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

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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  1. interesting read, thank you for sharing this!

  2. Hey bro..this is only your personal view and should not be published as it can demotivates the others who are currently struggling to achieve their dreams. Many other students got straight a1 , went to the same pathway as you (including myself) and did not regret every part of the journey..

    1. Just because his view is different from yours doesn't mean that he should self-censor. If some person doesn't have the resolve to follow through with their dreams and can be easily influenced by an article, he is no better with straight A1s.

    2. its his own personal opinion, and i can say that he has the points, why should you compare yourself with him? btw, he has the right to publish whatever he wants, if you don't like it, you shouldn't commented in the first place.

    3. What a joke, should not be published??? This is the 21st century bro...Even you have your own opinion and you're commenting it out in public. only people themselves find reason to justify their own laziness to not study. He has the right to publish anything he wants. It is up to the person whether to take it positively or negatively.

    4. Must, as you have said it rightly, personal opinion so shouldn't you be reading it as a learning from other people's experience. Everyone is different so be open and learn from each other. Today is the 21st century. Like Obama said, our world is getting smaller because if Internet. Everyone is sharing their thoughts on the net like you and me. Whatever you think is good, learn it. Whatever us not for you, move on.

  3. the language was so bad !

    1. Wasn't that bad la. Why did u bother so much? The way he wrote was very creative although there were some grammatical errors there. Overall, it wasn't that bad :)

    2. He has admitted is isn't it? Why pick on his English? What is important is you can understand what he is trying to say isn't it? I respect him because he understood what is learning now because he have the guts to write when he know his language is not good. Bravo.. I support!

    3. if you were able to fully comprehend what he was trying to get across - I reckon he did a pretty good job - in spite of a less-than-ideal command of the English language (at least at that point-in-time).

    4. That shows the flaw in the grading of Malaysia. A1 student's level of engrish

    5. lol.. seriously there are such grammar police on the web? hes not gonna be an english teacher though.. basically, i even think that he is doing better then you.. so, above all, he wont even care.. hahaha.. -another anonymous..

  4. actually i'm agree with your point of view. I am a freshman who just graduate from F6. i admit that i have same problem with you, and now just i start to realise it And now i kinda lost in pathway of my life.

  5. Well done! Thanks for the amazing lesson and now that im not soo horrified waiting for my result

  6. All I was thinking throughout this article was how ironic it is that a straight A1 student can have such bad grammar. Hehe.

  7. A very inspiring story...i love it

  8. Tbh it's just how u manage your time. I was a straight A1 student myself although I didn't have as many subjects as you. I managed my time well and I must say I enjoyed my teenange years a lot that I wish I could go back to those times. I can only say what you're sharing here is illustrating the lack of time management. Hence, I hope you or any other person who strives to be a straight A student would learn from your mistake and manage their time well to have a good balance between studies and socializing/fun.

  9. Sorry for your grandmother, from what i have seen.
    Thanks for sharing ur inspiring story :)

  10. mate correct ur grammar before posting it, it really puts readers off. and while there might be some truth to your opinion, its ur OPINION at the end of the day. straight A1s are the stepping stones of many successful scholars and while it may not be definitive on how successful u are in the future, its is definitely an advantage. pls don put poor young readers off with ur overdramatic piece of opinion writing, as in the end of the day, straight As are still indeed important, but like everything else in life, its not all there is to life. Pursue ur other interests/ realtionships without sacrificing ur studies, hey its called time management. cut out all the computer games and loitering n u can achieve everything said above while getting straight As

    1. Mate, speak for yourself. "It's" not "its". I find it ridiculous that people who are no better have the audacity to criticise others for the very mistake that they are making themselves. Learning is a journey, at least he is mature enough to understand that...duh....

    2. It is his opinion at the end of the day, and you don't have to remind him or the readers again. Not everyone is naturally talented to get straight A1s - some are just good enough to get them easily while some require a lot of hard work. I personally don't think it is worth the effort if you're sacrificing high school life just to get straight A1s. Just do whatever within your ability comfortably to get the best result, after all, high school is about life, not just 100% study. You'll be getting your slice of life when you start your working life, so at least enjoy high school life. Granted that getting straight A1s would be advantageous in securing, maybe, a good start in your next phase of study, but it is not definitive in getting success or whatsoever in the longer run. Your employer wouldn't even care if you got a 4.0 in STPM. Your research team leader wouldn't even care if you got the Dean's List every semester. My point is, don't stress out and sacrificing too much on that. Unless you already decided that your life = study or that your hobby is to study, then by all means, go for it.

