Meet the Speakers
Caelystar Valentina Ng May Zher
Caelystar is currently a Shell scholar at Kolej Yayasan UEM. She represented her high school for debate and has won multiple accolades in debating championships including overall best speaker in the Asia Scholastic Debating Championship in 2021. Outside of school, she is a member of the Project ID Student Outreach Team. She has also attended interviews with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Yayasan UEM, Petronas, JPA, Yayasan Khazanah, and Taylors University Community Scholarship.
Munir Zahrin bin Mustamir
The Sime Darby scholar is currently pursuing his A Levels at Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar (KTJ). In high school, Munir was actively involved in rugby and achieved first runner-up in the 2020 Rugby MSSNM championship with his team. On top of that, he won first place in the Celcom Young Digital Innovators Programme Competition for software track. He has also attended interviews with MARA, JPA, and BNM.
Qistina Afiqah binti Shaibi
Qistina was awarded the Yayasan Khazanah Scholarship this year and is now furthering her studies at Kolej Yayasan UEM. Alongside her stellar academic achievements, she became a silver medalist in the Maths E-Stream Waves Genius Board Game Competition. Apart from that, the former Deputy Head Girl 2 was ranked second in an Innovation Competition for Women’s Scouts Jamboree in 2019. She has also attended interviews with BNM, Petronas, JPA, and MARA.
In the hour or so that followed, Munir, Qistina, and Caelystar unpacked their tips in terms of four stages; effective studying, creating a personal statement, acing the interview, and sleep & time management. Here are some key takeaway from the discussion:
The panelists unanimously agreed that after the initial shock from the pandemic, they had to work diligently to recover and record better productivity as classes went virtual.
After the tough stretch of remote learning, Munir talked about how being back in person has been an adjustment. He highlighted the importance of focusing in class and taking the extra mile by writing notes as well as revising them at the end of the day.
Caelystar concurred with Munir but reminded the audience to learn how to avoid burnout. She said to pace oneself and take a break for overall health.
Qistina added that one should not be afraid to reach out to teachers and friends when it comes to understanding difficult topics. By building on these explanations, she said that it has helped her direct her learning by merging prior knowledge and new information in an attempt to make sense of complex concepts.
Creating a personal statement
Qistina kickstarted the conversation by telling the audience to know their MBTI. As simple as it sounds, she said that it can become a key enabler to get to know one’s personality. She mentioned that it could help one reflect on not only the positive things in life, but hardships and set backs too. Apart from that, she advised to do ample research on one’s chosen course and start the writing process as soon as possible.
Adding on to Qistina’s statement, Caeylstar pressed on doing some soul-searching and reassessing oneself before writing an essay. She later said that having good time management is crucial as some scholarships have overlapping deadlines right after SPM results day.
Munir said to be truthful in one’s personal statement as the assessors will eventually know if the candidate is lying. To overcome this fear, he recalled getting his essays proofread to get second opinion and advised the audience to do the same.
Acing the Interview
According to Caelystar, the aim of a case study focuses on one’s communication with the other applicants. She also said that it was to see how candidates perform under high-stress situations. Towards the end, she shared that would be two types of case studies; general and business-type.
Qistina suggested the use of statistics or percentages to support our choice. It could help solidify statements and emphasise the scale of the problem. Another important tip she pointed out was to avoid sounding negative and condescending towards other applicants as it reflects badly on oneself.
Interestingly, Munir recommends everyone to be as creative as possible when answering the questions. By thinking out of the box, one would be able to stand out amongst other applicants. Although the questions may appear light-hearted, he suggested to take them seriously and always keep instructions in mind.
Caelystar concluded that one should never be arrogant in interviews. When sharing experiences, she said us to focus on its impacts and contributions.
Sleep and Time Management
The final stage of the webinar covered sleep and time management before big examinations. Speaking from experience, Qistina said that she always ensures she receives enough rest. A tip she shared was to plan your sleep first and then, block your schedule with the subjects you wish to revise on.
Munir and Caelystar admitted that sleep should be prioritised to ensure productivity during the day. They mentioned that burning the midnight oil might not be as efficient as it harms both one’s sleep cycle and well-being.
After the Q&A session, Azeem Abu Bakar made a special feature to remind the audience that attaining a scholarship isn’t everything. Regardless whether you receive one or not, success still depends on one’s continuous effort. Thus, students should always strive to improve themselves and benefit from every opportunity that comes their way.
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