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Welcome! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.
If you ask any student who has taken both the SPM and A Level examinations this question "Between SPM and A Level, which one is more stressful?", it is highly likely that they will say that A Level is more stressful than SPM. I have also taken both SPM and A Level, but if you ask me the same question, I will say that SPM is definitely much more stressful than A Level. I am not joking about this, this is really what I think. Why is this the case?
I took 10 subjects for SPM, which are Malay Language, English Language, Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Information And Communication Technology, History and Moral Education, while I took 4 subjects for A Level, which are Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology.
First, consider the 5 subjects that I took in SPM but not in A Level. One of them is History. I consider History to be the most difficult subject to study in SPM, because I did not have an effective way to study History. I had to memorise every single sentence for every topic in the reference book, and I also had to memorise the same thing again many times to ensure that I would not forget them. This was extremely tedious and time-consuming, which was the main reason why I had to study long hours every day. In fact, I spent more than half of my study time during Form 5 just to study Sejarah. Therefore, Sejarah is the most stressful subject in SPM.
The next one is Moral Education. I did not have any problem memorising the 36 Nilai and their definition and answer the Nilai questions, but I felt that the KBKK questions were difficult. Usually, about 60% of the examination questions are KBKK questions, while the remaining 40% are Nilai questions. Often, the KBKK questions look easy and we feel that we have given a good answer, but the examiner may think otherwise and therefore not give us marks. So, there is a lot of uncertainty in this subject because we cannot be sure whether our answers would be accepted by the examiner or not. To help answer the KBKK questions, I had to go through and memorise everything in my teacher's notes, which was tedious.
Malay Language and English Language are the next two subjects. Compared to other subjects, language subjects are difficult because it is not possible to actually study and prepare for them. The only part of these 2 subjects that we can actually prepare for is literature. However, these is a lot to study for literature, and I feel that studying literature is very boring. Essay is the most important part of these 2 subjects because it carries a lot of marks, but it is difficult because we can't predict what essay title will appear. We can only hope that we will have the idea to write on the essay title that appears. Also, before the examination, the thought having to write a long essay definitely causes stress.
Another subject that I took only in SPM is Information And Communication Technology (ICT). The workload for ICT is quite low compared to other subjects, because there is not much to study and the examination questions are easy to answer. But despite this, very few students obtained A+ for ICT in SPM every year, probably because the minimum mark to obtain A+ is very high. The difficulty to obtain A+ for this subject caused me to feel stressed.
I took these 5 subjects in SPM but not in A Level, so the stress of these subjects are only experienced in SPM. The combined stress for these subjects is already very high, and there is still 5 other SPM subjects.
Now, consider the subjects that I took in both SPM and A Level, which are Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. These subjects are more difficult in A Level compared to SPM because in A Level, we learn these subjects in greater depth, and many of the examination questions require application of what we understand. However, we have access to the actual mark schemes and grade thresholds for A Level, unlike SPM where these are made secret. Therefore in A Level, we can certainly know the requirements of each question. It is also possible to learn the mark scheme for certain questions that appear commonly. Besides, we can just aim for the marks that is required for grade that we want to achieve.
But in SPM, since the actual mark schemes are not available to the public, we can only refer to the mark schemes for the SPM trial examination. However, these may not necessarily be the same as as the actual mark scheme, and the mark scheme for the same type of question may differ depending on the state where the SPM trial examination is held. Therefore, we can't know for sure what are the requirements of each question. There is a lot of speculation about the grade thresholds for each SPM subject, but it is impossible to find out whether they are true or not. So, to be safe, we have to aim for as high marks as possible. As a result, even though A Level is more difficult for these subjects, SPM is still more stressful.
When I was in Form 5, during school days, I would study 7 hours, from 5PM to 6PM, from 7PM to 8PM, then from 9PM to 2AM; during holidays, I would study 10 hours, from 1PM to 3PM, from 4PM to 6PM, from 7PM to 8PM, then from 9PM to 2AM. During my study hours, I hardly took any break, even if I did, each break lasted for a few minutes only. I studied seriously throughout the year, except that I relaxed for one week after every school examination. However, when I was in A Level, during school days, I would study 5 hours from 9PM and 2AM; during holidays, I would study 7 hours, from 4PM to 6PM, then from 9PM to 2AM. During my study hours, I often took breaks whenever I finish revising each chapter. Depending on the situation, each break may be as short as 5 minutes, or as long as 1 hour or more. I studied seriously only one month before each examination.
During my SPM examination, I felt very stressful and did not answer very well for many of the papers, and I was only confident of getting 7A+ 3A. Although it turned out that I obtained 9A+ 1A, that was partly by luck. However, during my A Level examination, except for a few papers, I mostly had little stress and could answer quite well. I was confident of getting 3A* 1A, but it turned out that I obtained 4A*. Therefore, even though the amount of effort I put in studying for A Level was much lower compared to SPM, I still got better results for A Level.
Besides studies, there are some other factors which causes SPM to be more stressful than A Level. One of them is that the rules at my secondary school was much stricter compared to that at my college. For example, all students in my secondary school must attend the assembly on time every day, while there is no such rule at my college. Strict rules restrict freedom, so it also contributes to stress.
In addition, during secondary school, I almost never had any outings or interesting activities with my friends. This is mainly because my upper secondary class was very inactive and I was too focused on my studies. But during A Level, every day I had lunch with my friends at the restaurants near my college, and we had outings occasionally. Having activities with friends can help reduce stress.
With all these reasons, I can very surely say that SPM is much more stressful than A Level, and this is an undeniable fact. However, I also understand that different people have different opinion, study method and lifestyle, which is probably why many do not think the same way. So, I will just agree to disagree when others say that A Level is more stressful than SPM.
For the A Level examination, there are many examination boards such as CIE, OCR, Edexcel, AQA and others. However, CIE is significantly different compared to the other examination boards. UK A Level refers to A Level by all examination boards other than CIE. CIE A Level is not considered as UK A Level.
Actually, CIE is an examination board in UK, and it is a department of the University of Cambridge. CIE A Level is also considered a UK qualification. However, unlike UK A Level, CIE A Level is only taken by students outside the UK. Students in the UK are not allowed to take CIE A Level. The syllabus for CIE A Level is also specifically designed for students outside the UK. Some students outside the UK also take UK A Level, but majority of them take CIE A Level.
One of the main differences between CIE A Level and UK A Level is that CIE A Level uses Percentage Uniform Mark (PUM), while UK A Level uses Uniform Mark Scale (UMS). Actually, the concepts of PUM and UMS are the same. Contrary to popular belief, PUM or UMS is not the raw mark or percentage you scored in the examination. Instead, PUM or UMS shows the position of your raw mark relative to the grade boundaries. PUM of 80%, 70%, 60%, 50% and 40% are defined as the grade thresholds for grades A, B, C, D and E respectively. This definition will never change, even though the grade thresholds may change from one examination session to the next.
If your PUM is 80%, it means that your raw mark is equal to the threshold for A. If your PUM is 75%, it means that your raw mark is right in between the thresholds for A and B. If your PUM is 68%, it means that after dividing the range of raw marks between the thresholds for B and C into 10 equal parts, your raw mark is 8 parts above the threshold for C and 2 parts below the threshold for B. UMS works in the same way as PUM. The only difference between them is that unlike PUM, UMS is not in shown in the form of a percentage, instead UMS is shown as marks out of a total UMS where the total UMS may or may not be 100. For example, if your UMS is 90% and the total UMS is 120, your UMS will be shown as 108/120 rather than 90%.
Another great difference between CIE A Level and UK A Level is their definition of A* grade. To get A* in CIE A Level, you have to get a PUM of at least 90% for AS and A2 combined. On the other hand, to get A* in UK A Level, you have to get a UMS of at least 90%
for A2 only, and also a UMS of at least 80% for AS and A2 combined. For both CIE A Level and UK A Level, to get a PUM or UMS of 90%, your raw marks must be higher than the threshold for A by the same amount that the threshold for A is higher than the threshold for B.
Therefore, for CIE A Level, if you obtain PUM of above 90% (for example 94%) in AS and PUM of below 90% (for example 86%) in A2, it is still possible for you to get A* for overall A Level as long as your combined PUM for AS and A2 is 90%. This means that excellent performance in AS can compensate for less excellent performance in A2. This is advantageous since AS is easier than A2. However, for UK A Level, regardless of the UMS you obtained in AS (as long as it is between 70% and 100%), you still need to obtain UMS of 90% in A2 in order to get A*. So, it is not possible for less excellent performance in A2 to be compensated by excellent performance in AS. As a result, it is definitely easier to obtain A* in CIE A Level compared to UK A Level.
However, this does not mean that UK A Level's A* is of greater value than CIE A Level's A*. Universities in UK and other countries consider A* in CIE A Level to be directly equivalent to A* in UK A Level. In my opinion, CIE A Level's definition of A* is more accurate compared to UK A Level, because CIE A Level emphasises on excellent performance for AS and A2 in overall, while UK A Level emphasises on excellent performance for A2 only. For UK A Level, a student who obtained UMS of 70% in AS and 90% in A2 (thus a combined UMS of 80%) will get A*, while another student who obtained UMS of 99% in AS and 89% in A2 (thus a combined UMS of 94%) will not get A*. This clearly shows that UK A Level's definition of A* is less accurate (and less fair).
One more difference between CIE A Level and UK A Level is that UK A Level consists of individual units while CIE A Level does not. For UK A Level, there are 2 to 3 units in AS and another 2 to 3 units in A2. There are 2 examination sessions every year, and students can take one or more units in each session, so it is possible to split the entire A Level into 4 separate sessions, 2 for AS and 2 for A2. Students who wish to retake can choose to retake only a single unit that they did not score well. For CIE A Level instead, since there are no individual units, students must take the entire AS or entire A2 in one examination session, so it is possible to split the entire A Level into only 2 separate sessions, 1 for AS and 1 for A2. Students who wish to retake must retake the entire AS or entire A2.
Besides, there are other differences between CIE A Level and UK A Level, but I will not be writing about them here. Despite these differences, CIE A Level and UK A Level are considered to be of equivalent standard by universities throughout the world. For me, I definitely preferred A Level by CIE instead of the other examination boards. Previously, I took CIE A Level and I got 4A*. Thinking back, I am glad that my college offered CIE A Level.
Most students take the SPM examination only once when they are 17 years old.
However, I took it twice, once in 2012 when I was 17 years old and once more in
2013 when I was 18 years old. Why is this the case?
