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.
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!
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).
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. :)
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! ^_^