Arts or Science for Form Four?

My son asked.

Science of course!

He said I was the one who said I would have done better if I had been allowed to go to Arts Stream when I was getting into Form Four. True. When I was in Form Three, I went up to my headmaster and insisted that I want to go to Arts Stream because I was only good in subjects like Biology, Geography and anything that needs me to write and not count. Physics, Chemistry and Add Maths, I get telor. I failed Adds Maths and got some P7 for Fizik and Kimia (Physic and Chemistry). Even I was 15 years old, I know my strong and weak points but the guru besar ordered I go to Science stream. At that time, we studied in Bahasa Malaysia. So I ended up being the stupid one who cannot grasped Add Maths, cannot count momentum, cannot calculate those Kimia etc etc.

Now, the same thing happened.

My eldest son’s result wasn’t that good and he barely made it to Science stream and was supposed to go for Accounts. But after talking with all the aunts, uncles and cousins, he applied for Science stream and got it. The reason is most people advised that with Science stream, you have better teachers, better students and if you are going for A-levels or whatever, those subjects are much more ‘valued’.

So, what do you think? If you can go to Science stream, will you choose Arts or Accounts? Is this just our perceptions? Faster tell lah.

45 Replies to “Arts or Science for Form Four?”

  1. Good point there.There is a wide and general expectations and preference for all to go to scoence stream for reasons that you mentioned albeit incorrect. I am more confused on the fact that everyone who is going to science stream(with very good results in PMR) is taking an additional subject of Accounts ,and the reason -‘in case I can fall back ‘. Accounts has nothing to do with science.And why does one need to burden oneself with one or two additional subject ,when 10 is ,ore than sufficient. Afterall,all one does is score and get on with STPM after SPM! What do you think? Anyone out there to help this ungraduated father?

  2. i remember my self, I got 6As during my PMR,and wanted to go to science stream as I was very good in everything, my teacher force me to go for art stream. till today I regret for sitting in art stream. maybe I coual be a doc with my good result. so let the kids decide what he want. and account nothing to do with science

  3. The thinking is lidis…go science stream first. Later, if want to do Accounts or Arts, still can do. But if do Arts or Accounts, and then later wanna do Medicine or Engineering…then ada susah sikit.

  4. i think it’s all down to your kids preference. what he wants to do in the future. i have friends scoring straight As in SPM from Art Stream… dun pray pray

  5. Going for the Science stream does not make one smarter than those in the Arts. I remembered that the top girls in my secondary school, more often than not, came from the Arts than the Science.

    However, it would be more flexible if one were to go for the Science stream when in school, as when he/she goes to college, studying for business, finance and marketing degrees would not be a problem. I.e. you can switch later on. But for a Arts stream student to go into Engineering, that could be a little trickier, where Physics would be essential.

  6. Oh, and studying Accounts as an extra subject would be a bonus. Not that it’s absolutely necessary (can always study Accounts in college later, as they’ll start from scratch then too), but if it’s option, no harm going for it 😉 I regretted not taking it as an extra subject. Not that it helped me in my work now, but who knows when it’ll be useful, right?

  7. I say the same with nyonyapenang. Give it a try in Science stream. No doubt that it might be tough but if you are talking about passing SPM, I think your son will do well. I read his blog and his result is actually not too bad for a student who doesn’t study. Nowadays, Science stream not like the good old days. Very easy to score one if he follows instructions and he still can tembak tembak (but must go with logical thinking la) to score A.
    After Form 5, he has more options to pursue. Medicine, engineering, computer, IT, accounts, social science also can…etc
    But if he is in Art stream, he has limited options.
    He is allow to take Account paper/economy paper/art paper when he is in science stream but he doesn’t take it also nvm. He still can be an accountant even though he is studying science subjects.
    So, science stream is still a better option. Of course, decision is still always in the hand of your handsome #2 son. I am sure he knows what he wants.

  8. Everybody repeat after me. TERIMA KASIH, Cikgu Choonie!

    Thanks for the feedback. I also have the same opinion. Go for Science if possible. If not qualified, ask for reconsideration. Hey, I like this word – reconsideration!

