Life as a STPM (Physics-Chemistry) Student

STPM

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‘Hello there!’
‘Good morning Mdm. Nancy.’
‘Good day to you sir.’

That was basically the routine for me, every single morning of my life whenever I bumped into a teacher or the principal. Pretty straightforward and ‘old-school’ I would say, however for me, it is a courtesy and doing so is my pleasure. Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, life could be very boring for the past 5 years. Since the UPSR (Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah), I was admitted into Victoria Institution. For 5 years, I went through the highs and lows of my high school life and now I am in Form 6, taking the STPM (Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia) examination in the same school, Victoria Institution. It never hit me to take STPM until my grandfather shed some light on me about the STPM examination. After receiving my SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) results, I had three choices to further myself into tertiary education due to my shallow results, the UPU system, STPM examination, or private colleges. I took all three choices seriously. The UPU system is roughly a system whereby it gives SPM graduates choices to study locally either in Diploma or Asasi. The choices given by this system seems somewhat random because you will end up with courses that are not really related to your interest. I did not consider depending on the UPU system at this point. Leaving that behind, I found myself in a crossroad. It was either private colleges or STPM. It took me a month to decide which one was the suitable choice. Coincidentally, the STPM was having a change in format and syllabus. The change in format and syllabus made the older one obsolete. The older format was called the ‘Terminal System’, which was very similar to SPM format. The students were required to study for a year and a half, and by the end of the duration, STPM examination would take place. However in the new and revised format, in a year and a half, the students will undergo three short semesters, where the syllabus for every subject in STPM are separated into three parts. By the end of each semester, a major exam takes place. The average marks for three semester is calculated and that would be your CGPA. At first, this big change in format was a handful to take. But, after letting it to sink in, it made sense. The new format is very similar to the Foundation courses in the private colleges. It took me a while to think about it. I compared the financial cost for STPM and private colleges. I had a hard time comparing those two, checking Mr. Google for experiences in both fields. There was really a major difference in lifestyle, but the outcome was somewhat similar. The only thing is, STPM prepares you generally for almost any degree course. In contrast to that, private colleges offers a wide range of programs that prepares you specifically for the chosen course, resulting a narrow range of degree courses. At this point, I was not really sure of what sort of career that I will be taking, and my mind was kind of fuzzy at that moment. Confused and lost, it took mae one week to decide what kind of career that I am going to pursue. In the end, I choose to take up STPM.

I ended up choosing STPM, and decided to follow the Science stream. There is a lot of combination of subjects in this particular stream, the common one being the “Physics-Chem” and the “Bio-Chem”. The former one requires you to take Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics while the latter requires you to take Biology instead of Physics, plus the other two subjects mentioned after that. Upon making the decision, something hit me in the head. I was not good at Biology at all! So I took the “Physic-Chem” combo. A friend of mine, Lim Yu Wei, took an unorthodox combination which some might consider crazy. He took up Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. It is possible to take that kind of combination, however not recommended to the student since there are more than a handful of subjects to juggle. Our school allowed this combination, but it is rarely taken up by the students due its difficulty. Other schools which offers STPM mostly have these three combinations in the Science stream. That basically sums up the Science stream in STPM. When I think about it, the subjects that are offered in the Science stream are quite general, but the depth is quite deep. There is a lot more to be learn in STPM in comparison with ‘Asasi’ or Foundation. I was not quite sure about the reason behind this, however I guess it’s the standard that has to be maintained, even when there is a change in the format. The fact that STPM has a reputation of being tough, rumours arise like bubbles in hot springs and the biggest one is “STPM is going to make you suffer because it is hard.” This is not so true however. STPM is hard but it is totally up to the students to conform and suffer or to rise above that. It is a matter of technique that lets you through this ‘suffering’ examination. Other rumours pretty much revolves around the previous one, saying it is hard and unmanageable for a student at the age of 18 and 19. Personally, I think it would be better off that way because it will give a valuable lesson to those who take up STPM. In other words, you got to prepare yourself for whatever that comes your way. Despite of all the load that takes toll on STPM students, I can proudly say that we are a bunch of happy students. In contrary to common believe, we are happy students at heart simply because it is like high school all over again. Back in our uniform that we are not so fond of, reminds us again that we are still young. Life in the Form 6 is not as mundane as you think it is, very exciting, somewhat weird and sometimes dangerous. Very adventurous I would say, however because of this, the importance of our studies were temporarily stripped away from our brains, until the mock exams come.

