MyBrainSc Scholarship

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Editor’s Note: Please be advised the the renditions of the MyBrainSc Scholarship from 2016 and the foreseeable future no longer sponsor students to overseas institution. However, the basic principles behind the application process for the scholarship highlighted in this article still apply. 

Are you still scratching your head to look out more scholarships desperately on the Internet? Please take a serious glimpse of this article if you wish to know more regarding the details of this scholarship. MyBrainSc scholarship is offered by the Ministry of Education (MoE), and open to all Malaysians. This scholarship sponsors successful candidates financially to pursue both undergraduate and postgraduate studies (Bachelor Degree/Master/PhD level) in local and overseas universities. For your information, only four pure-science disciplines are sponsored by this scholarship- Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. If you wish to practise Chemical Engineering, Statistics, Forensic Science, Biomedical Science or Biotechnology, then you are barking up the wrong tree. Thus, I am writing this to share my experience and equip you with ample information so that you are not far from materialising your big dreams.

Stage One – Online Application

The online application is open from December to March. Make sure you always check out the website of Portal Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia (KPM) during the period. You must meet the minimum requirements before applying for the scholarship. The documents required in the online application are softcopies of your original ICs, passport-sized photos, SPM transcripts, Matrikulasi/STPM/Asasi/IB/A-level/Diploma/SAT transcripts and university offer letters (if available).

Stage Two – Psychometric Test

In the mid of April, you will start receiving an e-mail which demands you to sit for a psychometric test. This test is implemented to evaluate your main interests in particular fields, ambitions, mentality, emotionality, hobbies, potential abilities and other psychological abilities. It is almost like the test we usually did in our secondary school to determine which field or job you were excellently cut out for. Compared to the previous years, the psychometric test has taken the place of an IQ test without doubt.

The test embodies two sections- Section A and B. Each candidate will be allocated roughly 120-180 minutes which are quite adequate for him or her to complete both sections separately. The questions are in Bahasa Melayu. Examples of the test are: “Adakah anda suka membaiki mesin dan motor?”, “Adakah anda suka mencatat, mengira, menulis dan membaca?” & “Anda dapat menerima nasihat orang lain dalam satu organisasi.” It consists of 300 questions and repetition of multiple questions occurs in the two sections. The answers are only “Yes” or “No”. The questions are not esoteric and you will be having plenty of time to complete them. I am sure you can answer the questions well as long as you possess a moderate command of Bahasa Melayu. Even so, please do not make light of this test because many candidates are eliminated from this stage either.

Stage Three – Interview

Eligible candidates will be notified of the interview through e-mails in due course. Interviewees need to attend the interviews in different states as to your respective residences. The wisest thing to do at this stage is searching for plenteous interview tips on the Internet, for example, blog spots of the scholars and interviewees, CollegeLah, ScholarStories, Lowyatnet and etc. The tips obtained are requisite in giving you an idea on how the interview is conducted and what kinds of questions will be asked during the interview.

Two candidates will be paired randomly in a group after the registration together with a panel of two interviewers. The interviewers are normally the professors or experts in the pure-science related fields. In my case, I was paired up with another guy who was doing his first-year Physics degree locally. Our interview took about 45 minutes and was fully conducted in English. We took turns at answering the same set of questions. You can round your points out to enable your ideas to be graspable even further. Moreover, keep up with current issues nationwide. I would suggest chatting with other candidates first before the interview helps to relieve your pent-up pressure and disquiet.

Speak confidently to voice your own opinions even though you are stammering sometimes throughout the interview. It is a no-brainer everyone is not like-minded in essence, thus, you must be level-headed by the time you encounter rebuttals from the interviewers. Take it as a piece of advice from them as it is just an exchange of opinions between both parties. Just be frank if you are ignorant of ideal answers to a question, it will not impinge on your overall performance. Also, try to engage them in a conversation with you as it can make you be yourself more and mitigate your apprehension.

I am listing out the following questions asked during my interview session:

 

  • Introduce yourself briefly.
  • What would you like to be besides becoming a lecturer?
  • Which department would like to join after your graduation? (Private, government or university)
  • Besides being a lecturer in university, what else do you think the lecturer should teach his students other than emphasising on the academics?
  • To study in England, what do you think you can do so that the foreigners will appreciate Malaysian students?   
  • If you get an awesome offer from the overseas company, would you like to work there or come back to Malaysia?
  • From all the activities you joined, what is the most valuable experience you have gained so far?
  • How would you promote patriotism?
  • What is your biggest strength and weakness?
  • How do you overcome the weakness?
  • Do you think you deserve this scholarship?
  • Current issues asked in my interview- GST&1MDB

 

Scholar’s Advice

I would like to highlight that the MoE is not going to help you in the university application. All procedures are kindly handled on your own. If you wish to study in the UK, all you need to do is apply for the universities through UCAS. Getting the admission of universities done before securing the scholarship is sparing with time and efforts. MyBrainSc Scholarship does sponsor students, too, to study in the US, Australia and Canada aside from the UK. The lists of universities recognized by MyBrainSc are available on Portal KPM.

Plus, you will need to come back and serve Malaysia for 5 years upon completion of your studies. The job prospects offered are becoming lecturers or researchers who will be affiliated with educational institutions and research centres in Malaysia. You should leap at this golden opportunity without scruples provided that you have an eye to Pure Sciences. The interview results shall be set forth approximately around the UPU results week.

