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.