Determined Year 11 student of the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM), Petra Tang is indeed on the high road to success.
From obtaining straight A’s in all the major Malaysian public school examinations, being among the nine Malaysians to be awarded the Diploma of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London (DipABRSM), to winning a 2-year fully funded scholarship for matriculation studies at the Australian International School Malaysia, Petra has aimed high and worked hard to achieve her goals.
She recently announced her decision to apply to the University of Oxford after being awarded a scholarship from Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to pursue her first degree in the United Kingdom upon completion of the Higher School Certificate (HSC) matriculation programme at the Australian International School Malaysia.
Petra shares her aspirations and excitement about the opportunities ahead of her.
Q: Tell us more about the AISM and Malaysia Airports scholarships you have won and how it has inspired you to pursue further excellence?
A: I won the Australian International School Malaysia’s scholarship upon completion of my SPM examinations last year. The scholarship covers all fees and a variety of other inclusions for me to enter Year 11, continue to Year 12 and to sit the Higher School Certificate in the Australian curriculum.
The Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad scholarship on the other hand is for a tenure of three or four years of my first degree to be pursued in the United Kingdom. I plan to achieve my dreams and further my studies at the University of Oxford.
Certainly, winning these scholarships has filled me with more hope and inspired me to achieve my goals. As a scholarship holder, I now have a reputation to maintain, or rather, expectations to live up to. My mother describes it as a “penalty kick”, meaning that the ball is in my hands and it is up to me to kick it into the goal.
Q: In your pursuit for excellence, you have chosen the Australian education system. Please tell us why and explain more about your experience at the Australian International School Malaysia?
A: I chose AISM because I find the Australian education system to be more holistic. Coming from the Malaysian education system, the Australian system was very new to me. AISM teachers stimulate students to think, instead of just reading from the textbook and accepting things as fact. Students are trained to voice our thoughts and opinions and are allowed to “argue” with our teachers. In fact, we are encouraged to!
The academic aspect of the Australian system is not only about attending classes, completing homework and sitting for exams. Rather, I am given more freedom in expressing my academic interests and exploring subject matter. By freedom, I do not mean it is easier studying in an Australian system because really, it is not. In fact, I actually struggled in my first few weeks of school.
This is because of the variety of assessment tasks that I receive in class which requires me to challenge myself intellectually. In the process of completing the tasks, I learn a lot more from sources other than the textbooks. To demonstrate the variety of assessment tasks in the school, I have thus far created a representation, filmed a video, played the role of a magistrate in a mock trial, created a business plan for a cafe as well as taken weekly economics quizzes. I have definitely learnt to manage my time better and have become more independent in the learning process.
Other than the academic discipline and the ability to be active in other activities that have enriched my life (I take part in the World Scholar’s Cup, Model United Nations, the school orchestra, yoga and girls’ basketball), I have made many friends from all over the world and have gained a wider, more open international perspective. My new found perspective will definitely be the key aspect I “take away” when I leave the school.
Q: You will be sitting for your Higher School Certificate (HSC) next year. In your opinion, do you think the HSC examinations are different in any way from other examinations?
Yes, they definitely are. Unlike many other systems where you are either in the Science stream or the Arts, the Higher School Certificate gives students great freedom in selecting any mixture of subjects that they want to do. Students doing the Higher School Certificate can take Physics, Science and Chemistry and at the same time take PE, Drama, Music or Art.
It is very flexible, and again, this is why it’s holistic. Also, it is not 100% exam based, but rather is composed of 50% worth of assessment tasks throughout the year and the other 50% is assessed in the final exams.
Q: We understand that you will be using the HSC to apply for universities in the UK and Australia. What are your top choice universities and your preparations going forward?
Yes, the Higher School Certificate is an international passport to universities around the world. My top choices are Oxford University, University College London, London School of Economics, University of St. Andrews, and University of Sydney. I will need to achieve a high Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) to enter any of these universities, therefore I am working towards that. The school provides support to all senior students in terms of pathway planning. Mr. Chris Broadbent, our Careers Advisor provides advice on university applications and preparations as well as organizing university visits and fairs. He will also be conducting mock Oxbridge interviews. Through the Futurewise programme offered at school, I have been able to take an extensive aptitude test that accurately reports on my inclinations, interests and intelligence. Based on the report, I have been able to identify my key strengths and the compatibility of those characteristics to certain careers.
Source: The Expat December 2011
This article has been edited for Expatgomalaysia.com
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