Yesterday, I got the chance to sit down with Progresif Radio to share about my book, The Art of Learning.  Below is the transcription I used as part of my interview content. The text is not exactly verbatim. I’ve also added extra details with minor corrections:

(Transcript)

Introduction

Thank you for having me, Ms. Suzana. It’s an honor to be here.

My name is Malik, an author and an executive council for MPK Junjongan, a government-sanctioned association that represents the interest of 2,300 residents of Kg Junjongan.

I have recently written this book, The Art of Learning. It is a book that is dedicated to equipping students with the skills and motivation they need to score well in their academic exams.

The content is applicable not just for O-level or A-level students but tertiary students too. The books are now available in Brunei’s leading bookstores, such as Best Eastern and Nollybook. You can also purchase it on Amazon.com.

Motivation

What motivated me to write this book was to see that there is a big gap between what the successful students know compared to those who are not. Only if those students know the tips and tricks, they too can be academically successful.

Personal Story

To share my personal experience, I was then a C and D student. I was never a brilliant kid. In fact, I was just an average kid who likes to play video games and daydream all day long. But then something changed. My principal one day approached and advised me to read up a book. It was only 100-pages long, but after finishing the book, it started my love for reading.

It was from that habit then that helped me discover motivational books and study tip guides on how to succeed in exams that I found in Dewan Pustaka, the national library. Learning and applying the concepts led my results going from being Cs and Ds to As.

I ended up becoming the school valedictorian, did well for my college, and eventually studied aboard on scholarships, for both my degree (Essex University) and masters (LSE).

This information I now document in this book, The Art of Learning, as a way to help current and future students to follow the same strategies that I applied.

There are three things they can do to improve their overall study objectives:

  1. Make Goal-setting a Habit

First, is to make goal-setting a habit. Do it every day, every month and every year. I mean, prior to learning this skill, I tend to waste my time. I prefer just to ‘go with the flow’. But then at the back of mind is that voice screaming that, hey Malik, you need to prepare for your exams!

I tend to drown it out by saying that everything is going to be alright. Unsurprisingly, I scored badly in my exams!

But once I set out my goals, then things started to change. Goals-setting helped me concentrate and thus enabled me to attain success after success. It also helped me to overcome procrastination.

So set out your goals. Accomplish them one by one. The thing I always tell my students is to write down how much they want to get by the end of the year. For example, how many O-levels do you want to get and what marks you want to secure for each subject? (This applies to any other exams). Then you will get motivated to accomplish the goals!

  1. Do Lots of Past Year papers

Second, do lots of Past Year Papers. It is such an underrated way to prepare for exams. It is a basis upon which every successful student use to prepare for their exams. I am super shocked that not a lot of people know about this. Or at the very least, they do not concentrate their energies on this area.

(This is because exam questions tend to be repetitive and the answers basically the same. It is a memory game to put it simply. I remember teaching students who are about to take their O-levels. It was three months before the exam. I asked them whether they have done any past year papers, and they said no! I was shocked! But eventually we practiced those papers together and they end up getting Bs. If they prepared earlier they could have gotten an A’s)

You can even download the papers off Papacambridge.com. They are available for free!

  1. A Proper Study Environment

Third, there is a need to have your own study environment. If you study in a dark environment like your bedroom, then you’ll automatically get sleepy. We have all been conditioned to associate our bedroom with sleeping and, as such, it will make us unable to concentrate if we study there!

So, have your own dedicated study room. Make sure you have everything you need in arms-length. That means you have the printers, books, pens, and bags you need around you so you can take it without standing up. Be efficient in the way you do things. You can boost your study concentration in no time with the right environment.

So three things: Make goal-setting a habit, do past year papers, and have your own proper study environment.

Who Inspired me:

My parents and my late grandmother really inspired me to work hard. They mentioned how when they were young, they studied in those old wooden houses. So when it rains, it leaks from the ceiling, drenching their notes and books in the process.

That mentioned they have worked hard so much to have given me the education and opportunities that led me to where I am today. Least I can do is to do well in life and make them proud of the sacrifice they have made for me.

There is also a saying, which goes that the son or daughter should always be better than the parents. (The cycle of growth and progress should continue!)

Call to action

You can get the book in Best Eastern or Nollybooks for $30-$35. You can also purchase it on Amazon.com.

(Do join in their contest too by downloading their apps and stand a chance to win free copies of my book!)