Celebrating Me

Options after SPM

Posted on: March 18, 2009

This post is pretty darn long, so you might wanna bookmark it for later reading.  

It’s March and it’s that time of the month that’s especially busy for most school leavers. The SPM results have just come out and worthy students are clamouring and competing for good scholarships. Some are opting for Form 6 while others are vying for tougher entries into matriculation programmes.

2 weeks before, my head was spinning from all the seemingly infinite number of choices of scholarships available. My motto was simple.

Apply for as many scholarships as possible.

That way, the chances of getting shortlisted would be greater whether or not I wanted the scholarship. I know, I know. Why waste time on applying for scholarships I don’t even want?

The ugly truth behind my scholarship application frenzy was because I didn’t want to enter Form 6 at all cost. For those of you who know me well enough, you’d know that before this I wasn’t too hot about attending Form 6.

At that time, I was even seriously considering the idea of accepting a scholarship that I did not want so long as that meant not going to Form 6.

Although I didn’t hold anything agaisnt going to Form 6, the thought of having to go through the whole Malaysian high school experience again, albeit for only another year and a half, scared me away.

Fortunately, all my selfish preconceptions changed about a week or two ago when I had a heart to heart talk to my parents about my choices after SPM. Let’s just say I had to kill my ego and adopt a totally new outlook on Form 6. Not an easy thing to do considering I’m a very stubborn person.

Right now, I have drastically cut down my scholarship prospects to those I only feel really worth it. And that’s like only 2 or 3 from the 10+ scholarships I was going to apply for.

As far as I know, lots of people would opt for private colleges over entering to form 6 anytime. Why the sudden change, you might ask.

The logic behind this “madness” is because at this stage, there are not many real pre-university scholarships out there.

My dad and I went through the terms and conditions of the scholarship awards from private colleges like KDU, HELP, INTI, Taylors’ around Malaysia offering A-levels/Pre-U courses through the lens of a magnifying glass (it’s figurative okay?).

Our findings? Most colleges only offer fee waivers or partial fee waivers, which means students don’t have to pay the college fees.

But if that’s the case, what about other expenses? The “scholar” still has to pay extra supplementary fees, accomodation, food, transport and other personal expenses. There’s not even an annual allowance. You call that a scholarship? So before applying or accepting any scholarship, be sure to read their terms and conditions and also their scholarship “perks”.

But if you’ve got the money, then these kinds of scholarships which only offer fee waivers would be good to go. This isn’t the case for most average income students which this article is targeted at though. Taking loans would be inevitable at one point or another. 

I find the majority of really good and valuable scholarships offered are mostly tailored for undergraduate studies. Scholars can easily obtain a 5-figure annual allowance for their course.

For A-levels or pre-U, the choices available, although many, isn’t as comprehensive compared to undergraduate scholarships.

I’m not saying there are no good pre-U scholarships around. Of course there’re a few where the particular education body is really interested in helping notable students complete their A-levels with distinctions. The allowance given covers everything, from accomodation to transport to annual allowance.

Obviously, these scholarships are tougher to obtain and are quite selective but I’ve got nothing to lose anyway.

Last night, I thought about it carefully and I’ve compiled 3 main choices. For those of you who are still in limbo and haven’t decided on anything yet, reading this article might be a good idea especially in you’re on a tight budget.

1. ASEAN Scholarship

This scholarship is one or the most generous scholarships I’ve come across at pre-U level. ASEAN scholarship covers everything: food, accomodation, lodging, waiver of fees and other personal expenses. They even give you a $500 once only settling-in allowance up front to help students adapt at fist. Best thing is this scholarship comes with NO BOND. As in you’re not stuck to any organisation or whatever. The accepted scholar is given $2400 per annum which means $200 per month.

Now although that sum is quite tight to live off every month, I’m betting the Singaporean government purposely allocated that specific allowance as a way to curb students’ spendings and as a strategy to restrict students’ from wasting their time at entertainment hubs.

