PETALING JAYA: Studying hard is no longer the secret to acing exams - studying smart is.
Brendan Mak, a student from SM Stella Marris in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, said this was a more effective way.
The student, who had never scored an A in Mathematics, managed to get a distinction in the subject in the Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3), or Form Three Assessment, simply by watching YouTube tutorial videos before the exam.
"The videos really helped me understand the formulae for maths equations," said the 15-year-old, who scored 6As.
Meanwhile, consistent practice and discipline were the secrets to Fong Jia Min's success in scoring straight As in her PT3.
The student from Catholic High School, Petaling Jaya, credited workbooks and past-year exam questions for familiarising her with the latest answering techniques.
She also attributed her success to her mother Jessica Ling, for pushing her to strive for excellence.
"I wouldn't have been able to achieve these results if not for my mother's constant encouragement," said the 15-year-old.
Ling said she was delighted with her daughter's efforts and emphasised the importance of daily revision throughout the year.
Although Science is one of the most feared papers among PT3 candidates, Eng Ken Li managed to tackle the paper - which consisted of many Higher Order Thinking Skills (Hots) questions - with ease, thanks to his wide general knowledge.
"It pays to be observant of your surroundings because you never know when it might come in handy," said the straight A student.
Schoolmate Ong Zhi Ching agreed and said studying hard was a thing of the past.
She said memorising the syllabus does not help if one does not understand the subject.
"Study smart, not study hard. Do lots of past year papers to practise answering skills.
"It also helps to get studying tips from seniors," said Zhi Ching, who scored five As and five Bs.
Describing Science and Integrated Living Skills as "killer papers" this year, Zhi Qing said the Hots questions in the Science paper were a challenge.
However, she found the History and Geography papers were easier as their compulsory school projects - which every student had to submit - helped her get a better understanding of them.
"Students had to do the projects, so we had to find answers and understand them on our own," added Zhi Qing, who plans to go into the Science stream next year.
The PT3 results were released yesterday.
The exam was introduced in 2014, replacing the Penilaian Menengah Rendah which was abolished in 2013.
PT3 is one of the four assessments under the overall school-based assessment system. The other three components are school assessment; assessment of physical, sports and co-curricular activities; and psychometric assessment.
There is no centralised examination in PT3 and Form Three students are assessed via written and oral tests as well as assignments, practical tests, projects, field study and case studies.