  9. u r right, science stream gets better teachers and access to better treatment. after all, only those who are above average in academical results can enter. that means u get a better group of peers for ur son relatively compared to art streams. i’m not stereotyping that all those who entered arts are bad boys, but the crowd is there.

    it really doesn’t matter much to your son’s future education route if he takes science or arts during form 4 or form 5. naturally, if he wants to be a scientist, engineer or doctor science stream now is important, but judging from the way you write, i could decipher the answer is no. the thing is, you can always switch from science to arts, but never from arts to science. thus why not take the flexible route?

    anyway, i think your son wld be asking you one day, why the heck do i need to learn add maths? i once asked my dad this, “do you apply differentiation(pembezaan) in your job?” my dad answered “yea, i differentiate which employee is lazy and which 1 is hardworking” . Till today, I have never utilized what I’ve learned in add maths.

    Tell your #2 happy learning. lol

  10. Science of course! I don’t know your son’s school lo, my teacher tell me that go to science stream is better cause or account and it sucks, teacher simply teach only. and my school don hv Art Stream. HAHA. we got Accounts and IT. I took extra subject though, it’s the Computing, but till now dono they approve or not.

    now he take sc stream, if really cannot, next year go art. you get a better foundation. if you now art stream, later want to go sc, you will be in hard shit.

  11. i think it all depends on your son. if he wants to study science, go for it. if he wants arts, so be it. but bear in mind that the choice might determine his future. studying science does not secure a great future, hard work does. if he works hard enough, i think the sky’s the limit.

    as you said your eldest’s result isn’t that good, so i take it as he is not into math so much? if math isn’t one of his strong points, then i suggest he take up arts and probably go into management someday.

    why rot in science when you could score better in arts? grad from arts stream and then go take CAT, ACCA whatever those things are. be a good accountant/auditor and bring in the big bucks!

  12. I think the choice is up to your son. Is he future, so he should be deciding. As for me last time I was in science stream. But after a year I switch to art because I really not interested in science subject beside I suck at it. hehe…

    Lot of the time ppl tend to have the idea that art student is very bad or stupid or watever. I also have those kind of idea b4 but after i switch to art stream it changed my view. If, one is self-discipline enough no matter he in which situation he can still do well.

  13. As a science student, I would definitely encourage students to pursue Science in Form 4 because I am aware of the opportunities the field. There are just so much to explore and so much to learn.

    But if a student doesn’t do very well in PMR, and if he/she isn’t Science-inclined, I would strongly urge his/her parents to think about this rationally, rather than to “do what others do”.

    Says who Accountancy students aren’t as smart? Says who we have too many Auditors? Says who we don’t need another Arts student?

    Think about it. You should be smart enough to take up something that you enjoy doing, rather than something your parents enjoy telling their friends about 😀

  14. science stream has always been perceived as the direction of the ‘smart ones’, which explains why it has better students, though i am not sure about better teachers.

    having reached where i am today (not to say i am that great but bearable)… i think what stream you do while you are in form 4 is not very significant. i have seen science stream students who excelled in science subjects ended up being accountant, like yours truly. and i have seen vice versa too.

    i think if you are unsure of your ambition, it’s ok to go arts stream, but if you want to be a doctor or a pilot… better slog it out in science stream.

  15. Has ur son decided what he wants to become? Doctor, engineers…all go to Science. Lawyers go to Arts (and it seems they have to take Accounts too! Dunno why? Maybe to count the tonnes of money they make!!!), accountants, business, human resource management, econs…all go to Arts, but I guess Accountancy may be easier for Science students. Want to beome priest…any stream also can! LOL! …..My daughter got straight As in the PMR (Smart lah! Like the father!), was placed in the Science stream…and wanted to stop school after 3 days, cried her eyeballs out. So she went to the Arts stream…also all As (except for her extra subject, Literature marked by that @#%$&* handsome principal!!!). Now very happy, on govt scholarship (father also happy!!!), doing TESL (overseas) programme, going to be English teacher (like the father)!

  16. Science stream has the edge in the sense of flexibility. Science can switch to art in Pre U or U.

    But the same cannot be said to the arts students, which academic admission may have a problem of slotting it back to science stream in university level.