Also, whenever I think of Singapore, I think of some cosmopolitian, hip and trendy, modern kinda city. Like damn prestigious wei. No doubt the standard of education there is so much higher than Malaysia’s. Whatever it is, experiencing student life in Singapore is something that doesn’t come very often.

The only qualm I have is that if I do get accepted, I’d only be posted in January 2010 which means I won’t be studying anything this year. Whether that’s a good thing or not, it depends on how I use the time. Also, the duration of course is 2 years. That means I’ll only finish pre-U when I’m 20! Oh gosh…is there an express course?

I suppose I’ll just have to apply first and see how things turn out. Dude, I might not even get shortlisted yet.

So while waiting for the application to be processed, students might as well attend Form 6 first. If you do get accepted, yay you! You’re off to experience college life! Woohoo! But if you don’t, then that’s okay. There’s still form 6 for you to rely on. I mean, contrary to most people’s belief I don’t think form 6 isn’t bad. No point moping.

Those few months in Form 6 won’t be a waste in any case cuz you’d have done some reading up as a buffer. Besides, there’s no harm in doing extra revision up front right?

2. Enter Form 6. Period.

This ex-number one Form 6 hater is going to write an entire article (more like sub-article really) on the wholesome goodness of attending Form 6. So you’d better listen up. This doesn’t come very often ya’ know.

Petty things first:

I’ve weighed out the pros and cons of Form 6 with an open mind. Bad news first: I’ll be stuck in a uniform. Gah…Another thing is I won’t be going through the college experience for another year and a half. Pooh…

I’ve managed to pacify myself with the following good news though. At least I won’t be studying Form 6 in the same high school. It’ll be in a different high school instead (duh!). Change is good. I like change. Besides, the school uniform will also be different than the normal boring blue pinafore.

 Now for the more important, non-petty facts:

Actually, entering Form 6 is basically like getting a scholarship by itself. In simpler words: It’s the cheapest pre-university/A-level option there is out there even if you’re not an A student.You don’t need to pay for any fees except the compulosry MUET fees. Addionally the living cost is way cheaper because you’ll be living with your parents, and

Personally, if you have the results to get into the science stream, I think it would be wiser to opt for the science package even though your interest may lie in arts. This maximises your choices once you leave school. You can always switch to art courses later if you choose to.

But if you’ve opted for the arts package, then you won’t have the privilege of switching to science related careers during your university years. You’re basically stuck with arts, even so more if you had the brains to start off with. You’ll regret it.

What’s more, the science subjects are taught in English.

In Form 6, the arts subjects are only taught in BM. And if your command of English language is weak, you’re good as doomed once you enter university.You might as well apply for scholarships if you opt for the arts subjects and hope for the best. Then at least you’ll be able to study them in English from the beginning instead of struggling later.

But if you’ve got a strong command of English but you don’t have the results to enter the science stream, form 6 is also a good option. I doubt you would have any problem translating BM to English.

I like my choices to be as varied as possible especially since I haven’t decided what to do yet. So after completing Form 6, my options would be very open.

Compare this if I were to take a foundation programme which meant that I’d be stuck in that college until I completed my studies (which would be approximately 5 years in the same university). And god forbid if I decided half way that a certain course doesn’t suit me.

I’ve heard that Form 6 is much harder than matric programmes or other pre-U courses. STPM is one of the hardest examinations in the world if I’m not mistaken. But if you’ve got the brains and confidence, why not go for it? I heard Form 6 also equips students with a stronger base when students pursue their degrees later on.

I suppose STPM has to be tough to be recognized as equivalent to Cambridge A-levels or Australian A-levels. Also, STPM is accepted internationally. And if you’ve managed to obtain excellent STPM results, you wouldn’t have trouble getting shortlisted into prestigious universities.

Whatever it is, I might as well enjoy another one and a half years of high school before leaving for university. And I darn better score good grades in STPM if that’s my choice.

