It was the end of countdown to the game: let the game begin!
Week 1. BM, BI.
While I targeted to finish reading (or simply, scanning) BM materials before seminar (scheduled 2 days before exam), I failed it, although I succeeded at the moment before exam (focusing merely on highlights by tutor). Fortunately, from Paper 1 (Essays) in the morning to Paper 2 (Reading) in the afternoon everything went as expected (Felt great towards Section B Essay! Less to section A though) except Question 4a of second paper: synopsis writing of the novel. A question that is given advice from teachers: “impossible to come out in exam” and “spend no time on it”, but now it was in your question paper.
But no one is going to mourn for the loss of 7 points out of 240 !
As for English, just like BM there are certain highlights, and the Section B essay was blessing to me! That’s the essay I wrote, read and get evaluated before. But I didn’t manage to finish all materials: the enormous amount of tuition stuff (3 times others’!) would just crack your brain.
Week 2: “Sejarah” (History) only
While you may be puzzled by a subject occupying the whole week, look at the game rules: only Monday to Thursdays can be used as exams, and public holidays should be vacant. We had Monday and Tuesday of the week as public holidays, plus the paper needs 2 days: many thanks to the 3-paper-format which spanned almost 7 hours.
After using 5 freaking days for last minutes revision, I went into exam hall with confidence before being shocked again by Paper 2: 70% of Thinking Skills (HOTS+KBKK) questions, a dramatic increase from 20-30% of previous years. Well, the facts in the textbook didn’t seem that important already isn’t it? And had fun on 3rd paper: What’s difficult here? Prepare materials online based on topic given (and those from teachers) and bring into the hall! No offense, it’s open book exam. That’s why many people scored 20/20 in trial exam for it. We were even advised to use up all 3 hours in inputting facts based on what we had, leaving the answer booklet almost full, and one of my pen being used up. Also, wondering how the markers were going to get bored of marking the papers, since the points of students were essentially the same. Perhaps, at one point giving all papers full marks, or even marking only the first paper and the others have the same score as the first one? (I remembered my teacher asking us to mark our own paper for mock-paper.)
Week 3. Maths (a.k.a. “Modern” Maths), Moral, Add Maths
There were 3 free days before the week, and I joked to my table mate, Chia Chun: “we need 3 full days for preparing Modern Maths!” Really, there’s nothing great in the material, and we can easily score a 95 even without any preparation (provided we did it carefully). Thus, I gave most of the 3 days for the more critical one: Biology. How about the harder mathematics test on Thursday? The Examination Board will be regretful for what they had done:
Now look at Q6(b). The question is fine, but what can we say about girls. The variance (for girls itself) is -6.5: some of them read imaginary/complex number of books. Just wondering are the girls human beings.
That’s small case compared to moral exam. With mindset of essay being questions asking “give 2 moral values of this situation”, our preparation focused on choosing right values, matching definitional key words with situational key words, and giving relevant explanation. The moment we checked our paper:
Question B1. “Give 5 ways of ……”
Question B2. “Give 3 reasons of ……”
Question B3. “State 5 lessons of ……”
(Note: The questions are supposed to be kept confidential, but these 3 questions are disclosed on the paper).
This catastrophic paper caused outcry among the students and teachers: no information of change of question style was notified beforehand! We memorised all 36 moral values and its definition, with some important facts involved. Too bad. Only an edge of the cake can be grabbed. But the essay is 20% (3 choose 2). And 80% cannot guarantee an A+.
The structured questions were not easy games to play, either. Like History paper, many HOTS question involved, and one question asking your feelings.
Bad things happen together, as always. Coincidentally, the Moral Exam was on the same date as the death of he energetic and lively Khai Fatt (19 years old), one of my bosom friend in Bagan Ajam Toastmasters Club from meningitis. May he rest in peace.
Week 4. Physics, Chemistry, Biology.
While previous 3 weeks was relaxing moment (yep, not more than 2 subjects to study per week!) This week was hectic enough. Science essays and experiments require a lot of memorisation. For physics and chemistry there’s nothing much to say, except physics paper 1 being another example of Examination Board being an epic-failed one:
Knowing the answer is about 36.xx (using logarithm), what’s your choice? I simply assumed that the Board made mistake on wordings (“decayed” vz “preserved”), but A was popular choice since it is close to our desired number. Small note about Chemistry: Paper 3 was the only paper that could afford a nap of 10 minutes. Used only 25 minutes out of 90 given to finish the paper, since the 2nd question (experimental process) was spotted an hour before! Thus, there’s no reason not to charge the battery that was used intensively since morning.
