Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A*STAR India Youth Scholarship 2013 - Syllabus, FAQ And More Takes

I've been receiving emails from parents and students alike, all further inquiries about Information regarding the Syllabus of the said Exam for the scholarship. I'd thought of making the questions public on my blog, for the better cause of reaching out further. 


More posts about Information on the A*STAR India Youth Scholarship 2013
2. Interview

Yes, being an A*STAR India scholar, I know the kind of secrecy maintained throughout the application and examination process. No word of what's gonna be tested, all applicants kept in relative darkness. I'd faced the same, and so did the my fellow rivals. On the internet, a 'google search' reveals n number of websites giving no useful information at all.

Before moving on, in lieu of the emails I've been receiving, let me make my stance on this clear:
I do not guarantee of the stuff that will be tested during the exams. I can only tell you what was tested for MY exam. I'm blogging about this just to ease the nervousness that an applicant faces. 

This nervousness stems from the secrecy I've mentioned about earlier. This sense of 'insecurity' is just one of the tricks up the authority's (read: S'pore MOE's) sleeve which gauges the levels of confidence the applicant has. So, prospective applicant: banish the nervousness away, and work towards your goal. Parents, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for your offspring to become independent and realize their potential.

Back to the post. Among the questions asked, I've compiled the questions and my replies, and condensed them into this post.

1. Guidance w.r.t studying for the written tests
A. I understand that very little concerning the 'syllabus' is revealed by the MOE. I've divided this query into the three tests:
 - General Ability Tests - 48 questions in 20 minutes
As I've previously stressed upon, if you've given a shot at the NTSE (which I believe almost all have) you should be well equipped, both mentally prepared and aware of the questions asked. These questions are MENSA-styled, asking you to complete the series shown with one of the shapes in the options. You need speed for this one, for this test comprises of 48 questions to be answered in about 20 minutes. Ensure that your answer sheet at the end of the exam is full, attempt all questions, even if it requires guessing.

 - Mathematics - 25-35 questions, 100 marks in about 3 hours
This test is the hardest. It is very difficult to ace all the questions. As far as I can remember, the bulk of this test is Algebra, and Algebraic Manipulation of Fractions, Word Problems and Expressions. Expect questions like Speed-Time Problems, making some variable the subject of some equation, Perimeter/Surface Area/Volume problems and more importantly - ensure knowledge of simple Trigonometric ratios. That's all I can recall. 

 - English - Comprehension + Composition, 100 marks in about 2.5 hours
The comprehension paper is like your school comprehension paper - some prose or poetry will be given and questions based on them will be asked. Not much I can help there. For composition however, I suggest developing your vocabulary - more importantly, using proper collocations and adjectives. I wrote an essay on - 'An idea deemed crazy that went on to change the world' or something on those lines. 

Bottomline - Speed, Quick Thinking required. Expect the unexpected. Tackle everything!
Prerequisites - Knowledge of NTSE, MENSA-styled 'Series' questions, Algebra upto Grade 9, Basic Trigonometric ratios and a sizable wordbank (vocabulary).

I'm afraid that's all the 'guidance' I can provide. Again, this is based on what was tested in my case. 

2. Reference/Coaching Classes
Another query is about what books to refer, and whether or not there are coaching classes for the tests.

I'm afraid I'm not aware of any such coaching classes. There were none in my case. However, if there are, go ahead, I'm not stopping you!

About the books to refer, I suggest obtaining any NTSE practice book and doing the Mental Ability Test (MAT) part. NCERT and ICSE Math textbooks will serve you good, I recommend books published by 'external' parties, such as the RD Sharma, S Chand, Manjit Singh etc brand of books. As long as they cover what I've written above, they should do fine. For the English test, internet has plenty of vocab building resources, and what better than free writing, such as blogging? Your vocabulary is yours to develop!

3. Other things to keep in mind
Well, be relaxed on the day of the tests. Be well armed with water and your inventory (stationery, whatever). You're going to enjoy your day at your exam centre (which would be a grand place too). Don't get too carried away by the introductory video they show you during your briefing before the tests, and at the same time don't get too overwhelmed by the details which they will provide you. There will be a form to fill out, followed by two briefings - one for the applicants and one for the parents, followed by the tests. Yes, there is a lunch break in between.

