Which Course Should I Study After SPM? Diploma or Pre-University (Foundation, STPM, A-Levels, etc)

Written by EduSpiral Consultant Services For more information contact 01111408838

Choosing the right course to study in Malaysia after high school is one of the most important decisions you can make in your life. This can be a confusing and difficult time if you are unprepared.

After SPM or O-Levels , there are many different pathways for you to choose from and sometimes it can be confusing. Students may fill up our EduSpiral Career Assessment form for evaluation. Choosing a course to study after SPM or O-Levels in Malaysia is not a science, it is a process in finding out who you are and what you are good at. Some people find out faster while others take more time.

Most great things begin with a plan. Your future career and studies should be no different. A plan will give you something to work towards. It’ll also help you make the most of the opportunities that come your way. It can be confusing to choose the right course after SPM. You should carefully think about what are the options available to you.

You might also be interested to read:

For more information on the top private universities and colleges in Malaysia, Whatsapp 01111408838

Please fill up the Form below and I will WhatsApp you and provide you with sound advise on how to choose the best private university or college in Malaysia to study at. If you do not give your mobile number or full name as in IC, your query will not be answered. Our knowledgeable & experienced counsellor will send you a message on WhatsApp & provide assistance from there.

Which is the Best Education Pathway after SPM?

I wanted to study mobile computing & EduSpiral shared with me about the course & helped me to choose the right university
I wanted to study mobile computing & EduSpiral shared with me about the course & helped me to choose the right university Mun Kit, Mobile Computing at Asia Pacific University (APU)

It can be confusing for students after SPM to choose the course to study in Malaysia.

Preparations should have been made even before this time but fear not it is still not too late if you have not decided on a career path. It is important for you to research carefully the career that you intend to pursue.

With the wide variety of courses available to a student, the time after SPM can be a confusing one if not guided properly by an experienced and knowledgeable education counselor.

If you are not sure what to study, do ask a trained counselor and always make decisions based on evidence and facts. The decisions that you make now, can change your life forever. You can contact us for a free career test to help you understand yourself better so that you are able to make the right decision.

At EduSpiral Consultant Services, we have counseled and helped thousands of students to choose the right course and private university to study in Malaysia.

The Different Types of Pre-University Programmes for SPM/O-Level School Leavers

EduSpiral analysed my personality and results, subsequently advised me on choosing the right course as well as the best university that fit me.
John Lai Wai Hong, Graduated in Mass Communication from KDU University College

Choosing the right Pre-University course after SPM or O-Levels can be confusing. There is no such thing as the “best” Pre-University programme. It is choosing the right Pre-U programme that fits you and your future goals. We have come up with a list of the Top Ten best Pre-University programmes to study in Malaysia,

Below is a list of pre-university programmes offered by top universities & colleges in Malaysia:

  1. Foundation programmes by private universities in Malaysia
  2. Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) Malaysia
  3. Unified Examination Certificate (UEC)
  4. University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) UK A-Levels
  5. South Australian Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International
  6. American Degree Transfer Program (ADTP)
  7. Edexcel International Advanced Level UK A-Levels
  8. Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)
  9. Matriculation Certificate, Ministry of Education Malaysia
  10. Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP)

There are many different Pre-University programmes available in Malaysia. I will list some of the most popular ones.

Diploma Course in Malaysia

EduSpiral counseled us online & then picked us up from the airport to visit MMU in order to help us choose the right university. Mak, Ong & Chaw - Diploma in Information Technology (IT) at Multimedia University (MMU)
EduSpiral counseled us online & then picked us up from the airport to visit MMU in order to help us choose the right university. Mak, Ong & Chaw – Diploma in Information Technology (IT) at Multimedia University (MMU)

With 3 credits, you can join most diploma courses. Nowadays, you can finish a diploma in 2 years, it used to be 2.5 years. Therefore, now you will complete a degree in 4 years after the diploma which is the same duration if you go for Foundation.

To join a diploma programme, you will need at least 3 credits in your SPM or 3 Bs in UEC. You must have a Pass in BM and Sejarah. The credits of the subjects will depend on what course you take. For example, Maths will be a required credit for IT and Engineering.

