre-U program can use their school forecast or trial results.
Duration: 1 year
Fee: RM 15,000 - 16,000
Intake: January, March, July
Recognised and accepted: Internationally

Read more on Canadian Pre-University

Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP)

Entry requirements:
Minimum five (5) credits in SPM, 'O' Level or equivalent. Forecast results are accepted.
Duration: 1 year (2 semesters)
Fee: RM 15,000 - 16,000
Intake: January, March (express intake), July
Recognised and accepted: Internationally

Read more on Canadian Matriculation Programme

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP)

Entry requirements:
SPM: Minimum five credits including Bahasa Melayu. Some institutions require you to have strong credits in English, maths (sometimes even additional maths) and the science subjects.
Duration: 2 years
Fee: RM 25,000 - 51,000
Intake: August
Recognised and accepted: Internationally

Read more on International Baccalaureate (IB)

Foundation Programmes

(specific for entry into courses in the respective colleges)
Entry requirements:
Minimum five (5) credits in SPM, 'O' Level or equivalent. Conditional offers will be given to students with forecasts results.
Duration: 9 months to a year (2 semesters)
RM 3,750 - 9,000 (private colleges and universities)
RM 10,000 -19,500 (foreign university with local campus)
Intake: Varies but most institutions have a January intake
Recognised and accepted: Specific colleges or universities

Read more on Foundation Programmes

American Degree Transfer Program (ADTP or ADP)

Entry requirements:
(a) Students (SPM /GCE 'O' Level, UEC) need to have a minimum of 5 credits in academic subjects including credits in English and Mathematics. They must also have a pass in Bahasa Malaysia.
(b) Students with STPM, 'A' Levels, Canadian Pre-University or Australian Matriculation programs are given advanced standing in the American Transfer Program. Credits awarded are evaluated on an individual basis.
2 years in Malaysia (5 semesters or 65 credits) + 2 years at the university abroad of your choice
Fee: RM 25,000 - 46,000 (for the first two years in Malaysia) + RM 80,000 - 160,000 (for the remaining two year at university abroad of your choice)
Intake: Varies but most institutions have a January intake
Recognised and accepted: Internationally

Vocational Programmes at Polytechnics Schools

Entry requirements:
Varies but generally lower entry requirements compared to other pre-university programmes
1-2 years (Certificate)
3 years (Diploma)
Fee: RM200 per semester for public polytechnics
Intake: January and June for public polytechnics

1. All above quoted fees are estimates, approximated at the time of publication and are subject to change.
2. American Degree Transfer Program and Vocational Programmes at Polytechnics Schools are not pre-university programmes but tertiary education programmes. They are listed in this post as they are the popular choices among students who have completed their SPM examinations.
3. Kindly leave your comment to correct the inaccurate information (if any) posted in this post.

Related Posts:
1. STPM Frequently-Asked-Questions by BooNBox
2. STPM Blues by Melanie
3. Pre-U Course - Cambridge GCE 'A' Levels by typlotion
4. GCE A-level in Malaysia by elie
5. SAT De-solved by BooNBox
6. What Should You Expect in Form Six/STPM by Chong
7. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme by Snow
8. Secondary/Pre-University Options in Canada by jjme
9. Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore by elie
10. Studying in Canada - Columbia International College (CIC) by jjme
11. Advanced Placement (AP) Program in Canada by jjme

1. doctorjob - Sign up as a doctorjobber today for unlimited undergrad advice & resources!
2. Wikipedia - STPM, A-level, IB
3. Ministry of Education, Malaysia - Pelajar.Student
4. IB Diploma Programme - official Website
5. SAM - official website
6. Canadian Education Centre - Malaysia
7. Education in Malaysia - ADP Part I, ADP Part II, Matriculation vs STPM
8. Tinkosong - ADP, IB
9. Sunway University College
10. Taylor’s University College
11. Olympia College
12. HELP University College

► Read more on Popular Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Orientation in a Public University (UUM)

Posted by Melanie

I shall start with a brief introduction. Six months ago , I was accepted to Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). It's not exactly a well-known public university but they're the pioneer in Business Studies in Malaysia. Situated in Northern Malaysia, it costs me around RM 1K (Malaysia Airlines) for a return ticket. I am from Kuching, Sarawak and I must admit it's really tiring to travel up there because unfortunately there's no direct flight.