Way back in 2010 when I was in Form 3, I had been looking at the past year
SPM papers for every subject so that I could have an idea on how the questions
would be like. I observed that for the Chinese Language subject, the questions
seemed very difficult, especially the Comprehension questions in Paper 2. Even
for PMR, I felt that Chinese Language was one of the most difficult subjects. Therefore,
I wondered whether or not I should take Chinese Language in SPM. Later, I heard
about the Chinese Literature subject in SPM. At that time, for the Malay Language
and English Language subjects in PMR, I felt that the easiest part of these 2
subjects is literature, because literature is the only part of language
subjects that is possible to make full preparations for. Therefore, I thought
that in the same way, Chinese Literature might me easier than Chinese Language.
As a result, I thought of taking Chinese Literature instead of Chinese Language
On 14 October 2010 after my PMR examination ended, all Form 3 students in my
school were asked to choose the subjects that we wanted to take in Form 4, and
we were told of the subjects that my school offered. Chinese Language was
offered at my school, but Chinese Literature was not, so I could not take
Chinese Literature. I decided to take Chinese Language, because I felt that as
a Chinese I should do so. I also thought that if it turns out to be too
difficult for me, I could still drop it later.
In the beginning of Form 4, I did not face problems with the Chinese
Language subject. During the Form 4 1st Mid-term Examination in March 2011, I
unexpectedly obtained 97 marks (A+) for Chinese Language. However, for this
examination, the Chinese Language paper was not set according to the SPM
examination format so it included only Summary, Continuous Writing and Idioms
which are easier sections. My teacher also marked our papers quite leniently since
it was the first examination in Form 4. Therefore, I did not feel overconfident
about the Chinese Language subject. Later in that month, the SPM 2010 results was
released. My teacher then told us that for that year, no one in my school
obtained A+ in Chinese Language and very few obtained A. My friends and I were
worried about that. Despite that, my teacher strongly advised us not to drop
Chinese Language because Chinese Language will be useful in the future.
Then in May 2011, it was the Form 4 1st Term Examination. In this
examination, the Chinese Language paper was set according to the SPM examination
format. I expected that Paper 2 would be quite difficult, but it turned out
that the Comprehension questions in Paper 2 were far more difficult than what I
had expected. For most of the questions, the answers could not be directly
found in the passage given, instead we had to fully understand the passage and then
answer based on our understanding. I tried my best to answer every question by
writing down everything that I understood, but I was not sure whether I
answered correctly or not. Consequently, I was not even confident of getting B
for Chinese Language in that examination.
That examination made me realised how difficult SPM Chinese Language
actually is. I thought that I might be dropping Chinese Language in Form 5,
because I did not want my overall SPM results to be affected by my poor result
in Chinese Language. Later, during the 2011 mid-year school holidays, I saw on
the newspaper that for that year, students who obtained straight A+ in SPM
would be guaranteed the JPA scholarship. JPA had also made it clear that
straight A+ meant A+ in all subjects taken, so taking 11 subjects and getting
10A+ 1A would not be considered as getting straight A+. Therefore, if I take
Chinese Language but do not get A+, I would be disadvantaged in this. Since it
was so difficult to get A+ in Chinese Language and I was aiming to get the JPA
scholarship, I decided to drop Chinese Language in Form 5.
In June 2011, my teacher gave back the Chinese Language paper for the Form 4
1st Term Examination. Out of my expectation, my answers for many of the
Comprehension questions were correct. I obtained 84 marks (A) for Chinese
Language and my marks was the highest in the whole Form 4. However, I felt that
I was just lucky in getting my answers right, so I did not regain my confidence
to score well in this subject. Shortly after that, my teacher started
conducting the oral test for Chinese Language which would contribute marks to
the actual SPM examination. At that time, I heard from my friends that after
taking the oral test, it would not be possible to drop Chinese Language later
and we must take it in SPM, because we would be considered to have taken part
of the examination. I asked the teacher in charge of examinations in my school
about that, and she confirmed that it was indeed true.
I decided that I must drop Chinese Language straight away and not take the
oral test. However, I was afraid to tell my Chinese Language teacher about that
because she had previously reminded us several times not to drop Chinese
Language. I told my friends that I wanted to drop Chinese Language and the news
soon spread to my teacher. She asked me about that and I explained to her that
I wanted to drop it only because I was aiming for straight A+ in SPM to get the
JPA scholarship. Then, she agreed to not let me take the oral test, but she
also advised me not to drop Chinese Language officially until Form 5. I
promised her that I would continue to attend her classes and take Chinese
Language in the next school examination.
At that time, some of my friends told me that JPA had announced that
starting from the following year, the JPA scholarship would no longer be
awarded to SPM leavers, instead it would only be awarded to leavers of STPM and
other pre-university programmes. I did not know about that because I seldom read
newspapers, and I did not believe what my friends said because I thought that they
were just trying to persuade me not to drop Chinese Language.
I continued taking Chinese Language during the Form 4 2nd Mid-term
Examination in August 2011. The Chinese Language paper was not set according to
the SPM examination format in this examination, so it was not difficult and I
managed to get 90 marks (A+). At that time, the SAPS (Sistem Analisis
Peperiksaan Sekolah) was introduced for the first time and starting from that
examination onwards, my school used the SAPS grading instead of the previous
grading. As a result, the minimum mark for A- was increased from 70 to 75,
although the minimum mark for A and A+ remained at 80 and 90 respectively.
Soon after that, it was the Form 4 2nd Term Examination. I knew that for
that examination, Chinese Language Paper 2 would be very difficult since it would
be set according to the SPM examination format. Because of this, in addition to
the increase in the minimum A- mark, I was not even confident of getting A-, so
I did not want to take Chinese Language in that examination. I told my Chinese
teacher about that, but she advised me to continue taking it. She also said
that she would make the Chinese Language paper easier in that examination, because
at that time my school achieved the status of Cluster School for the first time
and consequently there were rumours that students who did not obtain excellent
results could be kicked out of the school. Despite that, I still decided not to
take Chinese Language in that examination. I told the teacher in charge of
examinations in my school that I wanted to drop Chinese Language officially and
I still continued to attend Chinese Language classes after that, but I would
no longer take Chinese Language in school examinations. After the Form 4 2nd
Term Examination ended, my teacher gave back the Chinese Language paper and
discussed the answers with us. I looked at the Chinese Language paper and I
found out that it was not very difficult. I felt a little regret for not taking
Chinese Language in that examination, but it was already too late. In November 2011,
my school gave us the SPM 2012 registration form and we had to choose the
subjects that we wanted to take in SPM. I maintained my decision not to take
Chinese Language in SPM. It was still possible to change the subjects after
that until May 2012.
When I started Form 5 in January 2012, I still wanted to attend Chinese
Language classes. When my Chinese Language teacher knew about that, she spoke
to me and gave me a suggestion. She suggested that I register for SPM 2013 as a
private candidate and take only Chinese Language. By doing so, I would get an
SPM certificate for Chinese Language which is useful in the future, and my SPM
2012 results would not be affected by my Chinese Language results, so it is a
win-win situation. I felt that my teacher's suggestion was good so I agreed. Since
then, I planned that I would be taking Chinese Language in SPM 2013 as a
private candidate. Initially, I thought of taking it in June 2013. Later, I
found out that only Malay Language and Mathematics are available in the June
examination session, so I had to take Chinese Language in November 2013 instead.
I would also take Chinese Language for every school examination in Form 5 as a
practice, but since I had officially dropped Chinese Language, my results for
Chinese Language would not be included in the SAPS system.
During the Form 5 1st Mid-term Examination in March 2012, I took Chinese
Language, but I did not make any preparation for it because I did not take it
too important. At that time, because it had been more than 6 months since the
last examination where I took Chinese Language, I had forgotten how to write certain
Chinese characters. However, the Chinese Language paper was not difficult since
it was not set according to the SPM examination format, so I still managed to
get 87 marks (A). In April 2012, the Ministry of Education announced that
starting from that year onwards, students who obtained at least 9A+ in SPM
would be offered the KPM Bursary. This meant that even if I take Chinese
Language in SPM 2012 but do not get A+, I would still qualify for the KPM
Bursary as long as I get A+ in 9 of the other subjects that I take. However, I
still decided not to take Chinese Language in SPM 2012, because I felt that
studying for the other SPM subjects was already very stressful so I did not
want to further increase my stress by taking Chinese Language.
Then in May 2012, it was the Form 5 1st Term Examination. I again did not
prepare for Chinese Language at all. For that examination, the Chinese Language
paper was set according to the SPM examination format so Paper 2 was quite
difficult, except that my teacher made it slightly easier by removing the Poems
section from Paper 2. I still tried my best to answer the questions.
Eventually, I got 78 marks (A-). During the SPM Trial Examination in August
2012, all papers including Chinese Language were set by the Kedah State
Education Department according to the SPM examination format, so I expected
that Chinese Language Paper 2 would be difficult. I did some revision for
Chinese Language on the day before the test since no other subject was tested
on the same day as Chinese Language. Paper 2 turned out to be easier than what
I had expected. I managed to get 90 marks (A+) for Chinese Language, which was
the highest mark in the entire Form 5.
After completing SPM 2012, I started studying A Level at Taylor’s College
Subang Jaya on 14 January 2013. On 21 March 2013, the SPM 2012 results was
released and I obtained 9A+ 1A. On 24 March 2013, I went to the Kulim Education
Office to register for SPM 2013 as a private candidate. Initially, I wanted to
take the examination either at SMK Sultan Badlishah or SMJK Chio Min, but both
of them were not available for private candidates, so I chose SMK Kulim.
In June 2013, the Kedah State Education Department sent me a letter to
inform me that my oral test for SPM Chinese Language would be held at Hotel
Seri Malaysia, Alor Star on 3 August 2013. Luckily, my college had one week of
holidays at that time so I could take the oral test. The oral test consisted of individual test and group test.
The individual test was difficult, but the group test was quite easy. The
examiners did not tell me my marks but I accidentally saw that they gave me
26/30 for the individual test. Since the group test was much easier, I assumed
that I got higher marks for the group test. Only the higher of the marks for
the individual test or group test would be taken into consideration.
In October 2013, I wanted apply to study Medicine at the University of Hong
Kong (HKU). I found out that HKU requires all applicants to have obtained grade
C or higher for Chinese Language in IGCSE or its equivalent (SPM is an equivalent
to IGCSE). I was glad that I decided to take Chinese Language in SPM 2013,
because otherwise I would not be able to meet the entry requirements for HKU. Later
in that month, I received the timetable and statement of entry for SPM 2013. My
examination would be held at SMK Keladi, although I chose SMK Kulim when I
registered for SPM. Chinese Language would be tested on 3 December 2013. That
was lucky because I had other examinations around that time and they did not
clash with it. The SPM Chinese Language paper was just 4 days after the last
day of my AS Level examination and 2 days before my IELTS Speaking test.