Putting aside our happy yet silly lives, lets focus on what STPM is comprised of, the subjects. As a Science student, I took the ‘Physics-Chem’ subject combo and therefore I had to study Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and the General Paper. STPM is well known for its dense syllabus for each subject and with the new modular format, students were required to learn at a very fast rate. In the new format, the old syllabus is split into three parts to accommodate for each semester. This applies to every subject in both Science and Arts stream. Hence, we will not be referring to the materials that had been learnt in the previous semester. More like a take-and-throw routine, things that has been learnt in first semester would not be brought up in the second semester. Even if there is a relationship between the topics, it would be negligible. As I took up Elementary Physics, it is split up into three parts, Motion & Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism & Optics, and Nuclear Physics & Quantum Mechanics. So I would have done those three separately and I can tell you that each one is very dense and requires you to swallow it up within six months. A daunting task lies ahead of me and I was unsure if I can pull it off by the time the final examination claims me. Pretty much the same for Maths, Chemistry and General Paper. Talking about the final examination, the format for the final examination is very new to me as each subject has only one paper. Unlike SPM, each subject may contain several papers to sit, and each subject differs in the number of papers to take. The Science subjects in STPM, Physics, Biology and Chemistry has a common format. The paper is divided into three section, Multiple Choice Question Section, Subjective Questions Section and Essay Question Section. All three must be done within an hour and a half. This seemed very crazy, but if you focus and persevere, it is possible. By the end of the exams, our hands would be worn out since we are writing fast to save time. Because of this, I have to change the way I’m studying. Instead of focussing on the vast content of each subject, I focused more on the important formulas and the frequently asked questions. STPM may overwhelm you with the vast content, but don’t be disheartened. My advice is do 50 questions from each subject daily and time yourself. Consistency is the key. Be consistent and you’ll find yourself some space to breathe in the end. Sometimes, we are taken aback by the difficulty that we are facing and try to run away from it. Instead, face the truth, be determined and have the will to go on. Taking tuitions outside is advisable, but do not depend too much on it. Study often and you’ll get through. Sounds like it is going to be mundane, but the fact it is not. Don’t bend yourself to the books solely and lock yourself from the world for good. Be resourceful and smart, find questions from different platforms like A-levels, Foundation programs and Matriculations. From there, you will get a wide array of questions and answers. Use the internet and find papers from different states. That is how you could study in STPM, for the Science stream as well as the Arts stream. Honestly, the teachers are not going to feed you with the knowledge needed so you need to find your own way out of the mess. Do not neglect them however, because sometimes you need their help. I used to ask teachers for papers from other schools because it is in their field of knowledge. Utilise things around you to aid you in quest for success.

Up until now, I still feel that the Form 6 in schools in Malaysia is detached from the school organisation. Back in the 1950’s to the 1980’s, the Form Six were considered the eldest among the high schoolers. However now, it just seems like a far cry as the Form 5 is considered the eldest and the Form 6 is a separate institution. In Victoria Institution, the efforts of putting the Form 6 back into the school organisation is fruitful, events that were organised by the Form 6 were openly accepted and celebrated. During sports day, the Form 6 and the Form 5 are placed in a single category. The Form 6 integrated well with the school in Victoria Institution. Apparently, the Form 5 do not have a proper student council or a student body. Only the Form 6 does. From time to time, representatives from the Form 6 student council discuss about yearly events with the Form 5. However, due to the density of STPM, the Form 6 students rarely participate in Form 5’s huge event. The Form 6 students are often reminded to study rather than getting involved with the school activities. We are not forced to become bookworms, but to prepare ourselves for whatever is coming. This preparation and constant reminder kept us alive and will forever teach us a valuable lesson, which is to be matured. STPM graduates would normally end up doing a degree course in a private university instead of a public university simply because the chances to get into public university is very low. Appealing to them would be futile. Even if we got the offer to attend public university, the courses offered are always not related to us or our interests. Private colleges became our option in the end. Whether it be the private colleges or the public university that I end up in, the support from several dedicated teachers that I received is what I really like. Even though you are supposed to be on your own, some teachers would really help and push you till the very end. These teachers are selfless and would do anything in their power to help us students achieve a high CGPA in STPM. I would like to thank them and I am very grateful to have them as my teachers. Then again, even having such people to help us, the STPM exam papers needs to be revised. With the current format, the questions asked are very objective and requires you to read a lot. None of them piqued my interest in Physics, Chemistry or even Math. Everything asked was based on facts and nothing were subjective or opinion based. The “Subjective Questions” section in our papers does not prove its purpose and instead asked more factual question. With a little bit of opinion based questions in STPM, it would give us a little room for us to breathe and would probably spark our interest in our respective subjects learnt. I would be happy if they would do that.