The Diploma pathway is a good choice if you do not have enough money, you can at least graduate with a diploma as it is cheaper and a shorter duration. After working a few years to save money, you can continue to complete your degree. If you find it difficult to study and yet would like a certificate, maybe you should study a diploma as takes less time to complete. A degree may be too difficult and is longer hence you may not have the motivation to finish it.

Diploma programmes in Malaysia tend to be more practical oriented while degree programmes are more theoretical. Foundation programmes are more academic. If you are sure of what you want to study, then you can go for the Diploma course. Students after SPM who are not sure what to study should go for the Foundation or Pre-University Programme. You have 1 year in the Foundation or Pre-U in Malaysia to really decide what to study for your degree.

You can apply for the PTPN Loan for the Diploma course while there is no PTPN loan for Foundation or Pre-University courses.

After the Diploma course, you can continue on to a degree and generally enter into the 2nd Year for another 2 years of study. If you enter engineering, it could be another 2 or 3 years depending on which course.

It depends on the exemptions from the particular institution. Generally you will enter into Year 2 of the similar programme at the same university but if you choose to transfer to another university, you may not get enough exemptions and may only enter into the Final semester of Year 1.

Pre-University or Foundation Programmes in Malaysia

Actuarial Science, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
My father wanted me to study at the best university for actuarial science & I wasn’t sure about my results. EduSpiral met up with us, explained about the course and university. Min En, Actuarial Science, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia

You will need at least 5 Relevant SPM credits to enter into a Pre-University programme or Foundation Course in Malaysia

It is important to find out what you would like to study after SPM instead of blindly following your friends or just assuming that some said that the A-Levels is good, and so you chose it without finding out more.

I don’t have anything against the A-Levels, but my humble opinion is that it is a great programme and is quite challenging. Students should choose the A-Level programme if they want to study Law, Medicine or Pharmacy.

Keep in mind that the A-Levels is quite challenging, is in English and takes up 1.5 years. If you do not make it, you may have wasted a lot of time. If you know what you would like to study, you should just take up the college’s Pre-U/Foundation programme or an internationally recognised Pre-U programme such as the SAM, CPU, AUSMAT, UNSW, etc. They generally take 8-12 months to complete, so you could save on time. Note that if you want to pursue Medicine, some of the Pre-U programmes are not accepted.

The Pre-U programmes in Malaysia vary in time and course content. Some emphasise on course work, others exam oriented so choose one that fits your character.

Many private higher educational institutions, have developed their own internal university foundation programmes. These courses are accredited by the Malaysia Qualification Agency (MQA) and recognised by the respective foreign partner universities and also accepted by many other overseas universities as an equivalent to pre-university qualification in their respective home countries.

Unlike the external qualifications which focus on more general Science and Art-based subjects, the internal qualifications provide specialisation in precise areas of study such as the fields of business, computer & IT, and engineering, and hence, cater to the specific needs of different students.

Students who know what they want to study can just go for the Foundation at the university offering the degree of interest. It is cheaper, easier and a faster way to continue to completing the degree.

What about studying STPM?

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) is Malaysia’s version of the UK’s GCE A-Levels and is a Pre-University course

After STPM I was searching for the right university to accept my results to pursue my dream but couldn't find until EduSpiral helped me. Jia Loon, Biotechnology at UCSI University
After STPM I was searching for the right university to accept my results to pursue my dream but couldn’t find until EduSpiral helped me.
Jia Loon, Biotechnology at UCSI University

recognised for entry into public universities in Malaysia. The STPM is also accepted for entry into private universities in Malaysia and overseas universities.

The STPM is acknowledged as one of the toughest exams.

STPM is very tough and takes 2 years to finish. If you do not do well in STPM, you would have wasted the time which is also money. If you had graduated faster, you would have started work earlier and start earning money and gain experience valuable for your resume.

STPM will take about 2 years, more time than that if you calculate the time after your SPM until you enter into Public University. The time you take for STPM, you would have completed the diploma.

