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Using the Social Media?

I'm sure a large portion of internet users use a Facebook, Twitter or Skype. These are what we call social media. Mostly anyone can give a list or even an essay of the great advantages of using the social media (especially facebook). So, here, I am going to highlight the drawbacks of using them. Not that I fully disagree on its use. Just to give a heads up and something to ponder.

Here's an article about a research done regarding social media usage:
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December 13, 2010

A recent study says that a five-day blackout of social media at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology helped reduce student stress levels and allowed them to focus on their studies more.

The campus blackout, which was widely reported in September, blocked access to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The survey found that as a result of the exercise, one-quarter of students said they could concentrate in classes better, and 23 percent said they found lectures more interesting. One-third of students said they were less stressed, and several professors said their students understood concepts better through conversation with faculty than after trying to grasp it using social media.

"The results suggest that a healthier, more productive lifestyle was practiced by a significant portion of the students during the blackout," said the study, which was quoted by Reuters.

Moreover, six percent of students said that during the week without social media, they ate better and exercised more. About one-fifth said that they used the time usually spent on Facebook to do homework, while 10 percent used that time to read online news. And forty-four percent of students and 76 percent of professors said that they learned something from the blackout, such as the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook and the importance of face-to-face conversation.

One student, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education, told the university's provost, Eric Darr, "that he had to actually talk to his professor during the blackout."

Many students who at first resented the blackout later changed their minds. On the first day of the exercise, 5 percent strongly disapproved of it, 32 percent disapproved, 40 percent were neutral, and only 23 percent of students approved. But a week later, the students' feelings changed: Sixteen percent still disapproved, 42 percent were neutral, and 42 percent approved.

"Even though people initially were angry...even the most cranky student had to admit some good came out of it," Darr told the Associated Press.
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This article was taken from the website, www.braintrack.com. My heartfelt gratitude to them!

Here are links to more coverage about the news:
chronicle.com
www.bankinfosecurity.com

And here's another research done about the relationship between the usage of Facebook and exam results:
www.dailymail.co.uk

So, be careful of getting addicted to facebook and the like or spending too much time on it. It might affect your study and your life. Live life to the max~

SPM is Over...What Now?

For most of the Form 5 Malaysian students of 2010, SPM (Malaysian Education Certificate) is OVER! I still remember that feeling. It's like a long-fought war that finally ended..it's just that the results of the war will be out a bit later..anyway~


After SPM, there will be about 4-6 months of holiday for the average student, excluding those going for fast-track courses and going to private colleges. So, there is so much time to spend! Now, here, I'll be giving some suggestions on what to do during the holidays, who knows if you'd like to try one of 'em.

Wait..why should you consider your activities during this holiday again? Oh..it's like this. One day, you might have an interview, a JPA or MARA interview or UiTM interview for instance. They might ask you, what did you do during the holidays? Or, you can always use any experience you gain during the holidays for application purposes in the future. Nonetheless, you should always be sincere in doing things and not just because of applications, interviews and stuff only. Now, here's the list.

1. Get a job


This is quite a typical option. Many students will want to work to get more spending money. Though that can also be a good thing as you learn to be independent, it's much better if you find a job for the experience. Say you'd like to be a doctor, you can try get a job in a hospital or clinic, even a receptionist will do. That way, you'll get the valuable insight experience and that might even influence your final decision of your future career. Besides that, you can also do something that's part of your expertise like tutoring or teaching. If you're super good in Mathematics, why not make a private or group tuition for the primary and secondary students? Some of them can really use your help. You can also just ask your school teacher, primary or secondary school, if they need any extra tutors or support teachers. Not only you get some experience and allowance there, you also help the students and teachers as well. If you're so free and able, why not give it a try?

2. Volunteer


This is actually quite similar to getting a job but you usually don't get any salary. There are tons of activities out there that require volunteers. If you want to meet new people, help others, and gain valuable experience, this is the thing for you. Just be careful that you don't go finding the wrong group or activity. Check out the validity of any activity and tell your parents just to be safe. Safety is very crucial here because you wouldn't want to go to college or university in pieces do you? As they always say in the adverts, "Remember your loved ones!" A good and easy place to volunteer is in uniformed bodies like the Scouts or the Red Crescent and the like. You can also opt for the religious bodies, they're always nice and willing to accept volunteers.

3. Attend a seminar, workshop or short course.


Even though your school days are over (hopefully), it doesn't mean you should stop learning. You can go to talks regarding career or your field of interest e.g information technology or business.  If you think you want a more formal and prolonged education, you can take the short courses (which are some quite expensive) that may include language courses, computer courses, cooking maybe? Because it might be pricey and a bit time-consuming, be sure to check for the quality and the validity of the courses. You can check the newspapers like The Star and New Straits Times for seminars and workshops. For short courses, universities and colleges usually offer them so check them out too.

