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Sunday, December 01, 2013

How to Score MUET (Malaysian University English Test)

Written by Suzanne Ong

Panduan MUET Guide Tips
Panduan MUET
Before I get to the point of this article, you should know that Malaysian University English Test (MUET) is basically an English proficiency test which means you have to work on being good at the language altogether to actually get good results. In my own experience, I’ve come to realize that usually English speakers—as in those who speak English at home or with friends—are the ones who obtain a Band 4 or Band 5. MUET Band 6 is near impossible to obtain and the rest fall under Band 3 or less. Circumstances may vary according to the questions given, but note that having a good hold of the language should be your main focus, the questions come in later.

The first thing you need to know about English is that it’s not a memorizing subject, rather it’s more of a skill that you acquire through lots of practice. It’s like learning Math or taking up a new instrument, you cannot be good at it right away; you need to practice before getting it right, unless if you’re naturally gifted which I think most of us aren’t.

1. MUET Writing
If you’re the type of person who thinks that reading the dictionary could help hone your English, then that’s where you’ve got it wrong. Read these 2 sentences:

  • I am not mind you nitpicking of my grammar mistakes.
  • I wouldn’t mind if you nitpicked on my grammar mistakes. 

See, even if you understand a bombastic word and fairly know how to use it, it still doesn’t equate into having a good grasp of English if your grammar is all over the place. Grammar always comes first and once you’ve mastered that, then you could go ahead and memorize all those fancy schmancy words to make yourself look smarter. Simple grammar rules like tenses and when to put an S after a word and when not to, all those require practice. I suggest you pick up an exercise workbook on grammar and practice on it, but don’t stop there. You will also need to start reading more English materials, any English materials really, as long as they’re grammatically correct. The main thing is to read how the article is written as opposed to what it is written. The more you take notice on how they write, you’ll slowly get used to the grammar being used.

You cannot just read without writing though, because like I said, English is a skill and you need to practice. Therefore, you should always write and have someone with better English to have a look at it and tell you where you went wrong. Only then you could really improve on your Writing. It takes time, so be patient.

2. MUET Speaking
When you converse in English, sometimes it’s different from written English, because written form could be a little formal sometimes. To improve on Speaking, you have to watch more English shows, be it dramas or movies, it really doesn’t matter as long as it captures your attention. Having subtitles in your preferred language would be good as it gives you a better understanding as to what the show is talking about. Similar to what I’ve mentioned earlier, you should notice the words people use when they speak, more so than what they’re actually saying. After a while, you would notice a similar pattern from the way they talk and it’s totally different from the way we speak our “rojak” English here in Malaysia. Obviously you shouldn’t use words like lah, mah, wah, ah, etc in your Speaking.

If you don’t usually speak English with your friends, pick out one friend that is good at English and ask him to speak the language with you. It would be awkward at first for the both of you, but if you’re determined and if your friend is really willing to help, you will get through the awkwardness and after a while you could really see the improvement. My friend did that and at first she couldn’t really speak a proper sentence, but she wasn’t embarrassed to ask and learn even if she might’ve embarrassed herself through the process. She worked hard and after a few months, she really did improve compared to the first time she started speaking English.

3. MUET Reading
Even though it is a multiple choice paper, Reading is tough regardless. If you’ve tried out questions from exercise books and past year MUET papers, then you would have noticed the difference between the two. For Reading, I suggest you try out lots of different exercises—the tougher the better—and try to learn from your mistakes. See where you’ve analyzed wrongly and learn from that.

For the first ever Reading paper I did, I think I got less than half correct because I was looking at the questions the wrong way. After learning my mistake, I’ve improved to getting more than half correct almost every time. Of course you need to read more to familiarize yourself with the type of formal writing (from my experience, they mostly give data questions so most of them are written formally) as it is different from informal or narrative writing, which I find easier to understand.

4. MUET Listening
Listening to me, I find to be the easiest among all 4 papers, though I think those who aren’t familiar with English would find it to be a challenge. Watching movies or TV shows could help in Listening too (and not just for Speaking), so does listening to the radio or watching videos online that is English. You need to train your ear to differentiate certain words that might sound similar to the other, like soap and soup, hard work and hardwood. You have to pay close attention to the whole sentence rather than just that word that you think might be the answer. I think the only way to differentiate words is to know what the person is talking about and if it makes sense.

The audio can be a jerk sometimes (which happened to me during my actual exams) so you really have to train yourself to listen carefully. They play the audio twice so what I normally do is to write down the answer with a pencil first, sometimes I even write down 2 or 3 answers when I’m not sure, then when they play it the second time, I write it down with my pen.

Another thing I think you should know about MUET is that the questions sometimes test your general knowledge. Not like what is currently happening in the news, more like stuff about One Malaysia, One Sport, the education blueprint, things like that. So getting a high band sometimes depends on luck too.

I guess that’s about it. Remember it takes a lot of time, patience and hard work to get it right. People who speak English at home have an advantage because they read, watch and listen to English stuff all the time, so if you’re not one of them then you’ll have to put in extra work compared to them. Even after your MUET exams are over, don’t stop improving your English, it would give you a better chance of getting a job in the future. Oh and if you’re interested in reading about my MUET experience, you can check out my blog. There’s stuff about my form 6 life there too if you are interested in reading :)

Alright, all the best!

Written by Suzanne Ong, an aspiring writer who had just finished STPM and is in the midst of pursuing her dream of becoming an author. She blogs about random daily things that people don’t voice out at http://xsuzannex.wordpress.com and writes fiction at http://www.wattpad.com/user/raind33r.


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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why I Regret Getting Straight A1 in SPM

Akira Wong
Akira Wong is currently a student majoring in Molecular Genetics in University of Rochester. While working on opening a bubble tea store together with his friend in Rochester, he also takes random photos and writes in akirastory.com. He welcomes all kinds of inquiries related to education, personal growth or business opportunities at [email protected]


Why I regret getting Straight A1 in SPM

Written by Akira Wong, first published on his personal blog

I nearly killed myself in high school for getting a straight A1 in high school. I nearly committed suicide just because of the stress and conflicts I had to go through to secure 16 A1 in SPM. Yeah, I got myself a 16A1 recognition. I was awarded a scholarship from JPA, and is currently studying in Intec and is going to further my study in US. However, it is because of this education experience and the people who I meet around in Intec that I gradually opened my eyes and have a clearer view on what I truly lost throughout the struggle to acquire straight 16A1 in SPM.

