Sunday, June 19, 2011

SAT-ly Posting

As I was in my room, pondering on what to post next, came an idea. My mind accepted it well since it's very much congruent with my aspiration of excelling in SAT outshiningly. It's to post, just to write on anything I could have in mind to compose any type of article, using at least 6 - oh yes I surely am not mistaken, six! - new common SAT words from the only reference book on the test that I currently have - 'Picture These SAT Words!' - and from other available sources too, including the internet of course. I'm not trying to win acclaim from you dear readers, it is just to put me in a no-turning-back situation which will force me to continue improving my written English by posting on a fixed basis (I haven't tell on what basis shall I post, still.) without fail, by hook or by crook. 

But then a pertinently hindering question came to the active traffic of neuron, "Just give it up. You know you won't able to keep it perpetual, don't you?" with its loyal friend the demotivating whisper knocking down my enthusiasm to a plunge " You know what they'll say when you proclaim this and then stop halfway ".

But I will not give up, not with a fight ! Successful people believes in himself, not in what others believe in him. I want to be successful in dunya, and in hereafter ultimately. My highest aspiration is Jannatul Firdaus and to see my Lord. Recalling the the prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) words "istiqamah ( steadfastness ) is greater than a thousand karomah ( don't know the english transation )", it is inevitable for one aspiring of gaining success to be steady in keeping all the efforts towards success, regardless of how much the result any of them would weigh, always on the go.

How will this project be acted by ?
I'll try to look up in 'Picture This SAT Words!' some six new words which can be used to form sentences that could make a nicely built composition. As to let you know of the common SAT words I'll be using, they will be coloured, in whatever colour I want, of course, ha. I tell you, there are many words that I have never heard of needed to be memorized. Amorphous, ambivalence, acquiesce, duplicity, soporific, truncate, tantamount etc. - Never heard (or seen) of them also right ( Those who are highly proficient, sorry but this is not intended to you, no offence meant )? Huh, that's why I really need to do this. They say, to excel in SAT I, especially in the Critical Reading students need to familiarize themselves with hundreds of such words. So perhaps, by having experience using these words in my writing I will get acquainted with them and eventually be an excellent reader and an effortless writer, in sya Allah !

But it will be quite weird if I post only of this kind, because I know restricting oneself to write using prescribed words will constraint one's ideas, making one's writing be lame, over lack of  creativity. Hence I came up to the decision of posting on sections which are [SAT] for SAT-related posts and ['naught'] for non-SAT-related posts, in order to differentiate between the two. This way, I hope it will give more convenience for readers. And my anticipation is, once I enter Kolej MARA Banting for my International Baccalaureate study one or more sections may be added.

I hope that I have articulated my thoughts into this piece of writing well enough that it won't be abstruse for you, and by Allah's will be easy, too, for me to perform. The way I use some of the red-coloured  words may seem blatant, but I promise that improvement will be made shortly as I'm making my way towards proficiency in English.

Thank you for reading, may Allah bless you with His guidance. For the upcoming post, I intended to write about the current  and future education of mine.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

There is no such thing as Haram, IF and only IF...

Assalamu alaikum,
I pray for all of us to have a good state of Iman.

Hey guys, I have a story to tell and it was originally a story of a sufi sheikh (Sufi is a term for islamic sprituality. Oh, sorry, I forgot the sheikh's name) who after being asked by his students, who probably got bored of doing good deeds, on how to do ma'shiah (unlawful deeds) without being recorded as sin, provided a wise answer. I heard this story during a preach in masjid. I didn't recorded it fast so I remember only the gist, everything on the details of the story I forgot. So I decided write a story of my own as to picture the dialogue between the sheikh and his students, trying my best to articulate the main points.

So here is the conversation.