Here I am, typing this essay on a laptop, expressing how I feel. To be honest, I feel grateful and happy to have done STPM. A lot of memories were made along the way and not to mention, the amount of silly things we did back then. It was a journey for me to reassure myself about what I was going to do next. STPM made me think maturely and it certainly did taught me one important lesson, to persevere and have determination towards your goal. Here is a thing to those who have made it to the last passage of my essay, do not underestimate luck and when you have it, use it to your fullest because that may be the last bit of luck you can ever get. I am not asking you to rely on it, rather make use of it when it comes. Always put effort into anything you do and seize the chance if you see it and don’t let it go! Think of this essay as guide to peer into and hopefully, it had helped to clear out a bit of things. I wish you all good lives and have fun along the way.


 

Abdul Aziz

Abdul Aziz bin Azman is currently a foundation student en route for a Oil & Gas Process Degree at UniKL. Hailing from the famed SKBD and Victoria Institution, Aziz claims that he might just be one of those “DotArds”, spending much of his holidays on DotA 2 and Warcraft 3 of top of the chess and reading that he does in between. Sparked by reading Stephen Hawking in fifth form, Aziz’s love for physics has now become unquenchable.

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Life@UMP – Software Engineering

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“What university is that?” “Where is it located?” “Never heard of it lahh.” These are just some examples of statements/enquiries I, a future Software Engineer, received when proudly proclaiming I’m from Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP). Yes, you now might have a mysterious voice in your head saying the exact same thing. Well mates, the non-glamorous UMP is situated on the side of Tun Razak Highway, Gambang, Pahang in Malaysia. Basically, it’s in a random Malaysian rainforest. Animal sightings are a norm, usually just wild boars and dogs, and occasionally more exotic ones such as snakes, lizards, monkeys and once a Kongkang  (Slow loris).

Like all public universities, application is done through the UPU system. Here is a simple guideline for those that chose the A-level-ish path:

  •   Input personal details
  •   Input pre-u details and results
  •   Input course/university choices
  •   Hope and pray

Like many other poor souls out there, my prayers weren’t answered. The dreams of threading into the hallowed grounds of Universiti Malaya etc now in shambles. Nevertheless, dreams can be rebuilt, restructured, reconstructed and reprogramed. Fantasies aside, I come from the widely praised Malaysian Matriculation Program, at least that is what they claimed. For me, that one year at another random Malaysian jungle was absolute torture, classes non-stop from 8am to 5pm, lab reports every day (Science stream), quizzes every hour, study every minute. Well it does give the advantage of 1 year compared to Form Six.

A year and a half (3 semesters) has passed since I opened the door to my hostel room. Compared to my tenure at Matriculation, life at UMP was easy, I only have 16 credit hours average per semester in my 3.5 year bachelor’s degree course. I do not face the daunting stress of medicine courses, nor do the memory crunching Law degrees, and neither do my fellow university mates. Yes, my university is filled with future engineers ready to innovate the future or a varsity filled with lazy people looking for ways to get things done easy, depends on which way you see it. Judgements aside, we all live mostly in harmony no matter our ethnicity or background brought together by our mutual hatred of our Student Council members and Students Welfare Department.

