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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. ^_^

16 comments:

  1. just wanna ask u. i got only A- for biology n i'm thinking of taking medic. is it any possible that i might get the JPA scholar for it? or should i just apply for MARA?

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  2. If talking about basic requirements, yes you may. But I hv to tell you that JPA's medic scholarship (especially overseas) is not easy to get. Even MARA too. And I'm not too sure about MARA. Maybe you can ask any current MARA scholars?
    As for JPA, if you think you'd like to try, go for it. Just make sure you do real good for the interview because I heard it's tough (for medic especially). I also really encourage you to ask any current JPA medic scholars. GOOD LUCK! ^^

    p/s: It's said that doing medic in Malaysia's IPTA's is much better than overseas. Plus, you'll have a good chance of getting a JPA scholarship during degree. But it's entirely up to you. :)

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  3. HI ABA, GREAT TIPS ON THE JPA APPLN
    FYI I AM SCOUTING THE JPA & RELATED WEBSITE LIKE YOURS ON THE CORRECT PROCEDURE PROCESS TO APPLY ON MY SON'S BEHALF . MY SON IS ALREADY A YR2 MBBS STUDENT IN MANIPAL . HIS YR1 UNI EXAM WAS (2)TWO DISTINCTION AND A PASSED OUT OF (3) PAPERS - ACTUALLY HE WAS CALLED FOR VIVA FOR ALL (3) THREE PAPERS. HE WAS BACK IN MALAYSIA FOR HIS POST YR 1 UNI EXAM VACATION LAST MONTH . CAN YOU PROVIDE ASSISTANCE ON THE ABOVESAID
    AS YOU ARE AWARE , YR2 SEMESTER HAD ALREADY COMMENCED AND MY SON IS UNLIKELY TO SPEND TIME SCOUTING THE WEB FOR THE APPLN AT THIS JUNCTURE.
    PLEASE ASSISTS.
    BEST REGARDS
    KH CHEW

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  4. @peterchew
    Hi! Firstly, I'd like to admit that I applied for the JPA Overseas Degree Sponsorship Program (PILN) during the post-SPM season. At that time (2010), application was widely opened & announced for all SPM 2009 candidates.
    Your son's case is different & I must admit, harder. Nonetheless, my friends said you can apply for a jpa sponsorship if it is open on the website http://esilav2.jpa.gov.my/ or try sending them an email. Besides JPA, there are tons here http://www.studymalaysia.com/student/scholarship.php . For JPA, you can also apply for a student loan which they say can be waived if your son achieves excellent results (please check on that again). Hope this helps :D

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. the saddest thing is, starting this year JPA doesnt offer medicine. only MARA does. Thank you for the info

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  7. I see. Yeah, I've heard them exchanging majors such as Computer Science/Information Technology which used to be under JPA, is now under MARA. Nonetheless, all the best!

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  8. May I ask about how you introduce yourself? Was there any nerve-wreking questions ? What should I do when I was out of idea ? Sorry but I hope u'll answer these.

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    Replies
    1. To Adilala Suhaimi, if you were accepted for the JPA scholarship interview, congratulations! However, I have some grave news. The format for the interview is TOTALLY different this year. I know that because I went to the interview last Monday. (14/4) It consists of 3 sessions. 2 sessions in BM and 1 in BI. All of them are group work and presentation. No 1 on 1 interview like what was written in the past. You still need to touch up on the latest info too though. That is all the info that I'm going to disclose to you. Good luck!

      P.S. I got accepted to take the JPA-MARA scholarship (I applied for JPA instead of MARA) too and am currently preparing for this. It is to be held on 21/4. I hope that they use the same interview format as the JPA interview that i just attended..

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    2. Hi Adilala. Usually, I start by talking about my most current education, and go on to mentioning my most recent useful positions/experiences (just two or three) that I can elaborate more on if they inquire. Another way to go about it is to talk about your passion. For instance, my interest was working with computers, and at school I voluntarily helped maintain computers in the school computer labs. Something along those lines. Just don't say something you don't want them knowing (like applying to medicine but not doing well in biology). If possible, say something that can make them think, "Oh, I'd like to know more". Don't go into talking about your family history, parents, siblings, etc..unless they ask about them.

      Hmm..I don't remember specifically about "difficult" questions. But they did ask "what would you do" questions regarding a specific topic that my group had regarding education.

      Thank you journeraesri for mentioning that! During my time, we were also interviewed in groups. They started the session by asking each of us questions and then having us do a group discussion.

      Hope that helps! All the best :D

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    3. To journeraesri, thank u for the informations, I've also heard that from my friends. Btw, same here . I'll be going to the interview on 21/4.

      To ABA™, oh thanks. I must be careful though. And again thank you for replying.

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  9. Can I ask u a few quetions? 1) Is that computer science course same as software engineering? 2) If i want to study software engineering , should i applied for computer science? 3)which country u have applied? thx

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    Replies
    1. Hi! Sorry it's been a while. I've been bad at checking my blogs..
      In most colleges I know, software engineering falls under computer science as a specialization. So, yes, go for computer science.

      I'm studying in the USA :)

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  10. Tks very much for your post.

    Avoid surprises — interviews need preparation. Some questions come up time and time again — usually about you, your experience and the job itself. We've gathered together the most common questions so you can get your preparation off to a flying start.

    You also find all interview questions at link at the end of this post.

    Source: Top 10 interview questions and answers

    Best rgs

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  11. if they askes you why do you think you deserve this scholarship. what should i answer ?

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  12. if they askes you why do you think you deserve this scholarship. what should i answer ?

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