Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Drawing Dreams | MARA Interview Tips


The interview starts today and some of us still don't have the exact date. MARA only stated 1-3 April for the interview and I'm already nervous. So, to curb my anxiety problems, trust Allah and get prepared is the right solution.  Googled some of tips from various blogs; afterschoolmygabus, sophie (interview uitm), I would like to share what I found.

So, basically MARA stated these on their site and please prepare all the required documents. Put it in order will lessen your kelam-kabut if ask to find any.

Compare to last year and year before (2013 and 2012), base from my friends solely, there was no interviews for postgraduate. However, some said that they had a group and individual interviews since 2009 for MARA scholarship/loan. I can't verify if it was for postgraduate or undergraduate. More or less we shall be prepared la kan.

Briefly, the group session was like this:

“Calon perlu mendaftar di kaunter pendaftaran berdasarkan panel yang diberi. Jika tidak silap saya, ada 12 panel kesemuanya. Setiap panel mengandungi 8 calon dan 3 penemuduga. Calon akan diberi tugasan dan perlu membahagikan masing-masing kepada 2 atau 3 kumpulan. Temuduga keseluruhannya mengambil masa 1 jam. 40 minit akan diberi kepada calon untuk berbincang dan membuat perbentangan sesama sendiri. Penemuduga tidak mengambil bahagian dan sekadar memerhati sahaja. Setelah perbincangan dan perbentangan selesai, penemuduga akan bertanya tentang tugasan dan tentang ahli kumpulan yang lain (contohya ahli mana yang patut dilantik menjadi ketua ataupun jika ada peniru di kalangan mereka.) Setiap seorang calon akan ditanya satu soalan. Setelah itu, penemuduga akan bertanya tentang kursus yang diambil oleh calon. Sesi ini bersifat terbuka dan sesiapa sahaja dibenarkan menjawab soalan. 
(via: afterschool)

and more detailed example; rephrase from yaya,

  • Calon diminta duduk ikut turutan dari no 1 - 7 (meja mesyuarat), atas meja ada 1 task. 
  • Task: ada 8 orang di dalam hot air balloon : yb. dato seri najib tun abdul razak (Prime minister), rozita che wan (acteress), dr. fadzhillah kamsah (motivator), khairul fahmi che mat (goalkeeper), tony fernandes (bisnes leader), yb dato ibrahim bin mohamad (ketua pengarah MARA), zety (gabenor bank negara) and islamic minister. 
  • Select one character and discuss , debate, tolerate and defend our chosen character, kenapa character kita must be save from the hot air ballon.
  • kita kena menonjol sikit. cari peluang untuk bercakap.  group saya, okaylah semua dapat bercakap, (except dua org, sampai interviewer tu tegur kenapa tak bercakap )
  • at the end of the discussion, select only 4 characters to be save.  kitorang sepakat memilih: prime minister, ketua pengarah MARA, gabenor bank negara and islamic minister. 
  • then, habis discussion (40 minit) kitorang boleh tanya apa2 soalan kepada interviewers. ( 3 interviewers - 2 org lelaki, sorang perempuan).
  • apa lagi, peluang ni saya guna untuk bertanya tentang pinjaman ni.

I  can relate this to my previous interview in 2005, for Petronas scholarship. Basically there was 2 sessions, group and individual. First it started with group. Each group will be given a topic, my group topic was deforestation. You have to pick from a box randomly, a method to curb the problems. I got campaign as a method to halt deforestation. Others got authority rules, recyling, etc. From that you have to discuss among yourself to pick the right order for a solution. 

I believe the interviewers just wanted to know how will you work in a team, personal skills, contribution in a group, some sort mcmtu I think. Now I am even worried. Nowadays, we are as postgraduates, they will expect more as we have grown this far right.

Some Basic Rules
  1. be early - an hour before lg bagus, in case sesat jalan or no parking
  2. well-dressed - baju kurung with no more than 3 colours tau. serabut nanti. 
  3. knock the door and give salam - show respect to the interviewers
  4. sit still, smile - body language is important 

Common Interviews Questions
  1. Please introduce yourself
  2. Why do you choose to pursue study in  _______(the cost : architecture/medicine/...)
  3. Who is your favourite architect? Favourite building? (those applying architecture)
  4. Why oversea universities and not local universities?
  5. Instead of JPA, why do you choose MARA?
  6. How will you contribute to MARA in future time?
  7. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

- On introducing yourself, please don't be boring. Help the interviewer to remember you by giving some unique things about yourself. For instant, your hobbies or interest. This will grab their attention and help them to know you better. 

- Why do you choose architecture, please don't answer it because of "passion". Too many of us will give the same answer. I believe you should be detail and relate it to what you have learned. For example, relate it to your ambition, strength, challenges, hopes..or maybe environmental issue, current issue, pollution. 

- In terms of question on predicting future, I suppose the answer is somehow to know how commit yourself towards the study/industry. Convince the interviewer on how determine yourself to become successful in what you have chosen.  