1. I lost friends and family

In the end you will find that friends and family are things that you can’t replaced with money and fame. The high school memories you spent with your family and friends are valuable cause these are memories that you created when you were still a teen, and you will never ever had a second chance to be a teen again. Much of my high school time were spent in studying and tuition. In the end, when I graduated from my high school, or even my current college, I was wondering: where are my memories?

2. Lack of sleep.

This is really true. When people keep looking at you shining glamorous as the “16A1″, you yourself know the best that it was paid with real hard works. Unless you are a genius, a good result has to be achieved through hard work; it’s the absolute. During the SPM I had a serious sleep deprivation and I forced myself to revise my works starting from 3 a.m. I have an average 3 hours of tuition per day, and subtracting my school time which is 7 hours per day, I had only 14 hours to do all my other things. Homework is directly proportional to the number of subjects that you took, so does the time you need to spend for revision. With the extra curricular activities coming into the schedule, my average sleeping time per day is 3-5 hours.

3. When A1 becomes just the average.

You will have no idea how easy it is to achieve A1 in SPM. One of my friends who almost did not study his Sejarah yet can still get an A2 in his SPM. The number of students having straight A1 is overflowing throughout the Malaysia, and you might be thinking just like me: having more A1 will make you stand out among your peers more. I can tell you the truth that, YES, but TEMPORARILY. When you go to college you will find out that there are more students who are BETTER than you even if their SPM has a Fail in Moral or C in Bahasa or D in Physics. They are very specialized in subjects that they truly love. They are very passionate in their own interested subject. Only when you are in the college, you will realize that, despite all the large numbers of A1 that you have in your hand, you are just AVERAGE.

4. Mediocre talents.

High school is supposed to be a place where you can try out new things in your life, discover what you are loving or passionate in, and nurture these discovered traits. It is a protected area where you are allowed to explore, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. It is the foundation for you to start discovering who you are and what you are good at. When I am at college, A LOT of my friends have their own talents. They play musical instruments; they take stunning pictures, they are good at socializing, things that you can’t learn if you are just confining yourself surrounded with books and books in your own room.

5. You forgot what you have learnt

I can’t denied that it is a good way for me to expose to things that I might not have chance to study, for instance economic and commerce study. It is a really great experience to learn things beyond your stream. But when I am in college I forgot almost most of the things that I have learnt in high school. If you calculate it you find that it isn’t really a good deal compared to what you had lost. The reason is that SPM is so examination-based that you, in spite of how passionate you are in your subject, will subconsciously study for the exam. With this attitude you tend to forget what you have learnt the moment the exam is over. I am still passionate in business study, but how many OSKIC you can join when you need to focus on 16 subjects and promise to your teachers that you can get them all A1?

6. All and all, nobody really cares.

Wake up! Nobody cares how many A1 you will have in your certs. JPA or Bank Nengara or Petronas might have a glimpse on it, but in the end, nobody will be amazed by your certs. Ask your future boss and he won’t really care a shit about it. It will be a past. In the end it is what who you are that shines to the others: your characters, your personality, your experience! A1 is not worth the price if you lost all these.

But wait! I need straight A1 to get scholarship!

It could be true. Some families are in dire needs to have a scholarship to provide their children a tertiary education. But trust me, JPA is not the only way to have the scholarship. Opportunities are everywhere. If you have the character, the personality, the experience and the courage to try things out and explore the possibilities that you can have beyond JPA and SPM, you will realize that, you can still success without a scholarship. I know friends who can get admitted to top university in US without a JPA scholarship (cause he doesn’t have straight A1 in his SPM).

So now, what should I do?

Nothing is too late. As for me, I realized this very truth when I am exposed to more people around me. I began to pick up interests and nurture them. I became more extrovert and socialize more when I am in college. I am not afraid to try things new, even if it means things that are embarrassing. I read more as compared to my high school time. I am not saying that study is not important; I am just saying that knowing that what you really want in your life and who you are eventually is so much more important than just the numbers of A1 in your certs. (now they are having A+ instead of A1, but it’s still the same principle). Look further, my friends. My result is truly average now, but hey! The points and prides in my resume have tripled.

Reply: “Why I regret getting straight A1s in my SPM”

Written by Akira Wong, first published on his personal blog

First of all, I would like to thank all of you who had read, commented, and shared my blog. When I first wrote this blog post I had no intention to brag about my success in getting straight A1s, nor do I have the intention to brag about my scholarship. I apologize for my inconsiderate writing if it disturbs you. That article was purely one of my reflective essay on my life when I came across an American student’s blog on why he regrets getting a 4.0 in his college. I was very touched by his writing and I can sincerely “feel” him, I guessed. It had been 2 years since my SPM result were released when I wrote that article. I had changed; I am relatively a little bit more mature than I used to be when I was in high school.

I am glad that my story can somehow be an inspirational story to a few of my peers or youngsters whom I had never met before in my life. It demonstrates that in spite of how many As I can get in my high school (or how glory the media had portrayed me), I am still a very normal person. I have emotion (as a teen). I can be weak at sometimes. I can’t write well in English. I am socially awkward at times. I quarreled with my friends. I commented things I shouldn’t comment on Facebook or twitter. Yes, I was labelled as a hardworking and smart student, yet I still need to undergo hardship and struggles. I admitted that I failed before, and I do fail one of my test for my current semester now, and in the future I believe I will fail in certain things in my life as well.

To my seniors and people in the working force, I admitted that I fall short in my lifetime experiences as compared to the experiences you guys had. I had never been with a working team before officially. I don’t have a PhD or Master. There are a lot of things that I still need to learn and get things right in my life. I am still 20 but I am willing to learn humbly. The comment bar was not activated initially but I took the initiative to activate it because I want to listen to your opinions as well. Constructive one, of course.

Of course, there is no point crying over spilled milk. At certain point I do feel regret. I regret why I couldn’t stay closer to my grandmother before she died all of a sudden in a pharmacy shop. I regret why I couldn’t just take a little bit more courage to say “i love you” to the girl that I really like before. I regret why I couldn’t spend a little more effort in continuing my piano. I regret why I made my mom cried… … the list goes on. What has happened, had happened. All I can do now is learn from it and move on.

Different people have different voices and opinions. I respect every one of it. But, in the end, this is still my life, my story. I am the ultimate author responsible for my own life. Put it in a very casual way of blogging, “if my life sucks eventually, I am the only one to be blamed of”.