Well, before I continue sharing my orientation experience with you, I must warn you that every university have a different way of conducting their orientation and this is what I personally went through.

Orientation starts right after your registration. Yes, I kid you not. It's directly! You register, get your keys to your room (hostel) and the next thing is you gather with thousands of juniors. You don't even realise it is starting! (Honestly, it meant nightmare!!)

Orientation usually lasts about a week. The orientation in my university is conducted by a team of University Facilitators. There are about hundreds of them , and you will be divided into groups and each group has one facilitator. Something every university does is to distribute the same beg where you will use for the entire orientation. I don't find it a good idea because many eventually mistook other's beg and it just causes more problems.

The day started as early as 5 in the morning. (I'M NOT JOKING) The Muslim go to the mosque and do their duty while non-Muslim gather in the hall for some Moral studies. I don't know if it did help moulding our Moral, but really most of them (including myself) is just to sleepy to even pay attention. No, it's not that we are lazy to wake up in the morning. You would be the same too if the activities the day before ends at roughly 1 a.m and this goes on for one whole week. I remembered once they woke us up at 2 a.m just caused they wanted to announce something that is not important at all. It was frustrating knowing you have to wake at 4 a.m to get ready for the 5 a.m slot LATER!

There will be endless "taklimat" whole day through just to get us juniors used to the new rule and of course, a total new environment. They are somehow helpful, but most of the time, almost half of the hall is sleeping away. I somehow wish they're conducted it in a more interactive ways so that it won't be so boring. Other times, you will be mingling around with your team mates (remember i said we're divided into groups?) and if you're lucky, they stay with you even after orientation. Unfortunately for me, my orientation friends stays as "orientation friends".

Food are served six times a day. Early morning breakfast, breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner and supper. In Kedah, food are all spicy and it's not just spicy, but extremely spicy! I am lucky enough that I can put up with spicy food but it was a tad too much for me because even supper is spicy! Many could not put up with it and have bad diarrhea. Some chose to skip their meals. In fact, I had bad constipation through out the whole orientation and skipped many of my meals. The desperate ones chose to skip their meals just to get some short nap.

You know, I was never mentally prepared to go through all these hard core orientation. My sister graduated from a private university and I never ask anyone how it is like to go through orientation. I told you food are served six times a day. Before you could think that our meal breaks are long, you're SO TOTALLY wrong! We're actually given less than two hours to eat and having to queue with so many people, you actually have around 15 minutes left to really rest your mind or answer nature's call. There's really almost nil breaks in between.

With really short breaks in between, there's really no time for you to go back to your room and take a bath or even nap! My university's dress code is formal so it really didn't help at all. Imagine wearing formal the whole day with all the sticky-ness of your body? It's one of the most uncomfortable feeling in the whole world. It feels like heaven when you finally can take bath when the day ends. Many fell sick during orientation and a lot fainted too. Heck, my friend was even hospitalised! I guess it's not really that we lacked rest, but with no bath and unhealthy food, our body just decided to break out.

There is always one day where you will need to attend a protocol event. It is very formal where no applause is allowed. They encouraged you to wear traditional costumes and no dark coloured clothes are allowed. It is where you pledge to be committed with your studies and the university itself. Mine was not properly organized, and they made me round the hall at least three times under hot burning sun and when I finally manage to get into the hall, they told me I have no seats. With the lack of sleep and rest, it really tested my patience! Somehow, having to see so many high spirit juniors pledge together was an interesting sight.

