THE recent Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 results have garnered much attention as the candidates were the first cohort to experience sitting for the national exam while having to study from home for most of the year. It made me reflect on when I was a secondary school girl and whether having to study from home would have helped me do better in my SPM exam. The answer is a resounding yes because I would have had:

More time to sleep 

My school was quite a distance away. I used to have to wake up very early to catch the bus. Sufficient sleep without having to wake up in the morning to rush to school gives students enough sleep which ensures that they will be at their peak cognitively, affectively, and emotionally.

More time for school work 

Not having to stay back in school for co-curricular activities would have helped me to do better in exams.

Having to stay back in school till 5pm leaves students with hardly enough sleep because they will have to continue working on their homework after the sports or uniformed body activities are over. Jam-packed schedules, even for those without extra classes, can be mentally tiring and physically exhausting.

The luxury to decide how and when to do my school work

Even with back-to-back online classes, I can still decide when I want to do my school work, according to my pace, as long as I keep to the deadlines.

Chances are, I will be more self-directed and independent as there are no peers and teachers to help or monitor my every move.

Time for breakfast  

I sometimes did not have time for breakfast because I was rushing to get to school.

On an empty stomach, it is hard to focus or stay engaged during lessons. If I were at home, I could eat while listening to my teachers. My concentration would be at its peak.

Limited distractions 

Being alone at home with no friends to chat with or to be distracted by means no socializing anxieties. Without the pressure of these external factors, my academic performance would be better.

But of course, in every situation there are exceptions. 

If students have family issues, connectivity problems, and a lack of technological devices for online learning, they may not do well studying from home.

Parents have to do more to help their children with remote learning. They have to step up and put in more energy and resources wherever possible to make their homes a conducive learning place.