I was first enrolled in AUSMAT in Sunway College for about a month when my SPM results came out and that was when I decided to do my A-Levels at Kolej Yayasan Saad International School, Melaka (KYSIS). Frankly, I was quite apprehensive since this was the first time that KYSIS teaches A-Level. There was no selection process to enter the school but to have a better idea about the school’s environment and academic policies, it’s best to visit the school personally and have a chat with the principal. I chose to do my A-levels in KYSIS mainly because of its proximity to home and it was listed under the JPA scholarship list of A-levels schools.
My batch was small so it was a stark contrast from the large classes and the multitude of friends I had in Sunway College. We had an experienced cohort of academic staff who were predominantly from the U.K. The student-teacher ratio was very low and that allowed us to cultivate a close rapport with the teachers and have a more personal teaching experience. We were allowed to sit in classes of different subjects to make up our minds of which subjects we wanted to take for the exams and I ended up taking five subjects for AS (physics, biology chemistry, maths and economics) and then subsequently dropped economics at A2. Critical thinking classes were made compulsory for the first few months to allow us to develop our analytical skills. The teachers made sure the classes were very interactive and we explored themes beyond the syllabus as well. The facilities were very new and the labs were fully equipped. Some of my favourite memories in school were when we had to do lab experiments for the sciences as we always manage to learn a new method at getting better results.
Since we were the first batch, the administration were not very well-versed with the different requirements for each UCAS application. However, our dedicated tutor organised for us to go for education fairs and various university talks so we had a good grasp of what was needed before applying. We also took the initiative to look for more information on the internet and websites such as The Student Room and CollegeLAH of course came in handy as well. We reviewed some of the university choices together and each personal statement is vetted by a tutor. Some of us who were applying for courses that required interviews such as medicine were given several mock interviews and lots of support to help us with the stress of entrance examinations. The teachers ensured we were adequately prepared for each obstacle we faced during our application including support when we did not receive the offer we wanted.
KYSIS is surrounded by a beautiful green forest and yes, there are plenty of monkeys. I remember the quiet evenings which were very conducive for study as well as walks around the school compound. There are many sporting facilities available such as an Olympic-sized swimming pool, squash courts, track and field. We had to make sure we were involved in at least one extracurricular activity which allowed us to unwind after a hectic day of studies. We were also given opportunities to take part in events such as a school talent event organised by ourselves, Model United Nation conferences, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme. Students were encouraged to organise events themselves and I think that really helped us develop our leadership skills. KYSIS started out as a full-time boarding school but after a few months, those who lived in Melaka were allowed to become day students. Being in a small group, tensions were high at times but all of us became quite close-knit and helped each other out whenever possible.
Lastly, I think KYSIS is a very conducive place to pursue A-level as it’s quiet and peaceful. The teachers are very experienced and I really enjoyed my college life despite some of the challenges I faced. However, KYSIS has had a revamp after my batch so some of the teachers who have taught me have left and the administration have undergone some changes. It’s best if those who are interested in pursuing A-Levels in this institution to visit the school and get a feel of it.
Sanjana Ilangovan is currently pursuing her medical degree in University College London under the JPA scholarship. You will always find her playing with her pug or whining about how much she misses her pug.