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Climbing the Tower of Success.

Posted by Nur Syahirah Zulkafli on August 24, 2019

Hello guys~ Congratulations for completing your SPM (despite being postponed and having too many holidays), you all are the best! Here, I will share my experience applying for PESP, which stands for Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme, enjoy! :)

Submitting Form via Online Application Form (OAS)

This is the very first thing (kinda the first stage too) that you must do. Seems simple, but very.. detailed I would say. Right after you receive your SPM result, you should go to and read the eligibility criteria, as well as the guidelines to submit the online application form (you would need to register as a new user later).

Do fill in ALL sections in the form, and please re-check them carefully. At this point, you should already have in mind which course you plan to pursue, and in which country (UTP or overseas?). To be honest, when I was filling the form, I didn’t really think for too long, as I was very sure that I wouldn’t get the scholarship (yeah pardon my unambitious young self). The lesson is that, just believe in yourself, and start thinking about your future!

Notification of successful candidates for the next phase (that should have been the physical PYD - PETRONAS Youngstars Day, but Covid changed everything) will be announced via the website (the same username and password will be required for log-in purposes). Incomplete or late applications will not be processed. So please always check the deadlines, website, and your email. Not to forget, do organise your time wisely yaa.

Phase 1: Cambridge Personal Styles Questionnaire (CPSQ)

This is just a normal online behavioral style assessment, which provides Petronas an insight on how you approach tasks and relate to others. You would need to complete this test within one hour, on one of the dates that will be stated later. At the same time, they will ask you to submit the first 3 documents (a copy of your IC, SPM result and a picture of yourself). I don’t really have any tips for this test, the only thing is that you should try to answer based on your ‘truest’ self.

Phase 2: Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)

Only successful candidates from Phase 1 will be invited to sit for this test. Since we took this test independently at home, it has an online remote proctored examination protocol (where the designated proctor will monitor your progress during the test and the activities on your laptop screen in real-time). They will give you a list of Do’s and Don'ts prior to the test date, for you to be prepared.

You will have 90 minutes to complete the test, and it only has a section with 40 questions. Some that I could remember are problem-solving questions, including numerical reasoning, and critical thinking assessments, including understanding argument and reasoning using everyday language. Again, no worries, you will adapt just fine, because it definitely isn’t as hard as Yayasan Khazanah’s test (I believee it was the hardest!), just try to polish your knowledge in basic math and English. You also can try to do exercise from Cambridge as your preparation.

Phase 3: Student Potential Assessment

To reach this stage, only candidates for the overseas sponsorship programme (who met the requirements for the TSA) will be invited. Again, check your emails and the website regularly! In this test, you will have a group interview session with PETRONAS management.

I remember being the only girl in a group of 4, and our interviewers were seniors in PETRONAS, a man and a lady. They were both sooo kind, and very helpful. The first part is an individual session (though there are many other pairs of eyes watching you). For starters, they asked basic questions, such as ‘tell us about yourself’ and ‘why did you choose this course’. Next, you will be given an individual case study, with some time to think of what to present in the given period of time. Mine was about Covid 19, which was kinda unexpected, because I was so prepared with the history of PETRONAS’s establishment and development (see the effort there haha, but still, go read briefly about that, in case they will ask you what was PETRONAS’s original name, and as your additional knowledge too~). Don’t be nervous or shy, just say your opinions and points out loud, be confident!

The test then will proceed with a group discussion, where you will be given a group study case, and will have 30 minutes to discuss among the group members. The topic might be the same as your individual case study, just more in-depth, but the group study case also can be far cry from the first part. Interviewers will be there and observe the discussion. At times, they will give some opinions and guides as a hint for where our discussion is leading to. Try not to be over domineering or conquer the discussion, this is the time where you should show all your best qualities : as a team player, and as a good leader. After the time is up, it is presenting time (who takes which part should have been discussed earlier). You shall just present casually, as what the group has prepared. Lastly, there’ll be a Q&A session, in which the interviewers will ask questions related to the presentation. Don’t be nervous, and try to answer as best as you can. Before the test ended, the interviews gave us some feedback on how we can improve ourselves. Always remember to be humble and professional.

Closing Remarks

I guess that’s all from me, hope it can help you in some ways :) I feel grateful to be a PETRONAS scholar and very excited for my future journey with them. Who knows, maybe you will be the next one! Whatever the result you got later, don’t get discouraged, as this is also a way for us to learn, to improve for the better. All in all, do give your best every time okayy~ Goodluck guys!