You can email me on atharvjoshi@ymail.com, or leave a comment below if you have any more queries or wish to ask me something more. I'll be happy to tell you about my experiences in Singapore as well!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

14th March: Pi Day, A Legend's Birthday and Buffon Matches

A blogpost on the 14th day of the 3rd month of every year, every earthling knows it as 14th March, but look closely at the three digits -3,1,4 and they turn out to be the most significant digits of Pi, the most famous of mathematical constants. 

Today is Pi day.

Yeah, not that. 

 More like it.

Back to Pi business. 3/14 (in the month/date format) is popularly commemorated as Pi day, because, well, the first three digits of π are 3,1 and 4. The Tau proponents have their own day, 28th June, and would rather call 14th March as half-pi day. But that's another story.

Other than eating pi pies, like the one in the picture above and having discussions on pi, this day has no other special significance. Some people like memorizing digits of pi (one chap has gone beyond 50000 digits also!), while others make their own mnemonics, or indulge in Piphilology.

Besides being Pi day, 14th March is also the birth date of the omnifamous Albert Einstein. Lets sing him Happy Birthday!

This blogpost rounds up some web media that I stumbled upon, which is both interesting and related to Pi and Pi Day.

Digits of Pi - the Abstruse Goose way!


Google had its own Pi Day doodle two years back, as opposed to this year, when the doodle is on Origami Master Akira Yoshizawa's 101st birthday!

Pi is an important constant as it appears everywhere - from moving bodies to celestial objects to geometry. This is because pretty much everything in Nature has circles to it, because a circle is the most elementary shape there is. This is a link to an article which tells more...

Here is a Pi Clock that you can use to decorate your room!

Here, Pi has been used to denote the angle which the minute hand has taken as it goes round the clock, in radians. 2π radians is 360 degrees, which means the minute hand has gone one full circle, which means its now at 12. 

Some of the Intelligent YouTube channels I subscribe to were abuzz with activity yesterday, with Numberphile (a channel on Math & Number Theory) uploading as many as 4 videos on Pi. Meanwhile, MinutePhysics, of course a Physics based channel, uploaded a video summarising Einstein's great works on the great man's birthday!

Below are links to Numberphile's videos, which require about half an hour of viewing. The last video on Buffon's Matches really got me excited, so I decided to replicate the experiment on my own and embed the video! Also embedded is the video on Sounds of Pi - something else that I found interesting as it combines music and mathematics. 

1. Some Stuff about Pi

If you notice, this video has a runtime of 2π minutes!!!

Again, this video has a runtime of 2π minutes! Still skeptical about the random nature of the experiment and the result of somehow obtaining π from such a random experiment, I decided to replicate this, with strips of paper rolled up into cylindrical sticks. I did this three tims with 50, 64 and 80 sticks of paper, and got 3.125, 3.2 and 3.2 again! Given a larger, or maybe infinite sample, one will certainly get Pi! Although the explanation of this Buffon's Needle problem required calculus and so was beyond my understanding, it does have something to do with probabilities and the different angles at which a match can land between two lines! In fact, in 1901, Italian mathematician Mario Lazzarini performed an experiment using 3408 needles and obtained a result close to π. But, this result was too close, rather is was exactly 355/113, and it appears that he used some form of trickery in his experiment.

FlippyCat - one of the most popular domino toppler youtuber, gave this video as a tribute to Pi last year.

On a lighter note, the channel Asian Glow produced a spoof of you-know-who's popular song Friday, and made it Pi Day!!!

Here is the official Pi Day website of Exploratorium, whose faculty physicist Larry Shaw introduced the concept of Pi Day in 1988.

Pi is known to be an irrational, transcendental number, which means that it cannot be expressed as a fraction like 22/7 and that it has infinitely many digits in the decimal place, which means that there is a finite probability that you may find your cell phone number in the digits of Pi! This also means that no algebraic operation on integers can ever give you Pi as your answer, which raises an important question - How do you then determine the value of Pi, when you cannot perform an algebraic operation to yield Pi as your answer?

The answer is infinitely continuing expressions. The values given by these expressions fluctuate alternately - so for one expression the answer might be above Pi and for the next one the answer might be below Pi. The point is that, only if the series is continued infinitely can we get an exact value of Pi. Or you can use approximations for Pi which need not be infinite, but then, you end up with only an approximate value. Infinite Series have been indeed very helpful - especially those made by Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (the infinite series are available on the internet, but I didn't put them here because they were too hairy :P) - and today we know the value of Pi to about 10 trillion decimal places!