4. Hang out with friends


Yeah, I know..I don't even have to say this one. I just want to point out that it's great to cherish the friendship you have with your schoolmates. Maybe after this, you might not have enough time to go out with most of them anymore. So, go and spend some time with them. WARNING: Money loss due to overspending may occur.haha.

5. Spend quality time with family


You might have been busy studying before and now is the time to cover up for those lost times together. Ask your parents for a vacation or simply just go out for dinner, shopping or fairs. There's a possibility that after you enter university, you might not have as much time anymore for family especially if you're planning to study abroad. In addition, your parents might be able to offer great advice and insights about careers and the working world and even their university life (though it might differ greatly from now).

6. Fill in the UPU form and find scholarships


UPU, Malaysia's unit for public unversities' enrolment is already open and waiting for you to fill it out. Make sure you start early because there are some details which are hard to find and might require your teachers' help. Don't wait until the very last minute. For scholarships, MARA and JPA scholarships, and most others are usually open after the results' announcement. But there are some wide open right now, some not so famous but just as prestigious, from companies and private universities. Find them and check them out. You can google them or simply ask teachers, friends and relatives.

7. Relax and enjoy the moment


I've got to tell you that after this when you start studying again, you might not encounter a holiday like this. So, you might make a decision to spend more time home or somewhere else, enjoying the moment of holidays, play games, chat with friends, read novels and many more. It's like a time to calm down and have fun. Don't worry about the results, just pray for the best. Though I must warn you that during the long holiday, a great deal of knowledge you have will disappear. This can be a great loss because those can be of great use in the future. Besides that, too much sleep will also make you weaker and lethargic. On the other hand, the long holiday might be just the thing to re-energize you for university.

All in all,
Planning is good but plans are bad (a quote from my dad). I still actually wonder what that really means.. Howsoever, choose wisely what and how you want to spend your holidays. The above are just suggestions. You can make your own too. Creativity knows no boundaries. Just make sure you don't waste this great time of opportunity. Before you know it, your holiday will be over already. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ^^

Examination Anxiety


It's been a while. I've been caught up with examinations and that's the topic this time. It's a very big part of our education system no matter where we go. Malaysia? United States? United Kingdom? Australia? Indonesia? I've not yet heard of centers for education which do not have at all examinations, tests, or the like. Every time people have to face it, most of them feel anxious. You too? If yes, congratulations! You've proven yourself to be a normal human being. It's very normal so don't sweat yourself for being that way. But now, here's the challenge we're facing..what if we're TOO anxious?


A few weeks ago, during the start of the Malaysian Education Certificate (SPM), a boy died before the examination. Yes, he DIED. This is no joke at all. But I'm not mentioning his name here in favor of respect. You can always google it though. In the case of the boy's unfortunate incident, he was already actually facing medical challenges himself. He died after (or during) the briefing before the first SPM paper. It was a shock to me and my friends as well. And subsequently, there were some other news where a number of students collapsed before the exam. Yes, it's partly true, SPM is one of the highest determinants for a Malaysian student to pursue his or her dreams or just continue studies. But it's no reason to get too scared about it.

In the book, "How To Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie, it is said that when people get too anxious and worried about something, they become very vulnerable to numerous problems including nervous breakdowns, ulcers and even death (though might not be stated directly). Have you ever heard people coining "worrying to death"? It can be literal. I always take it this way, if you were to fail your exam, are you actually going to die? Does it mean the end of the world? Does it actually forbid you to live a normal happy life? There are people who don't even have formal qualifications from the higher education but have become millionaires and even billionaires. You do have to remember though that they also had their share of hard work and hardship beforehand. It's never easy to succeed in a larger scale. The point I'm trying to make here is that even if (in any case) that you don't really make it that far in exams, life still goes on and you'll always have a chance to improve or take a new initiative. Yes you do!

Aha! Again as before, I'm going to tell you that this is no reason to throw that maths book away and just fail your exam. Rather, if you actually study from the start, study with passion and enthusiasm, you can actually be more confident and less worried or anxious before the exams. It not only saves your scores, it saves your life! Scouts Malaysia tells us to "be prepared" and "do our very best". So, let's be prepared and just do what we can. Whatever happens, there's always another way. Good luck in those exams!


Linking the Top Universities to You


Here, I have prepared a list of direct links to several important information regarding these top universities. A point of gratitude to Feettri who suggested this and also to Ilyas who helped in the process. We hope this will help those who will be applying or plan to apply to these universities. GOOD LUCK!

