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  #11 Old 09-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

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Btw I love Physics and Maths in school, so any advice?
I'd say Engineering. Or Geology/Geophysics/Earth Sciences.
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  #12 Old 09-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

Argghh...Still cant decide. Guess I would just choose civil engineering for now. Thx guys.
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  #13 Old 09-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

there are many branches in Mathematics. The first point is to identify which part you like.

There're many ways you can view Maths, but it's majorly divided into two part- Pure and Applied Mathematics.

From what I have heard, in undergraduate levels, Pure Mathematics focuses vigorously on proofs and derivations. Engineering Maths stress on critical and analytical thinking(though I doubt that any other branches of Maths don't need it) together with a thorough understanding on Physics, while Quant/Actuary places a huge emphasis on statistics, graphs and probabilities.

Now, the sense of accomplishment you experienced when you solved a difficult problem- is it because you know that you have just found an answer to a real life problem through Maths? (engineering)

Or is it because you believe that you have just successfully predicted a future trend that can be modeled by a graph through careful examinations of data and extensive use of probability?(statistician/Quant/Actuary)

Or is it because you are just fascinated by the beauty of logic in Maths and you find it interesting to solve extremely difficult puzzles? (Mathematician with/out Physics)

Personally, I find it too vague for one determine their future career just because they said "I love Maths". The prospect is just too wide. It's nearly the same as "I love Colors" while what you really like is only red and blue. Of course, additional Mathematics at SPM level gave just too little exposure. It would be better that you take up Further Mathematics in A-Levels (if possible, that is), pin down your true interest and you will be getting one step closer to your dreams.
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  #14 Old 09-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

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Argghh...Still cant decide. Guess I would just choose civil engineering for now. Thx guys.
My advice, please don't choose something just because it came from your parents mouths. Take the initiative to find out what you want to study. Visit universities and colleges. Email them, Google and forums (like this one). From the previous posts I can tell you that you should consider a degree in Mathematics in particular. You may not have that in mind now, but maybe you will have after doing a pre-university program like STPM or A-level or IB (International Baccalaureate ) or Australian Matriculation (SAM and Ausmat). Like the reply directly above by strategist, please take Further Mathematics if you choose to take the A-level path. Like wise, if you were to branch into Australian Matriculation, be sure to look out for Specialist Mathematics.

You said civil engineering. Well, care to show a little about just how much you know about this field of engineering ? Maybe, if you elaborate more, it will help us and yourself gauge just how passionate or well-suited you are for this field. I don't know if this is true, but my friend quotes that Malaysia is suffering particularly from an excess of civil engineers and they end up working for government companies (that is, it may not sound bad to you, but it could be for others) Mechanical and Aerospace seems more meaningful to me, considering the fact that the aviation and tourism industries in this country is not sluggish in development perspectives.

I was like you once, but after I joined A-level I knew what I wanted to study but still not what I want to become yet. That's the key, KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO STUDY AND WORRY ABOUT THE JOB OPPORTUNITIES A LITTLE LATER unless you can cope the vast inflow of information But for some fields I guess you will need to find out job opportunities, because for me, a degree in Economics pretty much opens lots of doors locally and abroad. What I want to highlight is that, if you are constantly fickle-minded about a course just because you are so worried about the job prospects later, you will find a lot of courses will not fit you. There is no course as far as I am concerned (except for those in Health Sciences, Medicine and Pure Science) there is no course that can secure you a job placement in your favour. The whole idea is to take the initiative and work hard to impress your future employers. In the job world, there is no guarantee that you will become what you study. Taking engineers for example, my friend's father in Bank Negara was formally an Engineer-turned-Banker. He says BNM also loves to employ their bankers who have engineering backgrounds because their sound knowledge of engineering can be used as solutions to financial analysis and problems. So, just chill Let's worry about what to study first, step-by-step.

I hope the above replies will be helpful and informative. Good luck in all your future undertakings For now, concentrate on SPM and just prepare something in the mean time.
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  #15 Old 09-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

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Or is it because you are just fascinated by the beauty of logic in Maths and you find it interesting to solve extremely difficult puzzles? (Mathematician with/out Physics)
Im too young and naive to solve those complex engineering maths. (i even dont know what problem do they tackle) What I solved was just competition problems. Nothing to be proud of.

And yes, I will study furthur maths if I take A-level. But since my parents wanted me to do my degree in Australia, it is less likely that I will choose A-level. (also i heard that a-lvl chemistry comprises of 3 different books, each 1k and so total 3k. The syllabus is very hard. Is this true? Because it makes me want to avoid that. Kinda freaks me out xD. )

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You said civil engineering. Well, care to show a little about just how much you know about this field of engineering ? Maybe, if you elaborate more, it will help us and yourself gauge just how passionate or well-suited you are for this field.
Frantically, nothing at all. I choose it just because, as stated above, I have interest in Physics and Maths, and thats it. As you can see, my knowledge in engineering is null.

