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Why Is STPM hard?

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Miracle_seed
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  #21 Old 22-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

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Originally Posted by Xyi View Post
OMG i think i'm going to form 6 since that i didn't get matric or jpa. Haiz, what i heard about the discouragement of studying form 6 is that stpm student hardly can get their preferable course in local uni, even if he or she got cgpa of 4.0. That's really frustrating. I need to know whether it is a fact, For any 6 former, can i know why you consider studying form 6 indeed of other route like A-level, SAM, matriculation yada yada yada.
This is not entirely true, many STPM leavers with 4.0 still get their desired course, just sometimes they don't get the university they hope for. In this case, co-curricular activities is really crucial. It doesn't matter whether you have 4A or 5A, as long as you score 4.0, you have already scored full marks for the 90% of academic part, and the determining factor is now down to the seemingly insignificant role played by the 10% co-curricular activities. Most of the time, many STPM top scorers just neglect co-curricular activities which is an important tie-breaker in this case. I have STPM friend who scored 4.0 and managed to get into UM medicine too...

I do remember there was a new last year, that a few STPM top scorers of the country complained because they didn't get their first choice - UM medicine, and were given UKM and UMS instead, even though they scored 5As, but later was revealed that some of them scored a low 4+ to 6+ in co-curricular activities, which is not good enough...
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Last edited by Miracle_seed; 22-04-2009 at 03:37 AM.
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sugarspice Female
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  #22 Old 22-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

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Originally Posted by Xyi View Post
OMG i think i'm going to form 6 since that i didn't get matric or jpa. Haiz, what i heard about the discouragement of studying form 6 is that stpm student hardly can get their preferable course in local uni, even if he or she got cgpa of 4.0. That's really frustrating. I need to know whether it is a fact, For any 6 former, can i know why you consider studying form 6 indeed of other route like A-level, SAM, matriculation yada yada yada.
For matrics you may try appealing as it will usually be successful.

Those not getting their preferred course and uni with CGPA 4.0 probably have low cocurricular marks.

To add to what miracle seed has said, besides scoring high for coco, you need to get the right technique in filling the uni entry form, as in what to put as your first choice, second and so on. My counsellor did explain this to me but I still did get it though. But she literally meant putting your preferred course & uni as the first choice is very risky.

There are some reasons people opt for form 6. First, you save a lot of $$$. Besides you don't have to leave home and thus you spend less time in food and lodging. You get to go back to your sweet home everyday after school. Besides, if you already holding a probation driving license, these two years are golden years for you to gain more driving experience. Those staying far far away from home don't get to drive, you see, and the list goes on and on.
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bert Male
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  #23 Old 22-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

I think a lot of people underestimate the non-academic disadvantages of STPM.

For one, I think the peer effect around you is a significant disadvantage. I have seen a couple of very dear friends fall into this trap. People who take STPM generally already have a mindset of aiming for Malaysian public universities. Yeah yeah, they say it's accepted around the world, whatever. I feel there is a significant cultural capital disadvantage here. How many people actually know about and aim to enter the top U.S. or foreign universities. Your peers would not know or apply for the financial aid at the top U.S or foreign universities, and you'll probably miss out on the bandwagon for them if you enter STPM not knowing about them already. If you haven't read gabrielle's story about this decision, read it here http://gabriellecyw.wordpress.com/20...al-experience/.

A quote from Gabrielle's story:
"I knew that going to a local university or college would be the safest and cheapest route for me and my family, as there was absolutely no way that my parents could afford to send me to a foreign university. But at the same time, I also wanted something better than what my sisters had, so I took a gamble: I asked my parents to give me the chance to pursue Cambridge A Level. Apart from having the opportunity to study in a more internationally-renowned pre-university course, I knew that interaction with the middle and upper class crowd in Taylor’s and Klang Valley would give me the cultural capital that I was lacking in. My parents gave me full support, and sent me to Taylor’s University College Subang Jaya, even though it took a huge chunk out of their savings."

To add on to that, most your peers will be aiming for Malaysian universities, which also means that they won't be aiming to do the things needed for entrance to top U.S. colleges and Oxbridge, namely the co-curricular and leadership activities so essential for those applications. Again, if you don't already know these things before going to STPM, you'll be quite likely to kiss those dreams of Ivy League and Oxbridge colleges goodbye.