 
Carnegie Mellon University
Mission << point to note: It's important to know the aim of the Unis you're aiming for.
http://www.cmu.edu/about/mission.shtml

Degree Programs
http://my.cmu.edu/portal/site/admission/programs/

Admission
http://my.cmu.edu/portal/site/admission/admission/

Test Requirements
http://my.cmu.edu/portal/site/admission/test_req/

Specific Test Requirements
http://my.cmu.edu/portal/site/admission/academic_req/

Deadlines
http://my.cmu.edu/portal/site/admission/app_plans

Special
http://www.facebook.com/CarnegieMellonAdmission?v=info
 
Cornell University
Mission
http://www.cornell.edu/about/mission/

Degree Programs
http://www.cornell.edu/academics/majors.cfm

Admission
http://www.cornell.edu/admissions/

Specific Test Requirements
http://admissions.cornell.edu/forms/FreshmanRequirementsChart.pdf

Deadlines
http://admissions.cornell.edu/apply/international/deadlines.cfm


California Institute of Technology
Mission
http://www.caltech.edu/at-a-glance/ 
Degree programs
http://pr.caltech.edu/catalog/
Admission
http://www.admissions.caltech.edu/applying/applying/freshman
Test requirements
http://www.admissions.caltech.edu/applying/applying/freshman
Deadlines
http://www.admissions.caltech.edu/applying/deadlines
 
Stanford University

The Stanford Challenge (Mission)
http://www.stanford.edu/about/facts/challenge.html

Departments A-Z (Degree & Courses)
http://www.stanford.edu/academics/departments.html

The Application Process
http://www.stanford.edu/dept/uga/application/index.html

Application Deadlines
http://www.stanford.edu/dept/uga/application/deadlines/index.html

Requirements (Tests)
http://www.stanford.edu/dept/uga/application/freshman/testing.html
 
Harvard University

Mission
http://www.harvard.edu/siteguide/faqs/faq110.php

Fields of Concentration
http://www.handbook.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k69286&tabgroupid=icb.tabgroup106995
http://www.seas.harvard.edu/teaching-learning/undergraduate

The Freshmen Application
http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/application_process/index.html

Deadlines
http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/application_process/timeline.html

Application Requirements (including Testing Requirements)
http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/application_process/requirements.html
http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/international/tests.html

Application Forms
http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/forms/index.html

For International Students
http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/international/index.html

International Interviews
http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/international/interviews.html

Special
http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/faq.html
http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/international/faq.html
 
Brown University

Mission
http://brown.edu/about/mission

Academic Concentrations
http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Registrar/concentration.html

Application Process
http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Admission/applyingtobrown/theapplicationprocess.html

Deadlines
http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Admission/applyingtobrown/importantdates.html

For International Students
http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Admission/applyingtobrown/internationalstudents.html
 
University of Washington-Seattle

Vision
http://www.washington.edu/discover/visionvalues

Academics & Majors
http://admit.washington.edu/Academics/Majors

Application Process & Deadlines
https://www.applyweb.com/apply/uwf/instruct_uwf.html

English Proficiency Requirements
http://admit.washington.edu/Requirements/International/EnglishProficiency

For International Students
https://www.applyweb.com/apply/uwi/instruct_uwi.html

Optional Test Scores
http://admit.washington.edu/Requirements/International/EnglishProficiency/optional

Honours Program
https://www.applyweb.com/apply/uwi/honors.html

Online Application
https://www.applyweb.com/apply/uwf/
 
 
Dartmouth College

Mission
http://www.dartmouth.edu/home/about/mission.html

Undergraduate Programs
http://www.dartmouth.edu/home/academics/undergraduate_departments.html

Full Application Procedures & Checklist
http://www.dartmouth.edu/admissions/apply/checklists/regular.html

Deadlines
http://www.dartmouth.edu/admissions/apply/

FAQ About International Applications
http://www.dartmouth.edu/admissions/answers/apply/international.html
 
Columbia University-New York

Mission
http://www.columbia.edu/about_columbia/mission.html

Academic Programs
http://www.columbia.edu/academic_programs/departments.html

International Application
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/isso/admit/

All Admission Requirements
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/isso/admit/apply_tx.html#aptexam

Admissions Online
https://admissions.columbia.edu/
 
Princeton University

Princeton Profile
http://www.princeton.edu/profile/

Academic Departments & Programs
http://www.princeton.edu/main/academics/departments/

Undergraduate Admission
http://www.princeton.edu/admission/applyingforadmission/

Admission Requirements
http://www.princeton.edu/admission/applyingforadmission/requirements/

Deadlines
http://www.princeton.edu/admission/applyingforadmission/deadlines/

Testing Requirements
http://www.princeton.edu/admission/applyingforadmission/standardized_testing/

