Excellence in spite of Covid-19

SJPS had 148 students taking SPM in 2020 as compared to 166 in 2019. Overall, the GPS (gred purata sekolah) dropped to 3.40 from 2.85.

However, we do have some excellent results in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic that caused the delay of SPM and other challenges that demotivated our students. SJPS had 14 graduates who scored A in all subjects, ranging from 11 to 9 subjects. 15 students managed A in all their subjects except one B; another 8 with A in all subjects and 2 B.

Principal of the Secondary School, Fr Francis Lim commented,

“First of all, I would like to congratulate our graduates on having done admirably for their SPM despite the incredible challenges this past year.

Last year had been challenging to prepare our students for SPM because of the pandemic and its associated restrictions. Added on are the newness of online school, lack of physical school and the delay in the examination. In spite of all this, they pulled through and did so in a manner that makes us all proud.

Thank you too to all teachers from Form 1 until Form 5 for forming our students until they graduate. The African proverb rings true: it takes a village (whole school) to educate a child. All teachers, especially Form 5 teachers, have been working extremely hard for the good of our students, and ensuring that our students are able to learn well during these times. Their support, encouragement and innovation to keep our students on track and on target for SPM remind us of what assets they are to our school. I appreciate their effort very much. Keep up the good work.”

Below are sharings by some of the graduates.

Chong Jia Chern

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the SPM exam had definitely been more challenging than I expected. The biggest problem I encountered when preparing for the exam was the lack of a positive mindset. The constant postponement and uncertainty of the final exam dates took my confidence, motivation and energy away from studying. It was difficult to get myself to sit in front of my laptop and study, let alone actually concentrating on revision. I also found it hard to fall asleep, especially before several papers like Sejarah and Additional Mathematics.
However, I felt relieved and glad to have passed the SPM exam with flying colours, which I had dreamed of. I am satisfied with my performance in the exam, because I gave it my all. I would like to thank all my dedicated teachers, as well as my supportive family and friends. I am sure that I would not have been able to do it without them.
After completing my A-levels at St. Joseph’s International School, I plan to continue my studies in Singapore. As someone who loves Physics and Chemistry, I aspire to be an engineer when I finish my studies.

Sean Tan Huan Zhi

Besides having to cope with the struggles of attending online classes, it was tough to be self-disciplined and to leave behind all distractions in order to revise for SPM. For this, I would like to thank my respected teachers for constantly pushing me to strive for better academic achievements. I have also not forgotten my parents who tried their best to provide me with a conducive environment to study in by minimising the noise at home while I studied.
Honestly, I am quite satisfied with my performance in SPM 2020 as I did not have high expectations. I am proud of myself for what I have achieved because it signifies that the hard work which I have put into my academics has paid off. My achievement is also a way of me expressing my gratitude towards my teachers who have been preparing me for SPM since day one. I am extremely glad that I succeeded in making my parents proud of their dear son’s achievement.
My current ambition is to become a chemical engineer. Ideally, my next step would be to finish my A-level and further my studies in Singapore.

Lee Kian Hao

SPM 2020 was a tough challenge for us.. We have been trying our best to cope with the pandemic while preparing for the examination. Although it’s true that online lessons are not as effective and interactive compared to physical classes, I still can learn a lot as long as I make sure that I constantly keep distractions away from me. I found this method of learning highly effective and time saving as I can concentrate fully on my studies while having online lessons. Looking from another perspective, having online lessons instead of physical classes can be fruitful as I have more time for my revision.
The most challenging part of preparing for SPM in such a situation was that I tend to lose motivation easily. This was partly due to the boring study environment and online lessons which were less interactive. Losing motivation to study can be very impactful as it will definitely slow down my revision progress and consequently affect my SPM result. Frankly speaking, I think that having students switch on their cameras during lessons is a good decision because we tend to be more alert this way.
Overall, I am not entirely happy with my results because I felt like I can do better. However, I still want to thank all my teachers who did their best in guiding me along this bumpy SPM journey. Without all of you, I can’t imagine where I would end up, probably feeling lost and getting worse results. I am also grateful for all my classmates who have been supporting me which gave me hope to continue on. Thank God for having all of you, it is really a blessing to me.
After going through a lot of thinking, I have decided on the path I want to take. I guess this is a good sign because I already have a clear goal in mind. All I have to do now is to focus on my studies and walk towards my ultimate goal step by step. Currently I am taking A-level, embarking on the journey of being an electrical engineer in the future.

