SPM - My Emotions and Advice

- by Cheong Kah Yan
Johor Bahru

The time has come - 2016. This is the year I am going to sit for the national examination, SPM. It is time to be serious, to face the reality and to take the challenge.

Let me tell you my feelings as the SPM examination date gets nearer and nearer. I have been suffering from loads of stress and most recently, being annoyed by my parents as they have been nagging me to study hard. This is indescribable as I have already started to panic. What if I fall short of their expectations? This question has haunted me for months and I am still unable to get rid of it. I know they care about me and hope that I will move towards a better career path after completing my secondary school education. But they will never comprehend that the way they care actually exerts more pressure on me. I believe that there are many friends or SPM candidates out there who are in the same boat. To handle this, we should try to express our feelings to our parents. Ask for their understanding and most importantly, use a slightly gentle voice while communicating with them, to avoid misunderstanding and confrontations.

The inability to concentrate while studying is one of the major problems that we face. Apparently, it is hard to focus when there are electrical gadgets, such as smartphones, around us. My advice is to get rid of your phones and dissipate all thoughts of using them. We can request our parents to keep them for us until the examination is over. This may be quite challenging to many students, especially those of us who are online and surfing social networking websites almost twenty-four seven. We also tend to reply our friends' messages at lightning speed after the notices appear. Some of us may deny the fact, claiming that those gadgets will not catch our attention while we are studying. Anyway, in my opinion, it is not advisable to stick to our phones all day long regardless of whether examinations are approaching. Similarly, we should also refrain from watching drama serials as they can be addicting. We tend to spend a lot of time watching them until we have finished all the episodes.

When we feel bored or tired studying day in day out, it is wise for us to take a break and engage ourselves in healthy activities like taking a stroll on our favourite streets and spending time with our friends in a recreation park. We can also take up a new hobby such as swimming, playing badminton and jogging to boost our physical and mental well-being. We feel refreshed and energised after taking exercise and thus are able to study more effectively. Furthermore, it keeps us calm during examinations. Since good health is an essential prerequisite for good academic performance, we should make an effort to maintain our health. If necessary, we can ask doctors for advice and take dietary supplements.

Ask ourselves if we are satisfied with our performance in the previous examination. Whether the answer is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, we should work harder to achieve the goals we have set. And since it is vital that we build our self-confidence before an examination, we can seek advice from friends, teachers and school counsellors. Participating in study groups help us study better and build our confidence as well. Remember, sharing is caring. When we share our knowledge generously, our friends will do the same.

I notice that many students face problems writing good essays. Here is a little tip: watch the news or read newspapers so that we know about what is the trend or what is happening worldwide. Apart from that, we can also read more model essays. This will give us more ideas on how to write our essays well. It is also important for us to learn and familiarise ourselves with the grammar rules so as to minimise grammar mistakes when writing essays.

To sum it up, be well prepared for SPM but do not stress ourselves out. Even though passing SPM with flying colours is an important gateway to better tertiary education, it does not mean that our whole life depends on this sheet of certificate. Just think of SPM as a dessert before the main dishes. There is no limit to what a person can achieve. As the saying goes, ‘make hay when the sun shines’. Good luck to all SPM candidates and also to myself.