    3. Says the one with shitty spelling? u? ur? Failed.

    4. Perhaps you should not be so shallow as to worry about the English, and instead focus on the message. After all , the content is more important than the container. Unless of course, like you ... The container is empty.

  11. I am now in form 5 .. although my result wasn't that good ... but I had a great memories with my buddies and brothers....
    Your article motivate me !!
    Thanks a lot !!

  12. I got a straight 10A1 and yet I had a wonderful time in my secondary school. I would say that it's really depend on how you manage your time and your discipline. During my secondary school, I studied hard and played hard as well. When the exam was getting nearer, i will automatically switch to "Study" mode. When the exam was over, I will be playing "DOTA" whole day. :)

    1. There. Its not just a matter of time management thou. I mean, if we were only to switch to "study" mode everytime the exam gets nearer then you will have time to socialise with other people and have fun. But parents nowadays really do care about the education and even send their kids to tuition since they are in kindergarten. Its not always about time management. Normally once the exam is over, students will go out and play but some who really wanted to get good grades still continue to revise and learn and learn again and again. Some people who manage their time wisely did not get straight As.

    2. What's wise time management if you don't get the end results?

    3. I agreed about what's wise time management if u don't score. Well played. Short and strike to the point. If a student really sacrificed a lot of time to study but did not end well maybe he or she should reconsider the study method and try to study smart.

      After all, I really enjoyed my spm year. I studied with my friends at school library whole day (because my friend is the librarian who holding the door key hehe). It was a hard time but I really enjoy it. I try to stop reading novels, playing dota cs and other games during my spm.It was not easy to overcome my addiction but worth it. I also banned myself from watching drama. Staying in my room when study at home except for food, drink and going toilet. At the end, I got gastric because I won't leave my table before I had complete my work haha.

      I think some of us (including me) had overweight the importance of getting straight A's. It is not a ruler to measure the quality of a student. If you are aiming for jpa scholarship then hardwork must be pay to gain the scholarship. But it is worth it after calculated the amount of money u saved. The more hardwork u give the more u gain.

      I am not a straight As students but I gt 10A in spm. That was the year when HOTS applied so getting straight As is kind of God like.

      I also agreed that nobody will give a shit to how many As u get after a few years. It is just an event in your life, a ticket to further your study. Now I already forgot most of the things I learned. But what I remembered is the memory of the silly and naughty moments that make u smile every time u remember it. What's left is the bonding of everlasting friendships.

      Going tuition is not a bad thing. Of course too much tuition is overwhelming. My parents did not force me to attend any tuition. I going to tuition class willingly and met a lot of new friends from other schools. To me tuition really help improve my academic performance. The only thing that hit is me the tuition fees that becomes a burden to my family. Finally I decided to stop some of the tuition (it is my decision although I don't want to). There's one teacher Mr. Hiew that understand my situation gives me free tuition and told me not to felt embarrassed about it. I will always remember his grace forever in my life.

  13. In the end of the day, no matter what results you get, how hard you had to strive to achieve, you still have to work for people. That is what public schools are here for, to train mediocre people like you and me to work for the rich and powerful. This is the reality folks. Unless you're excellent in butt licking, i suggest you take an alternate route. In malaysia it is all about that unless you work for a multinational company. Even that, your freedom/creativity/expression will be restricted to a minimum.

    That is why really(and i mean really really) successful people are normally the ones who drop out of school/college in the first place. This does not mean you should drop out now, it all depends on your personal reason and motivation to drop out.

    My suggestion, work for yourself and on your passion. Fail? try again and again , don't let your peers, naysayers or relatives stop you. You want something, go get it.Period.

    1. Hi Cody, you seem to have insightful opinions and advices. Would you like to write us a guest post on your views and advices for students? We would love to feature it on Malaysia Students. Thanks.

  14. for all you naysayers, this article is titled "why i regret getting straight a1s in spm" not "why you shouldn't aim or get straight a1s in spm". comprehend this?

    1. Aaron, i think yours is the best comment of the lot ��.

      and I really enjoyed your piece, Akira. the grammar was probably broken to allow the feeling its freedom - a sure sign of a fine writer in the making. tx 4 sharing.

  15. Am I the first or the only one to notice that the author plagiarised most of his points from the post with a similar title "Twentysomething: Why I regret getting straight A’s in college" published in 2007 without any mention or proper attribution? Shame on you!