Steve Alastair Beti Beriak

Well, preparation for SPM during the pandemic was certainly tough. This is because online classes are really not helpful at all as we are easily distracted. For example, some students could be playing games or having other online video calls among their friends during the online class. However, this pandemic also brought us tons of time for us to prepare and fortified our knowledge as SPM kept getting delayed due to Covid-19. To illustrate, I managed to set aside some free time after online class to make some extra notes for some of my weaker subjects and the effort did pay off as I managed to get A+ for my “weakest subject”, that is, Additional Math. As for the SPM exam during Covid-19 pandemic, wearing a face mask made it difficult to concentrate as less oxygen was entering my brain. However, I understand the importance of a face mask but still without a face mask, it will be easier for me to concentrate.
To me, I believe that the most challenging aspect was having too much time because the SPM exam kept getting delayed. As SPM kept getting delayed, my motivation to study for SPM continued to drop too. Not only that, the delayed SPM gave me a mindset of procrastination. For example, it made me think that I still have enough time to study so I should rest and have more fun.
On the matter of me being happy with my performance, it is rather complicated. I don’t know whether I should be happy or not. This is because some of my subjects which I thought I did quite poorly end up giving me a big fat A+. Whereas, the subject I was extremely confident in gave me an A instead. In the end, I’m still thankful that I managed to get straight A.
My ambition? Of course, it is to conquer the whole world. Nah, I’m just kidding, I probably want to pursue a Science/Math related career, like biochemical engineer or doctor. The world is too vast to only have one target, so I want to explore more first before deciding on a job which I enjoy because a job you enjoy is not just a job but a hobby that brings you money. For my next step, I have been thinking of going to KL to further my study but the Covid-19 situation is doing a good job as an immense blockade.

Dickson Phua Li Sheng

It was definitely a unique experience. The pandemic definitely changed my perspective on school life, and made me realise how I had taken the previous years of attending school for granted. It is regretful that I did not get to experience my last year in secondary school to the fullest, but I will still treasure the memories I’ve made.
Online classes were a big challenge as paying attention was much more difficult when compared to physical class. Not being able to see my friends was also troubling. Also, when the SPM exam kept getting postponed, it almost made me lose hope and give up on studying, as it felt like we would be trapped in this limbo of preparing forever.
I would consider my performance satisfactory, but of course there is still much room for improvement. I feel that I focused on my weak subjects (such as BM and Sejarah) a lot, and managed to do well in them. However, I ended up slightly neglecting my science subjects, resulting in me not doing the best in them.
I’m still not very clear in what my ambition is, but I do have a general idea for the direction I am going in, which is most likely dentistry or pharmacy. My next steps would probably be going to university in West Malaysia or abroad (if the situation permits me to).

Eugene Leong U Zii

Covid-19 has confined us in our homes, and that means we have to attend classes online. Online classes have their pros and cons. Some good things are that I am free to stretch myself whenever I feel tired or bored as nobody can see you in online classes, and I can also go to the toilet without permission at all. Some bad things include intermittent poor internet connection, which causes me to lag during classes or even disconnecting from the session; oversleeping which causes me to be late or even miss a class, among many others. Quarantine has also made me feel really lonely at times, because I don’t often get the chance to talk to any of my friends. Overall, I prefer physical classes over online classes.
The most challenging isn’t about facing the pandemic itself, as I have already gotten used to it and I do not fear the virus already. Instead, it is about studying Sejarah and Bible Knowledge, because to score well in both of them you need lots of memory work, and that requires a huge time investment. I was always really paranoid about forgetting some of the material I have memorised, so I have put in a ton of effort in these two subjects.
I am very satisfied with my performance, because I have scored well in this once-in-a-lifetime challenge. Being one of the top achievers in the school further increases my satisfaction with my results.
I want to be an accountant. I am currently taking a diploma of accounting. After that hopefully I can get through ACCA and just enjoy life later.