& thanks again for the encouragements and supports you guys have sent over to my Facebook account and email. I am still in the “shocked” mode as my casual blog can actually become a sharing trend in Malaysia in 2 days… … All the best and good luck to all new SPM freshies out of high school in your future endeavor.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

SPM Tips & SPM 2013 Trial Papers Collection (Koleksi Kertas Soalan Peperiksaan Percubaan SPM)

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SPM 2013 Countdown to SPM Date (Tarikh SPM 2013)



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Exclusive 2013 SPM Tips

2013 SPM Trial Exam Papers, Question Forecast, Notes, Tips (Soalan Peperiksaan Percubaan SPM 2013, Tip, Soalan Ramalan, Nota)

Negeri Sembilan
English [Question, Answer]
Mathematics [Question, Answer]
History [Question, Answer]
Biology [Question, Answer]
Basic Economy [Question, Answer]
Islamic Education [K1, K2, Skema]
Chinese Language [Question, Answer]
Moral Education [Question, Answer]

Sekolah Berasrama Penuh (SBP)
Bahasa Inggeris [K1 K2, K1, K2, Skema: K1 K2, K1, K2]
Matematik [K1, K2, Skema: K1, K2]
Sejarah [K1, K2, K3, Skema: K1, K2]
Biologi [K1, K2, K3, Skema Pemarkahan: K1, K2, K3]
Prinsip Perakaunan [K1, K2, Skema]
Pendidikan Islam [K1, K2, Skema: K1]

Terengganu
Bahasa Inggeris [Question, Answer]
Matematik [Question, Answer, K1, K2]
Sejarah [Question, Answer]
Biologi [Question, Answer]
Pendidikan Islam [Question, Answer]

Kedah
Bahasa Inggeris [K1, K2, Skema: K1, K2]
Matematik [K1, K2, Skema: K1, K2]
Biologi [K1, K2, K3, Skema Pemarkahan: K1, K2, K3]
Prinsip Perakaunan [K1, K2, Skema: K1, K2] [K1 Modul A, K1 Modul B, K2 Modul A, K2 Modul B, Skema: K1 Modul A, K1 Modul B, K2 Modul A, K2 Modul B]
Pendidikan Islam [K1, K2, Skema: K1, K2]
Bahasa Cina [P1, P2, Answer Schema]

Pulau Pinang
Sejarah [K3, Skema: K3]
Bahasa Cina [P1, P2, Answer Schema], Modul Latihan Berfokus

Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (MRSM)
Prinsip Perakaunan [K1, K2, Skema]

Pahang
Bahasa Inggeris [K1, Skema: K1, K2]

Kelantan
Bahasa Inggeris [Question, Answer]
SPM 2013 Tips and Trial Papers


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Sunday, August 04, 2013

Behind-The-Scenes: Education and Academics

Posted by Celine Wan

Name-dropping the University I would be attending by the end of this year would somehow attract attention from a lot of people. Further adding the fact that I would be sponsored under a prestigious scholarship programme adds to the excessive attention. I would deny that I dislike attention because ego stroking by others do give me a sense of self-affirmation. However, I must stress the point that the general public’s approval or disapproval should not be the sole determinant of your self worth. After all, the superficial claim that I am a perfectionist is far beyond the truth, as the saying goes:
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.” —Steve Furtick.
Speaking of attention, popularity, perfection, education, name branding and whatnot, I would like to divert the attention of this blog entry towards this question first:

Why do we educate?

Some would say it is to improve the standard of living in our society. Some would also say it is a form of embracing our human intelligence, while others would say to create a meaningful impact in humankind, no matter how small the value of contribution.

My initial motivation for education—or, rather, academy— was a very hypocritical one—respect.
Celine Wan


“Hey, I think we shouldn’t hang out as often anymore. Sometimes, sticking with you is just a social embarrassment.”

“You’re not like her, you’re uglier, dumber, and sometimes too awkward to be around with.”

“Is she retarded? Why doesn’t she speak?”

I’m sure most of you have been victims of bully, comparison, and discrimination too. No matter how frivolous it was for the speaker to straightforwardly mention this to me, those cutthroat words were incisively hurtful nevertheless. Maybe it’s because I’m naturally sensitive so those words carried on in my mind up till today. In hindsight it definitely shaped me to be a person I have become at present.

Growing up from a harsh learning environment, I have somehow rebelled academics. At the mere age of 4, I was punished for not completing my homework. The various ways of punishment in kindergarten would appal many so I would not disclose the vivid details. Besides, that hell of a school no longer exists.

My constant rebel for being a responsible student led me to attend “special attention classes” for people who can’t read nor write in primary school. That was all right to me, since my nonchalant attitude carried on till lower to mid secondary school.

People during their teenage years do become more self-conscious of their public image. For my own reputation, I found an avenue to be “respected” through studies. The bullying and dismissal attitude towards me do eventually stop, not so because we have grown out of the teasing phase, but rather because I perceive that I’m an “asset” to be “friends with,” or that I finally have “added value in the student community.” As cynical as I was, I studied for the sake of my social worth, be it for the typical family honour reasoning or recognition by my own right.

Through time, however, with countless of failures while experiencing the nadirs of life (as of now anyway, I’m pretty young), I was open to the greatest change. There was a paradigm shift in my approach of learning, and how ashamed I was to create a limitation for myself in knowledge. My gap years have definitely opened my eyes beyond such self-imposed, hypothetical boundaries (if they were already opened, then my eyes are much wider now haha) and the greatest lesson learnt was:

The act of acquiring knowledge is usually behind closed doors. If you’re genuinely interested in learning for the sake of learning, then it’s quite likely that you wouldn’t be bothered to be aware if people do acknowledge that you know what you know, or recognise that you’re good in what you’re good at. As they say, still waters run deep.

The joy of experiencing such enlightenment in various fields such as history, politics, philosophy, religion, economics, sciences, etc or even other types of skills such as IT knowledge, or even art, knows no bounds. Through time I have also discovered the side perks of being distinct from the next “nerd-next-door.” Maybe that has gotten me to where I am, though I do acknowledge that I wouldn’t have gone past such phase without the very selfish intention to start with, with humbling lessons to learn later on. Now that happiness, contentment, confidence, and even what I initially seek for (admiration and respect) do eventually follow, well, I’m surprised that they’re now all secondary to me.

Thought of the day: "Happiness Is like a Butterfly; the More You Chase It, the More It Will Elude You, but If You Turn Your Attention to other Things, It Will Come and Sit Softly on Your Shoulder..."