Last edited by good2learn; 09-10-2011 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #16 Old 09-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

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And yes, I will study furthur maths if I take A-level. But since my parents wanted me to do my degree in Australia, it is less likely that I will choose A-level. (also i heard that a-lvl chemistry comprises of 3 different books, each 1k and so total 3k. The syllabus is very hard. Is this true? Because it makes me want to avoid that. Kinda freaks me out xD. )
Why not A-levels? It's a very good academically rigorous programme and it's recognized in many countries, including Australia.

And I thought A-level chemistry only consists of at most 2 books...one for AS-level and one for A2-level. Or just one thick book if they combine it. I don't think they cost that much either.
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  #17 Old 09-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

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Why not A-levels? It's a very good academically rigorous programme and it's recognized in many countries, including Australia.

And I thought A-level chemistry only consists of at most 2 books...one for AS-level and one for A2-level. Or just one thick book if they combine it. I don't think they cost that much either.
A-level takes 1.5 years while other pre-u like SAM and AUSMAT takes only 1 years. I know you may say some colleges offer 1 year A-level but I dont think I have the abilty to cover all subjects in such a short time-span. I will go insane if I failed to study all of them!!! So better dont take the risk. Secondly, the syllabus of A-level is very wide and hard (though ive never really checked them, just what i heard from the others). Also, A-level is more expensive than other programmes if I never obtain a scholarship.

Sorry for mixing up things. A-level only needs 2 books? Well, STPM needs 3 of them : Physical, Organic and Inorganic chemistry. Phew. Would you mind sharing how thick is one A-level chemistry book?
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  #18 Old 09-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

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A-level takes 1.5 years while other pre-u like SAM and AUSMAT takes only 1 years. I know you may say some colleges offer 1 year A-level but I dont think I have the abilty to cover all subjects in such a short time-span. I will go insane if I failed to study all of them!!! So better dont take the risk. Secondly, the syllabus of A-level is very wide and hard (though ive never really checked them, just what i heard from the others). Also, A-level is more expensive than other programmes if I never obtain a scholarship.

Sorry for mixing up things. A-level only needs 2 books? Well, STPM needs 3 of them : Physical, Organic and Inorganic chemistry. Phew. Would you mind sharing how thick is one A-level chemistry book?
If you lecturer was good enough, you don't even have to use the textbook. At least that applies in my case. I didn't open my textbooks thus far, but it was a mistake cause my lecturers are all very good to provide notes and tutorials based on past year questions. I think I should actually read through the textbooks at least once before my final exam next year June.
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  #19 Old 09-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

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Im too young and naive to solve those complex engineering maths. (i even dont know what problem do they tackle) What I solved was just competition problems. Nothing to be proud of.

And yes, I will study furthur maths if I take A-level. But since my parents wanted me to do my degree in Australia, it is less likely that I will choose A-level. (also i heard that a-lvl chemistry comprises of 3 different books, each 1k and so total 3k. The syllabus is very hard. Is this true? Because it makes me want to avoid that. Kinda freaks me out xD. )



Frantically, nothing at all. I choose it just because, as stated above, I have interest in Physics and Maths, and thats it. As you can see, my knowledge in engineering is null.
3K, 1K BOOKS ?! OMG, exaggeration Who in the world would buy books like those. I am taking A-level Chemistry, currently going to sit for my AS, first component of the A-level program and 1/2 of your overall grade. Hard is a matter of debate and subjective, but I can tell you that A-level Chemistry has good coverage and is within the range of accomplishing with merit IF you work hard to study and take the subjects seriously. EITHER WAY, you will find out that there are some very very very evident mistakes in SPM Chemistry later. Most of the knowledge you've learnt up to now possibly will not be applicable later but only the key principles are correct and will be followed up. So, keep an open mind and expect lots of good stuff from Chemistry at tertiary level, then have a good laugh at our poorly written Malaysian syllabus

If you are avoiding A-level just because you think it's hard, that's a wrong mindset. Ponder on this principle my lecturer uses on us : Anything new and/or in-depth study of any subject will be hard in the beginning but will seem so simple later. For instance, don't you find Chemistry now simpler to understand then what you thought it was in Form 3? You should also not avoid STPM too, because STPM is also welcomed by Australian universities. It all boils down to just a matter of choice of preference, that's all. Just to let you know, the old myth that STPM is harder is kinda false, but depends. Some areas of study in STPM is harder, some in A-level harder. Overall, STPM has a broader coverage of the subjects, A-level has more in-depth study. Then, A-level is broken down to either Cambridge or Edexcel examination board. I'll leave it to you to spot the differences Now, SAM and AUSMAT, please don't tell me you honestly thought they were easier because they are not, unless you enjoy doing coursework and presentations that eat up valuable study, then it's a good note to find out. Coursework and presentations may sound appealing now, but trust me, research is not something very direct and can be done overnight. Not to mention the heavy emphasis on practical skill and other soft skills (Yes, interviews and debates are part of their requirements to complete) may not be so suitable if your secondary background did not do much good to helping you out in these areas.