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Moving on, as students, we normally would be busy rushing deadlines and completing assignments. Typical, but then again as a Malaysian, we like to compare things. Don’t tell me you never compared our durians against foreign species of durians. Yes, but here is a norm to compare our busy schedule. Who is free? Who is busy? What course is that fella from? Ubiquitous questions thrown around to investigate each other’s cramp schedule, with many agreeing that Engineering Management students could practically sleep through the weekend without worrying about Monday, a luxury to the others.

Talking about schedules, what would fill up a Software Engineer’s schedule? Most people would probably guessed we are a group of geeks with thick lenses staring at a desktop typing the enigma code out. Nope, half of my syllabus is actually project planning and management. I was surprised to find out that I’ll be learning ways to plan a software project and requirement elicitation in my first semester. Of course we still learn those weird codes and computer languages. But as I learn, I realize Software projects are not like typical engineering projects, and require different set of procedures to run due to the more unpredictable and competitive world of cyber business. So don’t go around imagining us as some fat, ill managed slob slurping down Pepsi while burping out lines of incomprehensible codes. We are more capable than you are, jokingly of course mate.

 

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Unfortunately for us, even with our busy schedule, we’re expected to make time for co-curricular activities. Sounds normal? Here’s the catch, points will be gathered based on our involvement in the activities. Points gathered will be used during application for next year’s hostel arrangements, and there is a minimum threshold you need to pass o be eligible. My first year’s point threshold was a record high, 3900 points, as compared to the previous year, 2100 points. To make this look daunting, an international level involvement only yields 200 points. Oh and Malaysians’ love for comparing does not spare this either, competing to see who has the most points.

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Well, this is what I got myself into – an average kid suddenly thrown into a whirlpool of expectations and social competition. Then again, it was no less what I expected, these norms were already taking root during Matriculation. Competitiveness between students are high within public institutions knowing only the best are acknowledged here. I myself expected a tough journey ahead before putting on the tie for the orientation. You might say, “mate, your university’s rank is over 2000!?” I tell you, education anywhere is equal, it’s the experience and things you learn that are not from your lecturer’s that’s worth it all. I came here with expectations for myself that I wish to be met, UMP is just a training arena.

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So far, life has been kind enough, bumps along the way but nothing too rough yet. Socially I’m doing well, my trilingual (as a Malay) ability distinguished me well among the students here. Education wise, I’m just average, nothing too fancy. I’m here to mature and experience, a Degree certification is just a paper if you can’t even talk to the stall cashier, let alone some company’s CEO. My advice to future university students, look to improve more as a person, it’s more important than getting that Upper case printed “A”. Also, try not to forget to have some fun, this might be your last time where you can do so at full capacity. Those who are prospecting their future with UMP, well don’t put your hopes too high, it might disappoint you a little, it’s a public university after all. Then again UMP might be better off than a few other public universities since it’s fairly new, hence better facilities. Its close proximity with Kuantan (30 minutes’ drive) does not really isolate it from civilization too.

For enquiries you can contact me through my Facebook (Mhd Qym) or through Twitter (@MuhdQaiyyim). Just drop me a message or anything, I’ll try to reply as soon as time allows me too. So I’ll sign off by saying, good luck and may the force be with you.


Qaiyyim

Muhammad Qaiyyim is currently striving for his Bachelor (Hons) in Computer Science Majoring in Software Engineering at Universiti Malaysia Pahang. A true geek powerful with force. Frequently spotted at the basketball court or anywhere that resembles a dojo, with a laptop closeby.

 

Medicine Twinning Programme in Penang and Ireland

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Hello everyone! Greetings from the land of Leprechauns and everything green!! If you are reading this article, that means you have at least a slight interest in studying Medicine in Ireland!! Well, first let me introduce myself! I am Yeo Chun Huay from Subang Jaya, currently studying medicine in University College Dublin, Ireland! I did the Cambridge A-Levels course in Taylor’s College Subang Jaya, which, I must say, helps a lot when you reach university since you would have covered quite a lot of things back in the A-Levels programme!

