Shahmalarani Chandran, a Bachelor in Science (Actuarial Studies) student at Taylor's, is no stranger to challenges
The national karate athlete has won medals at SUKMA Games and Southeast Asian Karate Championships but had to drop out of the national team headed to the SEA Games in 2017 and 2019 to concentrate on her studies.
It certainly pains her to choose between her studies and her passion, and though she has not given up on her SEA Games dream, she has found a new calling – nurturing the younger generation.
"When I began my degree, I was introduced to the PALS programme (Peer assisted learning system) where a student is appointed to help their peers in academic subjects"
"Since 2017, I have been involved in PALS for subjects like Calculus, Mathematics, Finance, and Accounting. So, thanks to Taylor's, I have found my passion in teaching too!" says Shahmalarani.
As a Riser ambassador, and through The Risers community-engagement portal by Taylor's College, Shahmalarani was recently given the opportunity to coach over 1,000 secondary school students on SPM Mathematics in an online workshop
"I have been a mathematics tutor for the past four years and had conducted tutorial sessions with SPM, IGCSE, and degree students previously for their exam preparations. Those experiences motivated me to come up with an idea for this workshop, and write a mathematics handbook, as the SPM 2020 students are having a difficult time coping with their exam preparations during the pandemic," she says.
Shahmalarani's book, titled Maths Mastery Tools, is a handy formula booklet for Form Five students containing all mathematical formulas that are needed for their SPM examinations. It was published online for students who participated in the The Riser's SPM Maths workshop, with a limited release of physical copies.
What are her top tips for acing the SPM Mathematics paper?
Some useful advice that Shahmalarani tells students are: practise makes perfect; extract information from a question to plug them into formulas; always attempt a question and never leave it blank; and to evaluate and analyse mistakes made in previous practice papers to avoid making the same mistake in an exam.
Shahmalarani believes that maths and karate have many similarities
"Both require a considerable amount of practice. When we practise more and more in karate, we will learn how to handle a situation and react quickly during sparring, tackling a situation without hesitance," she says.
"Secondly, karate is also like maths with regards to problem-solving. During a karate fight, we encounter new situations that require us to 'playback' scenarios in our minds and think about what is the right choice of movement to utilise and attack. A small mistake would cost us points, which is like maths - one wrong symbol, formula, or notation would ruin an entire answer to a question!” she adds.
Lastly, Shahmalarani believes passion and eagerness to learn new techniques is important for students to progress in their learning.
Students who are interested in gaining access to more SPM tips and workshops are welcomed to join The Risers and download the mobile app by Taylor's College
Recently, The Risers have partnered with YouthWorld Development and UniEnrol to deliver workshops on various SPM subjects conducted by teachers who are SPM examiners. The Risers have also launched an online SPM tuition sponsorship programme to enable 500 Form Fice students to enjoy a three-month free online tuition, in partnership with MyTuition.
The Risers portal and app also features educational and lifestyle content, self-help tips, and provides an avenue for secondary school students to interact with other students and Taylor's Brand Ambassadors aka Risers to discover their passion, future careers, and university pathways.