During my AS Level examination, I had 2 weeks break from 12 November to 25
November 2013. During the 2 weeks, I mostly revised for the remaining AS Level subjects,
but I also spent some time revising for SPM Chinese Language. I was worried
that I might have forgotten how to write many Chinese characters as it had been
about 15 months since I last took Chinese Language in the SPM Trial
examination, so I tried to remember every Chinese character that I came across
in the reference books. On 3 December 2013, I took SPM Chinese Language at SMK
Keladi. I decided to just take it easy. Paper 1 was not difficult, while Paper
2 was quite difficult but still slightly easier than what I had expected. I was
able to remember how to write all the Chinese characters that I wanted to write
during the examination. I was not sure what grade I could get for Chinese
Language, but I hoped that I could get A+ or A or at least A-.
The SPM 2013 results was released at 10AM on 20 March 2014. I was in college
at that time and I checked my results through online. I obtained A- for Chinese
Language in SPM 2013. Although I felt a little disappointed for not getting A,
I was still quite satisfied with my results. My Chinese Language results met
the requirements for HKU. The Ministry of Education then sent my SPM 2013
results slip to my house. Finally on 7 June 2015, I got my SPM 2013 certificate
at the Kedah State Education Department in Alor Star.
Looking back, I felt that I made the right decision by taking Chinese
Language in SPM 2013 instead of not taking it at all or taking it together with
the other subjects in SPM 2012. Even though I was eventually rejected by HKU,
having a SPM certificate for Chinese Language would be useful for me in the
future. Some of my friends think that if I took Chinese Language in SPM 2012, I
might be able to get A or even A+, and I did not have to go through the hassle
of taking SPM twice. However, in my opinion, studying for the other SPM
subjects was already very stressful, so taking Chinese Language in SPM 2012
would make this worse. On the other hand, studying for the AS Level examination
was much less stressful, so it was the right choice to take Chinese Language in
SPM 2013 at the same time as the AS Level examination.
When it comes to education, there are several plans that everyone
has to make: what pre-university programme to study after secondary school,
what degree course to study, which university to study, how to get a
scholarship, and so on. These plans are important as they will determine our
future. Currently, I am studying Medicine in university. Have you ever
wondered, how did I make these plans in the past?
When I was still a child, the first ambition I had was to be
an architect, because my father is an architect, so I wanted to follow him.
However, I knew little about how the job of an architect is like, and I had no
idea whether I am actually interested in architecture or not. Later, as I grew
up, I observed that my father's job of an architect is quite busy and
stressful. I also disliked and was very poor in arts. Besides, there were a few
times where I followed my father to construction sites, and I did not feel
comfortable being in such places. All these made me question my ambition to be
an architect. Later, I realised that I had interest in Medicine. This, in
addition to the fact that I like to help others, caused me to change my
ambition and I wanted to become a doctor instead. Then in September 2009 when I
was in Form 2, an incident happened, and it strengthened my ambition to be a
doctor. (That incident involved my family, so to protect my family's
confidentiality, I am not going to explain about that incident here.) Since then,
I had decided that I want to study Medicine. My parents preferred that I study
Engineering, but they did not oppose my decision, while my grandparents fully
supported my decision. Therefore, long before completing secondary school, I
had planned the degree course that I want to study.
Since when I was young, my family had planned to let me
study in Australia when my enter university, mainly because my parents
previously graduated from a university in Australia. I initially agreed to
their plans, but later as I grew up, I felt that I preferred to study in
Malaysia instead of Australia, mainly because I was used to the environment in
Malaysia and I knew it would be difficult for me to adapt to the environment in
Australia. However, I did not tell my family about that because they might feel
unhappy. Then when I was in secondary school, my grandparents heard that there
are many who study in Malaysian universities, and they felt that it might be
better for me to study locally since the cost would be much lower than studying
in Australia. I definitely agreed with them, and I told them that all the while
I had wanted to study locally. My parents also agreed about that. Since then, I
had planned to study Medicine in a local university. At that time, I only knew
about local public universities such as USM and UM, but not any of the local private
But what about my plans on the pre-university programme?
Since primary school, I wanted to study STPM after completing Form 5. The
reason was that by studying STPM, I could continue studying in the same secondary
school and continue staying in Kulim for another 2 years. At that time, I did
not know about any pre-university programmes other than STPM, and I often
questioned why many students chose not to study STPM. However, somewhere during
year 2010 when I was in Form 3, my grandparents came to know about a
pre-university programme which is the MOE Matriculation. According to what they
heard, students who study Matriculation are guaranteed entry into local public
universities as long as they pass its examination, although they may have to
get better results than that in order to study the course they preferred, while
students who study STPM are not guaranteed entry into local public universities
despite getting excellent results. Matriculation is also much easier to study
compared to STPM. Therefore, they felt that studying Matriculation is much
better compared to STPM. I agreed with my grandparents about this. Since then,
I planned to study Matriculation after completing Form 5, and I no longer
wanted to study STPM. Unlike STPM, only students who are offered Matriculation
can study it, and the offers are given based on the SPM results. At that time,
I thought that I could get the offer for Matriculation as long as I get
straight A in SPM, and I believed that it would not be too difficult for me to
get that result. When my parents knew that I wanted to study Matriculation,
they also agreed with my plan.
After entering Form 4 in year 2011, I had a new aim. In
addition to getting the offer for Matriculation, I also aimed to get the JPA scholarship.
At that time, the JPA scholarship was awarded based on the SPM results. Initially,
my target was to get only straight A but not straight A+ in SPM, because I
thought that straight A would be sufficient in order to be offered
Matriculation and the JPA scholarship. Later in June 2011, I saw on the newspaper
that for that year, only students who obtained straight A+ in SPM would be
guaranteed the JPA scholarship. Therefore, I set myself a new target of getting
straight A+ in SPM, so that I could get the JPA scholarship. Shortly after
that, I heard of rumours that starting from the following year, the JPA
scholarship would no longer be awarded to SPM leavers, instead it would only be
awarded to leavers of STPM and other pre-university programmes. I thought that
the rumour was not true so I just ignored it.
In April 2012 when I was in Form 5, the Ministry of
Education announced that starting from year 2012 onwards, the KPM Bursary would
be offered to all students who obtained at least 9A+ in SPM, and it will
sponsor for pre-university programmes such as STPM, Matriculation and A level.
They also announced that students sponsored by the KPM Bursary could be offered
the JPA scholarship for their degree course after completing the pre-university
programme, provided that they meet the requirements. However, the newspaper
article regarding that announcement was unclear in some parts so I could not
fully understand it. My lack of understanding about the KPM Bursary caused me
to not take it seriously. Later, I heard that 2 of the seniors in my school were
not offered Matriculation on that year, even though both of them obtained
straight A+ in SPM and were offered the KPM Bursary. This gave me the
impression that one had to get straight A+ in SPM to even stand a chance of
being offered Matriculation. I told myself that I must get straight A+ in SPM,
and I prayed that I would get the offer for Matriculation. At that time, I felt
that getting the offer for Matriculation was more important than getting the
Later in year 2012, my parents told me that other than
Matriculation, A level is also a good pre-university programme, and I could
study A level at Taylor’s College or Sunway College in Subang Jaya. They also
said that I could enrol for A level using my SPM trial examination results and
start A level in January 2013 before my actual SPM results is released.
However, I was not interested in A level because I thought that it is only for
students who want to study overseas, while I wanted to study in Malaysia. I
then planned that I would study A level only if I fail to get the offer for
Matriculation, but even then I would start A level only after my actual SPM
results is released, because I did not want to move from Kulim to Subang Jaya
so soon in January 2013 and I wanted to relax for a few months after finishing
SPM. At that time, I preferred Sunway College over Taylor’s College, because I
felt that the name ‘Sunway’ sounds much better than ‘Taylor’s’ which sounds
like ‘tailors’. Later, I heard that many colleges have intakes in January, April
and July every year, so this showed that there is the option to start studying
after the actual SPM results is released.
On 10 August 2012, I applied for Matriculation through
online, and I selected Kolej MARA Kulim, Kolej Matrikulasi Pulau Pinang and
Kolej Matrikulasi Selangor as my preferred colleges. I hoped that I would be
offered to study Matriculation at Kolej MARA Kulim, so that I could continue to
stay in Kulim. However, during my SPM examination in November 2012, I did not
answer well for many of the papers. This was probably because I was too
stressed due to studying too hard. As a result, I was only confident of getting
7A+ 3A, and I gave up hope on getting straight A+. My chance of getting the
offer for Matriculation would be low without straight A+ in SPM, so I realised
that I had to make alternative plans. I hoped that I could get 9A+ 1A in SPM so
that I could still qualify for the KPM Bursary, but I was not even confident
about that. I lied to my family that I was confident of getting straight A+ in
SPM, because I did not want them to feel worried. However, I did not tell them
anything about the KPM Bursary, because I was worried that if they knew the KPM
Bursary existed, they would assume that I would definitely get it since I had
told them I could get straight A+ while it only requires 9A+, and consequently
they might not make any alternative plans for me.
On 29 November 2012 which was 2 days after my SPM
examination ended, my parents telephoned me and advised me to enrol for A level
at Taylor's College for the January 2013 intake, giving the reason that there
was no guarantee that I would get the offer for Matriculation. They also said
that I could still switch to Matriculation later if I got the offer. Since I
knew I had a low chance of getting the offer for Matriculation, I agreed to
study A level first. However, I told my parents that I wanted to start A level
in April 2013 instead of January 2013 and that I preferred to study at Sunway
College instead of Taylor's College. My parents agreed to let me decide myself
whether to study at Sunway College or Taylor's College. However, they insisted
that I must start studying in January 2013 because most students would start at
that time and they said that the April intake is most probably available for
diploma programmes only but not A level. I refused to listen to them and I argued
with them. As a result, my parents got angry and they ended the phone call
abruptly. I felt very stressed about that. When my grandparents knew about the
incident, they said that they would always respect my own decision and that
they would try to tell my parents to do the same. On the following day, my
parents telephoned me again and it seemed that they were not angry any more.
They told me that both Taylor's College and Sunway College would be having an
open day soon and asked me to attend it. They also said that after attending
the open day, I would understand that I had to start in January 2013. I agreed
to attend the open day.