There were 58,355 students who took STPM in 2013 and in 2014 it dropped to 48,615 students. It is a drop of 16.69% (9,740 candidates)

48,615 candidates registered for the STPM examinations in 2014 but only 42,854 sat for it. Only 390 out of 48,615 STPM 2014 obtained a 4.0 CGPA. 57 candidates failed the exam.

The national CGPA was 2.62 but for non-bumis to get their courses of choice, you will need higher CGPA. Ten students scored 5As, and a total of 398 students scored 4As. To obtain scholarships from private universities or overseas, you need to score 4As or 5As, so based on this, you can calculate the chances of you scoring in the STPM and obtaining a scholarship.

27,342 (63.80%), passed in four subjects, 7,130 in three subjects, 3,563 in two subjects and 2,410 passed just one subject. Pass here includes D and E. You need at least 2 Cs to join a degree course in private universities.

The number of candidates achieving 4 Principals (C) in STPM 2014 is 60.14 per cent. You need at least 2 Principals to join a degree course in private universities.

Still not sure what to study after SPM?

I contacted EduSpiral to find an affordable college for culinary arts. He arranged for me and my mother for a campus tour & helped me find a college that had excellent facilities that I could afford. Fu Wei, Diploma in Culinary Arts Graduate from YTL International College of Hotel Management
I contacted EduSpiral to find an affordable college for culinary arts. He arranged for me and my mother for a campus tour & helped me find a college that had excellent facilities that I could afford. Fu Wei, Diploma in Culinary Arts Graduate from YTL International College of Hotel Management

If you are not sure of what you want to study, then you can join the Pre-U or Foundation course. After that, you will continue on to the degree programme for another 3-4 years depending on the course. You do not have to choose what to study yet during foundation as it is general.

The only choice is either Foundation in Arts or Foundation in Science. Note that if you take Foundation in Science, you can change to arts courses for your degree but if you take Foundation in Arts, you can’t change to science-based courses.

It is important to talk to the right people to give you proper advise.

Just like you won’t ask a Doctor how to repair your car or a mechanic about your health, you should ask someone who has the necessary experience with in depth knowledge of the hundreds of courses and universities out there.

The choice that you make now can change your life forever, so you should talk to the right people and make the right choices.

Summary of the Best Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia

Top Foundation Programmes in Malaysia

Students after SPM or O-Levels can consider taking the Foundation Programmes at top private universities in Malaysia. The Foundation Programmes are 1 year and is cheaper compared to the external Pre-University Programmes.

Many private higher educational institutions in Malaysia, have developed their own internal university foundation programmes. Students who know what they want to study can just go for the Foundation at the university offering the degree of interest. It is cheaper, easier and a faster way to continue to completing the degree in Malaysia.

Duration 12 months
Number of subjects 12-15. Varies depending on the programme and university (usually combination of compulsory, elective & MPU subjects)
Recognition & Accreditation Malaysia Qualification Agency (MQA)
Assessment Assessment for Foundation programmes in Malaysia will vary from university to university. It will contain a mix of coursework, assignments, quizzes and exams. The coursework could cover different assessment tasks such as projects, assignments, laboratory work, presentations, tests, and others as assigned throughout each semester. The final examination is conducted at the end of each semester. 
Price RM8,000 – RM25,000
  • Tailored specifically towards the degree course offered by the university
  • Shorter duration compared to the STPM and A-Level programmes
  • Generally, cheaper than most Pre-University (Pre-U) programmes
  • Most students find it easier compared to other Pre-University programmes
  • English-speaking environment which would help you to improve your language skills (depends on which university you choose)
  • The course is taught and marked by Malaysians who would understand the language skills of Malaysian students. Therefore, students who are weak in the English language should choose the Foundation and take the opportunity to improve their language skills during the Foundation programme.
  • Depending on which Foundation, it may be difficult to change courses if you decide to pursue a different field
  • May not be accepted by other private universities for your undergraduate degree
  • May not be accepted into universities overseas


The Best A-Level Programmes in Malaysia

EduSpiral advised me to go for the best college for A-Levels in order to fulfil my dream of entering an Ivy League university in the USA. He met us at Taylor’s College Subang to talk to us and tour the college.
Gi Hang, A-Levels at Taylor’s College

The A-Levels is quite popular however it is quite tough and not for those who do not have the discipline or motivation to complete it. I would recommend the A-Levels for those intending to pursue medicine, dentistry, law or pharmacy or who are planning to go overseas. The A-Levels is internationally-recognised for admission into universities worldwide including professional courses.