Here are the first 1 million digits of Pi - try finding something inside them - something like your phone number, credit card number, or just try finding other important or random numbers in them!


You can make a "Pi Search" here - http://www.angio.net/pi/bigpi.cgi

In the first million digits - each of the numbers - 111111, 222222, 333333..... 888888 occurs once in the sequence, but 999999 occurs 2 times! Also, the first six digits of the square root of two - 1.41421 occur once in order in the decimal representation of Pi. I even found out the digits of my friend's phone number in them! Remember, theoretically, you can find anything in there, given infinite digits of Pi!

Remember the two occurrences of 999999 that I told you about? The first sequence of six 9s begins at the 762nd decimal place - which is considered very rare - because the digits from 0 to 9 occur almost with the same frequency among the first million digits of Pi - and the probability of six 9s occuring this early in the decimal representation is only 0.08%

This point is also called Feynman Point - after Richard Feynman (my fav physicist) who once stated during a lecture he would like to memorize the digits of π until that point, so he could recite them and quip "nine nine nine nine nine nine and so on", suggesting, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, that Pi is rational!

And lastly, here is a mnemonic, no, a Piphilology (a pun on Pi itself and the linguistic field of Philology) to remember the first 15 digits of Pi. The length of the word (in letters) corresponds to that digit of Pi.

How I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics. 


If you are really serious, and want to go further in your quest to memorize the digits of Pi - the Cadaeic Cadenza, a short story written in Pilish by Mike Keith in 1996, will help you go on to 3834 digits. But the longest text written in standard Pilish is Not A Wake: A Dream Embodying π's Digits Fully For 10000 Decimals, a book written by Mike Keith again. 

Hope all that Pi-led up and amazed you. If you want to share any other interesting Pi-ish information, you may do in the comments section below! 

Till then, Happy Pi Day!

In tribute to Pi, a ubiquitous, simple ratio that is irrational and transcendental, feels amazing to write down and equals three point one four one five nine two and so on...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sec 3 Resilience Camp 2012 - Reflections (#iamresilience2012)

Starting on the 16th of January 2012, the Sec 3s of Temasek Secondary School embarked on 5 day adventure cum resilience camp, far away from the oppidan landscape of Singapore into the boondocks of Pahang - "The Abode of Tranquility" and the third largest state in Malaysia. Having just gotten my Student Pass a few days back, this was something I was looking forward to, as a new arrival in Singapore. Since bloggers don't need a license to write, allow me to take you through a part of what the journey was for the 350-odd of us.

Remember? Quoting myself from my last blogpost, "My next blogpsot will be on what I expect to be a helluva weekend". This is it, albeit a fortnight tardy. 

The camp was on a grander scale than what I describe here. To start with, we were parceled out into 3 groups, each having a different adventure theme - Wilderness, Summit and Horizon. I was going out with the Summit group, and this was what I wanted in the first place. Let me give a brief outline of all the exciting things that we were to do in Malaysia. Just open the pics in a new window to read everything.

1. Horizon

2. Wilderness

3. Summit

Oh yeah, that IS my hand! :P

Just about a week before the week, we had our briefing as part of our weekly assembly. One video shown during part of the briefing both touches the depths of my emotions and motivates me. The embedded video below may not be the one, but it is definitely on the same person - Nick Vujicic.

Resilience is all about bouncing back stronger, overcoming your current situation and coming out as a new, bold and hardy individual. Its all about giving a positive reply to the taunt, "You cannot do this. You cannot do that." Can. And if you can, you are resilient. If you think you cannot do something, remember, there have been people who have been in the same situation as you before, and there is a high chance that they have done it.  If you cannot and you back out, then face this :

"If you voluntarily quit in the face of adversity, you'll wonder about it for the rest of your life." 

As you'll see later, this is what was running through my mind while descending a 80 foot surface back first, held only by ropes and the trust of my trainer. And I did it, although in an unprofessional way, but I landed. 
All this while I've been drifting here and there like a kite under the control of the wind. But, let's get back to the journey.

Skipping all unwanted details, we arrived at the Summit campsite at Jeram Basu, Malaysia after arriving a day after our peers had, because of a delay in processing our visa. Singaporeans don't need a visa, all thanks to their gaudy orange passport. Jeram Basu houses the Countryview Resort, famous for its aquatic activities and boasts of having the most challenging white water rafting course in the whole of Malaysia. 

