Friday, March 04, 2011

of exams and awards

This is posted on Homefrontier by Swee Bin, with her permission I am sharing this on my blog.


Hello, everyone.

Here's something wonderful that happened recently.

Days before Feb 22, youths across Malaysia were surprised yet thrilled to receive calls - to attend the Outstanding Cambridge Learners Awards ceremony at Holiday Villa, Subang Jaya. My son, Jian Eu, was one of them. He did not know the full details of the award, but that did not matter. It was enough that he would be receiving one for History, which he self-studied and sat for in the Nov 2010 IGCSE sitting.

So, on Feb 22, a Tuesday, Jian Eu, his sister and me, gamely went to the Holiday Villa. Another surprise awaited us. It was a grand affair in a ballroom! We were expecting a small group in a small seminar room. Whoa! And there were so many people - about 500 of them! There was a lovely spread of food too!

The ceremony started quite on the dot. Cambridge International Exams representative in Malaysia, Mr Ng Kim Huat, spoke of the increase in numbers taking the IGCSE and the A Level. Dr John Guy, formerly of the Cambridge advisory board, sought to challenge the recipients to "aim to see what others see and think what others have not" in the next phase of their intellectual growth.

A total of 172 awards were presented that day, spanning the two sittings for the IGCSE and for the AS (mid-term partial exam of the A Level) and A Level in 2010. The afternoon ended with a very excellent tea spread.

For my family, the ceremony was made fun and memorable by connecting with two other hs families there - Sally and her daughter, Cherish Lo, who received four awards (Top In Malaysia for Business Studies; Top In Malaysia for English First Language; High Achievement for English Literature and first place for Best Across Eight Cambridge IGCSEs) and Richard and Audrey whose son, Hans Eli Sha Ho, received Top In Malaysia for Accounting. Jian Eu received High Achievement for History.

The day is well over, but the event will stay on in all of us.

It struck me that many people, including us, did not know of the awards. Maybe we did not browse through the CIE website well enough (still haven't done so). So, for the benefit of families who are preparing for the IGCSE or A Level (including AS), here's a run-down on the various awards (subject to change, I'd imagine).

TOP IN THE WORLD - is awarded to candidate with the highest score. If more than one candidate throughout the world obtain that highest score, they will be joint-recipients.

TOP IN MALAYSIA - is awarded to candidates with the highest score in this country. Joint-recipients if any, as above. Top In The World and Top In Malaysia recipients do not overlap, with the latter being a lower score than the former.

HIGH ACHIEVEMENT - is a new award, introduced for the 2010 exams (blessed Jian Eu!). It is created to recognize students who have done well in subjects which are not widely taken and is awarded to the highest scoring individual in the country. There will be joint-recipients where the same highest score is obtained by more than one individual.

BEST ACROSS 7 CAMBRIDGE IGCSEs - is awarded to those with the highest average score across seven subjects taken. Three prizes are awarded, i.e., First, Second and Third.

BEST ACROSS 8 CAMBRIDGE IGCSEs - highest average across eight subjects taken. Again, first, second and third placing awarded. Interestingly, a candidate who has taken 8 subjects may receive the Best Across 7. Cherish is one such example. She took 8 subjects but is recognized in the Best Across 7 - because her best 7 subjects came out tops in average point in this category.

BEST ACROSS 9 CAMBRIDGE IGCSEs - as above. (nobody received for Best Across award for 10 and above subjects; hence I do not know if there is such a category.)

For AS and A Level, the Best Across awards are given for 3, 4 and 5 subjects taken.

There is no prize money, but the award certificate and the experience of the awards ceremony are priceless and more than ample reward. Jian Eu absolutely values his piece of paper!

A last piece of information, which Sally shared with me - Cherish obtained a full scholarship to study A Level at the Alice Smith International School. The Upland International School in Penang offers a 80% scholarship. KDU offers full scholarship to those with 10As and above. I believe most places offer substantial scholarships for A scores in 8 subjects and above.

I hope this knowledge will serve HF families well. A heartfelt note here, with no offence intended - I hope all parents will let their children know of the awards BUT leave them to pursue them at their will. There mustn't be pressure to achieve at all costs, imho. So, I wish that this knowledge will bring inspiration and challenge to our young but not hardship. Not everyone is meant for the academics, and that is the beauty and wonder of God's creation.

Blessings, sweebin

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