15 March 2007

SPM result dilemma


It's been few days since the SPM 2006 result is out. As usual, those top scorers from all over Malaysia got their photos and names published on the headline of most local newspapers. Congratulations to them, for having the chance to being a temporary celebrity. After 1 week from the day SPM result is release, they're literally back to become a nobody, just another ordinary teenager who just got the SPM result.

I've nothing to shout about my result, getting 7As out of 12 subjects I took is quite some achievement, now I finally accept the fact that the result I got isnt that bad after all.

OK now let us focus back to those SPM top scorers, all those students who got their fame through getting best results of all. I dunno why the local media like to lit up all the spotlights focusing on those students. Yeah, it's very normal for students to get very good result, but you've no needs to publicity such achievement nationwide, as if they're the national heroes.

I'm skeptical on those students, they got good results, but do they have a good life too? And other than that, do they have some other better and much useful applicable knowledge than mastering all the school subjects? Also, how about their learning methods? Those top students, they might be very good at their SPM result, but when it comes to tertiary education, everything have to start from scratch, and some of the top-students did miserably in tertiary level because they could not adapt to the new environment and the challenges. Compare tertiary level to SPM level, it's a laughable matter.

I believe not many of them from the top scorers can really enjoy life while they're still in the school. So many subjects to be revised, and so much pressure from the teachers and parents, it aint easy for a normal 17 years old teenager to cope with it.
I've no complains with those students who study the smart way and achieve good results, and yet they still have life.

What I mean by life is that, one have a good relationship with the family, a respectable social status among friends and teachers, a healthy lifestyle, get involved in certain sports, to fully utilise one's life, that, is what I called LIFE! Perhaps that's my own perception, as that's my life. :)

After taking the SPM result, its time for students to decide where to continue studies. Now this is the part where the SPM result cast it's magic. Good result means one can get scholarship and sponsorship easier, and with co-cu acitivities as bonus, they literally are entitled with different types of education aids. For students with financial problem, this is a very good chance for them to further studies in higher education level.
Now, what about those average-score students? They might be able to enroll into colleges or other institutions, but it's proven to be more difficult than those who score well. As far as I concern, it's very hard for an average-score SPM holder student to get a decent scholarship or so. There is educational aids for them, but it's likely to be allocated for those who gets better results.

At the end of the day, average-score and low-score SPM holders found themselves in the middle of a crossroad. The straight expressway leading to tertiary education is covered with lots of obstacles, and you know not many wanted to take the hard route. Since it's a crossroad, there's still other path too, but then they lead to different result at last. Some may resort to working, some may still continue study in other institutions, but that's not their intention at first. Just because of the result they get for SPM, their future might change once in for all.

In my opinion, SPM cert can be quite important locally but it's not really important for those who want to study elsewhere. Most universities out of Malaysia did not recognise SPM, they seek for a higher level of qualification like A levels or STPM and so on. STPM is the big brother of SPM, but it's harder to study compare to study. STPM have it's reputation of being a tough exam, being recognized by many countries.

Let me give you a clearer picture about SPM and STPM.

  • Taken by Form 5 students of secondary school. Normally students at 17 take this exam, but some may be 16 or 18 while taking the exam.
  • It's basically the final exam for secondary school student. This is the exam where you have to answer the questions based on your 5 years school experience and knowledge.
  • This exam is equivalent to GCE O-level.
  • Part of the syllabus is in Malay and part of it is in Eng. Science and Maths subjects are thought in English.
  • According to a report from MoE, the total subjects for SPM is 108 subjects, students are limited to take up to 21 subjects total.
  • Exam period length from 2 weeks to 1 month, depends on the subjects and the time-table.

  • STPM
  • A pre-U studies and a continuation of Form 5 studies. Students studied this for 2 years and will be taking the STPM exam at the end of 2nd year. Some school separate the Form 6 into Upper 6 and Lower 6 to avoid confusion which one from them are taking STPM at that year.
  • Equivalent to GCE A-level.
  • Limited subjects can be taken. Most of the time students would take 4 subjects for the exam, and some exceptions can take 5 subjects total.
  • Teaching language is English, the only subject thought in Malay is Pengajian Am, sort of like General Studies for A level.

  • Talk about STPM, locally it's also referred as Form 6, is a continuation of Form 5(SPM) education. Form 6 is the formal pre-U stage provided by the Ministry of Education, well students nowdays dont really like to get into Form 6.

    First, STPM is tough, it's a struggle while u're coming from Form 5 to Form 6 syllabus. Perhaps there's some conflicts with the teaching-language, a change from Malay to English teachings. Students who're weak in Eng found themselves in a very challenging stage. Even those who're good in Eng also have their own trouble adapting this kind of teachings too.

    Second, students have heard so many stories bout the life of an STPM student. It's a tough life not many wanted to have. It's not because of the syllabus, but it's with the exam. I heard, the exam can be extremely tough if you're not well-prepared. But no matter how tough it is, there's still top students who could survive and pass STPM with flying colors.

    Third, some students wanted to get out from the school badly. Study in Form 6 means that the student still have to stick with dated school rules for another 1-2 years(depends on the length of Form 6, which varies in different school). They claimed that they wanted freedom to study outside of school, so they prefer colleges because of it's lenient rules.

    Forth, you have to help yourself studying for STPM, as the teachers' role in STPM is like the lecturer in college, you have to do things by yourself and you could not expect the tutor to help you totally. This kind of environment will drive a person to work harder and those who could not adapt this trend would be eliminated from the competition.

    Personally, I'm not so keen to enter Form 6. The 4 reasons above are actually my own reasons, lol. But I think Form 6 is a good choice, if the overall structure and organisation can be improved on par with A level studies in colleges. Besides, Form 6 is the cheapest choice for pre-U studies.

    OK now end of STPM stories, because I dont really have ideas keep on writing STPM stuff. I think, no matter what's your result for SPM, whether it's good or bad, this isnt the end yet. Tertiary education level is a different story from the secondary school.
    To ensure that you can do well in tertiary level, you have to learn how to adapt the environment, to be able to catch up with the studies and do not waste any time on unnecessary activities.

    That's it, I think that's the essay I can write about then. Should I label this post as another masterpiece? Hmm....

    * I got the idea of writing this post after reading some reader comments from today's The Star. Since I'm one of the student who got the result too, so I've lots of thoughts about this SPM result.

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