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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Public Service Department (PSD) JPA Scholarships (Biasiswa Program Ijazah Dalam Negara, PIDN)

Written by Lau Zhe Wei - Submit your essay and get featured here
Public Service Department (PSD) JPA Scholarships (Biasiswa Program Ijazah Dalam Negara, PIDN)


A few more months, students are going to enter public universities in Malaysia. A lot of us definitely have heard about PTPTN loan especially after the havoc about the loan through students’ demonstrations. How about JPA Scholarship? It is one of the advantages for public universities students. The JPA scholarship which is called Biasiswa Program Ijazah Dalam Negara (PIDN) is offered to only public universities plus Multimedia University (MMU), Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN). The applicants should apply for it as soon as they get the official letter for university’s placement.

How and when to apply for the PIDN scholarship? Immediately after receiving the university admission letter, be alert on the JPA website. They will publish the details there. Due to the short period of time between the day candidates receive university admission letter and university registration day, future undergraduates should surf their website more often. This is quite tedious. So, what we usually do is gather a group of friends who are interested in the scholarship, then share it out whenever any of you get to know anything about that. Basically, networking and information-efficiency is crucial here. I bet you can open a group in social networking to make it more systematic. Another way is through main stream newspapers, namely Malay medium newspaper such as Berita Harian and Utusan. The most important thing is; DON’T DO IT LAST MINUTE. You will have lots of things to fill-in in the official website, print it out and mail it (unless they change the format of submission this year).

I was the scholarship holder when I was doing my Bachelor degree. I would say I was a bit lucky. At my first attempt, I failed to secure the scholarship. Immediately, I did an appeal on that. They prepared a website for us to do so. Few weeks later, I managed to get an offer from JPA. To say that the lucky angel is with me is because my batch is the first batch to get increment for the scholarship value. Previously, the amount that a JPA scholar received is not the huge different compared to PTPTN borrowers. PTPTN loan worth about RM21, 000 while JPA scholarship holders receive about RM30, 000 (exact amount for PTPTN and JPA depend on the course as well. The amount here is for my course; Political Science. Exact amount can get it from JPA website or wait for the offer letter for the latest rate.). It is definitely more than enough for you to spend. If you are the kind of money-saving or stingy kind of person, you will be rich at the end of your study. If you are the kind of heavy spending person, don’t worry, your university life can also be luxury and enjoyable with that scholarship.
Biasiswa Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) Malaysia

One big question that is commonly asked by new students; do I need to work for the government? The answer is definitely yes. The number of years of bonds is depends on your course and the value of scholarship you received. The bond that I need to serve is four years. It is not a long period though compared to the thirty thousand you are going to receive from the government. Anyhow, I am released from the bond now because SPA (Public Service Commission) failed to provide me with a job. That is why I am released from the bond after one year from my completion of study.

Even if you are offered a job by SPA, it is not a bad idea as well. The starting pay for a fresh graduate for public service is pretty high, the worst for a Bachelor degree holder is about RM2, 500 considering that your degree is without the “Honours” title and you are living in Category C area (you will receive RM150 as Cost of Living Allowance compare to those who are living in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru etc, they will receive RM 300). Considering your degree is with “Honours” title; you are living in Category A area, you can earn about RM 2,900 or even more for a higher-ranked position.

So, what are you waiting for? JPA scholarship is definitely a good choice for those who are going to study in public university. Act fast and apply for it. Previously, you need to get 4 Bs for your STPM in order to eligible to apply, but heard that they have slightly risen up the eligibility. Anyhow, give it a try and you will never regret for that.

Even though this writing focuses mainly on JPA scholarship, I would like to share out some general ideas of other scholarships as well. One of the most prestigious government scholarships will be Yayasan Tunku Abdul Rahman (YTAR) scholarship. Besides, MARA and certain states governments do also offer scholarships and loans. Not limited to governmental scholarships, students can also try out private or corporation scholarships as well. Try to search out for institution that is related to your course of studies. For example, if you are doing finance, economic, actuarial science etc, you can look for Bank Negara or any other banks scholarship. If you are pursuing computer science, perhaps you can try out Intel, Dell etc.

Still the same advice for all future undergraduates; it is impossible for a single person to know everything. Gather a group of friends and share out that information. By doing so, only then you can get more and more information.
Lau Zhe Wei Lau Zhe Wei
Lau Zhe Wei
I have graduated with Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) Political Science (Distinction) from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Last year, I have completed my master studies in the same field, same university as well. I wish to further my studies in ethnicity in an oversea university, preferably in UK, but must be accompanied by a scholarship. I don’t think I can afford it on my own. Pray for me...


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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Simple Guide #1: Enter a UK University

Posted by Celine Wan

Introduction

This post is dedicated to SPM/O level leavers/Pre U students who were ignorant of their future like I was. I know how it feels like to be completely lost with the endless of possibilities, and sometimes, the plethora of information on the internet would seem too mind boggling that you don’t know where to start. In an effort to summarise and condense the essential information that you need to know, I have written a very simplified step-by-step-guide for the absolute beginners out there. All in all, it’s not as confusing as it seems!

Disclaimer:

All opinions are my own. I am not omniscient so do your own research! Remember, this is a GENERAL guideline based on my own experience and knowledge.

This post assumes that the applicant is not going to the UK via a twinning programme.

Financial Aid

Unlike USA Universities (or any other countries), the UK Universities do not really provide full financial aid to international students. You can get at most bursary or grants from specific universities; hence they’re just partial financial assistance. However, this should not deter you from giving a shot because UK is a very popular destination among Malaysian students. Most if not all of Malaysian scholarship providers would allow or even recommend their scholars to study in the UK. Fun fact: majority of overseas scholars go to the UK

Typically, you have two chances to apply for a scholarship to the UK. The first chance would be via your SPM qualification while the second chance would be via your Pre U qualification. You have to apply to the UK Universities on your own. Get your offer(s), and make your claim, you need to have a clear direction on what you want, the sponsors don’t do anything for you but provide you money. Sponsors usually have a list of “approved/recommended” universities based on subject so I suggest you use rankings for reference.
University of Cambridge
Application Procedure

Pre University → UK University

1. Pre University

a. A common qualification held by applicants would be the A levels. There are different types of A levels (namely set by CIE or OCR) depending on the college you are going to. Don’t worry too much on which is the “best A levels” because there’s not much difference. If you’re really set on going to the UK, this is the most convenient qualification to hold. Do note that you can apply to the UK with local qualifications too, with the STPM qualification as the more common route. Other types of qualifications are allowed too, but there may be more administrative work to be done so it’s more tedious that way.

