PMR exams and ‘Little Einsteins’


“Guess how many students scored straight As in the PMR exams?” I asked a relative while reading yesterday’s newspaper.

“Twenty?” came the reply.

I laughed.

“Why? Hundreds-ah?”

“No, over 30,000,” I said.

Actually, 30,836 to be precise. With so many ‘geniuses’ running around in the country, it is surprising we are in the state we are in.

But then again, not really, since many pupils – even those little Einsteins – are not even trained to think or analyse.

Actually, Malaysia lies below the global average in the TIMMS score for Maths and Science (2007). Within Malaysia, there are two different worlds as well, perhaps reflecting the income inequalities within our nation.

In a letter to The Star, David from Kuantan observed:

The number of those who got Grades D and E is very worrying indeed. (I got the statistics from a newspaper.)

Judging by the statistics, almost half of the students who took the PMR could not understand English; 43% could not count; and 41% did not like Science.

What’s going to happen to them? Maybe some of these pupils are actually more inclined towards the arts or they could do well in other fields that require specialised skills. But do they have the opportunity to realise their potential if they just drop out from school?

Lest we think the grass is greener across the Causeway, think again. Many have grown alienated from the system. Have a look at this Temasik Review story.

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Get 8-As in SPM and you are guaranteed a government scholarship, so said Najib.


Why you all worry after all these exam will be abolish progressively. By that time No more straights A students, government no need to pay scholarship..

Penangite in Singapore

Brain drain continues: Newest Singapore senior counsel – equivalent to island republic’s Queen’s Counsel – a Malaysian from Seremban

A Malaysian is again (3rd year running) the top Singapore student for the third consecutive year – 16-year-old Chia Pei Yun of CHIJ St Nicolas Girls’ School who hails from Damansara Utama, Selangor and who scored 10 A1s in Singapore’s GCE O-level exams.

She went to Singapore on ASEAN scholarship for Secondary 4.


My Muslim friends and buddies do not have a problem with unity in the country and raising the bar from academics to excellence all on merit of their own standing not hand outs from a gomen that wants to lower the passing marks so that the simple electorate can be fooled that their children can score 13 As or more………. in my time scoring an A1 was real tough and hard work…. today scoring an A1 doesnt mean anything because these idiots who get A1s cannot even pronounce the workd “langerie” or the word “mosque” calling it “mosq” by pronouncing… Read more »

Kadir Sezairi

MRSM schools a successful failure? by Azly Rahman With its insistence on being a Malay-centric, Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (Mara Junior Science College) schools these days are not preparing children to survive in a multicultural, cosmopolitan, and ever-changing world that requires English as an important skill, and an outlook that is more open to learning about other cultures especially in the context of a rapidly changing Malaysia. In MRSM, that predominantly Malay-elite secondary institution for the best and brightest young Malays, Malay-centric indoctrination work have been happening since the 1980s. Courses such as Kursus Kesedaran (Self Awareness Courses) are… Read more »


Such schools that segregate young Malays are definitely a MAJOR obstacle – not only to national unity but also to empower Malays to become less dependent on the government.

Maybe that is the main purpose – to create a compliant group of Malaysians who depend on the Bankrupsi Negara regime and are a reliable vote bank.

I reckon the only way to solve this problem is to vote to change the government – too many years of screwing up the future generations.


These brainy kids will eventually get brain damage in Form 4 & Form 5 after being brainwashed by the SPM Sejarah curriculum.


If you create one SPM subject for each of the Jesus’ disciples (in the book of Bible) as Christian Study, then there will be more As from Christians students.


When my Singapore nephew was just 6-year old, he could read every single word in the The Star for me although he did not know their meanings.

How many of us learn the standard English pronunciation in the school?

My rural secondary school’s English teacher is horrendous bad. No English teacher during my remove class and form 1, and unqualified one in form 2.

A Chinese teacher who was a teacher for industrial arts volunteered himself to teach us during my form 3 after he saw … (the) English teacher was so screwed up.

najib manaukau

Kometenmelodie, Singapore is only taking the really smart non Malay students because some of them were and are from this part of the world and not the government created … ‘geniuses’ that got the NEP scholarships only meant for the government made … geniuses. That is why after million of these ‘geniuses’ were sent to further their studies abroad, Malaysia is still so very short of professionals. What has happened to these NEP scholarship holders and where are most of them to day ? In hibernation or given a glorified title as heads of government department ? After years of… Read more »


The state of education is not as good as our leaders pretend to be or as bad as you folks think.