Wiseman : Want to know of a way to drink, sex and kill without being condemned for the hell fire ?
Moron : I wish I could learn how.
Wiseman : But the problem is, even if I teach you it won't be more than just theory. I myself can't put it to practice.
Moron : Wow, how powerful is this knowledge! But, please, at least I could know how to. Teach me please, I don't care if the possibility of me applying it is zero, I just want to know.
Wiseman : (This moron talks too much) But there is no even the slightest possibility for it to be possible.
moron : So weird, but that's more the curiosity to learn. Please let me know, please.
Wiseman : The way to do that is you need to make your own heaven, earth, water, air, light - EVERYTHING - all on your own, without using anything that The Creator had given. The weird part comes from that. You yourself is part of the creation, aren't you ?
Moron : (frustrated, curiosity turning firing anger) Haha, so funny of you !
Wiseman : It's not funny at all, actually. But rather humans are the ones to laugh at. They live on Allah's earth, breathe with His fresh air, see with eyes given by Him and yet they do not heed to Al-Hakam's law, do not pray to the Almighty lord, reject the Al-Hakim's words, unthankful to Ar-Rahim's gifts, endowments and provisions, do not lower their gaze, etc.
Moron : (speechless, a sense of realization lights up deep in the heart)

Well, it turns out to be quite a silly conversation, but you can get the point right ? Brothers and sisters, let us try our best to be grateful for everything he made and to never question the supreme and rightful law of Allah's for only He knows what is best for us.May Allah bless us all.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


So I've been thinking "Am I ready enough to face IB ?". Precisely, "Am I ready enough for the holy grail IB 45 ?". International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, as for those who are not familiar with it, is a pre-university programme which aims to produce all-rounded students, providing them with all they need for the challenging life as undergraduates. All-rounded ? What does it mean ? Well, I take an all-rounded student as one who is excellent not just in academics, but also in communication skills, spirituality , mentality and activity involvement.

This 28th June, I'll be registering myself at Kolej MARA Banting for IB study. There's still a month until that, so I'm thinking of something to do that might help for my study. My main worry is, of course, my memorization of the holy Qur'an as the rumors keeping telling that IB'll surely make me very busy that there'll be very little time for me to do muraja'ah. But then comes a word relief from a senior "Ala kat sini ade jer senior yang hafiz, nampak die boleh jer keep up..". Yes, I'm relieved, but just a bit.

SAT. That's one of the major problems to settle. All praise to Allah, with His guidance, came an idea of buying a SAT book when I was in the trip at Kuala Lumpur with my family and it was 'Picture This SAT Words'. It's a great book, simple to read and easy to digest. As the name suggests, the book is a gift for students who want to score well in Critical Reading and Writing tests of SAT. The true problem with SAT is not in it actually, but in the preparation to succeed in it. As I'm a MARA Scholar, I'll have difficulties to prepare for it since MARA will not fund for any SAT class, not like PETRONAS.

That's some of the hindering factors in my long way towards US education. But I'm sure that I'll go through it well. Anyway, I'm going to be an 'all-rounded' IB student right ?

Monday, May 23, 2011

My MARA Interview Experience (2011)

Intro : this year, MARA made a a difference in her interviewing style, from individual interview to group. A group comsists of about 7 - 8 candidates and is named based on the hour the interview will be held for in(oh, how to say this, em, my group was called 10-O-clock group, and yes, because we started at

My story :

pre-interview part:

My interview was supposed to start  at 10 am, and out of 'semangat yg membara', I arrived at 8.30. that gave me the advantages of knowing the newly-commenced interviewing style before hand and of making me more relaxed. To cut the story short, let me just tell the main important parts of my interview story.

I registered myself at the registration counter in the aouditorim hall at third floor and after getting myself a tag number and submitting the required documents i.e essay, copy of certs , resume, application form, I sat on chair until the 'bahaso luar'-speaking 'kak kerani' called me, over lack of an important document - 'salinan surat tawaran'. Then i appeared so much a klutz. .....

* my advice on this part : self double-check the required documents the night before. if your mom have already checked it for you, do 'pula' your own check.

And not to mention, you are actually needed to send only the borang permohonan and its 'lampiran's, for the clear holder containing the original certs are not even taken a glimpse by the 'kerani's and interviewers. Along with the borang, couple in the necessary documents (see 'borang semakan' printed along with the borang ) and, if you have one, your resume.

During interview :

The interview, comprising of two sessions -  group activity and communication assessment - as for mine, spanned approximately 45 minutes. After the door was opened for us and all of us made our move into the room and sat on our respective chair, the interviewer made the briefing. We were given a task of building a a bridge interconnecting two tables, with width of the gap between the two was double the individual length of the spaghetti's given. The interviewers gave us 30 minutes to finish our task, expecting our product to withstand a tin of sardin.

* Advice : listen carefully to the instruction ! Other interviewees, who had maybe not carefully listened to the briefing, made a blunder of posing a question during the group activity, which was emphasized prohibited as in the briefing.