Serafina Jimos

Because of the pandemic, we had to switch to online lessons and learning on my own at home was hard for me as I had to really force myself to stay focused in front of my laptop for hours. I was constantly anxious about sitting for SPM because it kept getting postponed and it mentally and physically drained me. The postponement demotivated me but eventually I knew I had to stay determined and move on. I thank God for He has given me good results and I am grateful for my parents and teachers because without their support and guidance, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I look forward to college life.

Daphne Lai Qian Ling

I am grateful as I have much more time to prepare and do more revisions for my SPM exam. I also have more time to study together with my classmates. However, it is quite sad that I do not have the chance to study for my last year of high school physically in school. I felt that I have not spent enough time studying together with my classmates as all the classes were conducted online. It took me some time to get used to all the lessons being conducted online.
It was quite stressful to study for my SPM. I would have to keep on waiting for the SPM date to be finalised while coping with my studies. I would have to wait for a few more months to sit for my SPM after completing my Form 5. Also, I was worried that there might be Covid-19 cases during our exams and we might have to retake the test again.
I am quite happy with my performance. I managed to get a better result than the forecasted one. At first, I was afraid that having to wait a few more months for SPM would affect me as I might forget what I have studied. I am grateful that all my efforts have paid off.
I am planning to pursue my studies in Computer Science. I am currently studying Foundation in Information Technology in Swinburne. I am planning to be involved in computer-related work.

Felix Then Kai Fan

At first, it was hard to get into the mood to study for SPM after weeks of resting. Without teachers around to monitor me, it was hard to get myself to become disciplined and study, so I just decided to study bit by bit every day to try to get myself prepared for SPM. When it was just a few weeks to SPM, I put more time into studying and preparing for SPM so that I could be prepared in time for the exam. I usually just read textbooks and do past year papers as revision.
It is hard to have self-discipline when I am just studying at home by myself. There are also many distractions at home. I could spend many hours on the internet and playing lots of games.
I am not entirely satisfied with my results because I feel like I can still do better.
I am hoping to further my studies into university, but currently I am studying A-level because I am still unsure of what to do in the future.

Leonardo Liew Zhi Cheng

For the last few weeks, I had stayed up until late at night to study for my exam. Normally I would be exhausted the next morning, but for SPM, I endured and maintained that practice. It was not a pleasant experience for sure.
I get easily distracted studying at home. I do not like the way we have to distance ourselves as I was used to studying in a group – usually going to a friend’s house. The fact that we did not go to school a lot of the time was just not encouraging at all. I find little to no motivation to study at home.
I am not satisfied with my performance. I aimed for straight As not caring about what type of A it is. As long as it is an A for every subject, I would be happy. I did not achieve what I expected.
I aim to get into the field of computer programming and am dreaming of becoming a data scientist. My next step will be taking computer science courses at colleges and universities to help make my dream a reality.

Alexander Liew Zi Yi

I did more reading to prepare for SPM as opposed to doing exercises as preparation for SPM.
I found it difficult to study or focus to study for SPM during the pandemic because online classes were not as effective for learning for some subjects, and found myself relying on my friends more often than usual to help with my studies.
Not very happy. I didn’t do very well.
I wish to become an engineer that works with renewable energy. I am studying A-levels so I can get into a university.

Cheryl Chee Jia Wei

It was definitely a new experience. With strict SOP rules and regulations, I couldn’t study at the library where my productivity levels are usually the highest. Studying at home was rather challenging for me because of the noisy household and all the distractions surrounding me.
When the SPM exam dates kept getting delayed each time, I felt my motivation to study dwindle. I felt rather tired and just wanted to get it over with already. I mean, I’m supposed to be done with SPM and finally enjoy some free time by December, and yet I still had to keep going on when I didn’t feel like it. I think it was this that led to my “downfall”.
I’ve always been very harsh on myself, so naturally I wasn’t satisfied with my results. I didn’t expect to get straight A but I wasn’t expecting to get B for my science subjects either. One thing I can say I am proud of, though, was that I am able to score an A for Additional Mathematics. This was a subject I thought I’d get a B in. Despite being disappointed with my results, I’ll give myself a pat on the back for being able to score better than I’d expected for Add Maths.
The next step would be to do my very best in my A-Level. I find that having a clear goal on what to do in life might be a good idea to keep me motivated, which was something I didn’t have when I was studying for SPM. I will try my hardest to score good results for A-Level, and hopefully, make my father proud of me.