If we are bad, then why do you think Singapore is always poaching out school kids every year. You talk about SIA being the most profitable airline but then CEO is also a product of Malaysian education system.

The problem now is that the misguided social engineering affected the level somewhat. Also the quality of teachers we get also lowered as teaching is not as prestigious now as it was those days.


Stop fooling yourself that there are so many geniuses in Malaysia !
Only the … DPM would want you to believe so that is why Malaysia is always so badly rated internationally !


There is one fact that I wish to share from the book “freakonomics” about education :

Changing to “better” school doesn’t help a lack behind student perform better. However, study show that, when change to technical school or career academy, these student “performed substantially better than they did in their old academic settings and graduated at a much higher rate than their past performance would have predicted”.

Gerakan K

I think that it does not matter whether you got straight As in PMR, SPM, STPM or even you got double PhDs. What matters most is that you can earn a lot of money after your school days. I believe the minimum requirement to become rich is not education certificate but the desire and fighting spirit. Focus on the important thing, ie money money and money. Me, for example despite losing tens of thousands in Genting last night, I still feel great because I have stable income and huge reserve of blue chip shares. I expect more windfall after privatization… Read more »


I thought you are a self declared rent seeker.


Rent seeking to him means being street wise.

Gerakan K

Any contradiction ???


Rent seekers don’t work at all. They just wait for the gravy train to come. To call themselves entrepreneurs is a big SHAME to the honest profession of entrepreneurship. Their true desire is to cheat the rakyats’ hard earn money the easy way, ditto? And what fighting spirit? That only exhibits itself when the gravy train stops coming. And that’s no innovation or resourcefulness to overcome problems, but liken to a spoilt child bawling for more. The focus on leeching the national coffers is not entrepreneurship of the respectable kind. Street wise means: Having the shrewd awareness, experience, and resourcefulness… Read more »

Andrew I

You not breaking Genting is a contradiction since you’re so streetwise.

As you once offered your bank account for comparison, which is still forthcoming, maybe we should all take your hot air with a truckload of salt.

Pretty Obvious

Gerakan K is no entrepreneur. He (could be) just a BN parasite feasting on the hard earned monies that is our national coffer.


Anil, “dumbing down” of Malaysia’s school-education and tertiary education started in 1969. Now every kid who knows how to spell BN, UMNO or Perkasa gets an “A”. In fact once history is made compulsory UMNO will make sure every kid gets an “A”.

Now Anil we just need to convince the private sector that Malaysian graduates especially the UITM graduates are smart.

Anil, I checked the profile list of senior Managers and executives in a major Bank in KL. Not one of the management team members was a local Malaysian graduate. Not even one. hhmmm interesting?

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone,

There’s a perception that when there’s an impending GE, the PMR/SPM/STPM results of the ‘last batch’ of candidates prior to the GE would be unusually good!

It’s so easy to inflate the results by just lowering the standards of the marking schemes by being more lenient at the same time lowering the qualifying marks for As!



This is kind of comment that dumbs down this forum. This is kind of comment have no logic or evidence to support.


The ends justify the means – more As means better chance to enter science streams and local universities. It doesn’t matter what quality students we are churning out as long as the quotas are filled for a particular group to compete on an ‘upped’ qualification. And this means the odds are greater now against the non-prince of the earth. The same tactic as the questionable matriculation – an easy and faster route to enter local unis than Form 6, which is a tough, one year longer, pre-u level but fully prepares a student to tackle university education. But who cares?… Read more »


Pre election strategy for that feel good and malaysia boleh effect.Not to forget who is the current education minister?


Wow , those who always fail can get A in PMR. What a surprise? We should find these kids and do a research to solve slow learners/weak students problem in the country. If they could refresh their tril exam results within 1 or 2 months, why don’t we use them to teach slow leaners?


The result is rather telling. It shows how low our school standard had fallen. If the Education Dept is really interested, try using the Singapore exam papers and get our students to take the same test to see if the result is on par with Singapore students. It will be a real eye opener I can bet.