Of course, everything has it pros and cons. There are some things i really did enjoy during the orientation. Orientation is basically all the juniors gather so you get to make a lot of new friends. Everybody wants to be your friend, and you want to be everybody's friends. You're new, you're fresh and you wanted to have someone with you. No one will actually judge you even though you don't give them a good impression. There's no assignments, there's no pleasing lecturers and there's no chasing bus to make in time for morning lectures. You just do what's told. I'll say, orientation is innocent. =)

There's always a slot for community service but not everyone will be involved. I was involved though. And I must say it is the highlight of the orientation. I was sent to kampung in Bukit Kayu Hitam, and helped clean the mosque. The people in the kampung cooked us lunch and we were served in a totally Malay-style. The "makan bersila" thing. I am a non-Muslim, so I really find that fascinating. Then we were served some local fruit as desert and I would never forget how good the durian taste! It was really, really good.

There's also some mind-rest activities and the one I enjoyed was singing songs together. The theme song for my orientation was "Right Here Waiting" and "Permaidani Biru". It was one of the best moment for me where you sing along with friends, holding hands or waving with your hand phone lights on. It's a pretty sight when friendship was really innocent. Speaking of singing, one of the funny thing I recall was having to sing Negaraku in the wee hours. It's funny to sing the national anthem when all you think is to go back to your room and lie down on your bed. Even the hardest bed could make you feel like you're in heaven!

Last but not least, to sum the whole orientation , the facilitators conducted some "soul searching". They will read some really sad poems followed by gloomy songs but the main intention is to remind you of the your motif there, that if to graduate with a degree and not to disappoint your parents. It works to most of them, and the rest slept through it. I don't blame them, I remembered clearly that it was done around 12.30 a.m! I was sleepy too and I confess I did sleep. I was too tired to be into the "plot".

That's about all that I went through during orientation. It was so hard core, but I never really understood the message they wanted to send us through a hard core orientation. Six months has passed, orientation memories still stays really fresh with me. It feels like just yesterday...

Anyway, my advise to those of you who are going to public university , be mentally and physically prepared! Best wishes from me!


► Read more on Orientation in a Public University (UUM)

Monday, December 10, 2007

AP Program in Canada

Posted by jjme

I apologize for my long hiatus. Working life isn't as pleasing as I thought it would be ... even though work only takes up 8 hours a day *ahem*

Anyway, there was a request for information on the Advanced Placement (AP) program in Canada. I will share this with everyone today.

The AP Program, which was established in 1955, is administered by the College Board with the services of Educational Testing Services of New Jersey. The AP courses and exams are at college/university level, and it is often a rigorous curriculum for students in their last years of high school. In many cases, students may take an AP course and concurrently earn credits towards the OSSD. It is recognized as credit transfers at many American and Canadian universities or colleges.

For example, a friend of mine took AP Calculus when she was completing her Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) at Columbia International College (CIC), Hamilton, ON. After completion, she applied to Canadian universities with her six Grade 12 credits (the minimum entrance requirement for most Canadian universities). As her Calculus course earned her AP credit, she immediately had that credit transfered over into her program of study at the university. In other words, she was exempted from the Science Faculty's introductory Calculus course at university. This is what distinguishes students who graduate with AP courses and regular OSSD courses.

Still, depending upon the student's academic background, he/she may qualify to write an AP exam at the high school. Some schools do not participate in this AP Program thus they do not have classes held for students intending to pursue the AP courses. Then again, I have heard of some students who study on their own and sit for the AP exam but they still require consent from parents, the school counsellor, and the College Board. You can view the list of participating schools in Canada here. CIC is one of them. Some popular exam choices include:

Art History / Studio Art
Calculus AB
English Literature & Composition
English Language and Composition
French Language and French Literature
German Language
Government & Politics: Comparative Human
Physics C: Mechanics

All examinations are written in May, and the results announced in July of each year. The AP grading scale used is as follows:

5 - Extremely well qualified
4 - Well qualified
3 - Qualified
2 - Possibly qualified
1 - No recommendation

Each university sets its own recognition policy. The policies vary not only from one college or university to another, but also across faculty departments at any particular university. Typically, an AP score of 3 or higher is the passing mark. Some universities want 4 or higher.

