I applied for the Yayasan Khazanah Scholarship before I sat for SPM. I was lucky enough to be selected among the few students in my batch who were qualified to apply for the Early Harvest intake using SPM trial results.
The application process was similar to other scholarships. You will have to fill in your personal details and submit your extracurricular certificates. Make sure to scan the documents clearly and you’re good to go.
Also, you will have to write a 1000-word essay about a specific topic. During my time, it was about my preferred course, how it will benefit the nation and what makes me a worthy recipient. In writing your essay, make sure you clearly highlight your passion for that field and the importance of the field for national development. Next, in describing yourself as a worthy recipient, always remember that it will also be used during the upcoming interview so be honest and don’t make something up. Write about your abilities and skills while staying relevant to the topic! Before submitting my essay, I asked some of my teachers to read the essay and give feedback on what to improve. I would say it is super beneficial to do so.
Stage 1 & 2
After about 1 week, I received an email stating that I was shortlisted to undergo the Stage 1 and 2 Assessments. They are conducted through an online medium and you can do it in your own time. Stage 1 is mainly focused on verbal and numerical ability while Stage 2 is more about your personality.
In my opinion, stage 1 is like a typical IQ test so you may try the free IQ tests available online. In completing the assessment, don’t be too nervous and believe in yourself. Read the instructions carefully and don’t be too panicked if you can’t solve one or two questions. Allocate your time wisely so that you have enough time to complete all of the questions. Start with what you can do and come back to the rest. Well, don’t waste time staring at a question you just can’t deal with at that moment.
Meanwhile, stage 2 is much more challenging. It is a personality test that evaluates your abilities in making decisions and solving ethical dilemmas. Make sure your answers reflect yourself because this is how the interviewers for the next stage get to know you. Don’t worry too much because they will guide you on how to complete the assessment from the email.
“Following from the Stage 2 assessment which you have completed recently, we are pleased to inform you that you are successful to proceed to the next stage of assessment which is the Assessment Centre”
It was 6 pm and I was heading to the dining hall to have my dinner when I received this email from YK. I was on cloud nine and that was when ayam masak kicap from DS tasted like five-star restaurant steak.
The Assessment Centre comprises Group Exercise, Business Analysis Presentation and Interview Session. I flew to Subang on the same day the assessment was conducted because my session was in the afternoon. Make sure you arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled session and dress formally to leave a good impression. You may wear your school uniform or long sleeve shirt with a blazer.
My group consisted of 6 people (guess what! I was the only girl T.T) and we were given two curriculum vitae (CV) for the assessment. We had to analyse the CVs and discuss who to hire for the various positions in our imaginary company. In the group activity, try to lead the discussion but don’t be too dominant. Give room for your group mates to speak as well. Express your opinion rationally and try to convince your audience.
As for the business analysis presentation, I was given a file containing the data and information of a business. In my case, it was a restaurant and my roles were mainly related to business marketing. You’ll be given some time to analyse the data. Afterwards, you will be asked to present ideas on how to expand the business, as well as the marketing approaches you would use. Present your points confidently and try to engage with the interviewer. At the end of the presentation, the interviewer will ask a few questions related to the task.
The final part of this assessment was the individual interview. It was a one-to-one interview and my interviewer was really friendly (which made me love this part the most \^0^/). She asked a few questions about my academic and extracurricular achievement. Some questions were also related to my positions in school and how I overcome challenges in life. After the interview, you’ll have a chance to ask questions so grab the opportunity to ask what you want to know. You can also ask for their feedback!
In early January, I was informed that I was selected for stage 4! As the Early Harvest programme was no longer offered by YK, the applicants from stage 3 were required to wait for the SPM results and continue with the application along with other applicants from SPM. At first, my interview was scheduled to be held in April, but due to the pandemic, it was postponed until May.
The stage 4 interview was conducted through Skype and it was a less nerve-racking experience compared to the previous face-to-face interview. The flow of the interview session was pretty much similar to stage 3 interview. However, this time, the interviewer was more interested in my course of choice. The following are some of my tips on how to ace an interview like this one :
- Do a lot of research about the course.
- Keep up to date with current issues related to the course.
- Practise answering some FAQ.
About 1 month later, I received a call from YK staff informing me that I was successful in the recent interview and stage 5 will be conducted tomorrow! (the call was around 7 pm so you can imagine how nervous I was to know that I have less than 24 hours to prepare for the interview). A few hours later, I received an email confirming the details for the interview. At this point of time, I just read some current news, and went through my notes and materials for previous interviews. I kept reminding myself that this is the final part and I shall do my very best!
Finally, it’s the day. My session was supposed to be conducted at 11 a.m. but I still haven’t received any call on Skype. I was hesitant to call YK staff because they might be in the middle of interviewing other applicants at that moment, so in the end I just stared at my laptop in nervousness. Around 12.30 p.m., my interview finally started. Among the questions asked were my personal experiences, strengths and weaknesses.
Unfortunately while answering the question, I realized that sometimes, I went off-topic due to nervousness. However, since these realizations occurred to me in the middle of the session, the best I could do is to provide a better answer for the next question they posed. After the session, the interviewers gave some comments on what to improve for my other upcoming interviews. Here, I want to emphasize that it is fine if you don’t answer a question perfectly but handle the situation well and don’t let it affect the whole interview.
Two weeks later, I received another email from YK clearly stating that I was successful in the Final Stage Interview and will be awarded the scholarship. Receiving this scholarship means that I hold the responsibility to contribute to society and serve the nation.
I still remember the moment of dreaming to be a YK scholar and honestly, I didn’t expect to make it this far. In every stage, I always reminded myself to give my best because I don’t want to have any regrets afterwards, and alhamdulillah I have none.
To all post-SPM students, all the best for your scholarship application journey but please remember that not getting a scholarship is not the end of the world. Look for the hidden blessings and believe that it’s leading you to something greater!