3. Apply for Malaysian Matriculation

One good thing about these matriculation programmes is that they’re by the government and therefore, the facilities provided there are top notch. So rest assured that you’ll be studying in as conducive an environment as possible. Also, these government scholarships are quite generous. Well, it is the government’s money.

Look at the bright side of it though. You’re almost certain to do very well in exams which can lead to pursuing your studies in top local universities because you’re gonna be seriously drilled day in, day out. You get to save one year compared to your other peers too. Also, getting 4 flats would be snap easy.

But of course you’re gonna be seriously drilled day in day out for a complete whole year. As in no dating, no fooling around, no shopping thrice a week, no … fun. If you don’t mind a whole year of your life just studying to ace your exams then that’s okay.

There’s a catch though. Usually these kinds of government scholarships come with a bond. So after you’ve completed your studies, you’re tied down to the government service for a couple of years. For some of you, that sounds okay. I mean, it’s a job. Who doesn’t want a job in recession times?

But for me, I want to be an entrepeneur which means I don’t want to be working my ass off for other people.

Another snag is that these kinds of scholarships are quite hard to obtain especially if you’re a non-bumiputera. Of course other factors come into play too, like your performance in the interview and co-curriculum achievements. Also you’ve got to have excellent SPM results especially for your science subjects.

I’m very confident that I have 2 chances of getting it: Slim and none.


So to summarize the whole long thing, it’s down to three choices: Form 6, ASEAN Scholarship and Government Scholarships.

I think the real headache should only start after the completion of my A-levels/STPM/pre-university because that’s the time I’m going to be choosing a permanent course, permanent university and all other permanent stuff for the next couple of years (Although I might just ditch everything once I’ve finished my studies and pursue a totally different path. Hey, I like the freedom of spontaneity).

p.s.: I don’t mean to offend anyone in this post. These are just my personal opinions and may not be accepted by everybody. So don’t take it too personally if it doesn’t match with your views. Thanks =)


24 Responses to "Options after SPM"

Eh.. read your comments la.. Nvr reply wan.. 🙂

Whoa.. U applied ASEAN scholoarship? Good.. I dare not apply le.. coz I’m not the kind that can handle stress very well.. I heard from ppl studying there b4 that it is super stressful coz it’s like all good students there.. like the ‘cream of the crops’ wan.. But perhaps U, the great MI YEN can la.. 🙂

Anyway, good luck in ur scholarship application and NS ya!!!

LOLLLLLL…this post is damnnnnn long.

agree with kaylynn , u are the cream of the crops


[…] See more here:  What’s after SPM « Celebrating Me […]

i’m in the process of applying for ASEAN. But i don’t think i can finish applying before ns la. so many sections to write. i don’t even have enough information.

aiya…i think i’ll just go form 6 la. no need to apply anything. lol.

hey, i’m not the cream of the crop la wei….you guys are. did better than me somemore.

Okay.. Nice opinion, and do think abt going Form 6 when u get back from NS. I heard from my frens that u can take leave from NS earlier than expected if u r going for Form 6.. another good reason why u should go Form 6.:)

And well, 2nd reason is… I come out okay.. if i can come out okay, so can you.. since u r a bright student.. oh yeah, maths in form 6 is tough.. make sure u really master ur basics in spm..

3rd reason: You can enter MSSM again.. isn’t that cool?

4th: You can disect a rat, provided u r taking bio la.. And Bio is easier in form 6 rather than in form 5. (I feel)

5th.. is STPM that hard as you think? Basically its the same syllabus as A levels.

Now my turn to discuss on the cons in taking Form 6. Bio have 25 chapters.. n every chapter is equally important.. hmm..

Chemistry got 3 big books (physical, organic, inorganic) Organic is easy if u noe how to tackle it.. If u dunno and only depend on memorization, dunno how u will cope.. Physical need pure understanding. No understanding, means u can’t calculate the answers for the question asked.. Inorganic pure memorization.. hated it most..