On 7 December 2012, my parents took me to have a look at the
locations of both Taylor's College and Sunway College. After looking at their
locations, I felt that I did not like the location of Sunway College, and instead,
Taylor's College's location is much better. Therefore, I changed my mind and preferred
Taylor's College over Sunway College. I decided to attend the open day for
Taylor's College only but not Sunway College. On 8 December 2012, I attended
the Taylor's College’s open day with my parents. During the open day, the
course counsellor introduced us the pre-university programmes offered by
Taylor's College which are A level, SAM, CPU and IB. I decided to choose A
level over the others because it is fully examination based which suits my
study style. The counsellor also showed us the universities which former
Taylor’s College students were studying in. For Medicine course, many of them
studied at IMU which is a local private university. That was the first time
where I heard about IMU. I registered for Taylor's College’s A Level programme
on the spot. The course counsellor said that I could choose to start the
programme either in January or April, but he strongly advised me to start in
January because students who start in April would have to do self-study to
cover up for what they had missed during the first 3 months. Therefore, I had
no choice but to start A level in January 2013. After attending the open day
for Taylor’s College, I searched on Google about IMU. I found out that IMU is
quite a good university, and it accepts both A level and Matriculation. Since
then, I hoped that I would be able to study Medicine at IMU.
I started studying at Taylor's College on 14 January 2013. I
was able to adapt to life at Taylor's College easily, but in the beginning I
did not like it, because I preferred to study Matriculation. I kept telling my
parents that I would definitely switch to Matriculation if I got the offer
later, even though I knew that my chance of getting the offer was very low.
However, as time went on, I began to enjoy life at Taylor's College, mainly
because of the excellent facilities there and the freedom that I could enjoy
due to the lenient rules there. Soon, I had enjoyed life at Taylor's College so
much that I no longer wanted to study Matriculation. However, I did not tell my
parents about that, as I felt that this would be an 'admission of defeat',
because earlier I was so sure that I wanted to study Matriculation but I now
realised that my parents were right in asking me to study at Taylor's College.
On 21 March 2013, my SPM results was released and I obtained
9A+ 1A, so I met the requirements for the KPM Bursary. The subject which I did
not get A+ was English. At that time, I finally told my family about the
existence of the KPM Bursary and that it would sponsor for A Level, but I also
noted that its requirement might change on that year since the Ministry of
Education had not yet announced about the KPM Bursary for that year. I knew
that it was highly unlikely that I would be offered Matriculation because I did
not get straight A+ in SPM, but I did not feel sad about that since I no longer
wanted to study Matriculation. Then, it was confirmed on 24 March 2013 that I
would be offered the KPM Bursary.
On 29 March 2013, Taylor's College gave a briefing for all
students who were offered the KPM Bursary. During the briefing, we were told
that after completing A Level under the KPM Bursary, we could be offered the
JPA scholarship for our degree course if we are successful in getting an
unconditional offer from one of the universities in the JPA's list. For
Medicine course, the JPA's list at that time included all local public
universities and the top 10 foreign universities according to the Times Higher
Education ranking, where 6 of them were US universities and the other 4 were UK
universities. Local private universities such as IMU were not in the JPA's list
so they would not be sponsored. This was a problem, because A Level was not
accepted for entry into Medicine course at local public universities, and the Medicine
course at those 6 US universities were only available for postgraduate entry.
To make matters worse, those 4 UK universities included Cambridge University
and Oxford University, but it is only possible to apply to either one of them,
not both. Therefore, in order to be sponsored by the JPA scholarship to study
Medicine, the only way is to apply to either Cambridge University or Oxford
University, as well as the 2 other UK universities in the JPA's list, and get
offered a place by 1 of the 3 universities. Since those universities are very
highly ranked, it would be very competitive to get an offer. Even then, there
was no 100% guarantee that we would be offered the JPA scholarship. Therefore, it
was extremely difficult to get the JPA scholarship for Medicine course, and I
gave up hope on getting it. When I told my parents about that, they advised me
not to give up so easily, but they also reassured me that they could afford the
study fees for the Medicine course at IMU. So, I planned to study Medicine at
IMU after completing A Level and let my parents fund my studies.
Taylor's College had 2 weeks of holidays from 30 March 2013
to 14 April 2013 and I went back to Kulim during that time. In Kulim, I often
had conversations with my grandparents regarding my future. My grandparents
said that they hoped that I could get the offer to study Medicine at a top UK
university such as Cambridge, and be sponsored by the JPA scholarship. I
replied that this would be quite difficult, and that I preferred to study
locally which was what I planned all the while. They then said that it would be
silly for me to reject the opportunity to study overseas. I then argued that
they had previously agreed that it would be better for me to study locally, so
now they should not change their view on that. At last, my grandparents agreed
to leave the final decision about this to myself, while I also promised them
that I would still try applying to the UK universities in the JPA’s list.
At that time, my grandparents also advised me to continue
studying A Level at Taylor's College even if I am offered Matriculation, and
they gave several reasons for that. Since I no longer wanted to study
Matriculation, I agreed with my grandparents that I should continue studying at
Taylor's College. However, I strongly disagreed with one of the reasons they
gave for that. My grandparents said that since majority of my classmates in
Taylor's College obtained A+ for English in SPM while I did not, I should
continue studying at Taylor's College and learn from my classmates in order to
improve my English. I did not like it whenever my grandparents asked me to
learn from others, because I preferred to teach others and let others learn
from me instead, and I felt that I could also improve myself by teaching
others. I remembered that during Form 5, I had a crush on a girl (not any more
now) who was weak in academics, so I often taught her and I felt happy about
that. However, my grandparents said that I should learn from others instead of
teaching others, because by teaching others I could only improve within my own
abilities, but by learning from others I could improve beyond my own abilities.
I was very unhappy after hearing what my grandparents said because that signposted
that it was wrong for me to teach my crush previously. Consequently, I refuted
my grandparents' advice about that, even though I actually wanted to continue
studying A Level at Taylor's College. As a result, my grandparents thought that
I really wanted to study Matriculation if I get the offer.
On 5 April 2013, my grandfather met one of his former
student who previously studied Matriculation and was studying Medicine at a
local public university at that time, and spoke to him for some time. My
grandfather told me and my grandmother that according to that student, studying
Matriculation is not easy as it seems because life is difficult, since it is
compulsory for all students to stay in the hostel which has poor facilities,
even if their house is near the college, and students are only allowed to go
out once every 2 weeks. I agreed with that and I felt happy because my
grandfather could finally give a good reason to advise me to continue studying
at Taylor's College. I wanted to tell my grandparents straight away that I no
longer wanted to study Matriculation, but before I could tell them, my
grandfather added that despite the difficult life, studying Matriculation has
its advantages according to that student. The main advantage is that
Matriculation students could get into local public universities easily because
they are given priority over students studying STPM or other pre-university
programmes. In particular, during that student's batch, all students in his
Matriculation college who applied for Medicine course at local public
universities, were successful in being offered a place, as long as they
obtained straight A in the Matriculation examination. That student also told my
grandfather that many students who were offered Matriculation only got straight
A but not straight A+ in SPM, so I still had a considerable chance of getting
the offer for Matriculation.
My grandparents then said that although Matriculation life
may be difficult, it would be just 12 months, and this is outweighed by the
fact that I would be guaranteed entry into Medicine course at local public
universities. They also said that studying A Level at Taylor's College under
the KPM Bursary is not that good after all since it would be difficult to get
the JPA scholarship for Medicine course. They felt that if I could study
Matriculation and then get into local public universities, then it would not
matter even if I do not get the JPA scholarship since the study fees for local
public universities are quite low. Besides, they felt that since I did not want
to study overseas, it would be better for me to study Matriculation instead of
A Level. My grandparents also thought that I preferred to study Matriculation.
All these reasons caused them to change their mind and they began advising me
to switch to Matriculation if I got the offer, instead of continue studying at
Taylor's College. Later, they told my parents about this. My parents seemed to
agree with my grandparents, and they also said that Matriculation students
could enter both local public universities and private universities but A Level
students could not enter local public universities, implying that Matriculation
is a better choice.
I began to feel a little worried that my family might force
me to switch to Matriculation if I got the offer. Even after knowing the
advantages of studying Matriculation, I definitely did not want to switch to
Matriculation, because by doing so I would be separated with my friends in
Taylor's College and I could no longer enjoy the freedom and excellent facilities
in Taylor's College. Therefore, I quickly accepted the KPM Bursary on 18 April
2013, and I chose A Level as my programme of choice and Taylor's College as my
college of choice. After accepting the KPM Bursary, it is not possible to
change the programme and college of choice unless if I give up the bursary. So,
in case I am offered Matriculation and my family forces me to switch, I could
use this as an excuse not to switch. However, my grandparents said that I
should switch to Matriculation even if that meant I would be losing the KPM
Bursary, because studying Matriculation is free anyway.
On 24 April 2013 which was one day before the results of the
application for Matriculation was released, my grandmother asked me whether I
would be switching to Matriculation if I am offered Matriculation. I replied
that I would be switching only if I am offered to study at Kolej MARA Kulim. I
replied like that just to avoid her from feeling unhappy, but in reality, I did
not want to switch even if I got Kolej MARA Kulim. However, my grandmother
wanted me to switch if I got the offer regardless of which Matriculation
college I was offered. I then reminded her that most likely I would not get the
offer because I did not obtain straight A+ in SPM. She then warned me not to
lie to her about the results, otherwise she would be very angry. After that
conversation with my grandmother, I felt very stressed. If what my
grandfather's former student said was true, it was possible that I would be
offered Matriculation, and if that happened, I would be forced to switch to
Matriculation. I really did not want to switch, so I kept praying that I would
not get the offer. This was such an irony, because in the past I wanted to
study Matriculation so much, but now it is the exact opposite. On 25 April 2013, the results of the application for
Matriculation was released and I did not
get the offer for Matriculation. I felt happy and relieved about that because I
could continue studying at Taylor's College, but in front of my family I
pretended to feel disappointed about that. My grandmother believed me about that.
My family then told me not to feel sad and said that studying A level at
Taylor's College is also quite good.
However, I later found out that my greatest enemy in
secondary school, Thinnesh Kumar, got the offer for Matriculation, even though
my SPM results was much better than him. I was unhappy about that because I
felt that Thinnesh Kumar did not deserve it. So, I thought that I must also get
the offer for Matriculation so that I would not lose to him in this matter. I
submitted an appeal for Matriculation through online. If my appeal was
successful, I would not tell my family about that, and I definitely would not
switch to Matriculation, because I just wanted an offer. Later, my grandfather
came to know that 2 of my secondary school friends whose SPM results were not
as good as mine were offered Matriculation, so he advised me to appeal for
Matriculation. I told him that I had made an online appeal, but he preferred
that I go to the Ministry of Education to make an appeal. My grandfather also
told my father about that. At that time, my father had a friend who worked in
the Ministry of Education. He asked his friend for advice about my case, and
his friend said that students who were offered the KPM Bursary would no longer
be offered Matriculation, so that it is fair to those who did not get the bursary.