Academic Preparation
http://www.princeton.edu/admission/applyingforadmission/preparation/

Application Checklist
http://www.princeton.edu/admission/applyingforadmission/checklist/

FAQ
http://www.princeton.edu/admission/applyingforadmission/faq/

Tips For International Students
http://www.princeton.edu/admission/applyingforadmission/international_students/
 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mission
http://web.mit.edu/facts/mission.html

Departments and Programs
http://web.mit.edu/education/

The Freshman Application
http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/apply/the_freshman_application/index.shtml

Deadlines
http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/apply/deadlines/index.shtml

Testing Requirements
http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/apply/standardized_test_requirements/index.shtml

Online Application
https://my.mit.edu/AdmissionsWeb/appmanager/AdmissionsWeb/Main?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageMyMITHome

Special
http://www.mitadmissions.org/
http://watch.mit.edu/
 
Northwestern University

At a Glance
http://www.northwestern.edu/about/northwestern-at-a-glance/index.html

Departments and Programs
http://www.northwestern.edu/academics/index.html
http://www.northwestern.edu/academics/undergraduate-a-to-z.html
Undergraduate Admission
http://www.ugadm.northwestern.edu/

Deadlines
http://www.ugadm.northwestern.edu/apply/application-deadlines-and-options.html

Testing Requirements
http://www.ugadm.northwestern.edu/apply/test-scores.html

FAQ
http://www.ugadm.northwestern.edu/apply/frequently-asked-questions-and-resources/index.html

The JPA Scholarship Application & Interview (Tips included)

This was posted quite a while ago and thus may not be relevant at some point. But I hope this may still be useful. :D

After receiving my SPM results, I quickly filled in every scholarship application that was available and suitable. One of them was the Public Service Department (JPA) Overseas Degree Programme. For the JPA, I had to fill in an online form at the website. Thankfully, I was accepted for the interview. I also had to do the online psychology test which was really easy despite the number of questions; they just asked about yourself and they were yes or no questions. You just have to be honest, that's all. Then, comes the interview so here's the story.


For the interview, I asked a number of seniors, discussed with some friends and searched the net for any tips and tricks for the interview. In the Internet, there were quite a lot! They were really helpful too. First and foremost, the JPA is very particular about examination results followed by co-curricular activities. These two really help even before the interview which is the online application. Then comes the other sections like race and neediness.

About the racial part.. From what I heard, applying to MARA gives a better advantage because this scholarship is only for Malays. Future Malay applicants should also know that you can only apply either for JPA or MARA and not both or you'll get neither of them. So, back to the racial part, this (Malay advantage) idea is actually thought by many students and many Malays then choose to apply for MARA. This is part of the reason why I chose JPA. It's because when many Malays actually chose MARA, it can mean that less Malays applied for JPA; less competition! Moreover, I also had recommendations from a few people to apply for JPA and so I did. But this doesn't mean it makes things so much easier. Competition really depends on a lot of things, including the Degree Major you intend to hold. For instance, I applied for Computer Science and from my experience, I didn't even meet other Computer Science applicants; only Accounting, Economics, Science, and Engineering. Medicine was done on previous days which means there were a lot of future doctors applying. Technically speaking, my application was less competitive then my Engineering and Medic friends. Those wanting to try out the popular careers (i.e. Accounting, Engineering and Medic), you should really do your best, practice speaking and answering well especially.

Tips and tricks. Well, not really tricks..just some handy things you can follow. Firstly, get yourself ready for the talking. It's practically an interview, so it's really common sense. The interview I had was a group interview with 3 interviewers and it was done in Malay Language and also English; we answer according to the language used for each question. I'll go on to tell my story of it after I'm done with the other tips. Let's continue. The next tip, is to get used to the latest news and issues (besides the political ones). Things like Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, and The Malaysian Education System or even The 1 Malaysia Concept (I personally read through this thoroughly). Oh, a very important reminder, be careful of getting yourself into a trap of your own when answering questions or you might end up getting a counter-attack. An example would be revealing your own weakness. Let's say, you're applying for Computer Science. Even though you really are not good at using computers, don't tell them! Or they'll ask you something like, "then why are you applying for this course?" or "then I don't think you can make it, can you?" Just remember, prevention is better than cure.

Now, here comes appearance. When reading through an article, a writer said that it was advisable to wear a blazer for the interview. So, that's what I did and guess what, in my group, I was the only one with a blazer. It quite helped at "standing out" I guess. Dress formally and for men, wear a tie. For women, don't wear anything sexy just for the sake of "standing out". Wear something decent. Oh, I almost forgot. Another useful thing to prepare and bring is a resume or CV. JPA usually doesn't ask for one but it actually is an advantage to make one and give it to them. Make sure the resume is not too long and lists down the important academic & co-curricular achievements, & the posts you've held with any important capabilities or experiences.