Truth to tell, I have been harbouring a hope to study in England come what may. Finally, I have come across this scholarship which can bring my dream to pass and let me head for my dreamland, England. Perseverance is the key to achieving success and goals. To err is human. I do sail through trials and tribulations which have dampened my spirits. However, it takes courage and faith to begin the first step of everything you embark on. After going through a bad patch, you will see light at the end of the tunnel. Be a go-getter, and keep in mind that success does not come easy for any warrior. I truly hope that the information shared here will come in handy for you all in time to come.


Ka Chong

Ngui Ka Chong is a scholarship holder who will be pursuing his Biology degree in The University of Manchester under MyBrainSc Scholarship 2015. He loves making new friends everywhere, listening to music, reading novels and being a zealous writer. The motto of his life is “go confidently in the direction of dreams, live the life you have imagined.”

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MyBrainSc Scholarship Process

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I believe most of the people out there are not well-informed about this MyBrainSc Scholarship; Some even question if it even exists. It was introduced 3 years ago by the Ministry of Education (MoE) Malaysia, offering both local and overseas scholarships for Bachelor Degree/Masters/PhD level.  The scholarship is open to all Malaysians who are/will be enrolled specifically in the field of natural sciences, which include: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics.

As this scholarship is not as popular as the Maybank, Petronas, and Sime Darby scholarships, it may be quite troublesome to be able to grasp some information about it. Thus, I hope through this sharing of mine, more of you out there can have a better insight of it and will hence be able fulfill your dreams.

First Stage – Online Application

Similar to the other online applications that you’ve come across, you will need to fill in your personal details and also your preferable choice of course.  I’m guessing if most of you have the same concern as I had earlier, is it possible if I choose Chemical Engineering instead of Pure Chemistry since it’s related to Chemistry too? Or, Biomedical Science instead of Pure Biology perhaps?

Unfortunately, it’s a NO. You can’t.

Second Stage – IQ Test

A few months later, you will receive a phone text if you are eligible to proceed to the second stage.  Like most of the standard IQ tests, this online test consists of several sections, including arithmetical, verbal, grouping of objects with the same characteristics, spotting differences, defining English vocabularies and some general knowledge.

Applicants are not allowed to pen down anything during the test.  It wasn’t a tough one during my time; the key is to stay focus and make sure you get it done within the given time (which was 1 ½ hours if not mistaken). Time management is very important and it’s best to just leave the tough ones behind and tackle the ones that you’re more confident with. There’ll be no turning back to the previous page, so you’ll have to think fast and sharp in order to ace it.

Third Stage – Interview

You will be informed about the interview through phone text approximately after a month or two.  It’ll be a group interview with two applicants, and a panel of two interviewers. Applicants are not grouped according to courses nor categories (overseas/local).  On the other hand, the panel of interviewers may be professors of your related field or officers from JPA or MARA.

My interview started off pretty casual with some general questions like my family background, life experiences, visions etc.  I was also being asked about my opinions on recent issues like the MH370 tragedy, the Teluk Intan election, and the existing quota system in Malaysia.  All you need to do is to be frank and voice out your thoughts as this is the time where you will need to demonstrate your critical thinking skills and shine your personality to the panel.  If you have any working experience, do take the initiative to relate and share the lessons that have inspired you. They are looking for a candidate who is both intelligent and confident.  During my time, there weren’t any questions related to academics but still, it is possible to encounter one.  From the blogs written by the scholars from the past, I was acknowledged that some received questions like What is Chemistry? What are the leading contributions of Einstein? Getting some revision beforehand is a wise choice I’d say.

The interview was solely conducted in English in my case, then in Malay for my partner, a Malay girl who intended to pursue her studies in Mathematics locally. The whole session for the two of us took around 40 minutes, in which each of us was allocated 20 minutes with different sets of questions respectively. However, it’s also possible that you will be asked in English or Malay alternatively. Do try your best to answer in the language that the interviewers have proposed in order to show that you are flexible in conversing the two languages.

The result will be out in a month’s time, roughly around early July.

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We all know that chances don’t just come along easily – Hardships there are, sometimes with a tinge of luck to complete the sum. Okayyyyy, this is getting a little cheesy and sentimental but here’s something that I’d really like to share.

It’s been a dream of mine to study abroad, but it was a dream too big to be achieved without additional financial support. It took me 3 years for this day to come, after several falls and discouragement along way, I’m now proud to say that it’s definitely worth the wait! As an ex-student of the Kolej Matrikulasi Kedah, I’m taking this opportunity to shout out to those who have chosen the same path as me, who once thought that the Matriks qualification confines our area of study only to the local universities and not overseas. It’s time to correct the mindset now. The truth is, there’s a whole list of UK and Australian universities like Imperial College London, University College London, University of Manchester, University of Melbourne etc. that accept the qualification. All you need to do is to find out the list from the KPM website, e-mail the universities’ admission team to acquire everything you need, and get your preparations started after you receive your first semester result.

Let’s say, you’ve gained the admission but have yet to receive a full scholarship (like me), maybe you can try to defer your entry for a year and give yourself one more year to keep on trying in scholarship applications. I’d written to corporates and universities, requested for funds, started my first year in BSc Dietetics at Universiti Sains Malaysia during the wait, and here I am, writing this article as one of the MyBrainSc scholars who will be flying to my dreamland. It has been a journey, a fruitful one indeed.  For which, I hope there are more of you out there who have a dream as big as mine to join along. Have faith, embrace the falls, and above all, never lose hope. Good luck and all the best!


Chong Hui Wen copyChong Hui Wen is a MyBrainSc scholar who will be pursuing Biology in the University of Manchester. She’s an enthusiastic part-time singer who can only sing to the bathroom walls. “To dream is to believe” has been her motto and she postulates that food has the magic to restore faith.