But bio was a heavy one.
While Paper 1 being very simple one, Paper 2 was not a bed of roses. While structured questions were already that demanding (asking a lot of explanations and predictions that required few steps of thinking), essays were even worse. Out of 4 questions, the first two left an impression of “what the heck was that” and I could hardly spam not-that-relevant stuff on the first one. But the third one was good: the first 10 marks were given in seminar notes and I read it one day before! Lucky man, and the other 10 marks were common sense about food pyramid, nutrition and its explanation (well just refer to the package of Gardenia loaf during breakfast). The last one was about environment, also a tricky one but again I read it in seminar and class notes before. There were more points than needed, too! So 4 choose 2, and I did 3, which was quite secured. Paper 3 wasn’t as easy as expected, either. The unusual graph progression in Q1 left us in trouble when making predictions, while Q2 was rather unpredicted and I virtually threw some marks for forgetting the precaution. But, who cares? Applause flooded the hall after the test since for most people there’s only 1 subject left. Some (in other school) could enjoy freedom at the moment.
Anti-trust. Has exam been fair since its invention by the Chinese Emperor ages ago? While the word “Confidential” was written on every page of the papers, the rules were broken anytime. After each test for History, 2 maths and 3 science papers, headlines of newspapers were occupied by “Leakage of papers, again!” Some school received the same set of Biology Paper 1 (50 MCQ), not just the same combination, but same permutation too! Similar things happened for P2 and P3 (except the not-that-accurate-combination). I wonder was there anyone who dreamt/predicted the exact set of questions to be released, or owned too advanced computer hacking technique? Or computers getting alive and created the same question set by itself? How about re-exam? Nope, neither panels nor students have extra time. But the benchmark for grades will going to be tougher, tougher, and tougher.
Week 5. Economics, BC.
I slacked the day returned home from Bio exam (unlike the day before where I forced my brain out to finish all materials). At least get to “read” Facebook as entertainment. The 2 papers were still 4 days away, and my BC teacher allowed us to do so! “But use pure Chinese in your typing please,” she added. Oops! There’s one tuition lesson for BC lol. Still, practice exercises, and the tutor posted some untouched answers on Facebook group. Meanwhile, the Economics preparation went well, and I managed to rush in doing my exercise book last minute.
That’s how our hall looked like during economics exam, extracted from some blogger (note: Hall is for half Science students)
We were asked to fill the front section of the hall, and while having difficult objective section and easy subjective section for trials, this real one is on its opposite. That’s why I ventured my precious time by studying in relaxed mode after the deception of easiness of Paper 1. What’s more? After walking out of the hall with frustration at the end of paper 2, one of my classmate asked, “How to draw the graph using 1cm scale? The value didn’t seem to be on lattice point.” I double-checked the question again and found out I just drew the 2cm scale and at the verge of losing most of the 7 marks allocated.
“Your life may be changed dramatically by the one mark in your paper,” reminded both tutors of BM and BI in class previously. And in this case it’s 7.
With the overall tough paper, I was mentally prepared in bidding farewell with my A+ for the paper.
And here came the last day of exam.
Unlike the previous papers, we had paper 2 (reading) preceding paper 1 (essay), and it is well-known that the former one is much harder (Statistical proof: According to past exams, my mean for P1 and P2 is 83% and 67% respectively.) Asking us to thinking beyond what’s given in comprehension text? No thanks. I would rather have my scores nullified for that question. But the last essay paper was good for me, the section B essay was again a potluck for me.
Time flies fast…
Ding ding ding…
“Stop writing, we’re now collecting ur answer paper, make sure u wrote all details in he cover page,” said by the Head Invigilator who was in our hall for more than 50 hours since the embark of the exam.
And he joked to us not to celebrate in exam since some students taking EST after 2 days.
But deep in our heart:
But that’s not the end in school: the last order of business—farewell party to our textbooks which guided us for the entire tumultuous year. Many acknowledgement to them and hope them the next badge of juniors can benefit from their service too.
Post-exam activity: Campus visit in Sunway and Taylor College the day after that (and essentially the whole family travelled to KL). But that’s no good in returning home in a day, so we spent another day to explore the metropolitan: Sunway pyramid, Ice-City and Mid-Valley became our destinations of post-exam tour! And the meals for the entire day was about RM200……gonna have frugal meals after returning home. But no worries, just enjoy after the whole year of suffer!