Okay, the most important of all, the interview!
1. Before going, check that everything needed is ready and double-check so that you definitely nothing is left behind.

2. At the centre, before the interview, make friends with your group (you'll get a number usually). Be friendly and work together in the thought of succeeding together. Teamwork is essential.

3. When your name is called, relax. Go inside the room and be polite. Greet and don't sit down until you've been told to do so.

4. First, they usually ask you to introduce yourself. So, make sure you've prepared something for this. It usually includes great past achivements

5. They will ask you specific questions that you will have to answer with astute maturity. It might be something regarding yourself or even general knowledge. Questions like "why are you applying for overseas?" or "can't you do that in Malaysia?" is also common. Prepare yourself and speak fluently. Don't show you're scared! You shouldn't be anyway.

6. Next, a question will be given and you have to discuss among your teammates. So, use the time wisely and if possible, come up with as many points and divide the points among yourselves to avoid repeating the same things. Don't talk too long. Tell them your points and suggestions, don't get stuck in the middle of it, and end it nicely. Another advantage is to "add" when possible after someone else have spoken or when you see an opportunity (like having no one speaking at a time). Just raise your hand and say, "I'd like to add.." and make sure you really have a good point to add and it's not a repetition or you're just making trouble. By adding something, you can SHOW YOURSELF much more. The topics are as I've said, they are things related to Malaysia and can also be very general topics like the environment. It can also be something related to your field of study. Go and and think of those common topics and questions like I've mentioned up there and also in number 5.

7. Beware that there can also be questions like "give me 5 words that describe yourself". And if they say 5 words, they really mean 5 words. So, when you get questions like these, think creatively and fast!

8. When everything is over, stand up and say thank you. Shake hands with them and give a sincere smile (even if you hated the way he/she tortured you..it's his/her job). And try to just shake hands with your own gender.

9. Don't forget to say goodbye to your teammates. Go home and pray!

All in all, good luck to you future JPA scholars! If let's say you don't get it, calm down and don't give up. I myself applied to tons of scholarships and failed to get most of them, but I got this one. Just do your BEST. It's a pleasure to help. ^_^

Factors That Affected My PMR Result

The Realization
During my preparation for the Primary School Assessment Test (UPSR), I went to numerous seminars and developed a high motivation in studying for excellence. Thankfully, I got 5 A’s and successfully obtained admittance to my dream school, Kuala Lumpur Islamic School (SMKAKL). Before being admitted, I had to go through a short test and an interview. The selection seemed quite tough with students from around Selangor and Kuala Lumpur applying and everything but I managed to get through. The realization I had in mind was that every student that was admitted into this school had a minimum of 4 A’s for their UPSR and most of them were the top scorers or best students in their own primary school whereas I was just an ordinary 5 A’s scorer. That got me on the move and I made a great effort to study, to not get left behind. In addition to that, I was motivated by my school counselor at that time (Form 1 orientation). She told us (me and all of my friends there) that she used to sleep only 4 hours a day and study a lot. I took that as an example and did quite like that. I mostly slept at 2 in the morning after studying and making notes and so forth. However, this is not a very good thing to do (sleeping late). Why? Basically, it deprives you of your energy in the long run. For more info on this, you ask Mr. Google! Another factor here was that my closest friend at that time was also crazy about studying, so everything just clicked.

The Strategy
I made a lot of notes with my own cute (I think) decorations and illustrations according to the seminars and books I’ve read. Basically, I like to read interesting notes and my own interesting work. Another note-making rule that I made was to always make notes based on the textbook AND at least one reference book, to make sure I don’t lose out on anything. It helped a lot because I actually found out more than I could with just the textbook. Before I write down the notes, I usually read the texts first and understand. After that, I find the important key words and points (which usually included a second round of reading). Then, I write down the notes. Observe that in the process, I actually read the texts at least 2 times and writing it down further enhances my memory of them. There’s a catch though, doing this takes quite a lot of time as I can become too meticulous which makes it longer for me to make notes for each chapter. Nevertheless, it really helped. Besides that, I also have exercise books to use and I try to make use of the exercises that the teachers gave me, to make them as revisions. In conjunction with that, I despised copying answers even though I sometimes let others copy my work. To me, it wouldn’t help much because I won’t learn as much if copied. On the contrary, this changed in Form 3 when a teacher actually told me to copy to make sure I finish the exercises she gave. So, I am just a humble student and that’s what I did...until now. Nonetheless, I didn’t copy blindly (most of the time) so I still learned, although maybe less effectively. The best part about copying was the part where I sometimes find errors in my friends work and end up correcting them or just telling them their mistake. In conclusion, I made notes, I did exercises, and I got help from friends!