His friend also told him that if I go to the Ministry of Education to appeal
for Matriculation, the appeal might be successful, but then I would lose the
KPM Bursary. Therefore, I had to choose between Matriculation and KPM Bursary.
My choice was definitely the KPM Bursary, but due to the
fear of 'admission of defeat' as I mentioned earlier, I did not immediately
tell my father my choice, instead I told him to give me some time to decide. My
father then said that soon it would be the 2013 General Election on 5 May 2013
and the appeal could only be done after that, so I still had time until then to
decide. However, my father also noted that he had already told his friend that
he wanted to go ahead with the appeal, so if I choose the KPM Bursary over
Matriculation, he would have to tell his friend otherwise. On 6 May 2013, I
finally told my father that I chose the KPM Bursary, because I was worried that
if I still do not tell him, I might really lose the bursary. However, after my
father knew my decision, he still wanted to go to the Ministry of Education to
appeal for Matriculation. He retracted his statement earlier and reassured me
that according to his friend, even if I continue with the appeal and the appeal
turns out to be successful, I would not lose the KPM Bursary unless if I then
accept the offer for Matriculation. With my father's reassurance about that, I
agreed to continue appealing for Matriculation.
On 8 May 2013, my father asked me to write a letter for the Matriculation
appeal. He actually wanted to go to the Ministry of Education to appeal on the
next day, but he did not tell me about that. Because of that, in addition to
the fact that I actually did not want to study Matriculation anymore, I did not
put in my effort to write a good letter, and I also did not prepare any other
important documents such as photocopies of my SPM results slip and my identity
card for the appeal. Consequently on 9 May 2013, when my father went to the
Ministry of Education for the appeal, he had to go from one department to
another to get those documents because he did not have them, and the whole
process took him about 8 hours. He was unhappy about that and he blamed me for
not providing him with those documents beforehand. Only at that time I knew
that my father had gone to the Ministry of Education.
Soon after that incident, another problem arose. When I
accepted the KPM Bursary earlier, I chose to continue with the January intake
of Taylor's College instead of switching to the July intake, and the Ministry
of Education had clearly stated that this is allowed. The main reason I wanted
to remain in the January intake was because I did not want to separate with my
college classmates. Also, I could enter university half year earlier compared
to students in the July intake. However, many of the students who received the
KPM Bursary had not started studying A Level in January, so their only option
was to start in July. Besides, some of the Bursary students who already started
A Level in January, including 2 of my college classmates, chose to switch to
the July intake. As a result, majority of the Bursary students would be in the
July intake and I was among the minority who were in the January intake. Consequently,
my mother preferred that I switch to the July intake. She was worried that the
Ministry of Education might simply withdraw my KPM Bursary if I did not switch
to the July intake. She was also concerned that even if they do not withdraw my
bursary, I might be disadvantaged in certain ways for being in the minority
group of Bursary students in the January intake. Besides, Bursary students in
the July intake would get 6 additional months of allowance compared to those in
the January intake, so my mother wanted me to take advantage of that. I
explained to her that it was definitely not true that I would lose my KPM
Bursary or be disadvantaged, and that entering university earlier is more
important than the additional allowance. However, my mother did not fully
believe what I said and she still wanted me to switch to the July intake. I
made it clear to her that I would definitely not switch to the July intake.
Although she did not force me to switch, this incident caused some
misunderstandings within my family, which then led to a series of family
Somewhere in May 2013, my father told me that he saw an
advertisement on the newspaper that the JPA scholarship is available for
Medicine course at Perdana University which is a local private university, and
he advised me to apply to Perdana University. I did not believe that because I
knew that the JPA's list of universities only included local public
universities and foreign universities but not local private universities.
However, my father showed me the advertisement to prove that it really existed.
I then checked the website of Perdana University. The website was poorly
designed and had little information about the university, so I had the feeling
that the advertisement was fake and therefore I did not pay much attention to
Perdana University. Later in that month, when I was searching on Google for
JPA's list of universities, I came across an updated list. The updated list was
similar to the previous list, except that the updated list also included local
private universities such as IMU, AIMST, Monash Malaysia, NUMed Malaysia and
Perdana University. I felt very happy about that and I regained hope of getting
the JPA scholarship, although I was aware that it is still not easy as most
likely I would need to attend interviews for it. That also made me realised
that the Perdana University's advertisement earlier was actually true. At that
time, I did not know that NUMed Malaysia is the Malaysian branch of Newcastle
University UK, so I did not pay much attention to it.
On 13 June 2013, the results of the appeal for Matriculation
was finally out, and my appeal was unsuccessful. I mostly felt happy about that
because I definitely did not want to study Matriculation anymore even if the
appeal was successful, and the unsuccessful appeal meant that there would no
risk that I would lose the KPM Bursary. I was a only little disappointed that I
ultimately lost the 'battle' with my greatest enemy, Thinnesh Kumar, to get the
offer for Matriculation.
On 18 July 2013, the Ministry of Education organised a
briefing at the Multi Purpose Hall of Taylor's College for all Bursary students
in my college. Before the briefing started, we were given the offer letter for
KPM Bursary. With the offer letter, it was confirmed that I received the KPM
Bursary to study A Level at Taylor's College. During the briefing, the officers
from Ministry of Education talked mostly about the KPM Bursary and very little
about the JPA scholarship. Then during the question and answer session, many
students asked about the JPA scholarship, but the officers declined to answer
most of the questions regarding JPA scholarship, giving the reason that JPA and
Ministry of Education are 2 different entities so we should contact JPA for any
enquiries about the JPA scholarship. One of the few things that the officers
said about the JPA scholarship was that Bursary students would not be given any
priority over non-Bursary students when applying for the JPA scholarship. That
made me and other students feel worried, but I decided to just leave it to
fate. Later, one of my close friend in college told me that according to one of
his friend who also received the KPM Bursary, Bursary students need not be
interviewed when applying for the JPA scholarship, unlike the non-Bursary
students. I did not fully believe that, but I hoped that it would be true.
On 17 September 2013, I submitted the application to UK
universities through UCAS. Even though I preferred to study in Malaysia instead
of overseas, I still decided to apply to UK universities because I felt it
would be good to widen my choice. I chose to apply to Oxford, UCL and ICL
because they were in the JPA’s list of universities. UCAS allowed me to apply
to up to 4 universities for Medicine, so I also applied to KCL which was not in
the JPA’s list. Then in early October 2013, one of my college friend who also
received the KPM Bursary got the latest JPA’s list of universities from the
office of Taylor’s College, and she showed me the list. In this list, for Medicine
course at foreign universities, the 4 UK universities remained the same, but all
the 6 US universities had been removed and replaced with HKU, NUS, Monash
Australia, KCL, Manchester and Edinburgh. This list continued to include local
private universities. I liked the new JPA’s list because it made it easier to
get the JPA scholarship for Medicine at foreign universities, and KCL which I
applied to was now in the list. I planned to apply to HKU, NUS and Monash
Australia. I remembered that I liked the environment in Singapore and Hong Kong
when I went there in the past few years because they were similar to the
environment in Malaysia, so I felt that it would be great if I could study in
HKU or NUS. At that time, I no longer rejected the idea of studying overseas
that much, unlike in the past. I applied to HKU on 21 December 2013.
In January 2014, I was rejected by all the 4 UK universities
that I applied to. Later in that month, I started researching on the local
private universities that are in the JPA’s list, because their application
would be opening soon. It was at that time where I first knew that NUMed
Malaysia is the Malaysian branch of Newcastle University UK, and I was
interested to study there. I applied to IMU on 21 February 2014 and then
Perdana University on 31 March 2014. Later on 29 April 2014, I was rejected by
On 20 May 2014, Taylor’s College had a briefing for all
students who were sponsored by the KPM Bursary. During the briefing, they told
us that it was almost guaranteed that all Bursary students would be offered the
JPA scholarship as long as we met the requirements, and we need not attend any
interview, just that we had to attend the BTN camp if we wanted to study
overseas. This showed that what the officers from Ministry of Education said
during the briefing in the previous year was not true. Then on 29 May 2014,
there was another briefing for Bursary students at my college organised by JPA.
The officers from JPA told us the requirements and procedure to get the JPA
scholarship during the briefing. They also told us that they had once again
updated the JPA’s list of foreign universities for Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy,
and the new list included many universities not in the list previously. I did
not bother to apply to those added universities, because I had decided
that I would be studying either at HKU, NUMed or IMU. At the time, my 1st choice of university was HKU, my 2nd choice was NUMed while my 3rd choice was IMU.
I received the conditional offer from IMU on 31 May 2014. I
applied to NUMed Malaysia on 5 June 2014. From 16 June to 20 June 2014, I
attended the BTN camp which is required for all students who would be studying
overseas under the JPA scholarship. At that time, all the foreign universities
that I applied to had rejected me, with the only exception of HKU which still had not replied me, so I still
had the chance of studying at HKU, and that was why I attended the BTN camp.
Then, I received the conditional offer from NUMed Malaysia on 26 June 2014. On 23 July 2014, my
parents took me to the JPA headquarters in Putrajaya to get the JPA scholarship
conditional offer letter because I had to submit it to NUMed Malaysia in order
to avoid paying the deposit. At the JPA headquarters, I submitted my forecast A
Level results, my conditional offer letter from NUMed and a photocopy of my
identity card, then I was given the JPA scholarship conditional offer letter on
On 12 August 2014, my actual A Level results was released
and I obtained 4A*. With that, NUMed Malaysia converted my conditional offer to
unconditional offer. However, I still did not receive the reply from HKU about
my application outcome. On 17 August 2014, I decided to stop waiting for HKU to
reply and choose NUMed Malaysia instead, because I was worried that I might not
have enough time to complete the procedure to get the JPA scholarship if I
continued waiting. I completed the registration on the JPA eProfiling website
and selected NUMed Malaysia as my university of choice. Then, I e-mailed my
actual A Level results, my unconditional offer letter from NUMed and other
required documents to JPA.
On 20 August 2014, I received the offer for JPA scholarship
and I was able to login to the JPA ePenawaran website. I then accepted the
offer through the website. Then, HKU finally rejected me on 27 August 2014. On
2 September 2014, my mother bought the Hasil stamps for the agreement of the
JPA scholarship. Then on 3 September 2014, I opened a new Bank Islam account
which was required in order to receive the monthly allowances from JPA, while
my father brought the JPA scholarship agreement to the Pejabat Hasil to remit
the Hasil stamps. My mother then took me to the JPA headquarters on 4 September
2014 to submit the agreement and other required documents. With that, I had
completed the procedure for getting the JPA scholarship. I moved to Johor Bahru
on 20 September 2014 and started studying Medicine at NUMed Malaysia on 22
September 2014. Later on 15 October 2014, I received my first allowance from
JPA, and this confirmed that I am sponsored by the JPA scholarship to study at
Now, I am studying Medicine at NUMed Malaysia under the
sponsorship of the JPA scholarship. I don’t have much plans for the future now,
I am just aiming to pass all the 5 years of my Medicine course. I am still not
sure what specialist I would like to become in the future. Lastly, thanks for reading this long story.
