Ask any public secondary school students in Malaysia on the most important examination right now and they will certainly mention SPM! SPM stands for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia. It is a national examination that is taken at the age of 17 (Form 5) before Malaysian students proceed to enrol for Pre-University programmes.

To uphold the examination's relevance and standard, the subjects in SPM has been revamped from Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah (KBSM) to Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah (KSSM) since 2017. As a result, previous subject textbooks and learning chapters have been modified to cater to the new syllabus as set by the Ministry of Education.  These few years, the Sejarah Paper has also gone through some changes in terms of syllabus construction and format.

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Introduction of the new syllabus in SPM Sejarah Paper

Before we dive deep into the examination format, it is best to let you know the overview of new chapters that will be tested in your SPM examination.

Chapters that you will learn in Form 4:

Bab 1: Warisan Negara Bangsa
Bab 2: Kebangkitan Nasionalisme
Bab 3: Konflik Dunia dan Pendudukan Jepun Di Negara Kita
Bab 4: Era Peralihan Kuasa British Di Negara Kita
Bab 5: Persekutuan Tanah Melayu 1948
Bab 6: Ancaman Komunis dan Perisytiharan Darurat
Bab 7: Usaha Ke Arah Kemerdekaan
Bab 8: Pilihan Raya
Bab 9: Perlembagaan Persekutuan Tanah Melayu 1957
Bab 10: Pemasyuran Kemerdekaan

Chapters that you will learn in Form 5:

Bab 1: Kedaulatan Negara
Bab 2: Perlembagaan Persekutuan
Bab 3: Raja Berperlembagaan Dan Demokrasi Berparlimen
Bab 4: Sistem Persekutuan
Bab 5: Pembentukan Malaysia
Bab 6: Cabaran Selepas Pembentukan Malaysia
Bab 7: Membina Kesejahteraan Negara
Bab 8: Membina Kemakmuran Negara
Bab 9: Dasar Luar Malaysia
Bab 10: Kecemerlangan Malaysia Di Persada Dunia

You will be tested on any chapters from what you have learnt during Form 4 and Form 5, so be sure not to throw your Form 4 Sejarah textbook away before your Sejarah SPM paper.

SPM Sejarah chapter
Learning Sejarah history will allow students to understand the role of parliamentary democracy in Malaysia.
Source: The Malay Mail (Shafwan Zaidon)

What to expect from the latest format of Sejarah SPM paper?

Starting from 2020, there has been a change of structure and marking scheme for the SPM Sejarah paper. Students now only need to sit for a total of 2 papers instead of 3 papers. Previously, students need to sit for Kertas 1 (objective questions), Kertas 2  and Kertas 3 (open book test essay questions based on pre-set themes by the Ministry of Education).

Kertas 1 (1249/1)
Answer all 40 multiple-choice questions (A, B, C, D) 
There may be images, diagrams, tables as well as  I, II, III and IV statements.

Total Marks: [40m]

The duration for Kertas 1 SPM Sejarah: 1 hour

Kertas 2 (1249/2)
Bahagian A-  Answer all 4 structured questions [40m]
Bahagian B- Choose 3 essays out of 5 essay topics [60m, 1 essay: 20m]

Total Marks: [100m]

The duration for Kertas 2 SPM Sejarah: 2 hours 30 minutes 

The level of difficulty for the assessment for both papers are set as below:

a) Low (Rendah) 

More than 60% of the exam candidates can answer these questions.
The ratio of actual questions in SPM: 5

b)Medium (Sederhana)
Around 40% to 60% of the exam candidates can answer these questions.
The ratio of actual questions in SPM: 3

c)High (Tinggi) 
Less than 40% of the exam candidates can answer these questions.
The ratio of actual questions in SPM:

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Why should we learn Sejarah? 

Learning Sejarah (History)  is not just for the sake of passing a subject in your SPM. The knowledge and appreciation of history are extremely relevant in any society all over the world. Here are some reasons why learning Sejarah is so important:

1. Develop a better understanding of various cultures and national identity 

By learning a country's history, you will get to know about the national language, customs, traditional attires, architecture, cuisine and so on. This is especially relevant in a multicultural society like Malaysian.

When you learn about different cultures, it also enhances your cultural sensitivity towards different ethnicities, promotes tolerance and respect as well as broaden your horizon. As you can view from the syllabus mentioned above, you will also learn about the constitution of Malaysia, the role of democracy and the parliament system in terms of forming the structure of the government. Students will learn about the monarchy system, the roles of the prime minister and cabinet members as well as the importance of elections.