The Motivation
Well, I won’t write much here because I’ve said a lot about what motivates me in the previous post. It was from my parents, from my teachers, my friends, my competitive nature, and many more (don’t do this in essays).

The Habit

Let’s talk about the good habits first. First and foremost, I enjoyed weekends a lot because those were the times when I actually had plenty of time for myself to do anything I pleased and it was wonderful to study in the beautiful, peaceful mornings. Besides that, I would use free time to finish studying if I can. Then, when I started to have more work with the School Resource Centre (plainly called librarians), I started to use some free time for the work. I also liked to study at nights, it was always peaceful and the mood came naturally. During the early days I started to burn the midnight oil, I was always fresh and energetic. But as I said, after a while, I became a bit weaker. In Form 2, I started to sleep earlier after attending a talk that included disadvantages of inadequate sleeping and some essential eating habits. With that, I made a comparison. I actually scored higher in my exams in Form 2 where I got number 1 in every exam. Conclusively here, sleep early! And now comes the not-so-good habit...sleeping. Somehow, I started to sleep a lot in class since Form 1 and that never ended. Bad habits die hard? Even so, I had counter measures to this which was to revise later on. It wasn’t as effective as really studying in class but that was the best I could do. Another thing that took into account was the difficulty of the topic. I would usually scan the topic of the day and decide if I can actually understand it. There was once when I slept after doing this in a Maths class. I was sleeping when my teacher suddenly asked me a question. I answered it perfectly and then stayed awake after that with a sigh of relief (a hint to teachers! To awaken a student and make him or her fresh, ask a question! Always works…somehow). Here,  I’d like to point out that this counter-sleep strategy usually works for PMR (for me at least)..but it doesn’t for SPM and above. So, if possible, don’t follow the bad habit! Take the good ones. :)

The Desire
Honestly, I had the desire to become the best student in the whole country or at least the whole state. I also dreamed of having my face in the newspaper with good PMR results. I wrote the desires in a book and on a piece of paper that I placed on the table at my class in Form 3. I was confident and determined. After the PMR though, I didn’t feel that so confident of being the best because of the Malay Test incident where I actually ran out of time and screwed up an essay, the short one. Thankfully, I got an A in that (phew).

The Last Stand
About two months or so before the actual exam, I made a schedule to compensate the 9 subjects that I have to study. It was simple. There are 7 days and 9 subjects, which means I have an extra of two subjects. I gave the weekdays 1 subject per day and weekends two subjects (a mix of an easy and a tough subject). Then, I just followed the table. It was good mainly because I didn’t have to spend time everyday to decide on the subject I would study and not depend on mood. In fact, I created the mood so I studied most willingly. Other than that, I focused more on exercise rather than reading. By that time too, I didn’t touch the textbook that much other than as reference at certain times. I also didn’t forget to help friends in their endeavor for the PMR. I mostly helped in English as they actually asked for my help. It was also a way of studying for me because it is very true that as you teach others, you gain more expertise in the knowledge.

In A Nutshell
It wasn’t easy. I actually did a lot of things to achieve this, without really thinking of the results in the first place. It was the learning that was important. The test is a test, to test you after years of learning. The factors I have put are just some of the contributors to my previous success, which didn’t even include about sports and some stuff. I hope this helped in any way. It pleases me to be able to contribute to others’ lives, your life. Thank you and have a pleasant journey! ^_^

What Motivates You?

Many thanks to www.ciprianginghina.com

Motivation is like a fire inside you. When it's burning brightly, you can be very enthusiastic at almost everything. However, at times, the flame can be very small until you feel like giving up to almost anything. So, it's essential to actually know what keeps that fiery spirit, motivation, big and bright. This is very important, not only in studying but also for life. For me, there are quite a lot of things that can light up my motivation. For that, I'm going to list down some of them which I relate mostly to studying. Have a look. Yours might be the same too; keep in mind that motivational factors tend to change and sometimes add up.

1. Religion
Thanks to www.islamfortoday.com
     The first thing that motivates me is religion. Why? Firstly, in my religion, I learn that it is an obligation to study (when speaking of study). It adds meaning and objective whereby I know that I'm doing this for something and that I'm getting something for doing this. Religion also provides a sense of peace because if I fail, for example, I know that there's a place for me to hang on to. According to Dale Carnegie in his book "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living", holding to a religion is very good for a person to avoid worry and stress. That's why we don't find pious people committing suicide that easily. Besides that, in religion itself, there are always things that motivate me to keep on living and doing what's best. For instance, I always hold on to the verse "Surely, with each difficulty there is ease". So, religion gives me motivation and reason in a lot of things.

