PETALING JAYA - If this year's Form Three students had been stressed over the inaugural Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3), then the release of the results left them even more distressed.
Many of the 15-year-olds and their parents were disappointed with their results, reiterating their frustrations with the new and unfamiliar format and the lack of time in preparing for it.
The chief complaint was that students had just three months to prepare for their written exams. They also did not know how or what to prepare for.
"We were getting different exam formats even just a week before we sat for them," said Puteh Majidah Ismail, who still managed to score 7As.
Intan Suraya Sabli, another straight A scorer, said she felt students were not sufficiently prepared for the "higher order thinking skills" questions used in the PT3.
"We've been trained differently our whole lives, and now suddenly we were being tested in a different way," she said.
The system requires teachers to not only continuously assess their students, but also key the grades in online and the learning outcomes of every student. It is designed to produce more "thinking students" and comparison between schools are not encouraged as it is a school-based examination.
Many teachers were left frustrated by data entry problems, with some blaming the faulty computer system used - in some instances - the system was at a complete standstill.
It was also unclear as to whether a new centralised examination would replace the PMR.
In June, the Education Ministry revealed that students would have to complete "case study instrument assessments" (course work) for History and Geography in July.
In August, oral tests (listening and speech) for English and Bahasa Melayu were held, followed by written tests in Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics, Science, Islamic Education, Living Skills, Arabic, Chinese, Tamil, Iban, Punjabi and Kadazandusun in October.
Unlike the PMR, all PT3 papers comprised subjective questions.
While tests were conducted and marked by the teachers of the respective schools, students' scores were moderated and verified by appraisers from the Examinations Syndicate and state education departments.
A student, who only wanted to be known as Raj, said that tackling the higher order thinking skills questions would not have been a problem if students had the time to get used to them.
"Our teachers couldn't even finish the syllabus in time, so we barely had the chance to learn how to answer these questions," he said.
Housewife Rosnani Mohd Zan, 43, from Johor, was unhappy although her daughter scored straight As.