Day 1
The Countryview Recreation Park at Jeram Besu

Flying Fox and River Crossing was our first activity on the first day
Imagine being suspended from ropes attached to our harness, standing on a platform on a tall tree. The instructor attaches you to the main line, and tells you to squat. Then, in pirate style, you walk the plank and let yourself drop down from the platform. Whoosh! You are now at the mercy of the ropes. In Olympic fashion, you complete a 100m in about 10 seconds, and before you know it, the instructors at the other bank stop you. Safe landing. Easy? No. Exhilarating? Hell Yeah. The glow on your face tells it all. The adrenalin rushing through your bodily system keeps you wide awake. Next challenge - go back to the other side again, only this time you need to cross a river, WITH a strong current. You only can propel yourself forward using a rope, stretched out from one end to the other. It took me about 2:30 minutes to get to the other side, and in the end, my back was aching so very much that I employed a back float manoeuvre and hobbled to the other end. Again, I would've never imagined doing these awesome things when I woke up that day, but, then, it was over. Time to move on.

After lunch, we had the Water Confident challenge. This was something I enjoyed - Swimming. It started quite easy, we had to float on our back from point A to B, and swim back to the shore. Then, we got a pleasant shock. Our instructors told us to jump, belly first into the raging rapids, swim as and where the rapid takes you and hope to swim back to the shore. Now, jumping belly first is not easy for rookies like us. There is an involuntary resistance imparted by the body which confuses you while performing such an action. Almost all of us struggled dealing with the rapids, but somehow, the rapids were kind enough, and carried us as if we were infants near the shore. Our cheerful instructions then threw in the floatation device, and we grabbed it as if it were ice-cream. Safe. Another adventure checked.

In the evening, we unpacked and dismantled out tents. Next in our itinerary were the Kota Gelanggi Caves, 150 million old and still going strong. Considered among the best caves for exploration, we had 5 specific caves to explore. Day 2 next.

Day 2

After a briefing and an exercise session, Day 2 saw us in an entirely different environment. We were living in a tent in a cave. In the midnight one could hear distinct sounds, those made by bats. In the morning, one would wake up to the damp smell of the cave. One had to even walk a 300 m to go to the toilets! The first activity was Abseiling. Although I had heard of this term before, I had no idea what was to be done. Simply put, while abseiling a surface, one has to dismount, suspended only by ropes and a safety line, lean as far back as one can, and one leg at a time, hope to reach the ground. The surface was a natural one, and had natural foot holdings and ghastly landform. Initially, I panicked to such an extent that I was blabbering nonsense to myself. Hah! But once I reached Mother Earth, I wanted to do it again. And the guide obliged. Some of us did it again, this time the fear was almost nonexistent.

The afternoon activity for Day 2 and the morning activity for Day 3 was cave exploration. Kota Gelanggi is blessed with numerous types of caves, each one presenting new challenges to the explorer. While hopping from one cave to the next, we had to face the muck of the wet rainforest. The afternoon session had us explore 3 caves, squeezing through tiny holes, climbing down parts of the cave, walking inside slippery caves with artificial light and coming back with shoes that had gained weight in muck. The Elephant Cave had a natural rock which looked like an elephant, and also had small statuettes made from piled-up stones. Among other things, this suggested some occupancy of the caves in some point of time.

In the night, we were told about a game we would play. It was called the Solo Nightwalk. Yawn! Not yet, for it proved to be one of the highlights of our stay at Kota Gelanggi. The challenge was to walk to the base camp on a familiar route, WITHOUT any artificial lighting. There were lightsticks placed on the side of roads, and circle lightsticks meant danger, but that was all we had to guide us. Imagine covered by pitch blackness, only your feet touching the ground, lightsticks placed within fixed distances and your mind telling you to move, and move in a straight line. Sometimes you just trip, for no reason at all, and sometimes you feel like calling it a night and sleeping on the road, with the sounds of crickets, frogs and other insects being your lullaby. Yes, being an amateur astronomer, I did take time to appreciate the beauty of the stars on the clear night, but my field of view was limited due to the towering personality of the caves. Recalling those few moments before going to bed made for some sound sleep.

