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

Monday, May 05, 2008

JPA Scholarship Interview Experience and Tips

Posted by Nurly

Hallo everyone. Recently, I attended an interview held by JPA for PILN (Program Ijazah Luar Negara). Hence, while the memory is still fresh in mind, it'd be great if i could share my JPA scholarship interview experience for all of you to ponder on.

My JPA scholarship interview was scheduled on the 3rd of april 2008 at 2pm at PICC in putrajaya. Just like other candidates, I was nervous and was trying really hard to kill the butterflies in my tummy - literally speaking. :P

I left home at 12pm and reached putrajaya somewhere at 1230-ish. I was indeed very early but it didn't bother me because afterall, being early is better than late, yes? I checked my name, panel and interview room on the board. It turns out that our names were listed according to our birthdays.

I saw other applicants sitting with their parents at the waiting area. Everyone looked very professional in their attire. Most boys wore black pants and collared plain shirt, only a few had coats and vests to add up to their already-smart-looks. As for the girls, mostly wore baju kurung including the non-malays and there were some who wore collared shirt and 3/4 length skirt.

While waiting for 2pm to strike the clock, I mingled with other candidates. We shared stories about school, spm, dreams and et cetera. It felt better to be able to talk and mingle with others as it helped calm my nerves down and distract me from thinking of the interview too much. Waiting alone in silence is just too agonising for me to bear.

After much anticipation, 2pm finally came. All candidates were asked to go to their interview rooms respectively. After signing my name on the attendance list, I was given a paper with a list on it. I was told to rearrange my original and photocopied certificates according to the list. While rearranging my certs, I realised that there were quite a number of people who had trouble with their certs. Some didn't certify their photostated certs and others didn't have their parents' 'slip gaji' and even the 'surat pengesahan gaji' that was supposed to be printed online.

After that, we were divided into groups. Some candidates had 7 to 9 people in one group but as for me, I had only 5 people in my group. There were 2 malays and 3 chinese. We were the third and last group to enter the interview room hence we had to wait; again. We took the time to get to know ourselves so that we wouldn't feel awkward during the interview. I felt less nervous by then.

Finally, we were called in. The interview room was very small, there were 5 chairs arranged in a curve chape facing two lady interviewers who sat at a desk. All of us wished "selamat petang." to the interviewers. Only one of the interviewer spoke and asked questions. The other lady just sat there and checked our certificates one by one.

The first session was conducted in bahasa malaysia. "Perkenalkan diri anda. nama, pekerjaan ibu bapa, kursus yang ingin diambil dan negara mana." I remembered that a friend of mine who went to the interview a day before I did had to give reasons to why she wanted to go to the the country of her choice. eg: she wanted UK and had to give reasons to why UK and not australia. She also had to list out all her curriculur activities at school. This all depends on the interviewer.

The second session was the discussion that most people feared most. I feared the discussion too because I've always been a weak debater who would easily give up when being condemned by the opposition. However, I was lucky because my group members didn't debate on the topic but just simply discussed it. Our topic was, "Malaysia is promoting itself as a centre of education. So why are all of you applying overseas?" All of us gave ideas like better education, experience, to get exposure, better R&D etc. It was a very relaxed discussion whereby even the interviewer chipped in and added her idea as well. It was very relaxed that I didn't feel like being interviewed. I had no trouble during the discussion because I could converse well in both Bahasa Malaysia and English.

Honestly speaking, whether or not you're good in english, try to speak moderately - not too fast and not too slow. A boy who sat next to me could converse fluently in English. Unfortunately, he spoke too fast (maybe he was nervous) and ended up using some Bahasa Malaysia words and there were at one point when the interviewer herself asked the boy to repeat his sentence as it was too fast and not clear.

About 40 minutes after that, we said our thank yous and left the interview room. I asked my other group members how they felt about the interview and all of us agreed, "very relaxed." We even forgot about all the nausea and nervous breakdown we had before the interview!

So you see, JPA's interview is very easy. I think I did okay for mine but I don't know whether I will be chosen among the lucky 1000 candidates for the scholarship. If i do, i shall thank God for that. If i don't, it's not the end of the road for me.