Then we started our work, quite cooperatively. At first, no one made a significant move to lead the group, to even point out an idea. Knowing that this is the chance to show my leadership and group-work skills, I voiced out my opinion on the project, promoting others to follow on. Im not bragging and rather sharing, but in the group activity I think I prominently participated by giving an idea that change the whole technique of structuring the bridge of my group (but no need to tell lah what the idea is. What's important, i think, is that you speak your ideas out loud confidently and make significant role in the activity).

Now the communication assessment part 'plok' :

As the name suggests, this slot tests applicants' way of answering. Not necessarily speaking fluently, just a little of confidence and maturity is enough to give u marks, i think. Each candidate got one question - in consecutive turn, as in my group - pertinent to the previous activity to reply a one-minute answer. I was tagged as third so i was asked thirdly and the question as far as I remember was "what do you learn from the bridge-building activity ?" and I , again as far as I remember, replied " I learnt a lot from.....learnt how to express ideas effectively....the task of building the bridge(while pointing my finger to the bridge) is not an easy task if we ....cooperative a prospective engineer, I learnt a lot (bodoh, repeating la plak) ... bla2" (secara gagap2 ckit).

And that's all I can tell for now. Thank you for reading, and I am very sorry for the months-long blog hibernation.

My MARA Sample Essay

Alhamdulillah, terbuka hatiku untuk postkan esei MARA ku yang tidak seberapa ini. Untuk siapkan esei ni aku bnyk rujuk contoh2 esesi drpd internet. Kini, setelah siap yang ak punya, ak rasa sudah tibalah masa untuk aku membantu org lain, orang yang mungkin melalui pengalaman yang sama mencari contoh esei MARA seperti aku. Rasa bersalah pula kalau aku tidak sebarkan.

Written by : Imran Bin Ariffin, former student of Maktab Sultan Ismail
NRIC : 930704-03-5959

My full name is Imran Bin Ariffin, the third child of Ariffin Bin Noor, a doctor posting in Hospital Gua Musang and Kamariah Binti Awang, a Biology teacher at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Ismail. I have 5 siblings – three brothers and two sisters – with all of them are still studying, two in tertiary education while three others are schooling. We live in a peacefully serene village located not far from Pantai Cahaya Bulan, called Tok Dokang. About my education background, I finished my primary education at Sekolah Rendah Islam Aman (SRI Aman), a private Islamic school which integrates national curriculum and fundamental Islamic studies. Obtained 5 A’s in my Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), I entered Maahad Muhammadi Lelaki (MML), at which I studied for only 3 months before I went to Maahad Tahfiz Sains (MTS), a boarding school in Tanah Merah. Despite the tough 4 years of interdisciplinary study – academics, Islamic subjects and memorization of the Holy Qur’an – at MTS, I managed to obtain 9 A’s in Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) along with 34 other high achievers in 2008 PMR and Mumtaz class in Sijil Menengah Ugama (SMU), 2009. The next year, I then enrolled in Sultan Ismail College (SIC), a premier school awarded Cluster School of Excellence (KSC). At SIC, I took Bahasa Arab Tinggi as an additional subject for SPM, though knowing the school do not have certified teacher to teach me the subject for I think that as a memorizer of the Holy Qur’an, it is of paramount importance for me to understand the verses and to integrate them with science. And all praise to Allah the Almighty, I managed to obtain 10 A+’s in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2010 and be among 363 other students who got A+’s for all subjects taken. This is a proof, I think, that albeit having difficulties in conforming to different cultures and education systems in different schools I have been in, being objective-aware and passionate in learning is the key towards my consistency in academic success.