On 9 December 2013, it was the second last day of my semester 2 at Taylor's College. After my class ended on that day, I had lunch with my friends before going home. At that time, there was a newly opened restaurant in Menara Rajawali which is located near our college. One of my friend suggested that we have lunch at that restaurant and we agreed with the suggestion.
When we were walking to the restaurant, a girl in our group was carrying a stack of books with her. She said that those books were quite heavy to carry. Therefore, I offered to carry those books for her since she is my close friend. She happily agreed and she said to me "Good! You are a gentleman." I felt quite happy about that.
Then, at the restaurant, one boy in our group realised that the owner of the restaurant was actually his relative. As a result, he felt very awkward there. He wanted to acknowledge them, but he felt shy to do so. So, he kept asking us whether or not he should acknowledge them. We told him that he should do so, but he still hesitated.
Then, the same girl (who earlier said that I was a gentleman) said to him "Why are you so shy? By behaving like this you are not a gentleman." Still, he did not acknowledge his relative. At last, after quite some time, he finally had the courage to go forward and acknowledge them. They were happy to see him.
After lunch, I went home. At home, I thought back of the incident. The boy's behaviour at the restaurant on that day was actually quite unusual. All the while, he is never afraid to talk to others, whether he knows them or not. However, on that day he was so shy when he met his relatives. I was quite surprised about that.
The boy is also well known for being a gentleman. However, on that day the girl said that he is not a gentleman because he was so shy when he met his relatives. Shortly before that, the same girl also said that I am a gentleman because I helped her to carry her books. I felt very happy thinking about this, because I was considered by the girl to be more gentleman than someone who is well known to be a gentleman. That was also the first time where a girl said that I am a gentleman.
For several months after I entered Taylor's College, I was not close to my college friends and I was quite antisocial. I only started to be close to them in August 2013, thanks to the 31 July 2013 incident (Read about that incident here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/06/31-july-2013-important-day-for-me.html ). Even though I was quite close to them since then, I felt that I had given my college friends a negative impression about myself because I was antisocial earlier.
So, all the while I thought that it would be quite difficult for me to improve their impression about me. However, the incident on 9 December 2013 proved otherwise. The fact that I was considered by the girl as a gentleman just because I helped her to carry her books showed that I still had the opportunity to improve my college friends' impression about me, as long as I make an effort in this.
Therefore, I told myself that from that day onwards whenever there is opportunity I would do something that could impress my college friends. This incident also caused me to consider my college friends to be much more important than before. Consequently, I also enjoyed and treasured my every moment with them much more. This is why I felt so sad having to separate with them after entering university.
This incident is definitely very important for me. Therefore, I call this incident as my '9 December Revolution'.
NOTE: This story has implied meaning. Did you realise it?
I am sure that for many people, before they know how to drive, they often wish that they will be able to drive as soon as possible. Therefore, learning driving is something very exciting for them. However, this was not the case for me. I did not find it exciting to learn driving, mainly because I felt that it is quite challenging. There are news of road accidents every day, and I heard that the trainers in driving schools are often quite fierce. Consequently, I went through a long, although not difficult, process of learning how to drive. The minimum age to learn driving in Malaysia is 17. When I was 17 years old, I was in Form 5 and I took the SPM examination on that year. I did not learn driving before the SPM because I was busy studying for my SPM. I planned to start learning driving after finishing my SPM. The last day of my SPM was on 27 November 2012. For a week after my SPM ended, I stayed in Kulim. Because my SPM had just ended, I felt quite lazy. Therefore, I did not learn driving during that week. On 5 December 2012, I went to Subang Jaya for holidays. I did not learn driving when I was in Subang Jaya because I preferred to learn in Kulim. I felt that learning driving in Kulim would be easier since there are less cars in Kulim compared to Subang Jaya. On 23 December 2012, I returned to Kulim. I stayed in Kulim for 3 weeks, then I would start studying at Taylor's College Subang Jaya. On 24 December 2012, I wanted to enrol at Boon Liang Driving School. However, the staff at the driving school told me that the entire driving course would take at least 5 weeks, so there was insufficient time for me to complete it in Kulim. They suggested that I take only Part 1 (highway code test) of the JPJ test in Kulim, then continue the rest of my driving course in Subang Jaya. On 26 December 2012, I attended the Kursus Kurikulum Pendidikan Pemandu (KPP). I had to go to Institut Memandu Jimat Canggih for that, since Boon Liang Driving School is just an agent. I met one of my secondary school friend there. During the Kursus KPP, we were taught about the theories of driving, safe driving techniques and highway code. It was quite interesting as the trainers often joked with us. Every one of us was given a book to prepare for the JPJ test. I took Part 1 of the JPJ test on 2 January 2013. The test was held at mySPEED Kulim and it done using computer. There were 50 questions in the test and all of them were objective questions. I chose the Malay version of the test because the book I got earlier was in Malay. The questions were quite easy and I could answer all of them. After submitting it, the results was known immediately and I got 50/50 for the test. I went back to Subang Jaya on 13 January 2013 and started studying at Taylor's College on 14 January. I attended college for 3 weeks, then I would be returning to Kulim for Chinese New Year. During the 3 weeks, I did not continue with my driving course because 3 weeks was insufficient to complete the driving course. I decided to continue with it only after Chinese New Year. I returned to Kulim on 2 February 2013 and stayed there for 2 weeks to celebrate the Chinese New Year. I definitely could not learn driving at that time because the driving schools were closed for Chinese New Year. On 17 February 2013, I went back to Subang Jaya. I wanted to enrol at Metro Driving Academy on 24 February 2013, but it was closed as that day was Sunday. Then, I managed to enrol at Metro Driving Academy on 28 February 2013. On 5 March 2013, I attended the Kursus Pra-L. It was held at Metro Driving Academy and it lasted for 6 hours. For the first 3 hours, there was a talk about the theories of driving, similar to the Kursus KPP earlier. However, it was less interesting compared to the Kursus KPP because the trainers were quite fierce. For the remaining 3 hours, we were taught how to drive. That was the first time in my life where I drove a car with manual transmission. Out of my expectation, my trainer was quite friendly and he never scolded me when I made mistakes. However, because I had no experience in driving manual transmission cars, I drove quite poorly and the car's engine kept going dead. At the end of the 3 hours, I had little improvement. After the Kursus Pra-L, I had to wait for quite a long time to get my L license. The L license was required for me to continue with my driving course. On 29 March 2013, Metro Driving Academy finally informed me that my L license was ready. At that time, my college had 2 weeks of holiday so I went back to Kulim on 30 March 2013 and stayed there for 2 weeks. As a result, I had to delay my driving course again. On 14 April 2013, I returned to Subang Jaya. Because I had to attend college, I could only go for driving lessons on weekends. However, Metro Driving Academy told me that on every weekend, driving lessons were only available either on Saturday or Sunday but not both. I attended my 1st driving lesson on 21 April 2013. This time, I got a different trainer than the one I got during the Kursus Pra-L earlier. This trainer was a bit fierce. At that time, I had forgotten most of what I had learnt during the Kursus Pra-L. However, under my trainer's guidance I was able to drive satisfactorily so I was not scolded by her. On 28 April 2013, I attended my 2nd driving lesson. My trainer this time was different than the one I got during my 1st driving lesson. This trainer was not fierce. My driving had improved this time compared to the 1st driving lesson. My trainer said that I was good at hill climbing and parking but not so good at three-point turn. On 5 May 2013, there was no driving lesson because of the Malaysia General Election 2013. There was again no driving lesson on 12 May 2013, probably because it was Mother's Day and many of the trainers at Metro Driving Academy are female. I attended my 3rd driving lesson on 18 May 2013. This time, my trainer was the same as during my 1st driving lesson previously. I further improved and was able to drive quite well. There was no driving lesson on 26 May 2013 due to Wesak Day. On 2 June 2013, I attended my 4th driving lesson. I got the same trainer as during my 2nd driving lesson previously. Because I could drive quite well, my trainer let me drove alone and she even asked me to teach someone who was attending her Kursus Pra-L on that day. My trainer was confident that I could pass the JPJ test. After attending 4 driving lessons, it was time for me to take the QTI (qualifying test at institute). I had to pass the QTI before I could take the JPJ test. I did not want to take it on 9 June 2013 because the Semester 1 examination of my college was on the following week so I was busy revising for it. Then, I took the QTI test on 15 June 2013. During the QTI, I was tested the hill climbing, parking and three-point turn. My tester was fierce, but I managed to pass all 3 parts. At that time, there was 2 weeks of holiday for my college. On 16 June 2013, I went back to Kulim and I stayed there for 2 weeks. Therefore, I could not take Parts 2 and 3 of the JPJ test during the 2 weeks. I returned to Subang Jaya on 30 June 2013. My L license had expired on 28 June 2013. Consequently, Metro Driving Academy could not book the JPJ test for me on 4 July 2013. On 1 July 2013, I renewed my L license at a post office. Metro Driving Academy then booked another date for my JPJ test which was 11 July 2013. It was a Thursday, but they told me that the JPJ test is only available on every Thursday. As it had been quite some time since my last driving lesson, I was asked to attend a refreshment class on 7 July 2013. During the refreshment class, I got the same trainer as during my Kursus Pra-L previously. This time, unlike my previous driving lessons, for the first time the engine of the car I drove did not go dead even for once. On 11 July 2013, I took Parts 2 and 3 of the JPJ test at Metro Driving Academy. There was college on that day so I had to skip it. Part 2 started first, followed by Part 3. Part 2 tested on hill climbing, parking and three-point turn. During the hill climbing, I stopped the car too soon before the tyre reached the yellow line, so I was told to go back down and try again. Luckily, this time I managed to stop the car at the right position. Then, I was successful for the parking and three-point turn. I passed Part 2 successfully. Part 3 tested on driving on the road. I did not face difficulties with Part 3. The tester gave me a score of 18/20, while the minimum score to pass Part 3 was 16/20. So, I managed to pass Part 3. I was happy that I managed to pass both Parts 2 and 3 of the JPJ test on my first attempt. That marked the end of my driving course at Metro Driving Academy. Like the L license previously, I had to wait for quite some time to get my P license. On 28 July 2013, Metro Driving Academy informed me that my P license was ready and I went to collect it on that day. I finally got my P license, about 7 months after I first attended the Kursus KPP in the beginning of my driving course. If I tell others that it took 7 months for me to complete my driving course, they would think that I failed the JPJ test and retook it many times, but if you have read this post, you will know why I took so long even though I passed the JPJ test on my first attempt. (THE END)