  17. fuyoh! so many comments eh?
    well….deciding between both of them is very difficult
    and its made even more difficult with all the misconceptions
    My stand is that you must ask yourself which subjects you’re really strong in
    because I’ve seen people with As in Maths and Science in PMR failing their Add Maths and Physics in Form 4
    no point suffering just because everyone wants u to go to science stream
    i’ve just recently blogged about it in more detail
    you can read it here:
    http://www.chunglingstudent.com/2007/12/how-to-choose-between-arts-and-science.html

  18. We sat down with our daughter to see what her strenths are and where here interests are leaning. No point forcing her to study subjects that she has no interest in and end up hating school and not doing well. A lot of Asian parents here force their kids to do Science ( for med school) and end up their kids are frustrated and not do well. Hubby and his collegues ( all angmoh MDs do not force their kids to follow in their footsteps but do what they love) but the Asian ones die-die force their kids to study 24/7 to go for medicine.

  19. Thanks for all the inputs. Actually hor, I am not asking for my own son ‘cos don’t tell me I need to ask my blog readers meh, hor? But all these will prove useful for those who are deliberating. Thanks a lot.

    Cikgu STP – How can you know it is the handsome gurubesar who marked the papers ah? And you still owe me one favour – fix appointment for a date with him hor? Before he permanently become Father. Habis.

  20. when I was in form 4, i was facing the same decisions too. trying to figure out whether to enter science stream or arts..eventually, on the first day of skool, i entered into the science stream. however, i only stayed for 3days then i went over to the arts stream. i neva regretted my decision since then bcoz i noe i CUD NEVER DO WELL for science subjects. even my general science wasnt tat great. but also i noe tat when i finish high skool, i’ll not b studying sumting related to physic, chemistry or biology as i noe i want to enter mass communication. so, it kind of help me to decide then. so, if ur son noes wat he wants to pursue after high skool, it sure will help him to choose which is best suited for him.

    about the teachers, well, i’ve got a great accounts teacher and I aced the subject in SPM. so i guess doesnt mean in science classes only u will get good teachers. the arts class also will have their own good teachers.

    hope my 2 cents tots help! =)

  21. Wah, lots of advise.

    Here’s my 2 cents.

    First, the most important. Ask you son to ask himself what is is goal for future. Yes, sky is the limit. Find out which subject will help him achieve his goal.

    Back to the curriculum.
    Art or science, many end up wasting time in school, learning lots of skill and method that can never apply, not even amaze people. Because Malaysia school curriculum and teaching method are obsoleted.
    Only some fundamental that give lasting effect : Math.(well, this need a good teacher)

    Most science subject is obsoleted. Not because the fundamental change, but the material and teaching method are obsoleted.
    Take biology as example, you will waste time study “details of general biology”. For example, for people not pursuing the path of doctor, but biologist in plant, it is waste few week memorizing the human skeleton. vice versa, those interested on medicine wasting time drawing a plant embryo. Just imagine those seek the physic – mechanical path study the bio.

    Malaysia school should have start the niche practicing college start from secondary, something like vocational. Anyway, we are late, and don’t have the correct mindset govern the country to start it.

    So to excel, if I have children, I will ask them to follow their goal, instead of the school path. Because our school limit on curriculum, I will suggest to spend less time on subject the deem not important to their goal (after help them assess the situation)

    15A SPM or even 5A SPM is nothing. If individual spend the time excel in one things, take the time to leap ahead other to achieve their future goal, even getting one A in their niche, and make bad result on other subject with D or even F is not a issue.

    During employment, nobody will care SPM,STPM. If you can’t delivery, have bad learning attitude and personalities, nobody will hire, even with 20A in academy.

    Worry about unable to admit university because can’t get many A? Actually, I regret having the exact mindset as other, I end up in the trap of “jack of nothing”. If one didn’t waste the effort spend on non-essential, taking the lead to niche compare to other, they can write themselves to enter many college/U (here’s come the communication skill that school rarely teach). For example, MIT don’t give a damn if you have tons of A for bio, physic, math,language, history,etc irrelevant things. They want someone can think, as a black belt, not a rojak for everything.

    So my suggestion : find Goals, learn to think, focus on niche and learn to communicate.

  22. It all comes down to your strengths and weaknesses. For me, I suck at calculations too. I can’t apply formulas and I hate things with numbers and alphabets together. So in the end, I went into the Arts stream. What subjects is he good at? What subjects does he like? You usually do better in subjects which you have an interest in, rather than the one you think will ensure you a “better future”. Not like I’m worried that being in the Arts stream will cause me to lose out to those in the Science stream, some students studying Science even ended up failing every test they took!

