Student Life

8 Tips on How to Score Well in STPM

Published by Afterschool.my on Jul 16, 2020, 11:21 am

Whether you are a current STPM candidate or soon-to-be-one, you are definitely one brave soul.

STPM is very difficult indeed. Every year, only 1% of STPM candidates could achieve the magic number – 4.0. Looking at the bright side, it is at least 1% possible, right?

After interviewing STPM leavers who have proudly achieved flying colours, here we have 8 top studying tips exclusively for you to embrace your challenging journey ahead!

#1 Set your mind on it.

Understand why you chose this path at the beginning. Do you want to apply for a degree in public university? Do you want to lighten your family’s financial burden? Do you want to earn yourself the ticket to study abroad? (Yes, STPM is internationally recognised, you have many doors open for you after your completion!) Many people who dropped off half-way through often thought about ‘nah I didn’t know what other choice I had, so STPM lor, kerja-lah if fail’. Know what you are doing this for, set a goal for yourself, and always keep it in mind. You will find the motivation to work your way through easily.

#2 Plan your semester. No more last-minute.

If 18 months sound long to you and you decide to do last-minute study like in SPM, look through your syllabus and think again. You will realize that you have just enough time to understand everything and no time to procrastinate. Given every semester is about 5 months, spend the first 3 months understanding every single chapter and then the next 2 months revising and doing past year questions. Study consistently, and you will not get stressed out before exams.

Planning your study helps you to make sure that you are right on track.

#3 Do pre-reading before classes.

Spend 30 minutes on the night before to skim through the new topics for the next day of school. When you get a general idea on a topic, you will be able to follow its lecture easily. "Back in my school days, I realized that once we couldn’t catch up with the teacher, the next thing I know is that we spaced out and created our own universes," said Angie, a graduate from STPM Science with a CGPA of 3.50.

#4 Stay focus in class.

This is perhaps the hardest part. You might find your teacher boring, but hey, this is not an excuse for you to slack off. If you can’t pay attention to your teacher in class, read and make your own notes. Do not waste your time crouching on the table and sleep. How do we know? We are all guilty of that.

#5 Make use of your free time at school.

Use the time to discuss about the questions you have with your friends. Talk to your lecturer if you need extra help. Revise or do your worksheets. Tiffany, one of the nation’s Top 10 STPM 2017/18 achiever, advised: “I usually stayed at school until 5pm to do study group with my friends and tried to complete all my homework before going home. The main reason why was that I wanted to relax when I got home. I stayed really focus during class, but outside of classroom I spent my time on other hobbies.”

Tiffany, Malaysia's Top 10 Achiever in STPM 2017/18.

#6 Practice makes perfect.

Ask any STPM graduate and you will always get the same answer - practice, practice, practice. "There is no short-cut in STPM. You can't just fool around like in SPM. To score well, you need to understand each and every single chapter, and that takes a lot of practice," said Kah Wai, who graduated STPM Science stream with a CGPA of 3.92. Take the initiative to find more learning materials. Get past year papers to practice. Ask your lecturers for additional worksheets. Connect with other candidates and share your notes with each other. Stepping into Form 6, you ought to be proactive in searching for answers rather than relying on others to spoon-feed the information to you.

#7 Treat every exam as if it is your last shot.

It is nice that you have the option to retake when you are not happy with your results. However, that should only be your last back-up plan. Reassessments for Semester 1 and 2 usually take place right after Semester 3 examination. This will leave you little to no time to focus on so many chapters at once. It can also be tougher for you to excel in the resit examination. Therefore, give your best shot in every single examination. Also, do not try your luck to 'spot' or 'target' any question. STPM is full of surprises.

#8 Relax! Enjoy it while it lasts.

You might feel lost at times and that is completely normal. If you are struggling in your study right now, relax, you are doing it right. If you are feeling stressed out and questioning yourself if you are enough, give yourself a pat on your shoulder. Remember, every effort counts. You are making progress step by step. Give yourself a break when you feel like you are drained.

Exams aside, Form 6 can be much more enjoyable than you’d imagine. Time spent talking in the library together (oops!) with your friends, participating co-curriculum activities in the field under the big hard sun, lepak after school with your classmates, knowing every person in your form and gossiping about teen romance… These are the memories that you will not forget.

Exams aside, Form 6 can bring you memories that will last a lifetime.

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