Interview Tips

Before the interview:
-Make sure you have certified all your photocopied certificates as well as your parents' 'slip gaji', 'surat pengesahan gaji' and so forth. Make sure everything is ready at least 2 days before the interview or else you'll panic. (speaking from my own experience lol)

-JPA's interview has always been in groups. Each year the discussion is a repetition of the previous years' topics. So, you should try to prepare/practice discussing a few topics (with friends or family) that you think is relevant and will be repeated for your interview. Some topics that have been repeated for nearly 3 years:
  1. Maths and Science in English.
  2. How to show your patriotism when studying overseas?
  3. Malaysia as an education centre.
  4. Sports that excel in malaysia.
  5. Qualities needed to be a leader.
  6. Secrets of success.
  7. Discuss on anything you have read from the newspapers recently.
  8. Wawasan 2020.
  9. Modal insan.
  10. Handphones, luxury or necessity?
-Iron your clothes a day before. Seek your parents/family/friends whether the attire is formal and proper for an interview. DO NOT wear jeans and t-shirt. It is very very improper for an interview. A boy from another interview room was kicked out of his interview by the interviewer because he wore baggy jeans and t-shirt and was considered disrespecting the interview.

-Interviews are usually held for more than one day. Thus, I'm sure that you have friends who had their interviews before yours. Call them up and ask them how it went. Ask what topic they got and maybe some last minutes guidelines for you. People, don't be stingy okay? Share your JPA scholarship interview experience and I'm sure you'll be loved more by your friends.

-Mingle with other candidates while waiting for your turn. It is best if you could get to know your group members first before entering the interview room. This helps to reduce your awkwardness during the discussion.

-Pray to God that your interview will go well. It never hurts to pray, yes?

During the interview:
-Put up a smile. Although it's fake *duhh* try to smile as sincere as you can.

-Sit up straight. DO NOT slouch. DO NOT cross your legs.

-Be alert at all times. Listen to the interviewer carefully.

-Speak up. Do not let other people speak for nearly 5 times when you've only spoke once. But speak up doesn't mean you should blab all your ideas during the interview. be tolerant and give other people the chance to speak as well. DO NOT dominate the discussion. If you do, your chances of being liked by the interviewer is very very low.

After the interview:
-Some would say they did okay, some would say they did terrible. It doesn't matter how you did, what's done is done and until a time machine is created, there is no way you can re-do your interview. So don't fret. Be happy because one heavy burden is finally lifted off!

I think that's all from me. I hope that this article is useful for all of you. Good luck and all the best!
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  1. Normally, the JPA interview will last for 4 days. Mine started at 1st of april until 4th of april.

    Dress code was formal or baju kurung for girls. Boys was required to wear formal and a tie.No scandals or open-mouth shoes please!

    Each group consits of different people and different couse they want to take.Better get to know them before you enter the interview room. Be friendly to them and don't be too nervous until don't know how to speak for your own. Take a deep breath before you enter!

    During the discussion,my group didn't even discuss because the interviewers said it was easy so no need to discuss. Ended up there was a debate competition with me and a boy.Others were watching us debate only.Raise your hand beside you when you want to speak.Don't just simply speak out your comment. That's very impolite.

    Get to know social and international issues.No matter how outdated it was.It will still come out.My group's discussion title was 'US attacking Iraq.Reasons?' and my friends some even get '911' as title.Imagine the "outdated" news.

    Bring all your cert. no matter certified or not.Let them see if they requested.Make sure you put all your cert in a file and it must be neat! Don't put unnecessary things inside.You will get demerit for that!

    Anyway,good luck for those who went for the interview.the results will be release this week or next week.

  2. thanks a lot [~*pYnGx2~*] for sharing with us. :)

  3. Will the interviewers ask you about your preferred universities? I thought they, jpa people or whoever decide the U.

    In the borang pengesahan pendapatan, who should certify it? It says guru besar/pengetua sek menengah. Should it be my principal or any principal can do?

  4. Waa, thanks a mill, Nurly, for your tips. Wish me luck :)

  5. wow... a great experience for an interview..

  6. thanks 4 sharing ur expperience wif us.indeed vy useful.wish me luck..

  7. thanks for the tips,,
    i'll use it insyaallah..
    wish me luck

  8. my interview will be this wednesday. 1 april.
    feel quite worry bout it. but i try to work on it.
    hope everythin gonna be fine..
    thanks for the tips.
    wish me luck too keyh!