Day 3

The morning had more cave exploring in store for us, but this time, we were told our shoes wouldn't gain any weight and navigating the caves would be easy. The Turtle cave had a rock resembling a turtle, and being a less challenging cave, the guides confiscated our artificial lighting sources and handed us candles. In groups of three, and only with the faint flame giving us solace, we were tossed into the cave. We carried on. We could see wax melting and falling to the cave floor, and we could ONLY see wax melting and falling to the cave floor!!! Nothing else. We reached a point where we thought we could sense water, with some of us dipping our feet in the water to check out. The guides, out of nowhere, flashed a brilliant beam toward us. Squinting our eyes, we heard them motioning us to stop. Click! No light, darkness again. Stunned, we stood ground. After a few moments, Click! The guides materialized into another spot. Click! Off. After 10 seconds, Click! On. A game of cat and mouse was in progress. They led us outside the cave and we proceeded to the next cave, this one having artificial elements like lights and staircases. But, this was one of the few having a lot of bats. 7 caves and some heart-thumping experiences in 2 days, not bad! Not bad, at all.

The afternoon saw us board the bus and proceed to the Rock Climbing site. On looking up, we could see a high rock-mountain in the middle of nowhere. Quarter-way through were two different rock climbing tracks. Rock Climbing requires a lot of upper body strength. Some of it was compensated for us, as the guide below gave timely jerks and helped us ascent. The challenge was finding natural crevices which your limbs could grip and propel you forward. Owing to exhaustion from the previous activities, I could go 75% through, after which I gave a thumbs-up, signalling that my climb was over.

After going back to base camp, we completed our final preparations for the team cheer, which included spinoffs of popular (and popular but hated) songs - the theme songs of Spongebob, 'We Will Rock You' and 'Baby' by, yeah you know who.

Departure, Mass Finale and Day 4 Dawns

We departed from the Kota Gelanggi base camp to the Jerantut Hill Resort, about 25 km away. We were among the first groups to arrive, giving us ample time to practice our cheers. It was only some more time before the other groups arrived, and suddenly you had about 350 bruised, relieved and boisterous teenagers in the conference room. After a tasty dinner (One the others were quite deprived of, because Summit had the best food around), it was time for the Finale. The finale videos of the 3 groups and the Finale Finale Video :P (THE Finale Video) were shown and the cheer competition was won by the Wilderness group. It was midnight when we departed the resort, and by 12:40 arrived at the Railway station. It was only at 4 am that our train finally arrived, leading to many people fall asleep on the platform. What a sight it was! We finally arrived at the Woodland Checkpoint at 1 pm next afternoon, and reached school at 2:30 pm. And our abode was re-conquered after another hour, our Hostel, which suddenly seemed like a more comforting place to live!

The ordeal, or thrill or whatever you would call that, was over. The camp was a wonderful learning experience and an opportunity to try things one has never done before. To sum it up - I've been there, done it all. #iamresilience2012

I have embedded the finale video of Summit and I also feature in the Finale Video (at 0:40 and 0:59). Also, I've embedded the Resilience Adventure Guide Booklet they had handed us, which can also be downloaded through Scribd.

Summit Finale Video

Finale Video

The Adventure Guide
Temasek Sec 3 Resilience Camp Adventure Guide;;

Please fill free to pitch in with any inputs in the comments section. Till then,


Sunday, January 15, 2012

More A*STAR India Scholarship Info - And More Updates!!!!!!

This blogspot is an off the record sequel to my Previous Post, all on the A*STAR India Youth Scholarship, an amazing opportunity for young Indians to experience the Big City Life of Singapore. If you want Interview tips, please start reading from the third paragraph. If you just want updates, read paras 1,2 and scroll down after point 7.

Its been 2 weeks, 5 days and 10 hours since the kind immigration officer at Changi Airport stamped my passport. Now, having gotten hold of my Student Pass, and a FIN number, I officially have an existence on this small island, about four times smaller than Goa, India.

The last blogpost, if I recall correctly, was finished in 50 minutes and 39 seconds (Oh, no?). Now, according to a pro blogger, it takes a novice atleast 3 hours to write one. The last blogpost was like a frantic telegram, telling those back home that I'm not being eaten up here. I'm FINE. And telegrams are short scribblings, much like what happened on that last post.

Back to work. The scholarship interview is very demanding, because MOE does not foresee any quota. They see you for 15-20 minutes, promptly ask you to leave the room and base their decision on - Your Portfolio, your Written Exam scores (Do well esp. in English) and your conduct at the interview. The following is my experience at the interview. It may vary in different ways, in different situations and depends on both the Interviewer and Interviewee. 