PA is in BM. so, kinda dislike it.. Plus, for essay, u need to get the main point very accurate. Or else, marks won’t be given for that. Maybe that’s why I got B- for paper 2.. haiz.. Other than that, paper 1 is fairly easy.. Its like how u study for history paper 1. =)

And maths… If u get a good teacher, u wud enjoy it.. If u get a bad one, better start getting a GOOD tuition teacher to guide you.. Paper 1 is a continuation of add maths.. so, easier a bit.. Paper 2 is the difficult part, especially on vector and deductive geometry.. Statistics is very important. Already make my head pening-pening dy especially my paper 2.. lolz.. U better hope that when ur time comes to take STPM, ur paper 2 is nt as difficult as mine.. 🙂

and MUET: Pls dun look down on the reading comprehension section.. that could pull ur marks down unexpectedly if u take things for granted.. I am sure u wud do well in essay writing, and speaking.. 🙂 For listening section, no comments.. lolz..

Oh yeah.. one question.. after u come back from NS, only reply this la.. u r taking 5/4 subjects? Cause that day, ur father give a nice opinion on why one shud take 5 subjects instead of 4.

N personally, I doubt u can get ASEAN scholarship lor.. unless u r really all-rounded in academic and non-academic activities.. No offense. If you are selected for an interview, congrats!! =)

Okay, enjoy NS! N next time, blog abt pics.. 🙂

OMG…so long post..i’m nt done reading yet btw..lol..ic til blur d..u do al these??wat my mum ask me 2 do is tk s many subs s possible n score s many a1’s s possible..den ader tings..she’l handle..ina der words..i dono anything..my “job” is 2 tk s many subjects s possible n gt s many a1’s s possible..i gt no ambition bt dun1 tk medicine..i cant memorize..terrible at it..c wat u rite oso blur..lol..c lawrence commen..oso blur..@.@…u guys can go gif sm after spm choices talk..lol..i wen edu fair twice..bt stil blur..mayb cz nt interested in these stuf…lol..wei..cant oso go matrix…hahahaha!!!!!!siew ting n me’s plan is lyk tis lar..lol..she’s qutie eager 2 apply 4 jpa..n ader scholarships..if al turned down or dun gt…den go 4 matrix..lol..ic my future in matrix n nowhere else…dono y…my prediction of my future……

*taking a moment looking into the future* (kononnya)

i’m taking 12subjects now…i wonder…can i cope v it…my skul’s result tis yr extremely terrible!!!standard drop lyk shit!!!lol..so surprised..normally..my skul is kinda de bes in my district…bt tis time real terrible…2fella gt straight a1’s ONLY!!OMG!! *faint*

i oso quite worried..est is a prob in my skul cz no capable teacher..my fren suggested tat i drop it..lol..i said no..so cool…my skul tis yr oni gt 3 fella gt a1 4 est…so terrible lar in al..hahahaha…^^..i’m gonna work hard 4 spm d…nt 2 mention…practical exam….theory exam..in august…both grade8….trials in september..n spm november…

i wonder if i can make it thru tis yr…lol..tis is wat i sacrificed 4 mssm…n i tink it’s worth it…^^

lol..ok..nw reli finish reading d..hehe..lawrence made stpm sound easy..wel..duh!!!he gt lyk wat??such n excellent result…so amazing..gd reason 2 tk f6..mayb he can list out tat many reasons is cz he’s been thru wat u mite go thru in de future..lol..bt seriously..he made stpm sound lyk drinking water…

asean scholarship??i tot it’s kinda hard 2 gt…n…sth sth…abt mosly reserved 4 singaporeans..or sm sort??dono lar..anything lar bt ehd tat’s nt easy 2 gt..