I studied A level at Taylor's College Subang Jaya for about 1 and a half years from January 2013 to May 2014. Studying at Taylor's College was very interesting for me. In fact, I felt that college is the most interesting among all stages of education which comprised of kindergarten, primary school, lower secondary school, upper secondary school, college and university. Even though I am now studying at Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, I can still remember my life at Taylor's College very well. Here, I am writing about the 1 and a half years when I studied at Taylor's College. Actually, before I started studying at Taylor's College, I did not want to study there. Instead, I wanted to study Matriculation. Since when I was in Form 3, I had planned to study Matriculation after completing Form 5. However, after my SPM examination ended, my parents wanted me to start studying A level at Taylor's College in January 2013, because they were worried that I might not get the offer to study Matriculation later. Since I was not confident of getting the offer to study Matriculation, I agreed to study A level first. However, I wanted to start in April 2013 instead of January 2013, because I wanted to relax for a few months after my SPM. I also preferred studying at Sunway College instead of Taylor's College, because at that time I felt that the name 'Sunway' sounded much better than 'Taylor's'. However, after looking at the locations ofTaylor's College and Sunway College, I felt that Taylor's College's location was much better than Sunway College. Therefore, I changed my mind and chose Taylor's College instead of Sunway College.On 8 December 2012, I attended the open day for Taylor's College with my parents. During the open day, I registered for Taylor's College's A Level programme. The course counsellor said that I could choose to start the programme in January or April, but he advised me to start in January because students who start in April would have to do self study to cover up for what they had missed during the first 3 months. Therefore, I had no choice but to choose to start in January 2013. At that time, I planned to switch to Matriculation later if I got the offer. 14 January 2013 – 1 February 2013: I started studying at Taylor’s College on 14 January. From 14 January to 16 January, there were orientation programmes. 17 January was the first day of teaching. Then, the first practical session was on 22 January. On 25 January, it was the first class test for Physics. During that period of time, I was still getting to know how college life is like and I had not get used to it. I only made a few friends because I was shy since I was from Kulim while most of my classmates were from Subang Jaya. I have written in detail about my first 2 weeks in Taylor's College here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2013/03/my-first-two-weeks-in-taylors-college.html 2 February 2013 – 17 February 2013: The Chinese New Year for 2013 was on 10 February. My college had 9 days of holiday from 9 February to 17 February. However, I skipped one more week of college from 4 February to 8 February because I wanted to go back to Kulim before the Chinese New Year. I went back to Kulim on 2 February and celebrated Chinese New Year there. Then, I returned to Subang Jaya on 17 February. I felt sad because I knew that I would not be going back to Kulim soon. 18 February 2013 – 20 March 2013: On 18 February, my college reopened. During that period of time, I settled down in Subang Jaya and got used to college life. Soon, I began to enjoy life in Taylor’s College. I also became closer to my 2 best friends and I occasionally had lunch with them. I was quite worried of my SPM results at that time because it was not yet released. There were a few times where my other classmates borrowed my work in class and that helped build my relationship with them. However, I was still not close to them and I did not talk to them very often. 21 March 2013 – 24 March 2013: The SPM 2012 results was out on 21 March. I went back to Kulim at night on 20 March. Then on 21 March, I went to my secondary school to get my SPM results. After that, I stayed in Kulim for a few days because my birthday is on 23 March and I wanted to celebrate my birthday in Kulim. On 24 March, I went back to Subang Jaya. I had to skip college on 21 March and 22 March but many of my classmates also did the same. 25 March 2013 – 29 March 2013: During that week, I had several long conversations with my closest friend whenever there was free time in college. We mainly talked about our secondary school life previously. As a result, I became even closer to him. On 25 March, I was offered the MOE Bursary because I obtained 9A+ in SPM. The bursary would sponsor for my tuition fees at Taylor’s College and give me a monthly allowance of RM430. My college then gave a briefing about the MOE Bursary on 29 March. 30 March 2013 – 14 April 2013: My college had 2 weeks of holidays from 30 March to 14 April. I mostly relaxed during that time because there was still about 2 months before the Semester 1 examination. I went back to Kulim on 30 March and stayed there for 2 weeks. At that time, my family heard that students who studied Matriculation could get into Medicine course at local public universities easily. As a result, they preferred that I switch from A Level to Matriculation if I was later offered to study Matriculation. I returned to Subang Jaya on 14 April. 15 April 2013 – 3 May 2013: My college reopened on 15 April. On 17 April, I confirmed my acceptance of the MOE Bursary and I chose to continue with the January intake of Taylor’s College instead of restarting in July. During that time, I started talking to and became closer to a few more of my classmates. I no longer wanted to switch to Matriculation, because I really enjoyed life in Taylor’s College and I did not want to be separated with my friends. However, my family wanted me switch to Matriculation if I got the offer. The results of the application for Matriculation was out on 25 April. One day before that, I kept praying that I would not be offered the Matriculation because my family might force me to switch if I was offered it. I also told my college friends about that. Luckily, I did not get the offer for Matriculation so I could continue studying in Taylor’s College. As a result of that incident, I started to treasure life in Taylor’s College. On 2 May, it was the written test for the MPW Moral Education. I did not answer it very well. 4 May 2013 – 8 May 2013: On 5 May, it was the Malaysia General Election 2013. As a result, my college made 6 May a holiday. The Hari Anugerah Cemerlang (Awards Day) of my secondary school for students who obtained straight A in SPM 2012 was on 7 May. I wanted to attend it so I went back to Kulim on 6 May. After the Hari Anugerah Cemerlang, I stayed in Kulim for one more night. I then returned to Subang Jaya on 8 May. Consequently, I had to skip college on 7 May and 8 May. 9 May 2013 – 7 June 2013: On 9 May, I initially wanted to have lunch at PappaRich which I usually went to for lunch, but my friends wanted to go to Shakespeare for lunch and they persuaded me to follow them. I then agreed and that was the first time I had lunch at Shakespeare. In the following weeks, my friends also brought me to other restaurants that I had never been before such as Sky Village. During that time, I often had lunch with my 2 close friends, but we only went to a few restaurants that we were familiar with and no one else joined us. I also started doing revision for my oncoming Semester 1 examination. My mother wanted me to switch to the July intake of Taylor’s College because she was worried that I might lose the MOE Bursary if I did not switch even though the MOE had stated that we could choose not to switch. However, I insisted to remain in the January intake because I did not want to be separated with my college friends. On 6 June, there was a Biology practical on the dissection of cow’s heart. I carried out the practical with a few of my friends. On 7 June, many of my classmates had a group lunch at Haha Pan Mee. My 2 close friends wanted to join them and they also invited me to join. I agreed to join them and that was the first time where I had lunch with my college friends in a large group. My Biology teacher also gave us extra classes on that day. 8 June 2013 – 13 June 2013: From 10 June to 13 June, it was the Semester 1 examination of my college. There was no practical test for that examination. All papers in that examination were not difficult and I answered them quite well. I was very confident of getting grade A and maybe above 90 marks in all subjects. 14 June 2013 – 1 July 2013: There was 2 week holiday for my college from 14 June to 1 July. During the holidays, I mostly relaxed because my Semester 1 examination was over. On 15 June, I went back to Kulim. I stayed there for 2 weeks before returning to Subang Jaya on 30 June. 2 July 2013 – 2 August 2013: My 2nd semester at Taylor’s College started on 2 July. During that month, I became closer to many of my college friends compared to earlier. I began to go for lunch with my friends in a larger group and we went to some restaurants that I had never been to earlier. On 5 July, I joined the farewell lunch of one of my classmates, where I said ‘Bye-bye forever’ to him and that made my classmates laugh. On 13 July, I and a few of my friends joined the Olimpiad Matematik Kebangsaan at Universiti Malaya, and I gave them some tips before the competition since I joined it a few times previously. On 29 July, there was an online test for the MPW Malaysian Studies, where I and all my classmates cooperated and answered the test together. All these incidents, together with some other incidents, brought me closer to my college friends. Then on 31 July, I and many of my college friends had a long and interesting conversation about my love story. Consequently, my friends knew me much better than before and I realised that I could actually communicate with them very well, so I told myself that from then onwards I should talk to them more. I have written in detail about the incidents happened in July 2013 here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/06/july-2013-eventful-month.html 3 August 2013 – 11 August 2013: My college had one week of holiday from 3 August to 11 August for Hari Raya Aidilfitri. I went back to Kulim at night on 2 August. Then on 3 August, I attended the oral test for SPM Chinese in Alor Star. After that, I stayed in Kulim for one week. During that week in Kulim, I spent most of my time revising for my oncoming AS trial examination. I returned to Subang Jaya on 10 August. 12 August 2013 – 16 August 2013: My college reopened on 12 August. On 13 August, it was Biology Paper 3 of the AS trial examination. That was the first time where I took a practical test. It was very difficult and it affected my confidence in the AS trial examination. Other than 13 August, there was no test on other days of that week and our teachers gave us revision. At that time, I began to talk quite a lot to many of my college friends, thanks to the 31 July incident earlier. 17 August 2013 – 29 August 2013: My AS trial examination was from 17 August to 29 August. In that examination, I did not answer many of the papers well because they were much more difficult compared to the Semester 1 examination previously and I was not well prepared for it. There were also a few times where I had lunch with my friends after finishing a paper, but my mother came to fetch me before we finished lunch because I told her to fetch me too early. Consequently, my AS trial examination was stressful and not interesting. I was confident in getting grade A but not above 90 marks in all subjects. 30 August 2013 – 8 September 2013: There was one week of college holiday from 30 August to 8 September. During that week, I was quite worried of my AS trial examination results. In fact, I dreamt about the results almost every night. I went back to Kulim on 31 August. I stayed there for one week and then returned to Subang Jaya on 8 September. 9 September 2013 – 11 October 2013: The college reopened on 9 September. During that time, I was very much closer to most of my college friends compared to before the 31 July incident. As a result, my college life became even more interesting. I later apologised them for being antisocial earlier. On 13 September, I registered for the BMAT test. Then, I submitted my UCAS application on 17 September. I also started revising for my oncoming AS final examination at that time. I had lunch with my friends in a large group almost every day and I really enjoyed that. We went to many restaurants that I had never been to earlier for lunch. Initially, I agreed to go to any restaurant that my friends chose, with the exception of Mr Rice because it sells mixed rice while I was not used to eating mixed rice. I later decided to try eating at Mr Rice so I went there with my friends for the first time on 23 September. It turned out that I liked the food there so since then I no longer refused when my friends wanted to go there. On 1 October, I and my college friends took many photographs together, then one of my friend edited the photos and submitted them to the college office to be included in our college magazine. I attended a mock interview for my application to the University of Oxford on 3 October. On 9 October, I bought a new scientific calculator at the bookshop opposite my college because the AS final examination would be starting soon and my previous calculator was out-dated. 