Saturday, July 25, 2015

Reminiscing school years

So for the past few months, i've been actively involved with school kids, specifically, the form fives, regardless of which school they're from. For a while i was involved with my alma mater, followed by the schools i'm coaching, and my mum's school. It was a very interesting experience, and they all had one thing in common; they wanted to ask, but they didn't know how to put it into words. I know exactly what they feel, and i know exactly the answers to their unspoken questions.

Well kids, i hope you're reading this, cause i'm gonna try my best to answer those questions you guys cant even ask me. And this post is also regarding the repeated questions you boys and girls keep asking me, so i might as well put it in a post where you can re-read them whenever you forget the answer. Huhuhuhu~

Note that i've been conducting tutor classes to those that needs them, regardless of the subject. And i've also been giving random motivations to random form five students i come across. I don't really know why i'm doing this, maybe its because i just like doing this, or maybe i know how it feels like to still be feeling lost even when u only have a few months before a major exam, or maybe i'm just being creepily friendly. Be it any of the above, i'm more than glad to help!!

(Note that these answers are based on my experience, and based on the things my dad told me. If you've attended my talks, these are the exact same thing i talked about. And the exact same questions that was given to me during the Q&A session)


Well firstly, you really have to get your head straight. Think about your goals, your plans, what do you want to achieve in life. Think about your parents, think about yourself. Jot everything down into your journal, if you dont have one, get one. Write. Read your goals everyday. Sort your goals into long term ones and short term ones. Think ahead. Don't get people's words into your head so much, think about yourself. Be selfish in this particular part.

Next, reset your intentions. If you're a muslim, be sure that you're only doing this for Allah. Be sincere. My addmaths teacher always said that make sure that everything you do is sincere, and God will surely make it easy for you. In everything you do, insyaAllah. Sincerity in the number one key in learning. Now i know this sounds utterly ridiculous and pretty bogus, but trust me. Just trust me in this.

So to answer the first question, be goddamn sincere. In everything you do. Be it studying, helping your teacher, eating, praying, going to assembly, waking your friends up for subuh, etc etc etc. Be sincere.

2. WHAT DID YOU DO DURING THE LAST FEW MONTHS OF YOUR FINAL YEAR? (question by a student from MRSM Transkrian)

To be frank with you, i wasn't the brightest star in my batch back in form five. And to be frank with you, i still failed my subjects during the sbp trial. Not something i'm proud of, of course. But honestly, the last minute realization and the number of people underestimating me pulled me back up. But you lads definitely don't want to work like that during the last month before spm. Too much pressure will kill you. But i'm different. I work best under pressure hehe (dont follow what i did, please).

But anyway, just to share what i did.. SBP Trials was right after Raya Aidilfitri, and as i recalled, it was back in September. So i screwed that exam, and i bucked up, studied my ass off for the gerak gempur. It wasnt an official exam, but it was sort of like a second trial exam. My physics teacher couldn't believe what she saw when she marked my paper. My grades went from a C+ to an A-, but that wasn't enough for her, and i took it as a challenge.

Basically every day since gerak gempur, i wake up, mandi, solat, go to breakfast, go to the physics lab, assembly, class, lunch, prep, exercise, dinner, solat, prep, solat, stay up. With the amount of awareness i had back then, i find myself more focused in class, i stayed awake in most of them (a pretty big achievement for me weh I SWEAR), and i cut off most of my lagha times with my friends. Meaning that i didn't laugh too much back then (now here's what i did wrong. I'm supposed to be spending time with them, instead of cutting them off. I kinda regret that, but it helped in my focus. So.. yea)

During the first few days of spm, most of my friends fell sick. This, i can never forget. Some shivered all the way into the exam hall, and some were even quarantined. I had a viral fever with a pretty o-kay temperature, but alhamdulillah it didnt affect much. I did fell asleep during my english paper though (hehe sorry Ms Fiffy).

I'm not telling you to do what i did, but i'm telling you to take whats positive and improvise it into your own daily routine. But the key point is to focus. Never lose focus, cause honestly, spm is the hardest exam you'll ever take in your life. College onwards is a different chapter altogether.

3. WHAT WAS THE ONE THING THAT CONSTANTLY PUSHED YOU TO STUDY? (question by a student from SMK Sungai Nibong)

Honestly, it was the thought of not letting my parents down. And it was imagining myself holding my results slip next March. I cant imagine myself holding a slip, with grades other than A+'s and A's. Not to say that i'll be a total failure if i get B's and C's, but it is to say that i wasted two years away from home, for nothing. This was my personal realization, just to share. To think that my parents invested so much time and money to send me to a boarding school so far away from home, and to repay them with bad grades in spm? Gamak ke?

I couldn't imagine the look on their face if i disappoint them again. And i definitely can't imagine how would i redeem myself if i fail again. In college? A scholarship? Or maybe a decent job? God knows. So with sincerity, my goals in life, and the thought of making my parents proud, i worked hard. And thats my fuel of motivation that never runs out.


Yes, i did. Lots of them. But in fact, most of the problematic and dreadful ones were caused by myself, and to be more specific, by lust. I'm not going to go detailed on that one but lets just say that i overcame it when its too late (way past spm).

Oh during spm.. Gosh. Ah i always love telling people about my physics teacher. You see, our physics class doesnt go from 2pm-4pm, but it goes from 8am-6pm and it can go non stop, whether you like it or not. And i guess its true, the things you hate could be the things you need the most. Not to say that i hated my physics classes, but it was so ungodly, i cant remember how i survived the classes.