Now, I am actually in the Penang Medical College program, which is a twinning program. The pre-clinical years (2.5 years) will be done here in Dublin, Ireland while the clinical years (2.5 years) will be done back in Penang, Malaysia. This is a choice for people who missed out on the IUMC dates, or didn’t meet the requirements for it. For people who don’t know what IUMC is, it’s the Irish Universities and Medical Schools Consortium. That’s where you need to apply to if you are looking for a full 5-year/6-year medicine course in Ireland. For this article, I’m just going to tell you guys about the Penang Medical College programme. You don’t need to write a personal statement or anything to enter. Basically, the process is actually quite easy. All you need to do is fill out the registration form, hand it in and wait for your interview date. Once you’ve got your interview date, you have to travel to Penang (if you don’t already live there) for the interview.

For the interview, I have to say that not much preparation is needed. The common question I think was a typical medical school question, “Why do you wanna be a doctor?” Get the answer to that in your mind before you enter and you should be fine. Basically the interview is more of a confirmation from them just to check if you are serious in pursuing this medicine course and not drop out half-way. It’s a solo interview so please don’t get nerve spasms! The interviewer was quite friendly for me so you guys should have no problem. It’s most probably going to be more of a discussion than an interview anyway! If everything goes well, you will get your offer letter in matter of days or if you are lucky then in a few hours!

After getting the offer, there are some things to be done too. Health check is compulsory just to check for Hepatitis B Antigens and to get your Hep B Vaccine. IELTS is also a necessity, so you need to score a 6.5 average and a minimum of 6.0 in each of the four sections of the test. IELTS wasn’t really a very hard English test for me since I have a good English foundation since young. Some tips to get you through IELTS is just to do their sample tests or watch any videos on the test you can find on YouTube! There really isn’t any point in spending a lot of money to attend their workshop since you can find everything online anyway. Just don’t panic on the day of the test and you will be fine. Apparently you can do TOEFL instead of IELTS but I went for IELTS so you need to check that yourself. For attachments, personally I’ve never had any hospital attachments before I came here to Ireland so it’s not a compulsory thing, but you may do it just to get some exposure to the medical world. Volunteer jobs are entirely up to you; if you think that they help you then by all means go ahead!

There’s one more thing that I would like to add! On the website, the deadline for the registration for PMC is in February. But I actually applied in August and kind of rushed through my application in a month, and I arrived in Dublin on September the 1st! Although I got through within a month, please don’t be like me; apply earlier, please! The process of rushing is so not fun. NOT FUN AT ALL! Also, if you apply earlier at least you will have a goal to spur you through your A-Levels! So just to remind you, set your path as early as you can!

That basically wraps up your application process for studying in Ireland through the PMC Programme. Since I was an A-Level student, here are some tips and reminders for you guys about the CAL programme. Study hard and look around for scholarships while you are at it. Although medical scholarships are super rare, just keep an eye out or discuss with your friends. For you guys who are going to sit for AS, score as high as possible, while you guys who are sitting for A2 soon, keep doing past years and you should be fine. Heck, I did better in A2 than in AS!  Most importantly, don’t miss out on deadlines for applications! That can scar you for life, or just wait another year! Just in case some of you don’t know, Ireland is part of the European Union and not the United Kingdom, so prices for everything here is in Euro! Hope you guys have a pleasant time applying to come to Ireland! It’s a grand place and I’m sure you are going to like it here. Hope to see you guys here. Cheers!

P.s: Here are the minimum requirements for the PMC programme!

Yeo Chun Huay
1st year Medical Student in UCD (Stage 2)
8 October 2014


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Yeo Chun Huay is a self-funded student currently pursuing his medicine degree in University College Dublin. He will be returning to Penang Medical College in 2017 with students from both UCD and Royal College Surgeons Ireland (RCSI). He has one motto in Ireland, if its free, don’t complain!

Medicine in Monash Malaysia

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1. What was included in the application process to read Medicine in Monash Malaysia?

I applied online through http://www.monash.edu.my/study/apply/application-form/online-application. My advice is to apply as soon as your forecast/ actual results are available.  A band score of 7.0 is required in IELTS. The ISAT (International Student Admissions Test) is required too!