2. Learn to reflect and not repeating past mistakes  

You will learn about the chronology and breakdown of World War I and World War II and analyse the causes and effects of war that unfortunately still lingers till today. We should not undermine the consequences of war and take national peace and harmony for granted.

In the context of Malaysia, you will also study Portuguese, Holland, British and Japanese colonization. All these incidents are real as you can see traces of the countries mentioned in Melaka such as A Famosa, The Stadhuys and several buildings.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."- George Santayana

3. Open doors for various local and global career opportunities

Having a great interest and understanding of history will lead you to various working opportunities. Occupations such as history teacher, lawyer, politician, diplomat and researcher require an in-depth understanding of the world of history. Passion and proficiency in the study of history are seen as an asset for many jobs. How is that so?

Firstly, it promotes critical and creative thinking at a global level.  Secondly, it trains you to have a deep analysis of causes and consequences in making policies and decisions on a national level. Finally, it shapes you to be a good communicator to articulate effectively on issues of the political, economical and even sociocultural sphere.

SPM Sejarah lawyer jobs
Understanding your country's history and the role of constitution and law is important for future lawyers.
Source: Photo by David Veksler on Unsplash

Common mistakes faced by students when studying Sejarah

1. Spending too much time highlighting your textbook instead of organizing your notes

It is easy to feel that you have "completed" your revision by highlighting the paragraphs in different colours. One of the best revision tips is to switch your revision process from a passive to an active process. For instance, after reviewing your points for one chapter, start with bullet points notes on what you understand about what you have read earlier. You are more likely to remember and understand the points better when there is a practical action that follows your initial reading step.

The notes that you have just made are simple, concise and fresh out from the oven because you wrote them down as soon as you finished your chapter review. You can do it for the rest of the chapters and even keep the notes to use for the next round of revision and scribble down some extra points that you may have previously missed out on.

2. Blind memorization instead of forming a collaborative connection between points

Most students dread essay questions. There are so many facts to remember and the weightage of every essay is 20m. Memorization can only come easily when it begins to make sense to you. One tip is to go through all the chapters and find similar themes. Group them together with the main keyword. You can learn more about tips to ace your SPM Sejarah Paper 2 through this article.

For example, before Merdeka and after Merdeka. So under the before Merdeka category, you can make notes and points based on Era Peralihan Kuasa British Di Negara Kita, Persekutuan Tanah Melayu 1948 and a few more chapters. The key is to make sure you see those chapters as connected points leading to a historical event in Malaysia.

3. Focusing only on studying from your Sejarah textbooks 

We get that textbooks are essential. After all, that is the source of all the points and questions, right? But how can you master the answering techniques for your Kertas 1 and Kertas 2? You certainly have to get your hands on model questions and past year papers from SPM Sejarah reference books to get used to the true examination format.

It sets you on the right mindset and pace to prepare differently for the two different papers. With great practice, you can certainly ace your real SPM Sejarah paper within the given time limit.

SPM Sejarah write notes
It is better to write concise and short notes during your revision instead of just highlighting your entire textbook.
Source: Photo by Felipe Furtado on Unsplash

The comprehensive way to master Sejarah with Superprof

When you take lessons from Superprof, you can be assured of a personalized learning experience. The best thing about securing private tutoring from Superprof is you get easy and effective access to many experienced teachers based on your preferred location, mode of learning and even maximum budget! Just type in your preferred subject and location from the Superprof website homepage.

Why is a private Sejarah tutor important? Your Sejarah tutor will be able to help you develop the confidence and competence to face your Sejarah papers. Another bonus point? You get undivided attention as you are the only student during the entire lesson!

You can openly and freely ask your Sejarah tutor questions on chapters that you need more explanation. There is no need to worry about waiting for other students' turns and you are able to receive immediate feedback to improve. He or she can even teach you some useful tips to tackle various objective, subjective and essay questions for your SPM Sejarah papers comprehensively.

That being said, if you are opting for webcam lessons, you can learn from any Sejarah tutors in Malaysia. For instance, if you are from Kuala Lumpur and after some time of browsing, you prefer to learn from another tutor from Johor Bahru, can you still proceed? The answer is yes! Learning Sejarah has never been so flexible and convenient!

What are you waiting for? Start learning Sejarah with Superprof today!

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