2. UCAS: http://www.ucas.ac.uk

a. UCAS is a universal application portal for UK universities. Pre University colleges with a high record of students studying in the UK upon graduation would often have a good step-by-step guide to assist you. You can ask MABECs as well (http://www.mabecs.com). MABECs would often assist you via the Pre U College anyway, so fret not. Just ask your school counsellor who may or may not be helpful.

b. If you’re interested to apply to the “OxBridge,” you’ll need more than the UCAS. OxBridge = Oxford University + Cambridge University. You cannot apply to both. Apply to either one only

c. UCAS is limited to 5 university options for you to choose. Choose wisely. If you’re planning to study medicine, you can only choose 4 options

d. UCAS is relatively simple to apply: enter your biography details; write a personal statement, voila! There are other behind-the-scenes works going on as well, such as your lecturer making a letter of recommendation for you. You should give the Pre U College your high school’s testimonials and such. If your Pre U College is experienced in UK university applications, it is quite likely that they’ll ask them from you. Hence it is recommended but not necessary for you to enter a good Pre U college.

3. English Qualification: IELTS

a. You have to independently sign up for the test on your own. O level students often don’t have to take this exam but I would highly recommend you to do so. It’s not that difficult and it won’t take that much time. Decent bands would be from band 7, and above band 8 is considerably good. People often worry about this but to me, your A Levels results is the most important. This English test is to see if you are able to cope with the work in an English University—that is all.

4. Timeline

a. Main intake: September every year

b. Main time to apply: by September if you’re applying for medicine or Oxbridge. By October would be recommended for everyone else

c. Main time for interviews: Depends on university (sometimes October, sometimes March)

d. University Replies: Depends on university and course. Extremely hard to tell. For Oxbridge it’s always Early January. Deadline for every university to reply you is 31st March. No interviews would be quite early (reply by November), if you have tests and interviews then usually by March. UCAS will notify you once you have a reply

e. Once you have all your university replies, reply them by end of June. Get your A levels results typically by August, and you’re ready to go by September.

5. Offers

a. Once you receive your offers, you can only choose one university as a “firm” and another university as ”insurance.” Offers would have Pre U “examination conditions”. Unlike other countries, your offers are thus typically conditional. So DO WELL IN YOUR EXAMS OR YOU WILL STILL GET REJECTED. All conditions are often tailored to the specific individual, though there are typical offers given depending on course and university

b. If you don’t have any offers, there’s a system called UCAS clearing for other Universities to accept you
University of Oxford
Miscellaneous

1. Interviews

a. Some Universities would ask you to attend an interview, be it via Skype; you going to the UK; or a representative coming down from the UK. Most interviews are academic in nature, unlike other Universities, jobs, or scholarships interviews. Read up on your personal statement because they might ask an academic related question based on that. The likeliness of that to happen is rather low but no harm done

b. OxBridge interviews are infamously notorious. Still, you don’t have to know everything when going for the interview, because it’s more of a learning setting than an “interview.” Can I call it a test-and-learn-on-the-spot session? Because it’s not a typical interview for sure. It’s kind of difficult to know what to prepare so mental preparations on what to expect are best. Here is a great website I found: http://www.emma.cam.ac.uk/admissions/videos/interviews/

2. Additional tests

a. Depending on your course (typically for law, mathematics, and medicine) and university (usually for Imperial, Oxbridge, etc). Most serve as an aptitude test. If you want examples, look below

b. Example Courses: Law (LNAT), Medicine (BMAT, UKCAT), Mathematics (STEP)

c. Different courses have different styles. Get a list of their entry requirements from MABECs: www.mabecs.com

That is all I can think of for now. Cheers!


► Read more on Simple Guide #1: Enter a UK University

Monday, June 03, 2013

Manual Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS) Kerja Kursus (Kerja Projek) STPM

Masukkan emel anda ke dalam borang di bawah untuk mendapat Manual Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS) Kerja Kursus (Kerja Projek) Peperiksaan Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) 2013.

Enter your email address to the form above to join 15,000+ students in Malaysia who get all the latest STPM 2013 tips and trial papers from different states in Malaysia, tips on pre-university education and education news via email. Get STPM 2013 forecast questions (soalan ramalan STPM ), STPM past year question papers (kertas soalan tahun lepas STPM ) and STPM notes (nota STPM )! Join our email subscription list now!

A reader emailed us the materials below to share with other students. Feel free to email us if you would like to share your research work. Sharing is caring!

PEPERIKSAAN SIJIL TINGGI PERSEKOLAHAN MALAYSIA (MALAYSIA HIGHER SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION) Manual Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS) Kerja Kursus (Kerja Projek)



Manual PBS STPM Bahasa Melayu Kertas 5 (910/5) Penggal 3 Tahun 2013

Manual PBS STPM Kerja Kursus (Kerja Projek) Bahasa Melayu (BM)

Peta Minda - Nota Morfologi

Beberapa Konsep Dalam Morfologi

Manual PBS STPM Usuluddin Kertas 4 (931/4) Penggal 3 Tahun 2013

Manual PBS STPM Kerja Kursus (Kerja Projek) Usuluddin

Manual PBS STPM Geografi Kertas 4 (942/4) Penggal 3 Tahun 2013

Manual PBS STPM Kerja Kursus (Kajian Luar) Geografi

Manual PBS STPM Ekonomi Kertas 4 (944/4) Penggal 3 Tahun 2013

Manual PBS STPM Kerja Kursus (Kerja Projek) Ekonomi

Manual PBS STPM Pengajian Perniagaan Kertas 4 (946/4) Penggal 3 Tahun 2013

Manual PBS STPM Kerja Kursus Pengajian Perniagaan



► Read more on Manual Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS) Kerja Kursus (Kerja Projek) STPM

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gap Year Experience Sharing: Mind The GAPS

Posted by Celine Wan

A gap year is when a student takes a year off between his or her college years and university years. Yes. There are Malaysians out there who do take gap years. As for me, it’s not just one, but two. This personal recount was written with the intention of debunking the Malaysian and Asian myth that the possibility of gap years should be absolutely dismissed.

Gap Period: June 2011 – September 2013 (+2 gap years)

Education History:

  • Pre University College: CIE A Levels
    • Taylor’s College Subang Jaya
  • University: Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences
    • University of Cambridge (starting October 2013)

Why Gap Year?

I was lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I used to consider medicine but it wasn’t feasible: family wasn’t supportive of the decision and I had no financial support (local university inclusive). I didn’t know where I wanted to go and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. The situation was exacerbated when counselors weren’t very helpful and I had no proper guidance from anyone regarding my future. I kept dragging this inevitable question and before I know it, I’ve already graduated from A levels and my peers were off to University (mostly in overseas ones).

