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!