1. I knock the door after hearing a bell, and get in. Greeted by two smiling faces, with a third one behind the laptop, not quite bothered on what's going on. (She was actually verifying the info I gave, based on my portfolio). The lady in the centre presided over the interview. (Later, I was told that she was the principal of the National Junior College, S'pore). The other guy just chipped in here and there.

2. First question - Where are you from? How far is the place? How did you get here?

3. They then ask questions based on your portfolio. I was asked about my Grades, and told that in Singapore, I may get low grades, not because I wont study or anything, but because the system demands a lot. I gave a frank answer. That's what you give, a truthful, frank and quick answer. Also, after they ask a question, take some time to think, but not too much, before answering.

4. Next, they asked me whether I had any leadership roles in School. Yes, I was a CCA Vice Captain and the Class Monitor. They also asked me what my friends think about me. Again, I gave them what came from my heart. No tricks, no cunning.

5. They then ask about Hobbies, Interests and the all important question - Why, when you have such established grades, do you want to jump ships and come to Singapore, wasting 6 crucial months? I was perplexed, but came out with something, which I quite don't recollect.

6. Then, I got some indication that they considered me. They asked me - Whatif, you go there and get low grades? Whatif, you have to stay with filthy roommates? What would you do? That was a breeze.

7. In the end, remember to ask any relevant question, that shows that you are really interested. Say a polite Thank You, and exit the room, confidently.

Bottomline: Hear what they say. Reflect. Don't say much. Say what you think. Don't think foolish. Stay confident. 

After you exit the interview room, try ask your co-'rivals' (paradox) how their interview was. Don't lose or gain any confidence after you talk to them, your confidence level has to be the same, what is was when you exited the room. Try and stay calm, everytime.

If you have questions, and if you are a prospect for the scholarship, don't hesitate to ask me questions. I'm always there, on facebook or on ymail (atharvjoshi@ymail.com).

Back to life. It's been a wonderfully different experience. Much gained since what it was last week. Past Faced (Oh, Fast Paced, see, so fast that I do typo :P) Life, Sprinting to catch the SBS Buses, taking the Express lane down elevators at MRT stations, trying hard to not Jaywalk and rushing here and there to complete time commitments. Tells you about Big City Life, in another way. Another perspective, given by one of my fav bands - Mattafix, in their much relevant song - Big City Life. 

Leaving aside fast paced life, and tiring days, everyday is different here. Be it at school with whatever little % of people I know, or at the hostel with me familiar Indians or when I am on my own, any which place. Now, telling it all on this space is not possible, but again, just leave me a facebook message, or a mail or add me on skype (ID - atharvjoshi).

School's going very well, awestruck by the system here. The system expects you to work hard, work hard consistently, have fun along the way, and concentrate on short and long term goals. Help is available anytime, and so are resources. Although its a long schoolday, it keeps me occupied for half of the day. Also familiar with the Roads, MRT and Bus facilities here now, and its pretty easy. You just have to use your frontal cortex.

Among other things, my next blogpost will be on what I expect to be a helluva weekend - Exploring (part) of another country, having fun, trying out different things, and expecting to exhaust myself throughout the day, only to find comfort in my sleeping bag. The Sec 3 Resilience Camp at Temasek Sec is often cited as one of the best memories Temasekians have. The camp is only for Sec3s, held at Pahang, Malaysia. Visit their Facebook page! There are three groups - Wilderness, Horizon and Summit. Me, in Summit, will try Abseiling, Cave Exploring, Rock Climbing and the like. I expect to come back with an overblown haversack, a tired/beaten/possibly injured me and a lot of experience. Experience that is invaluable and ingainable (is this word in Oxford?) to anyone sitting infront of their 1366x768 res 14" Laptop screen.

Till then, I retire thinking about what/who I miss back in Goa, all the wonderful things I used to do, the fun I am having at present, the fun I will have in the coming future, and new ways of making certain people jealous by writing more and more blogposts with more and more updates!

Later till then!


Friday, January 6, 2012

A*STAR India Youth Scholarship - Information & Updates

Sorry for keeping the title a little mundane. This post includes the Procedure for Application of the A*STAR India Youth Scholarship and the Syllabus for Written Test. More info & update space coming up.