    1. I don't think he plagiarised the points because its the reality that most students who study their butts off for good grades get in the end of the day. Plus, he did mention that he was inspired from a post he found. So, I'd count this as a post he wrote straight from his heart.

  16. Hi there, thanks for sharing.
    Just to share my story with you.
    I had never scored straight A's in my life - not UPSR (6A), not PMR (6A), not SPM (7A), not STPM (no A).
    i enjoyed activities like writing, drama, speeches, student reporter cadet etc very much but of course, my miserable STPM results made me realize that hey, I really need to focus more on my studies.
    So when I did my law degree, I did not join any activities at all. I focused on my studies only. Nothing but studies. Cases after cases, articles after articles, day and night.
    I got a book prize for one of the subjects but so what? Overall I wasn't a top student.
    I was frustrated. Very.
    After my degree I continued studying for Certificate of Legal Practice, and I failed it, again and again, no matter how hard I tried.
    It was depressing of course, but it knocked some sense into me.
    I found a job. And I'm performing reasonably well.
    I'm finding time to do things I once enjoyed again. I'm back to writing, acting, singing.
    I'm back and I like it. I have been asleep for years. It's good to wake up.

    I suppose life is a journey of self-discovery. I don't know about you, but I've always pondered about the purpose of life, and now I've come to the conclusion that the purpose of my life is to discover the purpose of my life.

    We make mistakes. We fall. We cry. But it's okay. Tomorrow will be another day.

    I don't think your article is just a message for SPM leavers. Hey I can relate to your story too, and SPM is history to me.

    Keep going.

  17. BRAVO! You wrote form your heart. Congratulations!
    That's something most would fail miserably if they were asked to do so, like those who commented about your grammars and all...must be like this, cannot be like that, this is not right, that is the right way....."by the book" types!

  18. I also don't care about how many a's that i got. Hence the subject that i never get a, i also get it a in my real spm..the more challenge is how u bring urself in front other people..and understand the vision of ur live..suprisingly, i hv my own vision to get married in 25 yr old even that i never hv boyfriend at that time..n boys r afraid of me because of my a when i was form 5..haha

  19. I think the best thing for an SPM student is to structure the revision plan. I was an SPM 94 candidate so things might be different now. What i did was to focus on the core subjects that were crucial in my choice of career: engineering.

    i relegated some subjects to priority 2 since they were not crucial for engineering studies... ye la... subjects like BM, sejarah geografi.

    Another thing is that back then we were not measured by how many subjects we took but on the aggregate point based on some calculation methods.

    on scholarship... yes getting one is important especially when your family can't afford to finance your higher edu but then don't limit yourself to malaysian scholarship. Try asking around for scholarships from europe n US or other places. Getting a bond-free scholarship is the best.

    if your family can afford it, getting a loan for the first year or first two years is a good option. Once you are abroad you can scout for temp jobs

  20. Dear Aaron,

    You wrote your story right from your heart. A Very genuine and priceless article indeed. The value of your story is for everyone. Not only for those at your age. It is also suitable for those who are in schools, colleges and working life. Being perfectionist is not the answer for everything. But being a good human being and has passion to help others should be the ultimatum in life. I wish you best of luck in everything that you venture.

  21. Hey akira.. Thanx for sharing your point. It is true that not everyone who fails to score straight a's wouldnt succeed. If were, where could have this society headed into?

    I myself arent a straight A student,a good one though, and i believe everyone are entitled to their interest. Some may say that looking at one "he studies so much. He knows nothing on life." but that is his interest. Why you want to comment on it. My point is do what you like and strive in it. Eventually, when you put your heart and soul into things that you do, it would turn out to be magical. Trust me, i m through it. Guess you can as well. Its no hard for you to do it than me as well. But, if straight A's matters to u, then you should work hard for it. Dont read article's and get motivated. You urself is the biggest motivator of your own life.

  22. I worry about Malaysia's education system if this is how one of the country's top students writes. How does one secure an A1 for English with this level of proficiency?

  23. Good sharing....our education system is like a machine/factory ...just to produce As students and "kia su" parents... not more than that....