Extra Tips

- keep update with current issue, in case they ask for opinion.
- do a research to know a bit about MARA.
- keep calm while answering the question.
- don't talk too fast or too slow that you can't be heard.
- be confidence
- don't forget to doa and tawakkal. Allah will ease everything, InsyaAllah.

Wish you all the best! Good luck. :D

Friday, March 21, 2014

Oh! Krabi, Thailand - Expenses

Before going to a trip, I'm sure we want to set our budget kan. I hope all these info more or less will help you guys tau.

22 May - 25 May 2013
4 days, 3 nights
2 person

Further Details
Oh! Krabi, Thailand - 1st Day
Oh! Krabi, Thailand - 2nd Day
Oh! Krabi, Thailand - 3rd Day

Total Expenses
RM 230 : Air Asia Ticket Flight
RM 105  : Air Asia Services & Fees

 RM 253.36 / THB 800 per night : Miti Resort, Ao Nang

THB 300  : Airport - Ao Nang (by bus)
THB 500 : Ao Nang - Airport (by taxi)
THB 60 :Ao Nang Beach - Hotel (by tuk-tuk)

THB 2000 :Phi-Phi Island
THB 1900 : Kayaking & Elephant Trekking

from left : Thai Food, Lunch at Ao Thalane, Hasna Palace, Sareefah corner

Now the best part, FOOD! Sedap ok. but it was so sad as that we haven't have time to explore more on the other side of Ao Nang, as we didn't rent any motorcycle. So cheapstake kitorang ni :P

THB 54 + THB 65 + THB 95 : 7eleven
THB 20 THB 70 : Breakfast
THB 300 : Dinner at Sareefah
THB 240 : Dinner at Hasna Palace
THB 200 : Dinner at Thai Food :
THB 95 : Banana Chocolate Pancake (2 pcs) + Strawberry Shake
THB 45 : Pancake alone)
THB 130 : Street Food - Fried Prawn + others
* all lunch included in our activity package

THB 380  : Fridge Magnet - for 8 pieces
THB 1040 : T-shirt - for 8 pieces
THB 80 : Keychain - for 5 pieces

THB 90 : Adapter
THB 100 :Tips

- I forgot the agent name, it just along the road side, beside a pizza restaurant
- 7eleven is slightly cheaper than usual sundry shop
- street food : not recommended. It was oily. tempted by it looks. Sorry :(
- adapter bought at phi-phi island, quite cheaper than Ao Nang (RM150) and here (RM24).
- t-shirt at phi-phi island slightly cheaper than Ao Nang. at Ao Nang you have to buy in a large group. Luckily we met a group of tourist (10 people) also from Malaysia. 130 Baht for a shirt quite a steal kan. It was 20 baht before.

Plus minus, we had spent RM 1500 tau. Yeay! for the whole trip RM750 per person. Quite cheap kan?

Will come again to Krabi? absolute YES!

Have a nice trip ok.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oh! Krabi, Thailand - 3rd Day

Third Day
Activity booked : Kayaking and Elephant Trekking
Ao Thalane - Krabi
Price : 950 Baht / person (because of the low season)

Kayaking is least favourite activities among tourist, as beaches and fishes sounds more appealing. Yet we opted to do kayaking as we haven't done it before and the mangrove forest is remarkably beautiful. 

Early in the morning at 8.00 am, if I'm not mistaken we already arrived at Ao Thalane. It was nerve wrecking thinking if I able to do it without getting drowning. While our tourist guide / kayaking trainer told 3 of us, which include one Thai woman, how to row, safety issue as well as our route, I can hear my heart pumping as I was looking at what in front of us, the wide open river.

I have never been so close to the water surface, it felt like we were going to sink. I remember feeling nauseated looking at the deep green water and it was too late to turn back as we were already in the kayak. I've sat at front and my husband at the back. I looked at him and he was smiling like a boy. He was really excited to begin with and I was nervous. Not a good combination. So, he willingly to do all the rowing and let me get busy with camera to calm down :D Sweet kan? 

The kayaking started from a river to a mangrove forest and then towards an open sea. Actually, there was a lot of species we saw. Mostly small animals, insects and fortunately, no crocodiles or snakes (but I believe I saw one)

Can you spot a group of monkey? Most of the monkey here,they eat mangrove tree crab instead of fruits. Makan besar hari-hari diorg ni.

It was our first time kayaking and Ya Allah..what a very good workout. Perasan sikit jadi wonder woman time tu. Later that day, I felt that I had lost my arms due to muscle soreness. Nevertheless, it was a really memorable memory that we shared together. 

I've only managed to snap this photo while at the open sea. It was terrifying! The current was...fast? Kencang? Berombak la sikit2.. We have to row twice harder as we need to row opposite direction of the waves. We saw a couple of senior people got lost at the open sea and I was afraid if we are going to drown, again. 

We can't believe that total time spent to complete the route tour was 4 hours! Sweat? Big YES. Kurus tidak..hehehe... Oh, that time, the tide was high as it was a full moon. So anyone going kayaking at Ao Thalane? Please ensure it full moon or otherwise you'll be kayaking on sand and mud. 

