There are many SPM material out there, be it reference books, workbooks, smart notes, question compilations, etc. So for students who are looking for good study materials for SPM, especially fresh Form Four students, it can be quite a pain choosing the right study materials because they do not know which ones follow the SPM syllabus correctly. As an example, students will be wasting money buying low quality study materials which they do not like, and then only at the second time, they buy good quality books after they had the proper experience with the subjects. Therefore, it’s best to get insights and do some research on a particular subject before prematurely buying a book so we do not end up buying something we will not use and thus wasting money. So, I am here to share my personal thoughts and opinions on books that I had use to prepare for my SPM examination.
I believe if you are a smart person, your learning would not be limited by the books you use. However, as smart as we can get, we would always like to use the best tools we can get. As for me, I prefer reference books by Oxford Fajar, specifically their “SUCCESS” reference books, especially for Biology, Chemistry and Physics because they have very good and colourful illustrations. The illustration is very thorough and detailed, so it becomes more interesting to study the subject, a good example is a detailed illustration of organelles of an animal cell in their Biology book. Besides that, SUCCESS’s reference books display great creativity when it comes to making simple diagrams, tables and etc. Their diagrams, mind maps, and tables. makes it easier for students to grasp on any topic. It also makes it easier for students to connect ideas together. Another publisher I prefer is PNI Neuron, who publishes the Memory Mastery through Mind Maps and Diagrams books. The book is fully based on diagrams, mind maps, graphs, etc. I may even add that there are even more illustrations than SUCCESS’s and sometimes have better diagrams than in the ones in SUCCESS. However, there are cases when too many diagrams are on the same page, making the page look cramped. The book also lacks detailed explanation, so it is only good if you use it to revise a topic you had studied before.
The main workbooks I use to prepare for SPM are the “Kertas Soalan Peperiksaan Tahun-Tahun Lepas SPM” workbooks by Sasbadi. They have a compilation of past year’s SPM question for many subjects and is updated yearly. It is very convenient because you get the whole compilation of the latest SPM examination papers in one book, so you don’t have to waste time and energy searching for them one by one. They also update their compilations every year after that year’s SPM examination to ensure they compile the papers up to date. The fact that it compiles papers for so many subjects makes it a must have for all students despite taking different subjects. From this book, you will understand the structure of the SPM paper better; you will know the type of questions asked in the “Sections” of the SPM paper and thus be able to prepare for the real examination. Another workbook that I like to use is Strategic Practice by Pelangi Publications. I have this book for my Mathematics and Additional Mathematics for Form Four and Form Five. I like this book a lot because it teaches you in a very practical way. It features a very practical step by step approach starting from very simple questions and slowly increasing in difficulty to the toughest ones until you are able to grasp the concepts. I do my studying by myself a lot, so this book acts as almost like a study manual for the me when it comes to studying Mathematics and Additional Mathematics.
However, at the end of the day, it is not how many books you have in your study desk that matters. It is how well and how consistent you are in using them. Having one good quality reference book and few workbooks/exercise books for one subject is enough if you are able to put to good use these resources. Having many books is also as good as having no books if you are not putting these valuable resources to good use. More importantly, you should use the books which suits your style of study so that you can study comfortably and effectively. What is best for you when you want to find a book which suits your study style is you may flip through the pages of the books in the bookstore which you want to buy before buying it so you can get a glimpse on how they present their content and choose from the ones you find most comfortable with. Having said that, I wish you happy book hunting.
This article was written by Joshua. Joshua is a straight A scorer for his SPM examination. He shares his wisdom and experiences as a SPM student by writing educational articles for Peekabook’s blog during his free time.