matric??mm…sounds more fun..dono y bt sounds more fun..jz tat u made it soun horrible…btw..honestly speakin..my bro gt jpa..he can do evrythin he lyk wen no lesson is on…facilities r amazing!!!can go out on weekends..ignore wen tcher teachin oso tcher dun care..so cool!!!hahaha..i’d love 2 do tat sm time…if possible….

fyi…matric is easier 2 gt…i tink matric no interviewin…i tink..i cant rmber…i tink oni jpa gt…bt..duh..jpa is harder 2 gt unles u score “beautiful” result…lyk 4 flats…..straight a1’s in spm..n at leas 13subs….those ppl r mosly likely 2 b accepted 4 jpa…wel..at leas tat’s wat i noe 4 nw..my bro did great without studyin…another gal frm my skul gt 13a1’s..accepted easily….bla..bla..bla..so suppose ok gua…de worst of all is gotta sign contract v government…haiz….10yrs bond!!tied…no freedom in choosing wer u’l work…

f6 sounds fun u noe..hahaha..i’l gt lots of advantage if i go f6 bt dono if i can cope v de studies..lol..u tink of wat u can gt by goin bc 2 f6 lar..lol…bt sounds lyk u kinda wanna go f6 d..hahaha!!

kay lynn tinks simple..lol..duh…$$..hahaha!!

Jia Minn: You are right in the sense that JPA need all A1’s.. haha..

And did I mention STPM is easy? lolz.. I think I mention more on the cons.. =)

um….i am quite confused when i get good results….straight a’s. Form 6, colleges, JPA or something else… I want to take computer science if i can go to university but i won’t take this course if i have to study in Malaysia… i meant the course is outdated in malaysia, compare to India which is good for computer..And there is a problem, i am not rich. Can’t so to oversea to study and i try to get scholarship to australia to study…. my question Form 6 or Australia?? if i am going to oversea to study after stpm…the requirements are too horrible GCE A-Level must be 3.9 above…this is definitely crazy..then if i study in form 6 then i would have to study in local u and that sucks!

Who say if you study form 6, then u hv to study local u.. for ur info, if u get good result in form 6, u can even study in singapore or US or in any top universities in the world. Form 6 is recognized worldwide.

Yeah i knew that can still go to oversea but in order to get the scholarship STPM result must be very good.So if if i get around 2a, 1a-, and 1b-….u think i can get scholarship to oversea? Without scholarship, my plan to go to oversea will turn to dust. I am not rich. I am not so sure that i can do very good in Form 6. Form 6 looks very hard. I am kinda guy that is not so serious. There is so many sweet tempt out there, many colleges can offer me to study free. I dun really think the diploma worth cuz nowadays too much people can go into college too easily and there are too many of them which makes colleges’ diploma and degree worthless.Umm how to get 4a in STPM. the biggest obstacle – general study.

Lawrence makes STPM sounds SUPER EASY.

STPM is great in the sense that the cert comes very handy for future studies in local and overseas uni.

But the problem is: Can we handle it?

To get maximum As. Is it really that easy?

For me, choosing Form 6 is somehow like a bet. Get good results, you win the bet. Get not-so-good results? Find another way larh.

But seriously. If you get like 4 Flats in STPM, people see you as a genius already.

I heard rumors that Singapore loves STPM graduates. XD

Sweat.. Did I make STPM sound so easy? Its difficult la.. I tot I wrote more on the negative side of it? haiz.. which part of my post said STPM is easy? lol

Lawrence, rumours said that those who get 4A’s in stpm will advance to bachelor instead of degree from this year now on…. i mean those who get it will not have to study in degree level. this is a new policy, is that true?

Many people said that the courses of IT(information technology) is outdated in Malaysia local uni…..is that true?

And wat about the computer science? Is it also outdated in Malaysia?

HW: Yup, that is true. I heard it from somewhere also.. if u want to take that course, u better go overseas like NUS/NTU. Both that uni offer that course and of course, the program will be among the best.