If you are a Malaysian student pursuing tertiary studies in Canada straight from O-levels/SPM, you would have to apply into an international college that can provide you the option of acquiring the OSSD, and subsequently the AP Program. You can try applying to a Canadian Public High School, but I doubt that it would be easy because often you have to be a permanent resident (PR), landed immigrant, or a citizen to be eligible. The SPM certification is not recognized in Canada, and so you have to prove that you can pass at least Canadian Grade 12 curriculum. I have friends from Chong Hwa Secondary School who took the SPM equivalent of O-levels exam (or it was some other exam which was only offered in private chinese schools), and they still could not transfer those scores over. But really, the difference is not in the syllabus itself ... it's more of the nature of teaching and education that Malaysian schools lack. Moreover, English is not our language of instruction in schools.

For more information, please see: www.ap.ca

My advise is to always ask the college/high school's AP Program participation and offered courses, as well as the different universities' AP credit transfer recognition. Hope that helps!

► Read more on AP Program in Canada

Friday, December 07, 2007

Are undergraduates ready for the real world?

This article was written by Kwan Will Sen, a third-year Law student at University of Malaya.

“You take the blue pill -- the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill -- you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." – Morpheus

Although fictional, the Matrix world as in the blockbuster movie ‘The Matrix’ by the Wachowski Brothers is very relevant in the context of our society today. Undergraduates, especially the ones from local universities are akin to those stuck in the Matrix. Fed with the belief that they will make it in life, armed only with a scroll, they succumb to complacency. Their minds start to rot, intellectual growth is suppressed, and the end result; they hit rock bottom in the ‘real’ world. Groping in the dark, they try to find a way out, but to no avail. Thereafter, enlightenment ensues, a harsh realization, that the scroll in their hands is merely that, a scroll.

Since pre-school, our parents and teachers have constantly imparted upon us, that success in life can only be achieved through education. This is true to a certain extent, but apparently, as we grew older, something got lost in translation along the way. Education is no longer interpreted in the normal sense of the word, but solely equated with academic achievement. Our undergraduates are products of a system that hails the number of As and a CGPA of 4.0 as the only testament of success, indicating a bright future ahead. Rote learning seems to be the order of the day, while the holistic approach is now almost obsolete.

Such ‘values’ to life in university defeats the whole purpose of a tertiary education. Undergraduates strive to get CGPAs of 4.0, and are further exhorted to do so, especially when an ex-Minister proclaimed that it is their duty to get 4.0 in university. As preposterous as this may sound, it is very real. A right-minded person would shun such statements, but for some, it’s almost like a matter of filial piety. Time spent mugging and memorizing might get you good results, but it does not prepare you for the ‘real’ world, where problem solving skills and the ability to think outside the box is valued instead of the text book stuff.

Students spend so much time studying, they forget about everything else, except where to find that particular book in the library. Ask them if they know anything at all on current issues, and they respond with a blank look, expecting you to fill them in. The other problem with our undergraduates is that, they seem to idolize pop culture a tad too much. Try organizing a public lecture by Warren Buffet and a concert by some Akademi Fantasia singers on the same day. It is not that hard to predict which event will have a bigger crowd, unfortunately.

Then, there is the other group of students, i.e. those who believe that life in university is a bed of roses. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that. Problem is, some tend to stretch it a little too much, so much so that they don’t even know what they are doing. They believe that just as in the university, everything will be taken care of when they are out there in the ‘real’ world, i.e. that their precious scrolls will take them places. No effort whatsoever is made to improve themselves and participating in ridiculous activities is deemed to be the ultimate indicator of what is to expect in the ‘real’ world. For instance, a senior while ordering around a junior to do this or that project will justify it by saying “This is to prepare you for working life, especially when facing employers”. And the poor subordinate believing it, bids the senior’s wishes. We should never send across such wrong messages. Kow tow is not fun, and will never be. Period. Furthermore, why should we continue the negative and perpetuate such myth? Whatever happened to entrepreneurship?