2. Family
Thanks to weltumtraum.blogspot.com
     In my opinion, family is the next closest thing after religion. They're the first ones I see in the early years of my life and the ones I have spent a lot of time with. Family has a great effect in motivating myself and a lot of other people too I believe. My parents for example, motivate me a lot by giving their support (monetarily and mentally). I even feel that it is just right to study and achieve the best I can for my parents as they actually pay me (indirectly) to do so. Well, let's just say, it's some of things I can do to repay them. In the past few weeks, I've heard of how a student actually cried to his teacher telling him that his father had never even hugged him (since he can remember, I suppose). I can feel how demotivated he is (and I think you do too) just because of that. Conclusively, my family motivates me a lot and I just love them.

3. Friends
Thanks to ladyreporter.com
     Friends add up to the list of motivators very nicely. I spend a lot of time with friends and I'm also currently living with friends in an apartment. I meet friends every time I go to class and lots of time outdoors. So, being together frequently makes them a huge factor in my motivation. At times of grief, I often consult friends for a solution or sometimes plainly for sharing. Even a pat on the back from a friend can boost up my motivation (well, I am actually quite easily motivated). Finding the right friends for motivation is also somewhat important because some friends motivate the other way around. People have always been motivated by friends in cases of drugs and alcohol. Apart from that, friends are a great source of motivation to me.

4. Movies
group2sm3batch18.blogspot.com
     This doesn't really come in an order anymore as to the religion-family-friends. Movies somehow have a great influence on my motivation. Some of the movies include The Karate Kid, Toy's Story 3, G.I Joe, Kung Fu Panda, The Reading Room, The Pursuit of Happiness, and The Great Debaters (these are just my own personal choices; there are lots more!). Why? Well, one thing is that they always include nice quotes. Other than that, I always feel this sense of enthusiasm every time after watching a nice movie (but not all movies). The storyline also affects my motivation. In short, yeah, movies can motivate me.

5. Quotes
     Nice quotes always motivate me. It gives realization and acts as a nice reminder of numerous things. Specifically, motivational quotes are always useful and I even get one almost daily (there were times when the emails don't arrive) by subscribing to http://onlinemotivator.info/. It's free (I like!) and safe of course. You just have to give your email. That's all.

6. Music
     I have to confess here that I don't really have a very good taste in most music. Meaning to say that there are lots of music that I don't know, and music I listen to that many others don't. I listen to music basically because it's nice (to me) or it reminds me of something I like. So, whenever I listen to these kind of music, especially the ones that excites me, I feel motivated. It also helps a lot when I'm sleepy and have work to do. Some music also have motivational lyrics which adds up to the motivational factor.



So those are some of the things that motivate me. Actually, there's more (which include Teachers). I just can't help but to stop here for now. Maybe I'll continue again (but that's not a promise). In a nutshell, motivation can come from many aspects of life and from many directions. It depends entirely on yourself. Eleanor Roosevelt said that "No one can make you inferior (lower than someone else) without your consent (permission)." And that's just the same with motivation. It comes naturally sometimes but there are many times when it can be controlled and achieved, and you must permit it. Finding and having the right motivation can be just the thing to spice up your day and keep you going. Have a blast!

Plan Z

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I first learned this quote during a scouts camp during my secondary school years. "Be Prepared" was one of the inspiring mottoes in scouting. So, planning ahead to meet future goals was top priority too. And it is no different from planning to get your A's or passing your exam.

We had other plans.

Plan A

Plan B

Plan X

But what if things didn't go as planned? Well, here's the final plan..




It's times like these that students (like me..sometimes) think "If only I studied beforehand."
But it's not time for that. We've got an exam coming in a week or three to two days and we gotta act fast! Unless you don't care about it..but we do here so let's get started.

The Final Review

There are a few ways to know what you should study at this hour. Face it, you don't have that much time. Chances are you might not get to revise every single thing (especially if you've been neglecting the subject from the start). So, one way is to do the past year questions (if any) and probably "spot questions" or the sort (but I generally don't trust them). They've personally helped me a lot in many circumstances. However, that ONLY might not be enough unless stated otherwise. At times, the dept or lecturer realizes this fact that students do rely a lot on past year questions and so they change it. To counter that possibility, go to the exam review. In an exam review, most likely you'll get snippets of possible questions and topics. That should come in handy. At least if you can't answer all questions, you'll be able to answer a some. Another option is to see your lecturer personally and ask him/her something more detailed than "please tell me everything". You might get some hints in the process. The last resort? Ask the best person you know (you should have made some friends) for help.