If it is not happy it is not the end

Life Story: 2011-2012

After 1.5 years of taking a gap year(s), never have I felt more enlightened, matured, and grateful from this bittersweet 2012. In retrospect, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I were to just settle with the easiest option.


Snippets of my gap: In Korea

So it was August 2011. That marked the absolute end of my Pre U life. I started reflecting on myself: as far as I can remember, the whole of 2011 was a blur with series of confusions. I was taking my A levels then and by the time I’ve decided on Chemical Engineering, most of the University applications were already closed, and I was left with just a few options that wasn’t even what I wanted. Timelines weren’t clear to me and when it comes to university placements, everything was a huge blur. There was a sense of dissatisfaction inside of me, because I was apparently limited if I were to depend on my family’s income to support my tertiary studies (I come from a large family and I would be the first child to pursue a degree. Heck, I’m the first Science student). Then I realized I was severely limited again when I considered the date—I’ve already graduated and term was about to begin! I cannot blame myself because everyone matures and settles on a specific path at different times.

Naming specific schools wouldn’t be a very nice thing to do here so let’s just say I had a clear decision for some time—double degree in chemical engineering and economics. For the University, I quickly resorted to the first choice offered to me. Why did I opt for that? I really just wanted to get out of this tertiary education web-tangle. It was a difficult thing to understand and timelines were nothing but a big blur. By September I became miserable and I realized how lonely I felt in this entire sticky situation. Farewells were rampant and I began to miss all my friends. At around this point was when I had decided to take a leap of faith to apply to the UK (aside from Singapore). If I am able to obtain an offer with external funding— good for me! But if not, then well at least I’ve tried and I could do some other things before starting University. Whatever the reason I knew it wouldn’t be a waste of time though I occasionally felt very much lost.


Snippets of my gap: Free tickets to London

Coming back to the situation: I talked about my problem to some people. Many have encouraged me to apply to the UK and the US. Perhaps I have “nothing” to lose if I do not take emotional investment into account. If all goes well, I might be able to have external funding. So at that point of time, it was less than a week (five days to be more specific) till the Cambridge University application deadline. Never have I imagined myself applying to places like that—perhaps I have underestimated myself. Then again I felt kind of ashamed by my lack of inspiration back in school and it was only during my Pre U did I realize what an “Olympiad” is (NOT to be confused with Olympics!). With so many students with non-human abilities, who am I to stand a chance against them? Then this article about a Cambridge student who recently passed away came out; the inspirations I have from it was when I shoved pessimism and prudency aside and just try my best without thinking of the outcome.

Although my decision to apply to such overseas institutions was kind of late even for the 2012 entry, I was very determined. I started my UCAS from scratch and the five days felt like hell. Alongside my UK application was my US one. This was when I was introduced to the SAT and the world of US Apps. I took the SAT subject test in October; SAT 1 in November; and a retake of the SAT 1 in December. The rest of my time was filled with essays and going back to high school and college for teacher recommendations. I was kind of embarrassed every time I went back to college and high school since my teachers were expecting me to be in University or something—but like I said I shove every emotional distraction aside, so that includes ego. Christmas and New Year was essentially non-existent.

Then came the pleasant surprise—I’ve received an unconditional offer from Cambridge. The downside? It is a DEFERRED OFFER! What? Another gap year! I’ve been offered a place in a mature college in Cambridge so there is nothing much I can do. Elation overrides the feeling of taking another gap year anyway! I should rewind a bit before I continue: I’m a history freak. I love European History. I’m also very much guilty of being an anglophile. In fact one of my hobbies is to write about historical stuff (see here: theirhistory.blogspot.com) so it was no wonder that Cambridge turned out to be my dream school no matter the rest of the university outcomes.

Despite the shocking euphoria that caused my insomnia and temporary numbness on my fingers and head, it was already made clear that it doesn’t guarantee my journey to Cambridge—I needed funding. Although I was more confident in myself, the possibility that I had to turn down my dream offer feels so daunting. In fact, my worries came to its full-exaggerated glory when I am reminded that this is a deferred offer: would anyone be willing to sponsor me? With such a problem, am I supposed to wait till it's 2013 to apply? But wouldn't that be a huge risk? Am I supposed to go to other Universities should I receive a scholarship offer? My mind was brimming with such questions and really at that point of time, all I hoped for was this gap year.


Snippets of my gap: society events in Bali

Lo and behold! My dream came true! Reality still feels like a dream sometimes and I feel grateful everyday. Of course I’ve left the details of the strenuous scholarship applications out. In fact it was online forums that helped me all the way and for that, I am thankful and have decided to contribute back whenever I have the time to spare. Some other things I did during my gap year was to travel; be active in society and community work; learning miscellaneous stuffs; doing miscellaneous stuffs; get out of the comfort zone and to socialize; get an internship job; and the list goes on! It is a common misconception that people would be doing absolutely nothing during their gap year because I’ve never felt more busy; pensive; outgoing; changed; challenged; matured; free from responsibilities; happy and grateful in any 1.5-year period in my life!

I still have another 9 to 10 more months to go before I head off to university. So that’s approximately a brand new gap year anyway. I hope I’ve inspired the young Malaysians out there-- especially the ones currently on a gap year-- to dare to dream and not take other peoples’ judgements too seriously. Of course there is hope! Not to mention the consideration of taking a “gap year” which is a term very alien to us Asians. Venturing into the unknown makes you stronger, with lots of self-discoveries along the way.

And my two cents: please try to plan for your future earlier. This is a personal regret of mines.

Take Aways

I’ve come a long way where maturity, courage, patience, and humility are concerned. I concede that a gap year is not an entirely comfortable feeling and many times have I felt melancholic whenever I notice that my peers and even my juniors have become my seniors. Sure we all get excited because we don’t know what’s up ahead and what they’re experiencing right now. Sure it kind of sucks to know all your friends have left once again for their second year and you are left here wondering for two years now on what it’s like to be like them having gone through the conventional method; you only have one life after all. I guess that’s the setback most people fear when it comes to taking a gap year; you’re the hipster and eccentric one. But think back and question yourself if it matters if you graduate 2 years later than your previous peers in 10 years time-- I bet people wouldn't even notice. Is 2 years even significant for something as meaningless as age? Age is but a number and would eventually lose its significance over time. You're still going through the same life processes and it's a misconception that the 2 years would be left idle or fruitless. More importantly, your time spent in university would eventually be the same once you graduate and you're not learning lesser than anyone else. Instead of blunders, you would be more mentally prepared and matured as you start your university years. So stop comparing yourself with others because they’ll probably change their minds once they graduate, and many people can attest to this! In a personal front, I know that one thing is for sure—I’ve never regretted this 1.5 gap years to the point of being grateful for having gone through it. Sides, people have often mistaken my age in a good way!

