My STPM or Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia exam was last year and boy, did I wish that I had studied my butt off! I did study but it definitely was not enough cos I had to tembak (shoot or in my case, a slang for guessing answers) my answers during the test. I sat for 4 subjects and they are Pengajian Am or PA (General Studies), Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics T. I like Bio and Math but I detest Chemistry. PA was all right. Quite simple and we had to know how to draw different kinds of graphs.
I'm feeling generous right now, so I'll share with you some tips on how to cope with these 4 subjects. The tips could work for other subjects too. We'll start with my favourite, i.e. Math.
- Practise every single day. Even if it is only for 15 minutes or you can do at least 5 questions a day.
- Pay attention in class. Listen to your teacher while he/she is explaining. Copy down the examples the teacher writes on the board. They will come in handy when you are doing your homework cos you'll need them to refer to. Don't talk too much to your friends during Math class too.
- If you don't know how to solve a problem, ask a friend who's a whiz in Math or better still, ask your teacher. If your teacher doesn't know how to solve, find another Math teacher. Make sure you have tried doing the question before asking. If you keep on asking without even trying first, nobody will be happy to help you later. Remember: God helps those who help themselves.
- If you can't get the answer after 15 or 30 minutes of trying, mark it with a question mark or any other preferred mark, and skip to the next question. Come back to the question later and try solving it again. If you have no idea how to do it, then it's time to seek help.
- If you fail your Math test, don't give up. Learn from your mistakes. Look through your exam paper and see where you have gone wrong. Your teacher will explain every question in class after they have finished marking. If your teacher doesn't explain, then it's up to you to find out the answers yourself.
- Finish your homework on time. Don't leave them for tomorrow cos there will be new homework tomorrow. Then, your work will be piling up and up. Don't procrastinate.
Next up: Biology
- There's a lot to read for Bio. But if you read once, you'll get the main idea. It's better to read at least 3 times for each chapter so that you'll be familiar with the topics. Make sure you read and understand. Don't read blindly.
- After reading a chapter, do practice questions. There are questions given after a chapter.
- For essay questions, you really do need to read a lot. My friend used to copy back his tuition notes while he studied. I guess it helped him remember. He even drew out diagrams and pictures.
- There are new words you may not be familiar with while reading Bio. Write out these words and look them up in the dictionary. Purchase a Science dictionary, as there'll be specific explanations given.
- Read up the topic before your teacher discusses it in class. It'll help you understand.
- Study Bio everyday. =)
- A lot of reading involved too. There are calculations but a little different from Math.
- Memorize the important formulas and ions.
- Get familiar with the Periodic Table.
- Study Chemistry everyday.
- Find out the meaning of words that you don't know. Ask others if you don't understand something. Pay attention to your Chemistry teacher. If your Chemistry teacher is lousy, like mine, then you had better study hard. Don't rely on your teacher. They are there to guide. Not force you to learn.
- Like Bio, read up the topic before your teacher discusses it. Read up each chapter 3 times or more and understand what you read. That's IMPORTANT.
I do not like Chemistry but I made the effort to study it as often as I could. However, don't concentrate too much on one subject. Make time for other subjects too. Balance your studying.
- This is quite a simple subject. In fact, it's the easiest among the four. But, you still have to read your PA textbook and do the questions after each chapter.
- When you've finished reading the WHOLE textbook, you can start doing model tests.
- A little Math and thinking is needed from questions 45 until 60 of Paper 1. Practise doing these questions. They are considered easy but be careful that you don't make silly mistakes.
- Learn to draw common graphs like graf bar, graf garis, carta pai and so on. Be meticulous in your work and don't leave out important details on your graph. Colour neatly and quickly. Time is crucial.
- Read the newspapers so you'll know the latest news and issues. This knowledge may help you in your PA essays.
MUET (Malaysian University English Test)
- There are 4 parts - comprehension, writing, speaking and listening.
- To improve your English, read English language newspapers like The Star. You can read story-books too.
- Look up in the dictionary if you don't know the meaning of some words.
- Talk to your friends in English. Don't be shy to speak up even if you make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Don't bother if your friends make fun of you. They have their own weaknesses too.
- Practise writing essays. Include adjectives in your essays to make it more flowery and interesting to read. Don't overdo it though.
- For the listening exam, clean out your ears before coming to school. =D I'm not kidding. It may help you listen better. Haha! Don't dream during the test. The speaker will repeat the passage or conversation. If you don't understand the first time, make sure you get a clearer picture the second time.
- As for the speaking exam, speak loud and clear. Don't look down on your notes. Look at the examiners and other candidates when you speak. Stay cool and calm. The other candidates are feeling nervous too so don't worry too much.
It's also advisable to try out past year questions. Past year questions were more difficult but they are a challenge. It'll test how much you know. Trying other schools' trial exam papers is also recommended. Different schools will set different kinds of questions. Most importantly, don't spot or think that a certain topic may come out in the real exam. They are not accurate most of the time. To be safe, study all and have faith in yourself.
Well, that's all. Good luck everyone!