2. What are some of the activities you participated in that you think helped your application?

Being a member of the St John Ambulance Malaysia, I learned a lot about first aid and how to handle emergency cases. It mainly helped me in my interview, more specifically how to think critically and how to answer questions asked by the interviewer. I also believe that the school is looking for people who can work well in a team.

3. How was the interview session?

The interview session was fun because it was like a mini game going on. Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) could be tough for some people that couldn’t read carefully, think critically and answer questions quickly.

There were 4 interviewers with different questions. Candidates were given 2 minutes to read through the passage and 8 minutes to answer 5 to 6 questions.

The passages I got were on:

  • Doctors being tired due to long shifts;
  • Helping aboriginal children in funding on breakfast scheme;
  • Parents not agreeing on children studying agriculture; and
  • Team members neglecting their projects. Give advice.

Some of the interviewers are quite strict; you’ll be pestered and pushed to answer the questions. Most are very friendly and they’ll allow you to ask questions like how the syllabus is and anything you’re curious about. The “seniors” are quite helpful too! Don’t be shy to ask them for tips.

PS: Running is required, so ladies, ditch your high heels.

4. What do you think contributed to the success of your application?

I think the interview covers a whole lot in the application process. So as I mentioned earlier, ECAs and teamwork will help your answering technique. Do practice questions on ISAT and score well in your Pre-U course.

5. What advice would you give to future applicants?

Good luck in your future career as a doctor! Don’t be too stressed up on studies and do well!

*Note: Monash University Malaysia uses the same syllabus as Monash University Australia and is recognized by both the Malaysian Medical Council and Australian Medical Council. You may apply for housemanship in Australia.*


imageedit_14_6684298470Melanie Hew is a joyful girl who enjoys bringing happiness to people. She will be pursuing Bachelor of Biomedicine in the University of Melbourne. She hopes to be a paediatric cardiologist in the future.

IMU Malaysia Medicine Application

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1. What was included in the application process to IMU?

Apply online thru www.imu.edu.my. No personal statement is required although we need to sit for the IELTS.

2. What are some of the activities that you participated that you think helped your application?

I was a member of the Pre-Medical Society in Taylor’s College Subang Jaya. Participating in activities organized by the society gave me a chance to be exposed to people who are less fortunate. I was also a member of the St John Ambulance of Malaysia. I learned a lot on handling emergency cases, and had the chance to talk to medical personnels.

3. How was the interview session?

The interview session was quite tense and awkward because the interviewers kept on looking at each other when I answered their questions. Be prepared to be bombarded with a lot of questions on why you want to be a doctor. The last question is usually on your critical thinking.

The question I got was:

“Will you accept gifts (eg: BMW car) from your patient’s family member as a token of gratitude?” Don’t be surprised when your interviewers ask you, “what about a small card or a fruit basket? ”I nearly fainted trying to tell them my points.

4. What do you think contributed to the success of your application?

ECAs should be able to help you a lot on answering the questions. Do well academically (at least AAB for A Levels) if you’re planning to apply for the PMS (Partner Medical School) programme.

5. What advice would you give to future applicants?

Good luck and have fun! You may find examples of the critical thinking questions online. My friend who is a final year Medical student told me that IMU seldom change their critical thinking questions. All the best!


imageedit_14_6684298470Melanie Hew is a joyful girl who enjoys bringing happiness to people. She will be pursuing Bachelor of Biomedicine in the University of Melbourne. She hopes to be a paediatric cardiologist in the future.

Pharmacy at University of Nottingham Malaysia

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The application process to study pharmacy course (MPharm) at University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) includes a personal statement and a reference letter from your referee. An interview will also be held before they give you a conditional/unconditional offer.

I believe that the personal statement is what applicants are always worried about. It is always a devil in the job since it does not only require academic-related content but also non-academic-related content such as what inspires you, why you are interested in pharmacy, and so on. But don’t worry, UNMC’s personal statement only requires applicants to tell them why you have chosen to study the course that you have applied for, what made you choose UNMC and what your future plans are. You only have to answer their questions in essay form with not more than 4000 characters. The personal statement is actually a reflection of yourself, so a simple essay with short, brief sentences will do! The most important thing is for the reader to understand the messages you are trying to convey!