This is intended to be the first post among the string of posts that relate to the same scholarship and my updates. Please tag along, and if you need any help, just email me at (atharvjoshi@ymail.com) or join the blog. The first post is a bit boring, because it touches upon formal details, but anyways, if you just want the updates, promptly scroll down.

So, Read only if:
Number 1: I presume you are either an applicant/wannabe or someone selected under the Singapore MOE (Ministry Of Education) & A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) India Youth Scholarship.
Number 2: Or, you just are one of those awesome people I’m missing right now, reading my updates.
Number 3: Ah, just read along anyways! 

To begin, I have some web clippings (jpeg images) that tell something about the scholarship, the benefits, and yeah – the Moolah! Trust me, during my online research pre and post obtaining scholarship, I found websites reproducing the SAME info again and again, which is of no help to anyone benefitting from the scholarship. Sometimes, just reading written text builds your confidence and satisfaction, and as 4 years is no short time span, such info helps. Here goes nothing!

For more info, go to the Official Website. 90% of other hits on Google lead to nowhere but copy-paste!

In short, this promises to be a wonderful opportunity, studying in a country well known for its edu system, enjoying certain benefits, working hard and it can help you shape your future career. But, there are some areas you need to probe, and then decide for yourself whether you are up to the challenges that you will be facing. I arrived in Singapore on 27th Dec 2011, just like 8 days before, and I found things different from accounts that were recounted by past scholars, through social media or telephone. So, let’s start from the beginning.

In June/July, start checking for the advertisement in any leading newspaper, or just check out the MOE website. Send your documents (Report Books, Birth Certificate etc), and you should fill in a very extensive portfolio online, asking for things ranging from Parent’s details to number of siblings. Leave aside atleast an hour to fill it up carefully. Make a rough note of some of your Achievements, even anything trivial will do. The key is to show that you are good at many diverse areas, be it CCAs, Sports, Academics or Leadership Roles. After filling in, promptly submit and wait for them to contact you. (Send documents through a reliable courier service)

Singapore - The Little Red Dot at the end of the Malay Peninsula

As given in the important dates screenshot, you will get a letter from MOE inviting you to the Written Exam at your preferred centre. Now, you have 3 papers – General Ability, Mathematics and English. During our written exams, the Gen. Ability paper had questions on Series, Complete the Pattern (the kind of Mental Ability you see for the NTSE exam). It mainly tested your spatial abilities, how you can work with shapes in your mind and match the pattern to one of the options given. This test required speed, doing 48 questions in 20 minutes. The English paper is generally quite like school exam papers, divided into sections – Comprehension (Reading Passages and answering based on them), Grammar and a Structured Essay. The Math test is there to scare you, its tough. It covers Algebra (upto Indian equivalent of 9th Grade), some problems testing Application skills, Geometry (Grade 8), Speed/Distance problems (Grade 10) and yeah, Trigonometry (Grade 10). If you just touch upon these topics, and use your head a little bit, the Math paper should be a breeze. 

During your written test, there are parent & student briefings, and try and listen to the details and ask the MOE representatives whatever queries you have.

After this, you wait. Atleast for about 2 months. If you are selected for the interview, you will get an email and a letter from MOE. Umm, quite tired by now, I intend to cover the Interview in my next post. Sorry! Have been sleep deprived for the past 3-4 days. 

Mr. Curious - UPDATES

Its been more than a week since I came here. One week done in school already. Touched down on CHANGi on the 27th. I have been posted to Temasek Secondary School, one of the better schools and I am staying at Victoria Hall, a massive boarding complex in the Victoria School campus. There are four of us in our room, one Vietnamese, one Laosian and an Indian, and me. The people here are really friendly, the hostel staff, the teacher mentors, the peers at school and the teachers at school too. I have met a bunch of 17 Indians (mostly seniors) staying at VH too. By the way, I’ve had my parents come with me for 8 days, helping me settle in. They left today at 7pm. I had time to explore Singapore (MRT, Bus Service, Sentosa, Singapore Flyer, TOPless Bus Tours around Singapore), and met up with some relatives and contacts staying here. The schooling here demands hardwork, and lots of it. This means staying up till midnight completing homework, assignments and also having fun!!! So, this blog is a diary cum info space for me from now! Contact me a atharvjoshi@ymail.com or just find me on Facebook by following the link to the right tab of the blog!
Bye for now, and, yeah, wait for the next post!