12 October 2013 – 3 December 2013: I had several examinations during that time so I was busy doing revision. My AS final examination started on 15 October and it lasted until 29 November. I also took the BMAT on 6 November and the SPM Chinese on 3 December. Some of the papers were quite easy while others were more difficult. Even though I had several examinations, I mostly felt quite relaxed because there were long breaks between papers. In fact, there was 2 week break between 11 November and 26 November, during which I went back to Kulim from 11 November to 23 November. After my AS final examination ended, I went back to Kulim again on 30 November to take the SPM Chinese and then returned to Subang Jaya at night on 3 December. There was college on 2 December and 3 December so I had to skip. I have written in detail about the examinations I took at that time here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-2013-year-end-examination.html 4 December 2013 – 10 December 2013: I and my friends were quite relaxed at that time because our AS final examination was over. I still had examinations. I took the IELTS Speaking on 5 December and IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing on 7 December. 7 December was the last day of all my examinations at that time. On 9 December, when I and my college friends were going for lunch, I helped one of my friend to carry her books and she called me a gentleman. I felt very happy about that and as a result of that incident, I started considering my college friends to be my most important group of friends, replacing my secondary school friends. Consequently, I enjoyed my college life even more. 11 December 2013 – 6 January 2014: The 2013 year-end holidays of my college was from 11 December to 6 January. I went to Singapore from 16 December to 18 December for holidays with my friends. I got lost when we were at Singapore on 17 December. Later, I managed to find my way back. Some of my friends were very worried about me, while others were confident that I could find my way. Despite this incident, the trip to Singapore was very interesting and it made me value my college friends even more. On 19 December, my parents bought me an iPad Air. On 20 December, my IELTS results was released. Then on 21 December, I applied to the University of Hong Kong (HKU). At night on 21 December, I went back to Kulim. I stayed in Kulim for about 2 weeks and returned to Subang Jaya on 3 January. 7 January 2014 – 28 January 2014: My 3rd semester at Taylor’s College began on 7 January. At that time, I started to really treasure life at Taylor’s College because I would be graduating in less than half a year. I also felt that college life is so enjoyable for the first time. Many of my friends often played with my new iPad Air and they suggested that I get a cover for it to protect it from damage. So, I bought a cover for my iPad on 9 January. On 15 January, one of my friend who applied to University College London (UCL) was interviewed by e-mail and she asked me for help. I helped her in answering the interview questions and correcting any grammatical errors in her answers. Although I didn’t actually help her a lot, she really appreciated my help. That incident made me consider her as one of my closest friends. On 24 January, the AS final examination results was released. One of my friend did not obtain very good results and he felt sad about that. I gave him moral support and also felt sad for him. I also followed him when he went to the college office to get advice. 29 January 2014 – 4 February 2014: The Chinese New Year for 2014 was on 31 January. My college had 7 days of holiday from 29 January to 4 February. I felt that 7 days was just right because it was enough for me to go back to Kulim and I did not want the holiday to be longer than that since I really treasured my college life at that time. I went back to Kulim on 29 January and celebrated Chinese New Year there. Then on 3 February, I returned to Subang Jaya. 5 February 2014 – 7 March 2014: My college reopened on 5 February. During the first week, I got the breakdown of my AS final results for every paper of each subject from my teachers. On 7 February, one of my friend had a potluck for Chinese New Year at her house and she invited everyone in our class to join. I decided to join and that was the first time I went to my friend’s house. The potluck was very interesting and I learned how to play mahjung there. On 17 February, I received my statement of results for the AS level examination. 21 February was a very interesting day for me, because I had outings with 2 different groups of my friends. I and my college friends went to Secrets of Louisiana of lunch. After that, I also met up with my secondary school friends at Grafa. 21 February was also the day I submitted the application to International Medical University (IMU). During that period of time, I continued to treasure my every moment at Taylor’s College, just like during January earlier. Besides, I tried to make the most out of my college life. I felt sad whenever it was Thursday or Friday because that meant I had finished another week of college life. I also started studying for my oncoming A2 trial examination at that time. Because there was still quite some time before the A2 trial examination, I felt quite relaxed until 7 March. On 5 March, out of my expectation I was invited to attend an interview for the University of Hong Kong. My friends congratulated me when they knew about that. 8 March 2014 – 9 March 2014: On 8 March, a very unfortunate incident happened – the MH370 incident. I felt very sad about that and I prayed that the passengers of MH370 would be safe. To make matters worse, that incident happened in the midst of the bad haze condition and serious water rationing in Malaysia. 8 March was a turning point in my college life because after that day, my college life became quite stressful compared to earlier, although I still treasured and enjoyed it. 10 March 2014 – 18 March 2014: That period of time was very stressful for me and my friends, because our A2 trial examination would be starting soon, while the MH370 incident, bad haze and water rationing added to our stress. I was very busy doing revision for the A2 trial examination at that time. On 10 March, many of my friends were talking about the MH370 incident and the haze was very bad, causing me to feel stressed. The haze condition improved on 11 March. But on 12 March, the water rationing was quite bad that restaurants had to use paper or plastic plates and cups to avoid washing them. On 14 March, the haze was quite bad again and my college decided to cancel all classes on that day, but I and my friends were already in college so my teachers continued with the lesson. On 16 March, I attended the interview for the University of Hong Kong (HKU) at Hilton Kuala Lumpur Hotel. That was the only interesting incident for me during that time. From 17 March onwards, there was no more bad haze, but the water rationing continued. 19 March 2014 – 28 March 2014: The A2 trial examination started on 19 March and it lasted until 28 March. On 19 March, it was Mathematics Paper 3 and Biology Paper 4. Mathematics Paper 3 was quite easy, but Biology Paper 4 was extremely difficult. On 20 March, it was Chemistry Paper 4, which was also very difficult. The SPM 2013 results was out on that day and I got A- for SPM Chinese. Although I did not get A+ or A, I still felt quite satisfied. On 23 March, it is my birthday and my teacher also had his wedding on that day. I did not celebrate my birthday nor attend my teacher’s wedding because I was busy revising for the examination. On 24 March, the subject tested was Physics Paper 4. It was a bit difficult, but easier than what I had expected. Biology Paper 5 and Chemistry Paper 5 were tested on 26 March and they were not difficult. On 27 March, it was Physics Paper 5 and I could answer it quite well. On 28 March which was the last day of examination, Mathematics Paper 4 was tested and it was quite easy. After the test ended, I and my friends had lunch together, then we played board games at the Wisma Subang Jaya near our college. For the A2 trial examination, I was confident in getting A for Mathematics and Physics but not Biology and Chemistry. 29 March 2014 – 13 April 2014: My college had holidays from 29 March to 13 April. During the holidays, I was quite relaxed, but I also did some revision for my oncoming A2 final examination. I went back to Kulim on 29 March and stayed there for 2 weeks. I then returned to Subang Jaya on 13 April. 14 April 2014 – 2 May 2014: During that period of time, it was again very stressful for me. My A2 final examination would be starting soon and the water rationing was extended to my housing area, although there was no more haze. I was quite busy revising for the oncoming A2 final examination. I also felt sad at that time because my college life would be ending soon. On 15 April, I showed one of my friend my UCAS personal statement earlier and asked her to help make some changes to it because I had to write a personal statement for my application to Newcastle University Medicine (NUMed) Malaysia. However, my friend said that my UCAS personal statement was very poor and she told me to rewrite it completely. I was offered a place for Pharmacy course by Kingston University London on the same day. On 16 April, it was one of my friend’s birthday and my friends celebrated it for him. Out of my expectation, they also celebrated my belated birthday at the same time because they did not manage to celebrate it for me earlier due to examination and holiday. On 18 April, I and one of my friend joined the field trip to IMU organised by my college. My friends celebrated the birthdays of a few of our friends on 23 April and 24 April. Then, I attended the interview for Perdana University on 25 April. One of my friend attended the interview for Pharmacy course at University of Nottingham Malaysia on the same day. During that time, some of my friends often asked me for help in their studies. On 1 May, the water rationing finally ended. 2 May was my last day of class in Taylor’s College. 3 May 2014 – 22 May 2014: There was no college from 3 May to 7 May and I spent most of my time doing revision for the A2 final examination. 6 May was a very disappointing day for me because I unexpectedly received a rejection letter from Perdana University. I also felt ashamed about that because my friend who attended another interview on the same day as me was successful in getting an offer, so I did not tell any of my friends about that. My parents knew about that because they saw the rejection letter before me and they were also disappointed. On 8 May, my teacher gave us revision for Biology Paper 5. My A2 final examination was from 9 May to 22 May. For the first half of the examination from 9 May to 13 May, the papers were quite difficult and I felt very stressful. There was a break from 14 May to 18 May. At that time, I applied to SEGi University as a backup option in case I was later rejected by both IMU and NUMed Malaysia. For the second half of the examination from 19 May to 22 May, the papers were easier and I was quite relaxed. 22 May was the last day of my A2 final examination, so technically it was also my last day in Taylor’s College. I have written in detail about my A2 final examination here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/09/my-a2-final-examination.html 23 May 2014 – 18 September 2014: Even though my A Level course at Taylor’s College had ended at that time, I often had outings with my college friends during that few months. So, in reality my college life had not yet ended. That period of time was very interesting for me. On 18 September, I met up with my friends at college for the last time before entering university and that marked the end of my college life. After that, I moved to Johor Bahru on 20 September and started studying at NUMed Malaysia on 22 September. I have written in detail about the incidents happened during that few months here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-4-eventful-months-after-my-a2-level.html In conclusion, my one and a half years of study at Taylor's College Subang Jaya had been very interesting. It is the time I spent together with my college friends which made my college life interesting. I consider my college friends to be my most important group of friends, and this fact will remain the same in the future. I am glad that I chose Taylor's College instead of Sunway College and I chose to began my A Level programme in January 2013, because otherwise I would not be studying together with them. I had to thank my parents for this because it was them who caused me to make this decision. At the same time, I am glad that I did not switch to Matriculation or the July intake of Taylor's College. Now, I really miss my life at Taylor's College very much. (THE END)