Kuek Sin Lin

I started my revision one month before SPM and I cut out all distractions from my side to focus on my preparation. I also asked my friends and teachers about questions that I didn’t understand. Even though I didn’t get to study and finish all of the syllabus, I had tried my best to answer all the questions in the test.
It’s quite hard for me to switch from physical class to online class at first because the study environment was totally different. I missed going to school to study as I think face to face teachings are better for me to focus on my studies. During online classes, I tried my very best to focus on the teacher as there were too many distractions at home. I always found myself lacking motivation to do revisions when I’m at home.
I’m quite happy with my results but I’m sad that I didn’t achieve my expectations. I expect my results to be better than now but since it isn’t so I’m quite sad however I’m satisfied with it.
My ambition is to be an architect for now. I’m going to further my studies in Foundation of Science in UCTS, Sibu. I hope everything goes well in my future and I will work hard to achieve my dream.

Jane Paul Yeo

The experience became a bittersweet memory for me. I remember feeling comfortable studying at home. At the same time I feel sad and lonely because I can’t see my friends. All we could do was to use technology to contact each other.
The most challenging aspect of course was stress. The process of preparing SPM was very intense and challenging for me. I had to wake up very early in the morning and study until night. I can’t enjoy my freedom at that time. Even when I take a short rest I feel guilty for not studying enough. It haunts me every time when I think about how disappointing my result will be. So I had to spare a lot of my free time just to study.
I’m quite satisfied with my performance because I was actually expecting my result won’t be that good. I thought I would get Cs and Ds but unexpectedly I got As and Bs. All the sacrifices that I made were all worth it. My friends also did well. I feel happy and proud of them too.
I will continue my education in college until I get a job and hopefully I can settle down.

Carmen Hii Sing Yii

Studying in the pandemic was an awful and happy experience. It’s awful that we need to stay at home while studying for SPM. You feel exhausted while studying alone but happy because you have a lot of time to study. You can wear just your pyjamas while studying and having lessons. But having SPM during the pandemic is quite stressful. You can’t gather together before the test to learn together, you also can’t ask your friends how their result is after the exam. So it’s quite funny shouting to each other while maintaining a distance. It’s a joyful and exhausting experience.
One of the aspects of preparing for exams during the pandemic was stress. Before knowing the exact date for SPM, you’ll never know if the date would extend again. You will be scared if there are Covid-19 cases during the SPM because you might need to retake the test again. Another aspect was laziness. Since we were all studying at home, you always have an excuse to study later. Again and again, and a whole day is gone while you haven’t studied anything.
I’m quite happy with my performance. I did my best, and I accept whatever outcome that has happened. I did quite well, as I might say. I didn’t fail and got a few As, my friends all got a good result as well. So I’m happy with my performance.
I will be studying Early Childhood Education in my college years. I would like to be a kindergarten teacher in the future, that’s why I chose this course. I’ll be studying in another city to get a better education for my future.

Jong Sung Sian

I was preparing to sit for the SPM exam amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. It was very scary and exciting at first because we have been waiting for many months and finally it was time for the exam. The thing that scared me was that we had to be very careful and follow the SOP social distancing.
Some of the most challenging aspects in preparing for the SPM exam in such a situation were subjects that I am weak at, applying the SOP and ways to study the subjects.
I am actually happy with my performance. I was very anxious and worried that I might not be doing well for the SPM exam. When the results came out, I was so happy that it was way better than my expectations. It turned out that my hard work had finally paid off.
My ambition is to become an animal pet breeder/seller, zoologist, entomologist or arachnologist. My next step is to continue my studies about science and anything related to animals.