The Final Stand

If you actually have a week to face the exam, I'd say you still have plenty of time for an A unless you know nothing at all. My greatest tip here is to study as if you're having the exam the next day. Through my own observation, many students gobble up more than half of their study materials the day before the exam. Why don't you do just that in a few days? Perhaps you might actually finish studying everything. Kudos to you!

On the other hand, if you have just well about one to two days, then the following might be useful.

1. Considering that you only have this one exam left or the other exams are far apart or less difficult, then you can try not sleeping at all for one night to gobble up everything you can. The adrenaline rush (or coffee) should be sufficient to keep you going. Just make sure you collapse on your bed after the exam. Note: No drugs please!

2. Go for a study group with your friends. It might seem distracting or not enough to study with friends at this time but it should help to calm you down (that's what friends are for) and help you know things you never knew. If you have someone who knows a lot, he/she can be the leader. But if everyone is at the same level, you can find things out together. Together, we can achieve more.

3. If you have a friend who has finished studying, this is the time to bug him/her..make sure you thank him enough!

4. If you had notes and slides from the first class or lecture, review them all.

5. If you don't have the basics, pick them up as soon as possible and get going with the advanced ones. Don't just storm through the advanced questions (this applies a lot to physics and math) as it may take longer for you to understand and remember. That's wasting time. And time is not on your side so stick to the plan.

Calm Down

At one point, you may consider this to be one of the worst times. But it's no reason to use that window over there or drugs of any sort. A good friend of mine always said, "Once you enter the exam hall/room, tell yourself, I'm ready. And do your best."

Don't Repeat 


Yes, you got it. This should never happen again and you should never have to use this plan again (but trust me..many people do).

Wrap Up


The last stand depends on where you stand. If you're far back, then to get that A is hard so the next thing is not to fail. Remember, basics first, friends help, past year questions, reviews and good luck!



DISCLAIMER

Any form of effort you took from here (especially pushing yourself through the night) is entirely on your own risk. You know better whether you can handle it or not. Health comes first.


images from: https://www.facebook.com/PLANZBAND, http://secdoover.deviantart.com/

Thank You Friends!

In this long journey of study, I have had numerous encounters with obstacles which also includes the almost-failing of subjects and the heart pounding moments of mental pressure. These are normal stuff that most people face (and to say that I'm normal too.hehe). Honestly enough, I did not face these things on my own plus the fact that I never really like walking alone (although I do that lots of times). The top of the list of great people I meet that helped me all the way is of course my parents, family members and teachers. No doubt about that. However, this time I'm going to talk about the next closest thing to me..my FRIENDS!

     Before that, I'd like to point out that friends to me are not just the ones born on 1992. They also include seniors and juniors as well. OK, back to the topic, I have lots of friends and I make more of them lots of times. They say you should make as many friends as you can right? Yes, of course. Friends are mostly always helpful and encouraging. I can still remember a friend of mine that helped me out a lot in additional mathematics. He was so committed to help me that he even slept at my house for three nights to help me study. There was also once when he was watching a movie at school and I was pondering my way through an add maths question paper. At that time, I couldn't answer some questions and I asked him for help. Without hesitation, he eagerly helped me, which indirectly tells me that I am more important to him than a movie. A true friend he is. The weird part here is that I actually got higher marks than he did but then he beat me in modern maths which I was good at.  An exchange I guess.

     Another group of friends I am very grateful of are the ones who kept waking me up every morning (I lived in a hostel for 5 years and now stay in an apartment). Yes, I have a nag for waking up a bit late. That's where these friends of mine are very helpful. They wake me up everyday despite the effort they have to put in to do that. Or else, I might always be late to class or even get a long rattan kissing my bottom in the mornings. Thankfully, I have friends by my side.

      I also owe a lot to my study group members that helped a lot in the commitment and support they gave, especially the 2 great guys in form 3. They were persistent enough even though at first it didn't give the desired results. Eventually, my 2 friends here and I got straight A's in the PMR (lower secondary assessment). Here's also a hint that study group does work effectively in small groups and also with great effort and commitment. 

      Friends encourage me a lot. When I'm under the weather, they'd always be ready to lend a hand or give an advice. Messages like "I believe in you" and "I know you can do it" are always heartwarming. They help recharge my confidence to continue on with persistence and passion, knowing that my friends are always by my side. No matter how far they are to the naked eye, they are still always close to my heart. Thanks friends! I owe you guys a lot.

     In conclusion,  friends are a great source of heartfelt encouragement and super strong support. They can help us a lot in our daily lives (especially if you live with them) and we should also, in turn, help them and other friends as well. As the saying goes, one good deed deserves another.