Lompat Si Kijang Lompat!

Be quick and witty!

Posted by Mirza Shariman bin Shahril Izal on August 24, 2019

Assalamualaikum and hello everybody!

I’m going to just focus on certains components of the selection process for the scholarship, as you could get a rough idea on how it is conducted from the essays made from other successful candidates. With regard to this, I will be talking about how to construct your essay and the interview session itself because these phases are where most students like myself would struggle the most.

Writing the Essay

Most scholarship applications commonly start the selection process with essay writing. The first thing to consider when getting started on writing your essay is to think of yourself as the person who will filter out all the uninteresting essays they stumble upon.

  • Is the essay hard to read because of the lack of paragraphs that shows your weakness in writing?
    Yes? Rejected.

  • The content does not properly answer the question given?
    Obviously rejected.

  • The contents are unorganized, involving a lot of irrelevant and unnecessary information?
    Most likely rejected.

  • Using the same words over and over again until it feels boring and monotonous?
    May be rejected.

  • Bad grammar and spelling?
    Idk honestly.

I’m not going to give a full list of every detail that you must consider when writing your essay (haha lazy go brrr). What I’m trying to convey is, the scholarship provider is more likely to choose individuals that they’d consider to be reliable and cooperative, and the easiest way to take advantage of this is by putting yourself in their shoes. Even the miniscule and absurd details such as proper paragraphing, good paraphrasing and the correct use of lexical resources can be a major factor for them to choose a promising candidate.

Imagine the person reading a bad submitted essay and quickly rejects it as they’d reach halfway through it, you wouldn’t want that kind of essay to be yours, right? Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources to improve your writing that are available at the tip of your fingers! So make full use of it, but do not EVER commit plagiarism (please don’t).

As for technical aspects of the essay, most of the questions given for the essay might involve topics such as describing yourself, your achievements and justify why the scholarship provider must choose you to become an asset to them. This is the moment where you should write (or flex) all the major things you’ve done throughout your studies. If you don’t have anything to say when describing yourself, you can just talk about anything that has shaped who you are now. For instance, a sportsman who inspired you and makes you motivated, a movie where the plots changed you to become who you are now, or even a person you know that you looked up to and strive to follow in their footsteps.

Writing your past achievements is self-explanatory, just write what you’ve done and then elaborate, simple as that. Lastly, you should do some research on the organization that you’re applying for a scholarship from for questions that ask you to justify yourself to be chosen. If you write your justification that aligns with their work ethics or objective, you’ll be more likely to have a higher chance of being selected as a candidate.

Group Interview

If you have managed to reach this stage, congratulations! Only a few people have made this far in the selection process. However, it is far from it being over. As a disclaimer, the interview I underwent was done entirely online due to the pandemic in 2020, so the experience might differ from other people applying in other years. Nevertheless, here are some tips I can give for a group interview.

Firstly if you’re nervous, that’s entirely fine and normal. I mean, you’re not the only one who has the palm of your hands sweating, right? Everyone else is experiencing the same thing! With that in mind, take a deep breath, don’t start overthinking and just be yourself. Even I must remind myself to get into this mindset during the interview.

Let me tell you about my experience during this stage. There was one person who was in my group. She declared to become the leader, brought the stopwatch to keep track of time, and ultimately was good at giving out her thoughts and ideas to the group. In the end however, she ended up not being chosen for the scholarship. The reasons I can pinpoint for such a situation is one, she doesn’t give other people a chance to talk, dominating the arena all by herself and two, obviously looks pretentious. With that in mind, be considerate to other candidates. This might look absurd, but it really helps the panels to choose mature and tolerable potential scholars.

My last advice is, try to criticize the ideas that were suggested by other candidates, and immediately ask on how to overcome the said problem to them, or just solve it yourself. Remember, do not attempt this if it seems like you’re degrading or mocking their thought process, as this will potentially backfire. However, if you do have a valid reason to be concerned about the idea, I’d recommend you to go for it, as it shows that you are good at detecting and avoiding unforeseen future problems.

Individual Interview

You’ll be given an allocated time of 30 minutes for the individual interview. It might seem long, but believe me, you will feel as if only 10 minutes have elapsed. The interview conducted will have one panelist or more who will be asking questions about yourself.

In the context for Bank Negara, one of the three panelists chosen will be dependent on the course you’re choosing to apply for your degree in your tertiary study. For example, if you choose to continue studying in the field of computer science, you’ll get someone from the IT department to become one of your panel. This might be a good thing because you can talk about any jargon relating to the field of your choice, and they would be able to understand it, making the process much easier. With this method, they can also detect ‘palatao’ people much easier in order to eliminate them and choose the right person to inherit the bursary. I’d reckon this tactic may also be used in other big organizations as well.

Take note, the panelists are not expecting a perfect answer for every question, nor a perfect candidate during this phase. They might ask you about advanced topics such as the politics-related problems, or the economic crisis due to the pandemic. It is okay to answer wrongly (using “I think”, “As far as I know”, “I was told that”) instead of not answering at all. Heck, even I answered wrong when asked for what Industrial Revolution 4.0 is, but was explained afterward by the panel after I had given my answer. With this in mind, don’t be discouraged when being asked a difficult problem, they just wanted to see how you respond in such a situation.

If you were to ask me what they are looking for in a candidate during the interview, I’d say that they want to know who you are as a person. It’s not about your past academics and co-curricular achievements because you’ve already written it in your essay. Questions like what is your view on a certain agenda? How do you keep yourself motivated? What will you do if such a problem happens? Will you give up if something is impossible to reach? All these personal questions will be asked, and my advice for this particular situation is by reading more! Most bank’s scholars I’ve interacted with have their own things they value and identities that they believe and stay true to.

In all honesty, my experience being interviewed personally by these panelists was not stressful at all but in fact, enjoyable. They were friendly and not quick to judge you on the spot. In rare cases, they will even allow you to speak in Bahasa Melayu if you request from them to do so, because they’d know that you’ll improve your English later on in the future.


I wish the best for all of you who are applying for scholarships in the future. Even if you were unfortunate, it is not too late because you might be able to be more successful and live a satisfying life than those who were accepted. “Every cloud has a silver lining”/ “Setiap yang berlaku pasti ada hikmahnya” :)