YOUR SPM paper is next week, and it’s time for the final preparation.

For those who feel they have not studied enough, eleventh-hour cramming is not helpful, and neither is panicking if you find you don’t know as much as you should.

Four educators give their lists of priorities on tackling the challenges ahead.

Dr Teh Lah Hoong of SMK(P) Sri Aman said that with the little time left, one has no choice but to be selective.

“Check the syllabus to see what you know well and what you are less sure of, then decide what you need to focus your attention on,” she said.



“For those embarking on their final revision, take down brief notes that can be used in place of your textbook for subsequent review.

“Make productive use of whatever time you still have. During this period, make sure you give yourself regular short breaks to relax the mind and ease the tension.

“You will probably have to sacrifice some TV and the Internet, but remind yourself that it’s only for this crucial time.

“Make sure you also take balanced meals, have daily physical workouts and also sufficient sleep.

“Don’t sap your mind by depriving it of rest, and don’t allow your body to become weak by not eating right or exercising enough.

“On the night before an exam, double-check the paper you’ll be sitting for and the exam time scheduled to make sure you don’t miss anything.

“Pack your bags so that you don’t leave out essentials like your IC, stationery, geometrical set, brushes or calculators.

“On the day of the exam, relieve yourself from any anxiety by telling yourself that you can do well. Those who are religious or spiritual can also pray for divine support.

“Make sure you don’t go on an empty stomach. At the same time, avoid food that can irritate the bowels.

“Arrive early for the paper to avoid having to catch your breath.”

On writing answers, Teh said that if the answer requires an explanation, the way it is presented can also make a difference.

“When answering, be sure to write neatly and clearly, and keep sentences short,” she said.

“Long sentences will not only tire the marker, you may even end up confusing yourself. A well-presented answer can expect to be rewarded by the marker.

“Make sure you have enough time for answering all the questions. Those you can answer well can be given priority as they will help boost your confidence.”



Dr Shukri Abdullah, Amalan Belajar Sdn Bhd director and principal facilitator, would place great importance on reading the instructions carefully.

“Always read the exam instructions carefully before attempting to answer any question. Unfortunately some tend to overlook this, in their haste to ensure that they have enough time to answer all the required questions and ending up writing what is not in line with the instructions given,” he said.

“Check your answers more than once, because even one mark more or less can mean getting an A or B grade. Look for spelling mistakes, factual errors and also check the appropriateness of examples given.

“When checking your answer, always ask: ‘Am I answering the question correctly ?’ or ‘Is this what the question really wants?’

“Many leave the exam hall with joy because they thought that they had answered the question correctly only to find out instead of A, they get B or even C because they failed to fulfil the exact requirements of the question.

“Put full focus upon your exam while in the exam hall, meaning that your mind, energy and time must be channeled towards answering the questions. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. You are there to do one thing and one thing only, which is to answer the exam questions to the best of your ability in the limited time given.

“Make sure you have adequate sleep the night before. Staying up until 2am or waking up as early as 4am, with the aim of putting in last-minute revision, is not only wrong but likely to be counter-productive. Being tired and sleepy during the exam will badly affect your performance in terms of memory, concentration and mental agility.

“Don’t skip breakfast before your first paper. You will need the energy to recall information, interpret the questions, and answer them correctly and on time.

“Be early to give yourself breathing space before the start of the exam. At the same time, do not discuss the subject with your friends to avoid any last-minute confusion. This is also not the time to read the textbook, only the key points that you have jotted down.”

Santha Devi Arumugam of SMK King George V in Seremban would always tell her students not to study at the eleventh hour, as last-minute work only adds to stress.

“Preparations should have included trying out exercises and past-year trial papers from other schools,” she adds.

“Make sure you get enough sleep especially the night before an exam day.

“Avoid getting sick by keeping to food you normally take, including vitamins which will help keep your health in check.

“Getting support and blessings from teachers and family members will help in making you feel good which in turn will add to your confidence.

“Those who are religious can also engage in prayers and meditation that will provide a calming effect.”

To Christina Chan of SMK USJ 12, the most important preparations are the mental and emotional preparations.

“After weeks of intensive studying and testing, now is the time to set a schedule for systematic revision,” she said.

“Stay positive and confident, even if the first papers turn out to be difficult.

Watch out for your health, with sufficient intake of nutrients as well as sufficient rest, something that should not be sacrificed.

“There’s no point mugging all day and night only to end up feeling fatigued during the exam and being unable to stay focused.

“Always remember that what you sow is what you reap. If you put in the effort over time, you should be able to achieve something, even if it is less-than-stellar results.

“Anyone who has made it will tell you that it is not just about scoring As, but rather how you conducted yourself during the challenge and was able to rise above it.”

Three successful students also share their exam experiences.

Muhammad Dalil Shobri advised candidates not to stress themselves up and always pray to God.

“Make use of your short notes because they are very helpful but always remember to sleep early,” said Muhammad Dalil, who scored 4A+ and 6A in his SPM last year.

He is now a Yayasan Tenaga Nasional scholarship recipient at University of Southampton Malaysia Campus.

Ahmad Shazwan Abdul Hamid, a Petronas scholarship recipient, believed in being relaxed and staying as calm as possible.

“Don’t be too anxious, and you’ll do fine,” said the chemical engineering student at Taylor’s University.

Cindy Sui Yea Zhen said SPM candidates should already be familiar with past years’ questions in order to understand more about the format of the exams.

“They can try to apply the knowledge they have learned. By doing so, they would not be too nervous or mind becomes blank in the actual exam.”

We wish every candidate all the best in their results. 





Source : New Straits Times       

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