So that’s for the cons—the insecurity. Now the perks of having a gap year override the cons if you can appreciate and fully utilize your free time. Whenever people start to wonder how do I even have so much of time to put so much of thought into a particular topic, I would always have to remind them that I am on a gap year so it’s not surprising that I muse or know that much.

Next, your time is in your hands and you have full control over it. There will be no other period in your life where you have the luxury to do so, save for your retirement days. However this is definitely the time to embrace your youth. My first gap year was spent on university and scholarship applications so this second one is essentially the “live life to the fullest” sort. Yes I do study, work, muse, write, and read up a lot to improve myself but that’s supposed to be secondary in your gap year. If you want to know my totally hipster side I actually tried hiking! That would be very shocking if you realize I’m naturally the knitting and cat-loving sort of girl. Okay that’s just being hyperbolic but seriously I was such an introvert.

In conclusion, I hope that my readers here would dismiss the typical Asian mentality that all hopes are gone if you are to take a gap year. It doesn’t signify you’re a loser and it is no indication that you will be. To the people who have never heard of the existence of a gap year before reading this, this is just to inform you that there are many alternatives in life, and the conventional methods are not necessarily the best for you as an individual.

This is a repost from mindthegapmalaysia.wordpress.com To know more about Celine Wan, you can visit about.me/celinewan


► Read more on Gap Year Experience Sharing: Mind The GAPS

Sunday, March 24, 2013

13+ Pre-University & Undergraduate Scholarships (Biasiswa) for SPM & STPM-Result Holders

Update 2014: 30+ Pre-University & Undergraduate 2014 Scholarships (Biasiswa) for SPM & STPM 2013-Result Holders

13+ Scholarships (Biasiswa) for SPM & STPM Students

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Education Ministry Bursaries (Program Bursary Pelajar Cemerlang SPM)
1. Education Ministry Bursaries (Program Bursary Pelajar Cemerlang SPM)
Program Penajaan Pendidikan PETRONAS Untuk Lepasan SPM 2012
2. Program Penajaan Pendidikan PETRONAS Untuk Lepasan SPM 2012 (Tarikh Tutup: 27 Mac 2013)
Bank Negara Malaysia Scholarships
3. Bank Negara Malaysia Scholarships (Closing Date: 28 March 2013)
ASEAN Pre-University One Scholarships by Singapore Education Ministry
4. ASEAN Pre-University One Scholarships by Singapore Education Ministry (Closing Date: 28 March 2013)
Biasiswa Tunku Abdul Rahman (BTAR) Scholarships
5. Biasiswa Tunku Abdul Rahman (BTAR) (Tarikh Tutup: 29 Mac 2013)
Yayasan Tenaga Nasional (YTN/TNB) Scholarships
6. Biasiswa Yayasan Tenaga Nasional (YTN/TNB) (Closing Date: 31 March 2013)
Sime Darby Foundation Education Scholarship Programme
7. Sime Darby Undergraduate Scholarship Programme (Local) (Closing Date: 31 March 2013)
Biasiswa JPA untuk Lepasan SPM: Permohonan Tajaan Program Khas Jepun, Korea, Perancis dan Jerman
8. Biasiswa JPA untuk Lepasan SPM: Permohonan Tajaan Program Khas Jepun, Korea, Perancis dan Jerman (Closing Date: 1 April 2013)
Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) Suruhan Sekuriti Scholarship Awards
9. Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) Suruhan Sekuriti Scholarship Awards (Closing Date: 3 April 2013)
  • Pre-university scholarships for pre-university courses at local recognised institutions (A-level, foundation, matriculation, and diploma courses)
  • Tertiary scholarships for first degree courses at top universities locally and overseas
Sin Chew Daily Education Fund Scholarships
10. Sin Chew Daily Education Fund Scholarships (Closing Date: 3 April 2013)
The Star Education Fund Scholarship Awards
11. The Star Education Fund Scholarship Awards 2013 (Closing Date: 5 April 2013)
Kuok Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship Awards
12. Kuok Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship Awards (Closing Date: 19 April 2013)
  • KUOK KENG KANG SCHOLARSHIPS for Undergraduate Studies at MALAYSIAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES
  • KF HALF-LOAN HALF-GRANT AWARDS for Undergraduate Studies at MALAYSIAN & SINGAPORE PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES
Samling Scholarship Programme
13. Samling Scholarship Programme (Closing Date: 30 September 2013)

More: Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) Scholarship 2013 & PSD/JPA Scholarships for SPM-Leavers


► Read more on 13+ Pre-University & Undergraduate Scholarships (Biasiswa) for SPM & STPM-Result Holders

Saturday, March 02, 2013

UPSR, PMR, SPM, STAM, STPM & MUET 2013 Exam Dates & Examination Calendars (Kalendar Takwim / Tarikh Peperiksaan)

STPM 2013 & SPM 2013 Result Release Dates:
SPM 2013 result release date is 19/20 March 2014 (to be confirmed). STPM 2013 results announcement date is 10 February 2014. You can check you SPM 2013 results and STPM 2013 results online or through SMS on the result release dates. (Semak keputusan SPM 2013 & STPM 2013 online/SMS)

2013 Calendars:
Malaysia Public Holidays 2013 Calendar (Kalendar Jadual Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia)
School Calendar 2013 (Kalendar Persekolahan, Tarikh Cuti Sekolah, Takwim Sekolah 2013)
Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia Examination Council

Exam Calendar / Exam Dates (Kalendar Tarikh Peperiksaan)

Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (Ulangan) (SPMU 2013) Bertulis
11 - 12 June 2013 (Tuesday - Wednesday)

Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR 2013) Bertulis
10 - 12 September 2013 (Tuesday - Thursday)

Penilaiaan Menengah Rendah (PMR 2013) Bertulis
2 - 3 October 2013 (Wednesday - Thursday)
7 - 9 October 2013 (Monday - Wednesday)

Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM 2013) Listening (Lisan) Exam
8 - 19 July 2013 (Monday - Thursday)
Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM 2013) Written (Bertulis) Exam
21 - 23 October 2013 (Monday - Wednesday)
28 - 29 October 2013 (Monday - Tuesday)

Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM 2013) Bertulis
6 - 29 November 2013
2 - 5 December 2013