    The only thing about being in the Arts stream that sucks is that people tend to think that you’re stupid and an idiot for studying arts, especially those taking Science. Teachers will treat you differently too, they favour Science stream students more because they think that “they’re the smarter ones.”

  23. it really depends what your son wants to be in the future.. for me, i went to science stream BUT i ended up going to an art college later! haha.. what i studied from school, was down in the drain.. and i worked in an advertising company, so what i learnt in school was useless.. some friends of mine took accounts and they’re auditing for pricewaterhouseCoopers..

    So it really depends 🙂

  24. Art stream.

    1. To be rich. Accountants, Lawyers, Business man. Well respected. How many engineers are rich? Even Bill Gates is a law student.
    2. It’s easier. East to Study, Get more money later.
    3. Get better result. “barely made it to Science stream” means u r no. 1 in art class. No. 101 in science class.

    No need think. ART!

  25. I’ll encourage a child to go into Science stream because the Science for Form 4 &5 serves as the fundamental. I also agree with some of the comments, Science students are allowed to get into art stream at A-level, but you can’t do it the other round. Give it a try!

  26. I think that it’s really dependent on what your son wants to do. More importantly, is not whether science stream or arts (nobody really cares about high school), but that he does well enough to get a scholarship into college. And excels in extra-curricular – I think you should push your son to be involved in a charity organization in a leadership role.

    In college, he should pursue an interest in either economics or physics – which would prepare him for university – leading to a degree in econs or physics. Regardless of which he chooses, he should attend a top university like Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Dartmouth – you get the idea, the top.

    From there, 2 – 3 years working experience in Goldman Sachs or McKinsey, then do an MBA with Harvard/Stanford/Wharton. After that, let him decide what he wants to do.

    With the money you seem to be earning, you should be able to afford to put your son through college and university easily. If not, there are always loans.

    So, it doesn’t really matter whether he does science or arts. As long as he does well. However, doing science would offer him more opportunities as he will be able to pursue economics in science, but can’t pursue physics in arts.

  27. This is a big question for most Form Four kiddies… anyway, my take on this is that ,take Science Stream. Easier to score!!

    ok, before everyone here start going ‘what!!” Science there is ONLY one definitel answer. Either you get it right or you get it wrong. There is nothing subject to misinterpretation…:p

    i did science stream and i scored pretty well for my SPM. the only subject i din’t score was Moral. Let’s not even got there

  28. I went to Science Stream from Form Four until university. Joined the work force with a very good degree. Years later… why am I earning much less than my friends from Arts Stream? Why MBA holders are ranked higher than Science PhD holders?

    My own younger brother asked me the same question when he was asked to choose which stream to go to. I told him, if I could start all over again, I’ll sign up for Arts Stream. Not much you can do with a Science degree in Malaysia unless you want to be Doctor, Engineer, Architect…etc.

  29. Bee Stung Lips

    That’s not very fair to say. You should see the number of engineers that do MBAs.

    Even you can do an MBA now. And not all MBAs are equal. So there are some MBA holders that make less money than science PhD holders too.

    If I were to start all over again, I would still go to science. Except I would have paid more attention to physics classes and probably gone to do a degree in physics. Or something like that.

  30. Go for science stream.
    From science stream we can still do foundation for business studies in the future. To do account, business, finance and etc, we need add maths only. Unlike art stream there is no hope for doing science studies in the future.

  31. To : supertuckie :Just curious , are you a parent??? On your first comments — is that what you were able to get your kids to do??? If so kudos to ya cos kids nowadays do have a mind of their own and will not be led like sheep- Unless Asian kids are so well behaved. If so, have to learn from you.
    Thanks

  32. I university I know of arts students get together and discover biology so who am i to say.. ahaks.. flame flame flame..

  33. Please don’t use rich as the benchmarck, that’s the worst mistake most parents make when helping their children to decide what to study. I was not really good in science, I think I got average on all the subjects (science or arts), but I took the science path. That time, I was too young couldn’t decide what my ambition was, so I decided to take science so later, when I’m clearer I would be able to decide to switch.