I mean, to those who keep harping on how hard STPM is, GET REAL. You think Harvard and Oxbridge will let you in just because you keep on emphasizing to them that it's the second or third hardest exam in the world? That's totally off track of what you should be trying to achieve for your pre-u level. How many of those top STPM achievers actually succeed in getting funding for top universities abroad??? In my humble opinion, most of those who start of thinking of big dreams abroad end up in Malaysian universities, not because they're not smart or intelligent enough, but because the peers around them cultivate a culture of ignorance and low aims, which does not prepare students very successfully at all for top foreign university applications and scholarships.

Hence, I suggest, if you are aiming high but you can afford it, try as much as possible to study in a place with high achieving and high aiming people around you. If you are aiming high and can?t afford it, put in as much effort as possible to finding out about these U.S. financial aid processes and overseas scholarships super early on in your STPM career, best, even before you enter STPM. Trust me, you?ll need that much time to learn about and navigate the foreign system. Don?t cry over not getting a scholarship after SPM, if you have the will and the dedication as shown by Gabrielle, it?s most likely that you will make it.

Last edited by bert; 22-04-2009 at 06:25 AM.
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  #24 Old 23-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

hey guys. sorry coz i was inactive for the past few days.

thanks to nicodemus and bert for such an eye-opener reply!

nicodemus : where did you go after form 6? did you get scholarship to study abroad?

and to bert, what exactly is the "cultural capital" you were mentioning? Sorry for being such an ignorant!
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  #25 Old 23-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

Hi Hoi-Ya-Ee-Ya...

Well, I'm kind of a loser now after my grand ending of STPM...
I scored four-flat and have a considerably good co-curricular activities record but nope... I am still stuck in Malaysia...

My application for quite a number of scholarships are rejected. Well, in the end, I managed to obtain interview for the ASEAN undergraduate scholarship both in NUS & NTU... I went there and performed quite OK I guess given the competition all around me.. However in the end, i was surprised to obtain a letter from NTU saying that I got the scholarship to study Chemistry at NTU. I was so happy...

But, later when the public universities result were out, I got another offer letter from USM, to study medicine. So I was contemplating between both of them, and finally succumb to pressure from my peers and teachers. Believe it or not, I rejected the scholarhsip and went to USM. Now I'm stuck here in USMKK, a unhappy and depressed person . I regretted a lot for letting go the golden opportunity to go to Singapore. That's why I'm looking for alternatives now but it seems that I'm going have to finish going through this path that I have chosen...

My advice is... After your STPM, be sure to made your decisions wisely. Do not let other people influence you. Be strong and be brave in making your own decision and follow your dreams and passion. Don't make decisions that you'll regret later in life as regret is a very dreadful feeling...

But, Hoi-Ya-Ee-Ya, that will have to wait after you finish your STPM right?
Good luck!!
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  #26 Old 25-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

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Originally Posted by Hoi-Ya-Ee-Ya View Post
hey guys. sorry coz i was inactive for the past few days.

thanks to nicodemus and bert for such an eye-opener reply!

nicodemus : where did you go after form 6? did you get scholarship to study abroad?

and to bert, what exactly is the "cultural capital" you were mentioning? Sorry for being such an ignorant!
About the cultural capital I was talking about, I can think of a couple of examples that stand out in my mind so far.

For me, what stands out among many Malaysian students is the lack of self initiative and drive. Malaysians students always wait for scholarships n information to drop into their laps instead of hunting for them the other way around. For instance, many Malaysians still have not found google yet. When faced with a lack of information, it can usually be easily solved through taking the initiative and reading and researching up on the topic. Don't wait for people to give you the answer. You don't know something, take the initiative to find out. Among the groups of high-achieving Malaysians I know, I think they have a pretty low tolerance with the lack of self-initiative most Malaysians have. Having good role models around you would probably encourage you to adopt these practices that might help you advance further in life.

Another example I can think about, is when I was an interning in Malaysia some time ago. There were some public local university students, and most of them didn't seem to be very driven at all during their internship, even though they were the best students in their faculty. For one, they always usually had meals together every single day, and didn't really understand the concept of networking to gain extra knowledge and establish good relations with other people in the company. In addition, they all usually came and left on the dot to work, according to their contract, and didn't really make any extra effort to work more, to take on more work and responsibility than is needed. It was quite a culture shock for me, as where I study, people talk about working a 70-100 hours a week during their internship and try to work as hard as they can to secure a return offer after graduation.