Isabelle Tie Sei Lei

It was quite hard to study at home since there were a lot of distractions but somehow I managed to study. Having an exam during Covid-19 was quite ok since only the Form 5 students were in school and there were no other students, so less noise.
The most challenging aspects in preparing for SPM were studying from home since there were a lot of distractions and also I couldn’t go to school to study physically.
I am quite satisfied with my results because I didn’t fail any subjects.
My ambition is to achieve my goals. My next step is to go to college.

Andrea Wong Yu Wern

Despite all the challenges we had to face, I actually found it easier to revise and study because of the freedom and comfort of being at home.
Online classes were hard to adapt to, but it did have its upside when teachers allowed students to learn through fun and colourful quizzes.
I’m satisfied with my grades because I didn’t expect the grades that I’ve obtained,
I plan to get into the food and hospitality side of business, so I guess it’s going to be business studies for me.

Issac Ivane Ak Bisi

I guess the Covid situation did affect my study situation. I also feel like it’s my fault. I did not try harder in doing revision and I kinda took it lightly. I wouldn’t blame the online class because it’s almost the same as the physical class but it’s the environment in my house. There were a lot of distractions everywhere. My gadgets were one of them and I shared a room with my brother, and he’s pretty loud. But it’s not his fault either because everyone was staying at home and was not allowed to go to work. Well, it’s also my fault because I couldn’t resist myself from playing music while in class and I was distracted because of it.
The most challenging moment for me was to stay put inside my room and study without any music. I always play my music and study, but I guess I was too distracted by the song while I was studying. The things I studied entered my brain and then probably left afterwards.
Well, I am 70% not happy with my performance. Well this is because I have disappointed my family but they still appreciate it. I appreciate the support I have from my family but I feel like I should work harder because I don’t want to disappoint them anymore. I have disappointed my teachers too because the expectation didn’t reach the real score. With this, I also have disappointed myself because I didn’t work hard enough for the things that I wanted to achieve.
Well, I’m not really sure what my ambition is, because I am not really that capable in doing the things I like. I love music, but I don’t know how to play any instruments. I can only sing a few songs but it’s not that good, and up till now I don’t know which course I want to take. Well, my next step is to find my course so that I can find a job, even though that course might not be the thing I fully enjoy, but at least there is something.

Melody Loi Yan Zi

I don’t think there’s much to share about my experience of having to sit for SPM during the pandemic, because obviously it’s all about studying, getting tips, doing a lot of past year papers, and spotting questions. Honestly I was very stressed about it. I was afraid that I wouldn’t perform well and disappoint some people who had such high expectations and believed in me, but it’s normal; who wouldn’t be right?
Well most of the challenges I faced while preparing for SPM were: “Which tips should I trust/use?” “Will the spot questions really come out during the exam?” and in the end most of the tips weren’t useful. Because to me, providing tips and spotting questions were like giving me hopes, something I can grab on to pass the exam. I’m not saying that some tips weren’t useful, just that some of them got my hopes too high but in the end I still had to study everything.
About my results, I don’t think I’m quite satisfied with it yet because some subjects I knew I myself could have gotten a better grade then the actual grade I got. Luckily I passed those important subjects to get me a certificate such as Sejarah, BM, and Moral. So in the end, even though I’m not quite satisfied, I’m still grateful for what I have got.
To be honest I haven’t thought about my ambition, but now I’m currently in university taking foundation and I will just see wherever it leads me to and eventually I will figure it out, because if it’s meant to be, it will be then.

Julian Sia Kee Heng

Having SPM during the covid pandemic was quite a rare experience, if I had to say, because this was the first time I had to wear facial mask to go for an examination and it was kind of hard to breath when I have to walk up the stairs and head to the classroom where the examination was held. The most challenging aspect in preparing for the SPM exam in such a situation was that I had to keep preventing myself from getting infected by the Covid virus because it might get serious if I got infected and could not attend the examination.
I am happy with my performance because I didn’t get any fail score in my results and I also got five credits from it, so it’s quite nice. I’m planning to go for a course which is related to art and polish my drawings so that I can get closer to achieve my dream of becoming a great artist.

Leave a Reply