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Sunday, September 28, 2014

5 Top Tips to Make Your Revision Timetable More Effective

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5 Top Tips to Make Your Revision Timetable More Effective

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

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

1. Divide time between subjects wisely

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

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

2. Mix up your subjects

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

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

3. Allow for breaks in your timetable

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

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

4. Use memory techniques

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

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

5. Change your setting frequently

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

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

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

Sunday, September 21, 2014

5 Top Tips to Avoid Procrastination

5 Top Tips to Avoid Procrastination

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

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

1. Start in the morning

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

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

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

2. Reduce your workload

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

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

3. Don’t prioritise small tasks

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

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

4. Get some company

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

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

5. Create a schedule

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

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

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

► Read more on 5 Top Tips to Avoid Procrastination

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Education in Malaysia: A Teacher's Perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you explain the complexity of this problem?

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

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

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

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

Where do we even begin?

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

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

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

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

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

- - - - - -

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

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

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

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

Teacher's Thoughts on Malaysia's Education System

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

- - - - - -

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

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

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

- - - - - -

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Malaysia Public Holidays 2015 Calendar (Kalendar Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2015)

Source: Bahagian Kabinet, Perlembagaan Dan Perhubungan Antara Kerajaan, Jabatan Perdana Menteri

Malaysia Public Holidays 2015 (Hari Cuti Umum Malaysia 2015)

Related 2015 Calendars:
Malaysia Public Holidays Calendar 2015 Kalendar Cuti Umum Malaysia

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

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

State Holidays 2015 (Jadual Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Negeri)

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

Kalendar Jadual Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2015 Persekutuan & Negeri

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

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