I'm not going to review our second activity on Elephant Trekking as I am so regret that I did. I saw a video on how they abuse elephants for the sake of tourism after we went to Krabi. Poor elephants :(

As a tourist, say NO to elephant manipulation. Stop animal cruelty now. 

Thinking to ride the elephant? Please think of this video. 

Oh! Krabi, Thailand - 1st Day
Oh! Krabi, Thailand - 2nd Day
Oh! Krabi, Thailand - Expenses

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Drawing Dreams | MARA Psychometric Test


Just finished the test. *scream* I feel much more relief as it has been a while since I last sat for any exam. Actually, the best part of this year MARA test is it has to be taken online and anywhere that has net connection. Well, for me I was at home. TV was off, no music. Konon-konon nak fokus kan. 

So, today is the first day of the online test and there is no reference on how the test going to be. I have searched and asked few of my friends who had passed the exam last year but the format may not be the same. Found a blog, Let's Dream High that has the best explanation of the test for 2013. 

So, basically I'm not going to explain what was the test in detail. I just hope this brief post will help someone, at least to get better view of the test and get prepared, if any. 

As on MARA page as above, time given is 60 minutes to answer all 100 questions. There will be a counter on top of the page. The test consist of 3 sections; A, B and C. All questions are multiple answer questions. No essay, as last year. :D and no diagrams, just a schedule I think. Based on my test today solely, it was about 3 different aspects.

SECTION A : 32 q - Simple math, Logical thinking, Problem solving (in English)
SECTION B : 48 q - Personality (in English)
SECTION C : 20 q - General Knowledge of Malaysia and MARA (in Bahasa)

These are some type of questions that I've remember, roughly. Pardon if I'm wrong.

Simple math 
| Choose a number, add 11, subtract 13 out of it,...

Logical thinking
| There are 4 doors, which one is the door to freedom?
| A mother has 3 daughters, A and B, what her last daughter's name?

Problem solving 
| If an animal wanted to get across a river, what will it do?  

Personality test 
| Rate yourself from 1-5, ex: happy and cheerful person, always be on time, a good leader..

Malaysia & MARA 
| Penubuhan Malaysia, Perlembagaan, Mahkamah, Kementerian, Kesultanan, 

You might need 
- Sheets of paper
- Pen/Pencil
- Dictionary
- Calculator

I've answered all 100 questions in 56 minutes and don't have ample time to re-check all of my answers. Blame the counter as it was in red and making me panicked. haha..ok joking. Is it hard? Yes, part of it. You have to deal with time and be precise with the answer. Please bare in mind that lots of questions in part A is quite tricky. Some questions, had already stated the answer clearly, afraid you might misread the question. Plus, I find it hard as you have to click on everything and move from one page to page. 

Extra Tips
- I find it easier to read the answer first and then the question.
- Please read with careful the question. If you got confused, read it again.
- Some straight forward questions can be tricky. 
- I think it is better to be prepared for sections C.
- Read some info on Malaysia and MARA.
- Please be on time.
- Don't forget to doa and tawakkal.

Good luck everyone :)

p/s: I can't guaranteed if tomorrow's test going to be exactly the same as today. As well as, I believe the test is computer generated and might be different set of question for every applicants or at least for the day kan. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 45 - Pronounces someone's name right

It was year 2010, after my friends and I watched Prince of Persia : The Sands of Time. They were talking about how hot Jake Gylenhaal was in the movie. While they were falling in love with  how his long silky hair moves, his muscular arms and his eyes melting my friends' soul and everything, my mind was questioning how to pronounce his name.

So I asked them "what did you pronounce his last name again? "

Since then, I would address him as "Jake ji-len-hall" confidently. but guess what, it is WRONG! Please watch following video on how he pronounce his name. Well, no worries, actually there are lots of people get it wrong.

It is so hard to pronounce it right anyway. "E-len-hul-le". Nevermind, his acting is spectacular actually. I'm his fan since the movie. Pengaruh rakan sebaya.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Oh! Krabi, Thailand - 2nd Day

Second Day
Activitiy booked : Island Hopping
Bamboo Island - Viking Cave - Monkey Bay - Maya Beach - Phi Phi Island
Price : 100 Baht / person (because of the low season)

I should have wrote this a long time ago. So pardon my memories, everything seems hazy now. Might mixed up with angan-angan or exaggerated feelings. We were at Krabi from 22 May till 25 May 2013. So, I really wanted to go for snorkeling. Yes we did, but only once. The girl maybe had misinformed us that every island we will have lots of time to do our own activities and snorkel all day long. It was too good to be true, but we had booked it anyway and put our expectation too high. So just don't repeat my mistake ok ladies.

My camera didn't do justice to the scenery. It was quite a paradise back there! The water was so clear that you even can see your own feet.

Last stop was Phi-Phi Island. It is the most developed island. Overpopulated maybe. I was quite surprised as the island has a lot of things, hotels, restaurant, shops and tons of activities.


Oh! Krabi, Thailand - 1st Day
Oh! Krabi, Thailand - 3rd Day
Oh! Krabi, Thailand - Expenses