There is nothing wrong with taking A-levels, in fact, I strongly recommend it due to international accreditation it holds. With it, you can apply to UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong, Korea, etc. I am also applying to Australian universities and they accept my A-level. Just the only problem is to work out the time when you will finish your A-level. Strongly recommend going for the 1.5 years program that starts in May 2012. That way, you can make it for the Feb 2014 or worse come to worst, defer to the July 2014 intake. You could also be like me, starting in Jan 2012 and finish by June 2013 and defer to the Feb 2014 intake.

Don't worry yourself too much on what problems engineers solve. Focus on what are the qualities of a good engineer and see if you can match up to that. Like I said before too, focus on what to study first, worry about the problems associated with work later. They are just beyond our knowledge of knowing this early. If they weren't, shouldn't we be working instead of studying then ? If you only have a passion for Physics and Maths, then explore your choices of study and particularly engineering since you mentioned it. If it doesn't look good to you later, there's always a chance to switch career lines. Just don't let your parents possible disapproval affect your final decision too much k ?


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Originally Posted by Nicholasng925 View Post
If your lecturer was good enough, you don't even have to use the textbook. At least that applies in my case. I didn't open my textbooks thus far, but it was a mistake cause my lecturers are all very good to provide notes and tutorials based on past year questions. I think I should actually read through the textbooks at least once before my final exam next year June.
Very good point. In tertiary education, you are supposed to pay more attention to the lecturer then then book. A good lecturer doesn't even need you to refer to a textbook. A textbook is a supplement, remember that. Most of your lecturers will eventually issue out their own notes.

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Originally Posted by good2learn View Post
A-level takes 1.5 years while other pre-u like SAM and AUSMAT takes only 1 years. I know you may say some colleges offer 1 year A-level but I dont think I have the abilty to cover all subjects in such a short time-span. I will go insane if I failed to study all of them!!! So better dont take the risk. Secondly, the syllabus of A-level is very wide and hard (though ive never really checked them, just what i heard from the others). Also, A-level is more expensive than other programmes if I never obtain a scholarship.

Sorry for mixing up things. A-level only needs 2 books? Well, STPM needs 3 of them : Physical, Organic and Inorganic chemistry. Phew. Would you mind sharing how thick is one A-level chemistry book?
Well, do you think the AUSMAT and SAM don't have much more to cover ? They have more subjects actually than compared to us A-level students you know. Sometimes, my friends say even more to cover than us.

STPM divides their books based on the 3 principles of Chemistry. A-level divides it into 2 components, the AS-level and A2 level. Both have a mixture of all 3 chemistry. AS has almost equal coverage on the basics of all 3, but slightly more coverage on Organic and Inorganic I would say. You do the AS first before moving on to A2. Some people repeat their AS and study with A2 because their AS grade wasn't good enough. And please, stop worrying about how thick a textbook is k?

good2learn, please add me in facebook if you have any more questions that I could help you with. I also know of a scholarship that can give you full coverage of A-level tuition fees for the entire program, provided you meet the grades in your trials for SPM. It's from KDU University College, my institution. Don't worry, there's no quota to how much scholarships are given and no bond.

https://www.facebook.com/Ndr3w
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Last edited by frostbyte13; 09-10-2011 at 11:29 PM. Reason: I had too much inflow of information 0.0
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  #20 Old 10-10-2011 Default Re: What to study?

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For now, concentrate on SPM and just prepare something in the mean time.
But, I'd like to add something to the discussion about math and engineering options.

I am a student double majoring in mechanical engineering and math. Why double major? Because by the time I entered university, I still haven't decided what I want to do later in life Plus, it is easy to do double major especially in the US.

And it turns out great for me. Studying mathematics and engineering at the same time is rewarding in the sense that they complement each other pretty well. By studying mathematics, learning all those theorems and other stuffs, I became aware of the cases when some equations/mathematical method fails/won't work. Simple case is when you're trying to divide something by zero (of course you don't have to be a mathematician to realize this, but this is only one simple case). So, when I tried to solve engineering problems (usually and particularly when I write codes in MATLAB to solve that problem), I take extra caution so that there will be no zero in the denominator. If I don't do that, then I either get wrong answers or no answer at all. So, it saves me time when doing homework. In other words, studying mathematics train me to pay attention to details, which I think is worth it.

So, my point is for you to keep in mind the option like this is available. Hope this helps.
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