A few years ago my kid was not eligible for a scholarship because she took 8 subjects in her SPM and got 7As and 1B, while her school mate who took 7 subjects, got 7As and is considered as straight As and got her scholarship. Go figure that out.


Korea has the best large screen technology in the world, Singapore has the world’s most profitable airline using ROI as a gauge. Robots do not make your technology or management skills great. Malaysian education system right up to the tertiary level produces mostly rubbish. There is a big difference though between IPTA and IPTS rubbish. Malay students from the IPTAs usually end up with the government or the Malay controlled GLCs. The government competes against no one for a living while the same can generally be said of the GLCs. Most students from the IPTSs have no choice but to… Read more »


Oh gosh Another round of idiotic comments and mindless BN-bashing. Do you guys really even understand what you are commenting on ? It is normal that there are more and more students scoring all As. The percentage is hardly high when compared to the total population of students. The kids are getting smarter all the time and given better facilities and tuition,etc. Also personally, based on my kids’ books, I think it is not that hard to score all As. However, why we are talking about exams and scoring instead of educating the kids to be more fuller person ?… Read more »


Malaysians must be a chosen species with breakthrough in IQ in just a generation unlike other races. The proof is from less than 1% straight As scorers to 10% in just a generation.

The Boleh result may be due to reading Utusan, NST, The Star, etc. under the BN leadership. LOL

Andrew I

Super evolution. Could also be attributable to all those vitamin- enriched foods we keep seeing on TV every 5 minutes.


Less than 1% to 10% in one generation ? Where did you get that stat?

In my observation this result is due to improvement in students’ abilities and that I can see with my own kids as they much better educational facilities and guidance than when I was at their age.


How many straight As scorers in your time? I remembered only a few hundred in the whole Malaysia during my time.

More reference books and tuition classes given to student produce a rote learning generation.

My nephew scored 9A1 and 2A2 in SPM, he admitted the examination standard is much lower than his parents’ time. Anyway he is a sharp brain learner.


What do you mean by BN mindless bashing? This BN is now so out of touch with the citizens that it can no longer do anything right. It is mindless.


This is an accounting exercise. Just like any talented accountant can make any company profitable on paper, the govt can make anyone a genius on paper.


Think about this:
LCE (Form 3 / 40 years ago) students’ Cambridge English standard is much, much better than today’s SPM (Form 5) students’ English standard.

Even ‘some’ Form 6 students cannot converse as well as the LCE Form 3 students.

NB: This notwithstanding the number of new words that came into the vocabulary for better expression and comprehension by today’s students.

During the 70’s, those scoring straight A’s in the LCE exams were in the ‘minority of rare breeds’ comparable or even better than international schools’ students.

How many of these rare breeds are still in Malaysia?


I was already a “jaguh kampung” in a rural school even I was not scoring straight As in SRP and SPM. My result was in the mid-ranking if I were a student now. 🙂 When I moved to a school in the Muar city for my pre-u class, noticed that most urban kids are straight As brilliant students. A bit worry at first, but after a awhile, I had full confidence to compete with them in any subject except English, and in certain occasions I was only one in the class capable of solving some difficult Physics questions at our… Read more »


As doesnt mean anything, IQ is more important


A ton of silly errors found in the PMR English paper.

What is the point of getting A from a third-world erroneous examination paper?


From the statistics viewpoint, such as a high percentage of A scorers meaning the examination standard is set too low.


Hehe… My niece scored 8 As, she’s a bright girl, so that’s expected. She’s aware that many students also scored straight As, 2 of her 3 best mates also scored straight As. She was a little disappointed when she said that the grading marks was probably lowered this year, hence creating a record high. It’s very sad when the real bright kids feel that way, it’s also unfair to them to push up so many others into the A bracket. It creates unfair competition for places in uni and also the scholarship that comes with it.


Universiti Malaya awarded 30% student with the first class honor every year while a total of less than 10 students in my university (local one!) received first class degree.

I don’t mean to berate UM, but giving out 30% first class honor degree is like PMR trend.

Ostrich K

BN uses a special kind of statistics, the one that is manipulated to suit the agenda.