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM Baharu 2013)
Penggal 1 Ujian Bertulis: 5 – 8 November 2013
Penggal 2 Ujian Bertulis: 20 – 23 May 2013
Penggal 3 Ujian Lisan: 17 – 25 September 2013
Penggal 3 Ujian Bertulis: 6 - 18 November 2013


Malaysian University English Test (MUET 2013)
March Session
Speaking Test: 19 – 21 February 2013, 25 – 27 February 2013
Reading, Listening & Writing Tests: 9 March 2013

July Session
Speaking Test: 1 – 4 July 2013, 9 – 11 July 2013
Reading, Listening & Writing Tests: 20 July 2013

November Session
Speaking Test: 21 – 23 October 2013, 28 – 30 Oktober 2013
Reading, Listening & Writing Tests: 23 November 2013

Pentaksiran Kolej Vokasional (KV)
29 - 30 April 2013
2 - 17 May 2013

Pentaksiran Kolej Vokasional (KV)
7 - 25 October 2013

Pentaksiran Pusat Pendidikan Asas Vokasional (PAV)
21 - 23 October 2013

Takwim Peperiksaan Luar Negeri & Profesional 2013

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)
16 March 2013: Theory (Teori) A
March – April 2013: Practical (Amali) 1 & Diploma (1)
June – August 2013: Practical (Amali) 2 & Diploma (2)
3 August 2013: Theory (Teori) B

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
3 – 12 June 2013
2 – 11 December 2013

University of London (UoL)
1 May – 20 June 2013
26 September – 22 October 2013
28 – 31 October 2013 (Ulangan)

The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA)
4 – 7 June 2013
3 – 6 December 2013

The Association of Business Executives (ABE)
3 – 7 June 2013
2 – 6 December 2013

The Association of International Accountants (AIA)
20 – 23 May 2013
25 – 28 November 2013

Peperiksaan Bahasa Perancis – Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française (DELF)
8 – 15 September 2013: Listening test (Ujian lisan)
17 September 2013: Writing test (Peperiksaan bertulis)

*The above exam dates are subject to change (Tarikh-tarikh peperiksaan yang dinyatakan adalah tertakluk kepada pindaan oleh badan peperiksaan yang berkenaan).

Any inquiries on examination calendar please contact the hotlline below (Sebarang pertanyaan berkaitan takwim peperiksaan bolehlah menghubungi talian berikut):

Examination Hotline (Talian Peperiksaan)
UPSR    03 - 8884 3382
PMR    03 - 8884 3394
SPM    03 - 8884 3330
STAM    03 - 8884 3340
Peperiksaan Luar Negeri    03 - 8884 3346

Source: Examination Council, Education Ministry Malaysia (Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia)


► Read more on UPSR, PMR, SPM, STAM, STPM & MUET 2013 Exam Dates & Examination Calendars (Kalendar Takwim / Tarikh Peperiksaan)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Breaking: UM Raises Entry Requirements - All Degree Courses Require Interview, CGPA 4.0 For Competitive Courses [Exclusive Interview]

Remember, you read this news first on Malaysia Students Blog. Malaysia Students Blog is the first to break the news that UM raises entry requirements before any other major newspapers in Malaysia. Malaysia Students Blog was also the first to report IPTAs change to summer break academic term, IPTA Deepavali break and other education news. Enter your email to subscribe so that you are the first to receive all upcoming & breaking education news!

Posted by WJ Chong

University of Malaya (UM) has set higher bar for entering into the most prestigious public university in Malaysia beginning 2013/2014 academic session. Starting this year, SPM & STPM result holders applying for admissions to UM are required to meet stricter standards to gain entrance. UM has revised by raising the specific entry requirements (syarat khas program) for all degree courses and foundation in science programme (Asasi Sains Universiti Malaya).

One of the significant updates to the minimum requirements of all bachelor's degree courses is every applicants needs to attend and pass compulsory interview at the university. While interview element was only applied for certain courses such as law, architecture and education-related programmes in the previous years, every UM courses now requires passing the university interview.

UM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic & International), Professor Dr. Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor
In an exclusive interview with UM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic & International), Professor Dr. Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor, Malaysia Students blog has learnt that the interview element is introduced as the entry requirement for all programmes this year to ensure that the quality of the undergraduates admitted align with the university's goal which is to be ranked as one of the top 100 universities in the world by year 2015. This is also to take advantage of the autonomy status awarded by Higher Education Ministry to University of Malaya in 2012. The autonomy award would allow the university flexibility in finance, administration and academic matters which include choosing its own students.

"The interview assessment that will be carried out is an early initiative taken by UM to assess the communication skills and readiness level of the students, on top of serving as early exposure to them in terms of building self-confidence, professional appearance, communication and soft skills," Prof. Dr. Mohd Hamdi explained. "The main purpose of the interview is to ensure that students accepted into Universiti Malaya are those excellent in academics, can communicate well, and have high self-confidence and interest in the applied programme."

He added that the data collected during the interview process will be essential to UM in planning the new teaching and learning modules during the continuous revision and improvement of all academic programmes. The data will also aid UM in getting to know the level of students and planning strategies to prepare them as graduates who meet industry needs.

The interviews will be carried out by UM academic staffs and involves representatives from the faculty or academy offering the academic programme. The interview structure and medium of language used are decided based on the relevant requirements of the specific courses offered in order to identify the best candidates for each academic programme at University of Malaya.
University of Malaya (Universiti Malaya, UM)
Another major update is some competitive courses such as Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Pharmacy now require perfect Cummulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) score of 4.00/4.00. Previously, although the minimum CGPA score for these courses was not 4.00, almost all who were offered places for these courses did get perfect CGPA score in their STPM or Matriculation due to stiff competition for limited number of places. As a result, news reports of those with perfect CGPA score of 4.00 in STPM or Matriculation not being offered a place in these popular courses were not uncommon, especially during the university enrollment result announcement week.

The decision to set CGPA 4.0 as the minimum entry requirement to high-demand courses (MBBS, BDS and Pharmacy) was based on the research on the recent trend of candidate enrolment data for the past four academic sessions - 2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 - where students admitted are from those STPM-result holders with PNGK 4.0. The rationale behind this decision is to avoid candidates who barely meet the minimum PNGK, as in previous years, putting all their hope on getting a place for these highly competitive courses. By setting PNGK 4.0 as the minimum requirement upfront, these students are encouraged to apply other courses instead of wasting their choices when filling up the online university application form.


► Read more on Breaking: UM Raises Entry Requirements - All Degree Courses Require Interview, CGPA 4.0 For Competitive Courses [Exclusive Interview]

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