  9. thanks a lot for both nurly and ~*pYnGx2~*....it helps...really..but i think i gonna be very very nervous on the day ><


  10. hmmm.. talking about nervous, i think all of us feel the same way too..ghagha...
    hope i'll do the best...
    and..ya!! this article help me a lot..thanks ya!!

  11. HI.. thanks 4 d tips.. they're really helpful.. thank u so much.. i will attend my jpa piln interview this thursday, 2nd April... im very-very-VERY nervous.. This will be like, my first interview.. I hope i'll do my best and wont puke like i did on stage during 'deklamasi sajak' last year.. oh well.. wish me luck.. and i wish you guys, the other interviewee, will do your best too.. Good Luck! (^_^)

  12. hey there...even im going 4 my interview on he 1st...the post really helped a lot...hahaha...thankzzz to whoever posted it...

  13. Wow so many people are going for the interview on the 1st of April. Me too! See you guys there :)

  14. Mine on the 31st March...Wish me luck too!!^^

  15. mine's today, 2pm. how's 31st interviewees? any tips?

  16. Mine is on 3rd....Nervous also
    All da best everyone who applied 4 jpa...May god bless ya.

  17. i'll be goin to the interview tomorrow...
    i cant think straight now...
    hope everythin is gonna be fine...
    gud luck to all interviewers tomorrow..
    [oh please dont puke in front of the interviewer]

  18. thank you so much for ur tips nurly......... it helped me so much during my interview. thanks r also for those who gave me some useful tips........

  19. What are the main requirements if you wanna apply for JAP Scholarships. Is it only for students who got more than A1's in their SPM. What if I only get 3A's. Am I still qualified to apply? I believe getting a string of A's is not the reality of existence in life. But I bliv that I have potential though I don't get that much A's like my friends. Pls reply me asap at [email protected]

  20. hi [email protected]...
    heres some info frm me dat i can give to help u..mayb..
    u r asking 4 de requirements rite??!
    well,basically de criteria for lepasan spm 08,
    75% for academic performances,10% on coco,
    social-economic background also 10% whereas 5% for interview..
    so its not the Qs of getting all As will guarantee u a place in obtaining jpa schlrship or not but dats de minimum required to qualify urself in order to compete with de others..as for ur case..im really sori 4 u..perhaps u can look through de basic terms n conditions b4 applying for de scholarship..dat ll solve ur doubts i guess... plus no harm trying neway...haha..gd luck!

  21. thx 4 sharing...
    it will help us when inteview...
    it really work 4 me!!!
    thx a lot...^^

  22. who will be interview on wednesday 7th april??at kepala batas??plz let me know..n of course we can be fren

  23. anonymous..i'm on 7apr too but at ptrajaya..gd luck.my heart gonna flying as the date bcome closer(huahua)

  24. hye.. thanks 4 sharing ur experience..
    fuhh... everytimes my hands will turns ice-cold whenever I think 'bout my upcoming interview... wish all success exp myself.. :P
    2 days more~ weee~ *shivering*

  25. Can i know how JPA select candidate on PILN 2010? How many % based on academic , co-curriculum and interviews???

  26. wa... evrybody looks great..
    what if u can't speak in english fluently just like others??
    it's gonna be a really real BIG PROBLEM right??

  27. thanks for the useful tips,I have applied for JPA. and I hope I can do it using these tips as my guidelines

  28. Thanks so much for the sharing of your experience.I learnt so much from it.I hope that I can do well in my interview on the coming Wednesday.=)

  29. thanks a lot for the tips..really appreciate it..

  30. Everything is fine during the interview.... thanks

  31. Hey dude..I'm gonna go for a PILN interview for a Perdana University- RCSI medic seat. Thanks for the tips mate hope it helps me tomorrow.

  32. ▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃

    (1)Universiti Malaya(UM)
    (2)Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia(UKM)
    (3)Universiti Sains Malaysia(USM)
    (4)Universiti Teknologi Malaysia(UTM)
    (5)Universiti Putra Malaysia(UPM)

    NOTE: To be offered a place in the above top universities especially demanding courses, one needs to have at least a CGPA 3.5 to be able to better compete with others but still there is no guarantee.


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