    Thank God, I studied hard, when I finished school, I have a choice to choose between accountancy, management, engineering or science. Well, wrong again! You may think that you have EQUAL opportunity compared to arts students, WRONG, if booth of you (one from arts and one from science) applied for Management / Accountancy courses, the arts student gets an advantage over you!

    So, the best practice is KNOW WHAT YOU WANT EARLY! And choose the most advantages path. That is, if you already know you hate physics, what the hell would you still take it, while you know you like accounts and do well in that? Choose based on your own instinct, not just because people say you’re going to get rich!

  34. I went to the Science stream last time becoz a Sc stream student can always opt for Arts major later but not the other way around. So there is more flexibility esp when you are still decided what is the major that u want at 16 years old.

  35. im having the same prob here……plus im 16..not old n experienced enuff to giv this comment..lolx ahakz..i dono whether to go to arts or science…i got 5a 4 my pmr..and i got pure science!!at first i thought,…wow..good 4 future..but thn after i told my mum i got science stream she freaked out..i asked why..she says..if u cannot cope add maths, physics bla bla.etc etc..DO NOT TAKE!!its better to not fail ur SPM..if u fail…aiyaa..no use lar u learn so hard……….but yea..u hav to noe wad u wanna b in the future..but my mum says..people who take arts..more successfull lorr..my mum says the mayor of shah alam oso take arts wen he was form 4..now..he is the MAYOR..I REPEAT MAYOR OF SHAH ALAM..ahakz!!!at last i take arts stream..i nevur regret lorr..just listen to wadevur ur parents tink u shud take..cos thy noe ur weakness..n ur strengh better thn anyone else..muaakzz..

  36. GOD!!!!
    i’m only 15 going on 1. I dont wanna think bout wt I wanna b in the future. I juuz wanna live my moment. hav fun n stuff…. but aiyaa all tha tcers said i hav 2 think n plan about my Ffuture. This is so menyakitkn otak!!

    in form 4 i wanna drop bio n take acc as i am not really into mdic n stuff. but my peers sort of suggested that it is sorta wasting not to take all the three sc subjects together..

    i noe in my gutts that my future isnt in medic.. plis help.. i believe that taking sc stream is more flexible and i can do a major not really related to sc later on.. but this i still cracking my head

    anybody with comforting words and suggestions please blog on i really need it – kneeling n begging here!!!!

  37. im going on 16 too. Im certainly having difficulties on choosing.
    i would like being a doctor. but science stream seems to be like hell. (loads of PRESSURE) and im so afraid that i might think of quiting later on. I just dont wanna waste time .
    BTW. Is there any good university to reccomend? I just wanna plan things earlier. so i wouldn regret.

  38. Hey who says art stream is sux? I’m a former art student and i got 8As for my SPM. I scored only 4As for my SPM and preferred to enter art stream as it is more easy and less stress. My ex-best friend preferred to enter sc stream and ejek me as budak bodoh. But in the day of the SPM result announcement he only managed to get 3As…. haha pathetic and I laugh to him back as I could because I don’t take him as my best friend or just friend anymore. Now from what I hear from my friend he is taking form 6 art(having difficulties and serve him right for ridiculing me hehe) in his form 6 while I am now taking finance in UM hahahahahaha……. and who is the richest man in the world? It’s Bill Gates and he is not a scientist. Does he have anything to do in science? No right, it’s business and IT.. art students still can take IT course in college or university….. those who have MBA have more flexibility than any master of whatever sc. But, will face more challenge to get hired.

    So it depends on the student not friends or family. Think deeply and know yourself. Make a wise decision, make sure that you don’t fall into your own trap…. goobye..

  39. The main question. What do you want to do for the future?
    And who do you want to be? Because realising what you want to be or want to do after getting your results in SPM… well, that’s a bit too late.
    If you want to be an accountant or do actuarial science. Take the accountancy stream.
    If you want to be a doctor, engineer or pharmacist or even dentists. Take the pure science stream.
    Architects and structural engineers. Take the sains gunaan stream (the ones with Lukisan Kejuruteraan or SeniReka.) Vocational subjects are good too.
    Hospitality, it pays to take ERT.
    I suggest that maybe asking your child what he wants to be is better that what he wants to learn. Then apply what he wants to be with the subject that is suitable to it.

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