On the other hand, do not worry about your reference letter. All you need to do is give one of your lecturers the reference form, which can be found on the UNMC website, and they’ll do the rest for you. (: Do also take note that your lecturer might need your CV or any relevant documents in order to write the reference letter.

I was notified to attend the interview session 2 months later. They have introduced a new interview system this year. We were given some short briefings regarding the MPharm course and given a campus tour. The 12 of us were then divided equally into 2 groups and were assigned to different sections of the interview.  My first session was actually a group activity where we were each given several cards with different information, and all we needed to do was solve a mystery together. It turned out pretty fun and it actually calmed me down. Though they informed us that it’s just a group activity, in my opinion it was to evaluate our soft skills. Thus, do your very best, and that will do!

My next interview session was divided into 6 stations. In the beginning, we were all assigned to different stations. Each station had a time limit of 5 minutes, and we had to move to our next stations when the whistle was blown. The questions asked were not the typical questions such as why you want to study pharmacy, etc. Instead, the questions all revolved around Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and general knowledge regarding the pharmaceutical field. Though what I had prepared for my interview was about the soft skills I had that make me eligible to be a pharmacist, this actually helped me in answering certain questions. The interviewer will eventually lead you to get the answer so always keep calm so that you are able to think well.

Overall, that’s it for you to get a place in UNMC to take up MPharm. I would like to say that the early bird catches the worm, so apply earlier if you are interested! Also, utilize your free time to plan your personal statement well. Do believe in yourself, and all the best!


imageedit_2_8280296411Chong Kai Qian is a JPA scholar currently pursuing her pharmacy degree at University of Manchester although she also received an offer from University of Nottingham Malaysia.

Law at University Malaya

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you going, and are you under a sponsorship? What courses and which universities did you apply to?

Hello there! I am a National Scholar who’s going to read law at Universiti Malaya.

What was included in the application process to your university?

Basically, the application process is completed through the UPU portal. You just have to key in your info as required.

Link to the UPU portal: http://upu.moe.gov.my/web/

Is there anything specific to your application (supplements, etc)? If yes, how were they?

No supplements involved.

What did you include your personal statement/essay(s)?

No personal statement for local university applications.

Did you have to take any tests?  If so, how did you find the test? How did you prepare for it? In your opinion, what are some of the tips & techniques to get a good score in the tests?

Yes, I had to take the MUET (Malaysian University English Test) and do self-revision with books available in the market. It is a good way to test your level of English as compared to the SPM because this is a totally different system which analyses your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. If your English is good in certain areas of the test but not all, you just have to work on them.

About the MUET: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_University_English_Test

MUET registration: http://webmpm.mpm.edu.my/muet/

How was the interview session (if any)? What were the questions asked (if you still remember). Was it a group or individual interview? How was the atmosphere? Was it one-sided with the interviewer asking only or was it a discussion? Was it friendly, tense, awkward etc? How did you prepare for the interview?

Yes, there was an interview session. It would be absurd if I can still remember the interview questions at this point of time. It was an individual interview. The atmosphere depends on the interviewee him/herself. Not everyone will experience the same atmosphere, be it excitement, anxiety, suspense or whatever one might feel at that time. The interviewers for my batch were friendly people, that’s all I would say, as there were so many of us having different interviewers for different faculties. There is no particular recipe in preparing for an interview. You just have to keep calm, be yourself, and carry on with the interview – that’s how I felt.

What do you think contributed to the success of your application? What are some of the past experiences/ ECA/ work attachment/ academic achievements that you included in your personal statement/ essays/ interview/ test?

All I can say is that I thank the Senate for accepting me.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

My advice: Just do it. It is the same for a job or anything else that you want to do in the future.


Erique Phang Li-Onn

Erique Phang Li-Onn is a commerce student who is heading to Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur to read law under the National Scholarship by JPA. He is an insane otaku who attaches himself very closely to the spiritual world.