JPA Scholarships interview!
So, I applied for JPA (Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam) scholarship within a week for the SPM results announcement. You need a minimum of 9A- to apply for Medicine/Dentistry. The online application was pretty easy to fill up. Last Friday, almost 2 weeks after the application, we were informed whether we were chosen for the interview. Interviews were spanning from 12-16 April 2011. My interview was on 12 April, Tuesday, 11.55am at Intec.
Getting the news on Friday meant that I only had 1 working day to prepare all my documents! Having no printer at home makes things that much frustrating. :C My mum helped me with a lot of the preparation. The bummer was, there's this very important Borang Pendapatan that declares your family's income, that must be verified by a Guru Besar, and if done wrongly you could be refused admittance into the interview (or so I read). And so of all days, SMK USJ 13's new headmistress HAS to be off on Monday because her dad passed away (or so I heard)! D: Poor mum, had to run over to USJ 12 to get their principle to certify all my documents, haha.
So Monday came! I skipped college (for the first time!), woke up later in the morning, got ready, attended my Malaysian Studies online forum (marks included! don't play play D:), had breakfast then left home! I was wearing the orange+green baju kurung we bought from Mydin, since it's one of the "recommended" dress code for girls. Only about 50% were wearing it, but still it's easy, and you won't go wrong. Sad I didn't take any pictures of myself at all today. o_o It was around 10am-ish when I headed out to Shah Alam. We ended up in the wrong place: the huuuge UiTM campus. We were supposed to go to the "old UiTM", which is where Intec is, which is not so near by. Luckily I had lots of time to spare. There were lots of small signages on the road with computer printed words and arrows that leads you to "JPA Interview" and other words that I can't remember. Just follow the small signages through all the roundabouts that Shah Alam love, and you'll get there!
I reached Intec at about 11am. Walked in to the large noticeboard in the center and started looking for my name. Here, you have to sign your name once. I was in Panel 5. So off I went! It was on the 2nd floor, so I walked up the stairs once and started searching for the room, the indian guy behind me doing the same. Turns out, 2nd floor is 3rd floor in reality, the 1st floor being ground floor. Don't you hate this system, especially in Malaysian supermarkets? In my world, 1st floor = no stairs dammit! D: Anyhow, me and the indian guy climbed another flight up to
Went into the waiting room where you will be told to arrange your documents in your clear folder (which is in fact, the book-like clear folder with plastic pages). Slip it into your clear folder in the same order as stated in the letter, even all the IC, birth certs, sijil-sijil and the photostated stuff. After I was done rearranging all my certificates, I started talking around. The indian guy was Arvin. After talking about what school we were from and stuff, we suddenly found out we were both from Taylor's College. SAM summore! o_o What coincidence! And I didn't even see him before, haha. He's from G8, and he applied for Medicine. The other girl was Angel, from Pahang. Funnily, she and me shared TONS of similarities. We were the only Chinese in our group who chose Dentistry, we took Grade 8 Piano in 2009, we are Dan 1 in Taekwondo, and we're both in Koperasi! Awesoooooome. lD The other two Malays in our group, Azrul and Fatin, both applied for Medicine. The guy originally in my group, some Eu Gene guy, didn't come. I got the No.2 tag. Right on time, we were asked to enter the interview room!
So the five of us in the group, 3 Medicine, 2 Dentistry, knocked on the door and walked in. I was the only person who greeted the interviewers and asked if I could sit (chak hai, I know lD). The interviewers didn't introduce themselves (3 Malay doods), and they were reaaaally soft. First, we were to introduce ourselves in order. He sort of "guided" us through the introduction, telling us to say our names, former school, parent's occupations, number of siblings, why we chose the course. The 1st girl requested to speak in English, so we followed suit. Then he asked us two medical-related questions and asked us to answer in Malay. "What medical problems will we face in 2020?" and "What is the problem with public hospitals?" He pointed to the five of us in random order, and for these two questions, I was the last and 4th to speak respectively, and by the time it was my turn, all my points were taken! I would have to "agree" with their points, then raise some random point, which I related to Dentistry.
Next, we started with the general discussion (which was back in English yay!) It was sort of like a forum, where the 5 of us can speak on the topic at any time. We spoke about:
Should Malaysia have nuclear reactors?
We need to hand this world to the future generation, what will you do about it? (Pembangunan lestari/mapan)
How do we avoid negative influences from the media/sports etc.
What qualities do you have that makes you a good doctor?
I raised my points pretty quickly for the discussions, because I didn't want to lose my points while waiting for my turn. This part, I think I did pretty well. My interviewers hardly shot us with questions. They pretty much just ask the question, then we talk.
After approximately 40 minutes, we were free! And that was how my interview went. I think I did pretty well, and my interview sounded pretty casual and lenient in comparison to the others. I didn't have the "omg I screwed up" thought at all. Just "I wish I phrased that better".
My advice: you can't really prepare too much for this interview, and all interviewers are different. Some skip the whole introduction part, some don't have discussion time, some shoot you with your own points, some ask really technical stuff... it really varies, so there isn't a one-size fit all advice. If you must, read more on current issues, especially relating to the course you chose. Be yourself, be confident and do your best to shine through all the questions and answers. Fit in impressive knowledge, koku details at any time if you could to impress them. Dress, act and speak decently. Be confident and let "you" shine. If you're confident enough, try to answer first during the general discussions so that you get to speak the points first and maintain "originality".
Every interview is going to be different. Whatever happens, happens. So no point fussing about anything, just go in and do your best. I know I did. C:
Quote of the Day: "It's not like thanks are something I can eat." - Monkey D. Luffy, One Piece