Hmm.. My fren is enjoying computer science now.. lolz.. No comments on that though.. try emailing her. myw_12j@hotmail.com

Jun Jin: Only rumours. Not proven yet. =) But I think unlikely la. If u get good results in form 6, u can study anywhere in the world. Just an advice.. if u r taking form 6, better do ur homework early, like researching on US/UK universities, and applying there with ur forecast. Cz I din noe could apply that till results are out in a forum.

And yeah, do hope more wud be going form 6 later.. =)

okay. thanks. i’m actually studying form6, upper 6 now and going to sit stpm this year. MUET exam, reading, writting and listening papers just over. now left speaking which will held on 7th May. haha.

oh, i’d change to art stream last year cos i targeted law. do you hav any idea on which government Uni is better for law? if private, i think should be brickfield / mmu, right?
Yea, my fren’s sis (currently working in UK now) asked me to apply Uni in Uk cos there’re a lot of job demand for lawyer there. =/ but the problem is we chinese got bully by the whites there. i mean we’ll be discriminated by them. as a result, some of them fail / give up in the half way. and i hav to do research on the weather there too before i proceed further.

and i got a senior whom he scored 5a’s in stpm. he got asean scholarship and study in singapore now. i was told that he applied for it after he got the result and that makes me quite confuse @.@

Where are the student who success to get ASEAN scholarship study in Singapore? Is it Singapore A-level, NSU, NUS?

Jun Jin: Actually if u want to study law, u can take science also.. nt necessary to switch to art.. oh well, guess no harm changing stream also.. =)

Yup, u got it right.. brickfields/mmu is the best.. but I prefer brickfields la.. Went to their education fair last time, and they really captivate me by their style of talking.. =) and yeah, better start applying after u get ur forecast result.. dun procrastinate.. 🙂

Hmm.. I think NUS/NTU got law.. But nt so sure.. din apply or take notice in that area.. lolz.. may I know which school u r from? And all the best in ur MUET speaking.. I heard writing was pretty easy since its about ICT right? =)

thanks a million.
i’m from kampar, ex-acs student also, studying in sri kampar school now, the only form6 school in kampar. no choice, although i consider to enter acs ipoh before, but it’s the matter of time and distance. if not, i may be your junior. =x
this school has ISO, i think it’s something related to worldwide logo. anyway, put this aside.

hmmm, for muet, it was so-so la :). i just concern about reading part cos this paper always give me a shock. although it looks easy, but it covers 120 marks which not to underestimate it….not to mention, the graph part also. i am weak in elaborate graphs (this paper dragged me for 1hour and 10minutes -.-). ICT was easy, i used 20minutes to complete. it was a risk. hmm, maybe i’ll resit once more if i get the band that doesn’t satisfy me…for now, i know i should do well in speaking part to grab as many marks as i can.

oh ya, i think i saw u in chess tournament before. did u enter UTP open in 2004 & 2006? and msspk 2003-2007?

If u get band 4 and plans to apply for NUS/NTU, u better retake.. They prefer band 6/5 candidates. I heard the marking would be strict as they want to upgrade MUET.. well, im quite lucky to be among the first batch although very few students in malaysia score band 6 that time..

Well, yup.. u play chess too?? Hmm.. i think i got champ for u-18 category (year 2006) oh well, now retire liao.. lolz.. u gt facebook? just add me there la.. find my name or jz go to my blog and add me.. 🙂

btw, mi yen, when u will be back la?? I jz notice one thing that I din read earlier.. or mayb i miss it..

This ex-number one Form 6 hater is going to write an entire article (more like sub-article really) on the wholesome goodness of attending Form 6. So you’d better listen up. This doesn’t come very often ya’ know.

what do u mean by this? hmm… and hope to see u taking form 6.. 🙂 cz dunno where u r now.. make sure u check the comments here ya.. =)

For those who is in penang will be benefited from this course.
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