  24. I feel u bro... T.T

  25. getting lots of As doesnt worth it?? totally wrong, getting lots of As made u a tough guy and an great attitude that all great leaders and successful people had. therefore its not wasted. Just compare those ppl who get lousy result SPM result and great result, do not compare the knowledge, instead compare ATTITUDE. u will see a BIG different

  26. Great read. Glad that you put it out, whilst not everyone will agree with (nothing ever gets 100% approval anyway). But for those who have the same view, or feel the same might be a life changer for some. All the best!

  27. great! gonna share this to my 2 year old daughter in 10 years time. hahahaha!!

  28. I think you should be writing what i learn through achievning 16 A1.

    Now we know you regret, i am sure you have learn about something that you manage to achieve the extraordinary.

    What do you think you can inspire others about achieving 16 A1?

    I believe in you bro. You made it to the top. You are something in history, look at the bright side, inspire more people that will be better than writing something that demotivate people who are planning to achieve something that you are achieving for.

    Make a difference bro. You should never regret it because what you have did is different from the rest.

    Good luck in the future. I believe if you right about the secret to success to achieving 16A1, you will win more votes.

    Parents and families out there, don't be afraid about this post. I believe it all happens for a reason.

  29. Pro and cons whatever you achieve.

    PRO - He got straight As, he can save a lot on his education
    - He got into one of the few best University?
    - He made his parents proud
    - He had free publicity - the press covered him, he no need to pay advertising fee for advertisement.

    Cons - He lost time
    - He might lost his health - the amount of soda water, the amount of time without any sleep will affect his health
    - He lost the time to do his own thing that makes him happy.
    - He forgets what he studied. (WHO CARES what you remember? hehehehe) We only remember the memories when we were naughty in school.

    - He did not give credits to his teachers for guidance or tuition teachers for getting him A1.
    - he forgot about himself, all he did was to study till he achieve something extraordinary (can be cons, can be pro because of his focus)

    The list will go on.

    What can we learn from him?


    He made a decision and achieve it.

    Action speak louder than words.

    This is my personal point of view what i learn through this article today.

    1. He knows what he was writing about. Only true fact, he lost his teen experience in socialising. Tomorrow, he will say he doesn't regret his straight As, but, delightfully sings his praises. This is just a story of his life. He is responsible for its outcome

    2. Agree with what you say. It is his outcome and he is responsible for it.

  30. There is always price to pay for to succeed

    The writer says
    1. He lost friends and family
    He paid the price for achievement that he lost his friends and family. He achieve it. He sacrifice TIME and it pays out well - 16A1.

    2. He lost precious time to sleep
    - Now if all you think of success and never work for it, you will never succeed. Learn from this guy on how he manage to succeed. He sacrifice TIME. Now hard work pay.

    What can we learn from this guy?

    "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."

    "Look further, my friends. My result is truly average now, but hey! The points and prides in my resume have tripled." AKIRA WONG

    Success in anything you do requires self discipline. To readers out there, if you wish to succeed like AKIRA WONG, don't just study for the sake of studying, look at what you want in life, who do you want to be eventually. This will be your guide to your next path. YOU NEED CLARITY.

    Just a word to AKIRA WONG. Do not give up, continue to inspire people. Proud of you.

  31. It is time for you to show your talent and character now!

    When you go out to the working world, it is all about the character you portray. The attitude you show.

    The "know what" is important, the "know how" is equally important. Now all you need is to polish and continue improve your communications skill. What makes you different than others in the working world would be someone who is smart as well as humble.

    People will continue to stick if you provide continuous help to people around you.

  32. hi, mind you tell how to choose university ,kolej or matrikulasi or form6 ???????????????hence, how can i get As ???????????can gv me some tips ??????????last but not least, im form5 student in tis year 2014 and im also 2014 spm candidates ,i take science stream and i wana take course engineering in my future ....... reply pls:] CONFUSED

  33. From an employer's point of view, good academic results show that you are a hard worker and smart enough to fulfill the exam requirements. When you are hired, you will have to prove yourself of capable of helping people, using your knowledge and ability. The As to aim at in the workplace is how to meet the requirements of customers and co-workers.

    Keep it up, keep learning, and be compassionate.

  34. For someone working/studying in America and achieving 16 A1's, your English is terrible!

  35. I knew Akira in school - a self-centered, jealous-of-others who could outdo him type of student in SMK Tung Hua, Sibu. One of his classmates who scored 14 A1s was a real model student who sacrificed his time to tutor his school table tennis team mate who was rather poor in his studies. Akira even scolded some of his teachers when they tried to counsel him. I think his parents sent him for counseling in Kuching some time before the exams.


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