Another issue which bugs a portion of undergraduates today is the inability to converse and write in English. Needless to say, in the era of globalization, the importance of English cannot be over emphasized. One might have plenty of mind boggling ideas, but without the ability to articulate them, such ideas cannot be conveyed to others. While such facts are known to every student, they prefer to converse in their mother tongues. Getting out of the comfort zone is often the toughest nut to crack.

On the other hand, the introduction of a compulsory soft skills course serves only to magnify the deficiencies of our education system. Students have forgotten how to interact, how to communicate, and how to ace that interview, to the extent that such drastic measure has to be taken. While this solves the problem on the surface, it effectively sweeps the bigger chunk of it under the carpet. Undergraduates cannot be expected to learn the art of eloquence and to gain self confidence overnight. It takes more than a course to create the wholesome undergraduate.

More importantly, undergraduates must be provided with room and space for holistic growth. Intellectual discussions, debates and forums on any topic at all should be encouraged and the underlying fear that students will rebel, retaliate or even form extremist groups, I would like to state, is unfounded. As adults, they should be respected as such, which means also to be given inter alia, the right to freedom of expression. What is right or wrong is not the point. The focal point is, undergraduates must be allowed to think, to express themselves, and to dissent if they want to. Keep pushing them around, and what do you get? A bunch of pushovers in society.

The bottom line is this. Whether or not an undergraduate will ever be ready to face the ‘real’ world is essentially a matter of choice. Choose to maintain your status quo, you continue in your temporary bubble in Neverland, waiting for the ‘real’ world to come crashing through. Choose to free your mind from the fetters of tradition for tradition’s sake, and to move out of your comfort zone, you embark on a journey with nothing guaranteed, except unfamiliarity. The latter sounds like a better deal, at least to me.

Be like Neo. Choose the red pill.

► Read more on Are undergraduates ready for the real world?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

FACON Education Fair 2007

Posted by Alphonso Tan

For readers who are seeking for your future institutions, this is the place you have to go, unless you have a better option (eg. Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale University...).

The DO's:
- Give them a smile and a firm handshake when you meet them.
- Introduce yourself as an SPM/STPM leaver, seeking for courses, seeking for education funds...
- Ask whatever you want to ask. They were paid for this.
- Express your positive feelings when you decide to leave.

- Shy shy...
- Reject the gifts given.

Peninsula Malaysia
Opening Hours : 12noon to 6pm
Kuala Lumpur
Dec 8 & 9 (Sat & Sun) Putra World Trade Centre
Alor Setar
Dec 11 (Tue) Holiday Villa Hotel
Dec 12 (Wed) Traders Hotel
Dec 13 (Thu) Syuen Hotel
Dec 14 (Fri) The Golden Legacy Hotel
Johor Bahru
Dec 16 (Sun) Hyatt Regency Johor Bahru
East Malaysia
Opening Hours : 1pm to 5pm
Dec 9 (Sun) Holiday Inn Kuching
Dec 10 (Mon) Tanahmas Hotel
Dec 12 (Wed) Grand Palace Hotel
Dec 15 (Sat) Heritage Hotel
Kota Kinabalu
Dec 16 (Sun) Promenade Hotel
Dec 17 (Mon) Sandakan Hotel

And of course, the admission is free! Free gifts might be given away by institutes.

Remember, one of them might be your future mentor, teaching and guiding you until you graduate and join the real world. Enjoy!

*Oh ya... Forgotten to include something here. Usually, January Intake students tend to outstand the others =) Example? Snow ;-)

* For more info, you may have a peek at the FACON website. =)

► Read more on FACON Education Fair 2007

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