Being a boarder was quite a challenge for me as I had to manage my time efficiently, be independent and learnt to lead myself and others effectively. During my years in MTS, I was very active in sports, particularly in football and badminton as well as in other co-curricular activities. When I was only in form two, I was given responsibility to be part of the school editorial staff and the post was Ketua Unit Grafik Badan Redaksi. The first year of my upper secondary was the busiest year I ever experienced since I needed to balance my time, not just between academics and co-curriculum, but taken also the study of SMU subjects into timetable. In that year, I was the President of Kelab Tarannum Dan Qiraat, Secretary of Kelab Sains Dan Matematik, monitor of my class, 4 Ibnu Awwam, and member of Solahuddin Al-Ayubi Usrah and Pasukan Briged Bakti Sekolah. And also, I had actively participated in various competitions and activities held by the school and by other bodies such as Majlis Menghafaz Al-Quran, state level, Perkhemahan Perdana Briged Bakti, district level, football and badminton sport tournaments, school level, Public Speaking Competition, school level, and Pertandingan Pentomen Malam Kesenian Islam, school level. While in SIC, I focused more on my study, but still, I tried to actively take part in competitions, such as National Physics Competition (NPC), in which I was awarded Silver Certificate, making me the only student in my school who got it; and public speaking competition, school level. Other than school related programmes, I had also attended ESQ Basic Training, a professional class leadership training organized by The ESQ Way 165. As for the awards I have been bestowed upon, SIC conferred on me Sijil Anugerah Kecemerlangan for obtaining 8 A’s and 1 B in Peperiksaan Kendalian Berasaskan Sekolah 2 and Silver Certificate Winner in NPC 2010. And during my post-SPM period, I attended a month-long Stepping Into the Real World, a university preparatory course as to prepare myself for the challenging future ahead and Interview Preparatory Course, both conducted by Brig. General (B) Datuk Hussin Yusoff.

It has always been my ambition to be a mechatronics engineer. Both an aspiring engineer and a maniac of Physics and Mathematics, I wish to become a master of intricate expertise who can combine these disciplines into innovatively scientific applications. As you might know, Mechatronics is a newfound branch of engineering governing mechanical, electronics and software engineering – which I find very interesting a field to study in. A mechatronics engineer usually work in large-scale industry where robotic limbs replace human’s, maintaining the already have system, finding bugs and invent better system by improving the mechanics and the programme scripts. Hoping to work in a respectable company in future, I plan to obtain a first class degree in mechatronics engineering from a reputable and government-accredited university in the United States and come back to Malaysia as a registered engineer by Board of Engineers Malaysia, BEM. After several years of working experience in large industrial companies and an Ir. title in hand, I want to set up a research-based business, preferably with my brother or colleagues with the main intention to contribute to my nation’s economic growth. But, if my first plan – to work in large company and start my own business up – fails, I will still continue my life on, with a contingency plan. I will continue my study to Master’s degree in engineering and become a lecturer in a local research university, doing researches and doctorate studies until I get a Ph.D. But, I will make sure that I give significant contribution to my nation’s economic growth; both my careers are planned to converge into the same – business, and again I say, research-based business. I realize that this is a duty of noble respect and I need to work very hard to accomplish it; my mission, a national mission.

I want to pursue my study in engineering in a prestigious university in the United States, a country famous for its massive findings in technology and science. But first, why over-sea? Well, studying abroad, as to me, is all about broadening my horizon of thinking, globalising my point of view, gaining new insights and outlooks through cross-cultural relationships and putting me in a position where there is no one I can cling to, except to myself – shaping me to become a well-developed adult, spiritually, mentally and physically. By studying in US, the most racially diverse country in the world, I can learn from and indulge in other cultures from all over the world and assimilate what is good into ours. In particular, it has always been a ‘highly aspirational wish’ for me to study in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for my undergraduate study. I know that I am hoping beyond the skies but I am certainly sure that it could be made possible if I give my very best for pre-university study and outshine others in examinations. MIT, the most sought-after university by every prospective international student, is a private university, which research in science and technology is its emphasis. Ranked no.3 in Times Higher Education’s 2011 World University Ranking, MIT scored relatively high in both international mix and teaching, which I think would provide the best I could ever hope for a conducive learning environment. Among other universities in the United States, MIT stands in the second top, beating all the private Ivy League universities. Therefore, if I was chosen by MARA for doing university preparation under, I would be a lot happier if it is Advance Level General Certificate of Education (GCE A-Level) at Taylor’s College, one of the best A-Level institutions in Malaysia. Competing with bright students at Taylor’s College and learning from them as well, I will surely get enough motivation to hard-push on my study until I succeed in my A-Level and the standardized Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) examination with distinction, hence opening wide my chance to successfully enrol in MIT.

That is all about me, my education and career planning. I hereby put my hope in Allah, for I know Allah knows what is best for me. I will strive with all my strength to fulfil my dream. Surely, if I were given a chance to get this scholarship, I will it as a responsibility for my nation, specifically for Malays. I am confidence that with the right intention, enough hard-work and aspiration along with tawakkal to My Lord, I will become a successful mechatronics engineer.