Needless to say, i've had some pretty ugly history during her classes which involved falling asleep repeatedly that pisses her off, but i managed to put those aside and scored her subject anyway (teehee). But anyway, my point is.. our physics class usually last all day instead of just a normal 2pm-4pm session, u get me? So the day before our physics paper, she held an intensive class as a preparation for tomorrow. I guess God wanted to test me, my menstrual cycle started on the same day. My menstrual cramps aren't really normal so i couldn't even last 10 minutes in the class. So i had to miss the class all day, and i didn't study at all. We had to go to the clinic to get an injection to reduce the pain. I woke up the next day, my uniform already ironed and my things already packed, ready to sit for the paper.

I cried my eyes out thinking that i'm so so dead. I didn't prepare anything, and the only thing i could think of was having to accept the devastation of failing my physics paper. I could barely walk to the exam hall, but i forced myself anyway. The teachers were asking whether i wanted to be quarantined or not, but i thought that it wont be necessary, i'm gonna fail the paper anyway.

With a very heavy heart, i answered all papers with whatever knowledge i have after two years learning physics. I prayed for God to help me, and He did. Alhamdulillah, an A+.

Nothing's impossible, kids.

5. HOW DID YOU STUDY? (question by the kid i'm personally tutoring)

Well at first i had a study schedule. But i couldn't stick to it during the first few days. But really, you need one. You can't just pick a subject you feel like doing that day, and it could be the only subject you feel like doing for the whole week. Not saying that its not the right way, this is subjective, but its pretty imbalanced if you ask me. So make yourself a study schedule, and stick to it. One subject for each prep session. I remember making a specific schedule to cover specific subtopics, and alhamdulillah it worked.

It goes something like;

Sunday (13/10/2013)
8.30am-9.30am : house meeting
9.30am-11.30am : addmaths : differentiation
11.30am-12.30pm : rest
12.30pm-2.30pm : sejarah : pembinaan negara dan bangsa yang merdeka
2.30pm-4.00pm : rest
4.00pm-5.00pm : nap
5.00pm-6.30pm : exercise, washing, kemas locker
6.30pm-8.00pm : dinner, maghrib
8.00pm-10.00pm : biology : coordination
10.00pm-11.00pm : settle down
11.00pm-1.00am : addmaths : log and indices

This was my actual schedule after gerak gempur. I managed to squeeze in every subtopic there is in the syllabus into everyday with double slots for addmaths up until two weeks before spm. My schedule during the weekdays varies according to the classes. Sometimes i had to carry the slots forward and replace them some other time or i just have to take away one of the addmaths slots. I improvised here and there, according to the events.

Managing your time is a critical part in preparing for a major exam like spm. Its crucial that you realize that the time you're wasting, is the time you will never get back. By the time you're holding your result slip next March, its that particular moment that you wished you didnt waste, and you wished you're doing your log exercises instead.

6. HOW DID YOU GET AN A+ IN ADDMATHS? (question by all of them)

As you can see in my schedule, i purposely squeezed in two slots for addmaths everyday. One in the morning, and one before i sleep. I regularize doing these exercises so that i dont feel awkward having to encounter weird numbers and symbols by the time i'm sitting for the paper.

During each slots, i purposely choose the hardest question there is, according to the topics. Mind you, sometimes one question took up the whole slot (yes, i spent two hours trying to settle one addmaths question). That was why i try to make it a habit of solving addmaths questions everyday, so i wont take up the whole 2hr 30mins of the time given to solve one question.

By this time of the year, most of you should already own a past year question book, be it topical or not. The last few weeks before spm, i only had to revise the questions i've done in the PYQ book and sometimes redo it so that i can refresh how i get to solve it in the first place, and in some cases, i find easier and shorter solutions to the question (which is pretty rare and when i do, i feel like a geniuz!!)

But behind the 'glory' of an A+ in addmaths, there are definitely the pain and struggles. I didn't think it was possible in the first place. The night before the paper, i was revising some paper 2 questions with a few of my friends. Out of nowhere, i suddenly went blank and i couldnt think. Everything my friends were talking about sounded off and i couldnt digest whatever they were discussing about. I broke down and cried. I called my dad, i told him i cant do it. I apologized about a thousand times in advance to him, saying that i'm gonna disappoint him, so i might as well apologize now (LOL).

By the time the results were announced, he laughed his ass off telling everyone how i sobbed and apologized to him because i thought that i was going to fail addmaths -_-"

This 'technique' implies to all subjects as well. Its only the matter of how often you do your exercises, and in some subjects like biology and sejarah, its the matter of how much you've read and you much you can rewrite whatever you remember about the particular topic. Thats why last minute studying is never a healthy way to get good grades. Sometimes you're lucky, last minute studying works. Sometimes luck laughs at you and you fail. So why take the risk? Start early so that you can feel that your hard work of two years pays off.


Well for now that's about it, the most repeated questions i've received so far. I'll update this post if i receive any more questions eh. But yeah, the most crucial thing students need to realize is that this is that phase in life that you're going to remember forever. Be it sweet or dreadful, its a part of your high school life that you'll never get to relive again.

Embrace the moment, make every second count. Balance your time with your friends, and with your studies. Concentrate and never lose focus. Prioritize and purify your intentions, remember why you're doing this in the first place.

First day coming back to school, 29th December 2012

All the best!

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