Ministry tweaks SPM schedule to ease students’ test load

Students from SMK Anderson Ipoh sitting for the Bahasa Melayu SPM paper in Ipoh November 13, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Students from SMK Anderson Ipoh sitting for the Bahasa Melayu SPM paper in Ipoh November 13, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 ― The Education Ministry has changed the timetable for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) test this year by trimming the number of daily papers and spacing out more taxing subjects, Examinations Syndicate director of examinations Adzman Talib said.

“In the tentative timetable, students were scheduled to sit for up to three papers in a day,” he was quoted saying by local daily The Star, adding that the examinations body has accommodated the views of all stakeholders to the best of its abilities.

The Star said that students will now take up to two papers a day under the finalised SPM table.

Adzman said students who sit for the Physics, Chemistry and Biology subjects, which have three papers each, will have to do so over three days, but noted that it will be spaced out.

“I want to emphasise that students are given breaks between Additional Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology by alternating them with other subjects and with weekends,” he added.

According to The Star, both parents and students voiced concern about having these four subjects being tested consecutively.

Adzman said many also did not want the Bahasa Melayu and Accounts subjects to be tested on the same day, noting that the 67,980 candidates for the Accounts paper will now sit for it on the last day of SPM.

As for teachers, Adzman said they had given the feedback that the initial proposed timetable would led to pressure on students as it was too packed particularly for the subjects that were considered heavier.

The SPM examination this year will run from October 14 to November 28, with over 400,000 candidates annually, The Star said.

Based on the finalised SPM 2019 timetable uploaded on the Education Ministry’s website for the Examinations Syndicate, the Bahasa Melayu subject with two papers will be tested on November 5.

The two papers for Additional Mathematics are scheduled for November 14 (Thursday), with no scheduled papers to be tested for any subjects from that day until November 18 which is a Monday.

The three papers for Chemistry are all scheduled to be completed on November 21 (Thursday), again with a break in all subjects until November 25 (Monday) where all three Biology papers are scheduled, and with November 27 (Wednesday) scheduled for the three Physics papers, followed by two papers for Accounts on the last day on November 28.