For those of you preparing for SPM this year, preparation is key. But I’m not just talking about burying your head into a book all night – I’m talking about mental and physical preparation, too.
I made a lot of mistakes while preparing for SPM – mistakes I hope you won’t make.
Here are some preparation tips on what you should and shouldn’t do.
Don’t overwork yourself on a certain subject and let your study sessions consume your day-to-day life.
I stressed myself out earlier during the year trying to make sure I understood Bahasa Melayu. Still, despite all those sleepless nights, I still got an ‘E’.
Losing sleep and mindlessly studying won’t help you get an ‘A+’ or even a credit for a subject you’re weak in. In fact, it may even affect your performance in your other subjects, too.
After my trials, I decided to be more calculative about my time. On a Monday after school, I’d use two hours of the day to study Geography, take a one hour break, and then practise writing in English. I did this rotation on a daily basis for every subject that I took, and slowly I started seeing small improvements.
Also, being stuck in your own home all the time can feel miserable – so why not go out to your local cafe or a Starbucks for a solo study session? Changing your environment from time to time helps to relax the brain and acts as a small recharge, so try and do so at least once a week.
Taking care of your body is just as important as your studies.
Back then, I was always glued to my revision books and only got 3 hours of sleep before heading to school. I had an unbalanced diet, too – I’d have a big lunch to compensate for my light breakfast. I’d also skip dinner sometimes, but then have supper just before I went to bed.
Make sure to always get enough rest – if you have to get up at 6 in the morning, you should be in bed by 10 p.m.
Don’t skip any meals, either. It’s unhealthy to study on an empty stomach, and you definitely won’t get much studying done if you feel bloated. Make sure to always watch what you eat i.e. Eat fruits instead of junk food if you need a quick snack.
Also, leave some time in your schedule to go for an evening jog – don’t keep yourself cooped up in your room. Get some fresh air to clear your head while maintaining a healthy body.
Take care of your personal health and avoid putting your body through extreme conditions.
After my trials were done, I realised I had made a lot of mistakes during the exams. For example, I rushed and wrote a sloppy English essay because I didn’t manage my time well. .
I’d also put a lot of effort into studying a specific chapter in Geography, which didn’t come out during the papers! And because I prioritised heavily on my Geography, I couldn’t pass Science because I didn’t put any time to do my revisions on that subject.
So, I decided to evaluate my mistakes during my preparation and also the way I approached my exam papers – the results from my SPM were marginal, but if it weren’t for my studying schedule I mentioned earlier, my grades would’ve looked a lot more ugly.
If you have the time, look for any mistakes that you made in your previous papers or how you were studying for the previous exams – look for any room for improvement and marks that you lost because you were careless.
Something I did to be calmer and collected while writing essays was to practise writing essays as if I was actually in a test – I would try to maximise all the recommended time given while completing a well-crafted piece.
As for subjects like Sejarah, or Science-stream subjects like Biology and Physics, look for simplified notes which get straight to the point – most of these subjects have too much detail, so try to find simplified notes which help you memorise only what you’ll actually need.
Don’t study hard, study smart.
If you can prioritise all of your subjects more efficiently, there is no doubt that you’ll be able to do well in your SPM.
For more articles on Motivation & Self-Help, read You Shouldn’t Lend Money to Friends and Family, and Here’s Why, and How I Learned to Control My Compulsion of Shopping for Clothes.