Many Malaysian students have the capability to act as good drones. They do what they are told to very well, but very few have the ability to reign over the drones. All our lives we've been told exactly how to answer tests and essays, and everything is spoonfed to us. If you don't want to be a normal drone, you have to get out of that culture of mediocrity, and STPM very often cultivates that very same mediocrity and rigid mindset. Often times, you don't get to learn the culture and best practices that students in top universities get ingrained with over there. Again, I want to emphasize that they're not necessarily smarter, but I think it's these soft skills and cultural capital that make the difference.

Also, I have yet to talk about social capital. The wealth of networks and acquaintances you form when you mix with people of wealthier and higher achieving backgrounds. People who have studied in great schools, with or without scholarships, are lucky, they benefit from their networks all throughout their lives. People they have had lunches and classes with go on to become highly successful politicians, business leaders and NGO leaders, among others. These connections enable you to be more aware of opportunities and things later on in life. Sad to say, the graduates from STPM and public universities don't really match up to the Malaysians or foreigners in universities abroad nowadays.

Again, as much as possible if you can afford it, get out of the system and learn about other ways of thinking. Even if you're poor, there are ways to get out if you're smart, worked hard and have a lot of self-initiative. There are quite a number of success stories out there, but it's really up to you to take charge of your own life NOW.

A few suggestions, some of which you may or may not already now:

1. When you don't know something, look it up on the internet first and try very hard to understand things before asking people straightaway. Questions that particularly annoy people are like Where's Argentina? which can be easily found out using google.

2. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with smart and driven people. Believe it or not, some of those driven people exist in Malaysia. Get yourself into those circles by attending events like UKEC's MSLS. (Now don't annoy me by asking me what is MSLS, type both UKEC and MSLS together in google and you'll find out.)

3. You can escape from Malaysia. By all means, there exist ways to leave and go to a place with very few Malaysians. You'll learn about a whole different worldview, maybe even a new language. Google and read malaysian education blogs/websites. You're already on recom, so that's already a good start. =)

This is not really meant to be a comprehensive list, but it's just some things from the top of my head, that I have experienced when helping fellow Malaysians out in the past, but kinda stopped when I got frustrated with their attitudes and decided it wasn't worth my time.
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  #27 Old 25-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

I have heard that STPM exam is very very hard. Btw, I am a SPM leaver, waiting to do Form 6. Although STPM is tough, I heard that we will be able to learn and study deeper in all the subjects. I would like to find out about the difference between Form 6 and foundation studies. Is it true that we will learn more in Form 6 compared to foundation studies or the syllabus in both of them are almost similar?
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  #28 Old 25-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

Bert's post is awesome. Couldn't be closer to the truth!

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I have heard that STPM exam is very very hard. Btw, I am a SPM leaver, waiting to do Form 6. Although STPM is tough, I heard that we will be able to learn and study deeper in all the subjects. I would like to find out about the difference between Form 6 and foundation studies. Is it true that we will learn more in Form 6 compared to foundation studies or the syllabus in both of them are almost similar?
You'll definitely learn WAY more in Form 6. It's a 1.5 year program while foundation studies lasts about a year.
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  #29 Old 26-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

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I have heard that STPM exam is very very hard. Btw, I am a SPM leaver, waiting to do Form 6. Although STPM is tough, I heard that we will be able to learn and study deeper in all the subjects. I would like to find out about the difference between Form 6 and foundation studies. Is it true that we will learn more in Form 6 compared to foundation studies or the syllabus in both of them are almost similar?
STPM is not at any cost hard if you persevere. By the way, if you ever enter form6, i suggest you to take 5 subjects, if you're a science student, take triple science (Biology, Physics, Chemistry) because this enhance your chances of getting in singapore universities, particularly NUS.

Foundation studies? What kind of foundation studies are you referring to?
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  #30 Old 26-04-2009 Default Re: Why Is STPM hard?

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STPM is not at any cost hard if you persevere. By the way, if you ever enter form6, i suggest you to take 5 subjects, if you're a science student, take triple science (Biology, Physics, Chemistry) because this enhance your chances of getting in singapore universities, particularly NUS.

Foundation studies? What kind of foundation studies are you referring to?
triple science... later both riverside also can't reach

@bert : thanks.. i think those are really what i lacked.. especially the social capital..
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