The A-level syllabuses are divided into Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and Advanced Two (A2) levels, each contributing 50% towards the final A-Level grade. AS Level is the first half of the course and forms the foundation of A-Level. A2 Level is the second part of the syllabus and covers more difficult topics.

Students who have good results in SPM/O-Levels and prefer exam-oriented assessment rather than coursework or assignments, should go for the A-Levels.


Country of origin United Kingdom (UK)
Duration 12 – 18 months
Number of subjects 2- 4. Students may choose the following subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • Law
  • Accounting
Assessment It is 100% external examination-based. Both the ‘A2’ and ‘AS’ level examination sessions occur twice a year, in June and November, with some subjects only available in June or November. Results are issued in August and February respectively.
Awarding Body
  • University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) or
  • Edexcel International Advanced Levels (Modular structure)
Price RM20,000 – RM40,000
  • Commonly considered the ‘Gold Standard’ of Pre-U programmes and is globally accepted (UK, US, Singapore, Australia etc.)
  • Accepted by universities worldwide
  • General subjects therefore the choices to enter degree programmes are wide depending on your subject combination
  • Higher cost compared to most Pre-University (Pre-U) programmes
  • Longer duration than most Pre-University programmes
  • The A-Levels is rigorous and requires students who have strong academic results in SPM or O-Levels to do well in it
  • Subjects are general therefore students who have taken it may not be sure of what they want to study at degree level
  • If your command of the English language is weak then you may find this course very challenging

Australia Matriculation Programmes in Malaysia

I met EduSpiral a few years back & although I wanted to pursue his advise, my parents asked me to take STPM. I wasn’t satistied with my STPM results and finally, EduSpiral helped me to understand clearly that SAM was the best Pre-U that suit me.
Khalil, South Australian Matriculation (SAM) at Taylors College

There are 2 different Australian Matriculation programmes in Malaysia which are the:

  • South Australian Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International
  • Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)

There are some slight differences between the two programmes and it is important for students to research and compare to see which on fits them.

I would not advise students to go for the March intake as it is an intensive programme which is shorter in duration where the exam is in November. Many students with good SPM results have not done well after taking the March intake for AUSMAT.

Country of origin Australia
Duration 7 – 18 months
Number of subjects 5 subjects (including English)
  • South Australian Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International: 70% coursework (e.g. tests, research papers, assignments) and 30% exams
  • AUSMAT: 50% coursework (e.g. tests, research papers, assignments) and 50% exams
Awarding Body South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)
Price RM21,000 – RM40,000
  • Recognised for entry by most countries overseas
  • Shorter duration compared to the A-Levels and STPM
  • Continuous assessment helps to accumulate marks towards your final grade, instead of depending on a particular exam or coursework
  • Students who have a strong command of the English language & like assignment based courses would do well in the Australian Matriculation
  • Very high entry requirements for competitive programmes like Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, etc.
  • Students must do well consistently in all assessment types to obtain a high final grade
  • Self-directed learning may not be suitable for everyone
  • The March intake for AUSMAT is short and too intensive. Many students do not do well in it

Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) in Malaysia

The Canadian Pre-University (CPU) or CIMP is the final year of the secondary school programme in Ontario, Canada. It is designed based on the course guidelines and standards of the Ministry of Education and Training of the Ontario Province.

Country of origin Canada
Duration 12 – 15 months
Number of subjects 6 subjects which include one English subject, that is, either ENG4E or ENG4U. The other subjects are Business, Computer Studies, Mathematics, Science and Social Science.
Assessment 70% coursework (e.g. tests, research papers, assignments) and 30% final exam
Awarding Body Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
Cost Between RM13,000 – RM35,000

  • Focuses on interactive learning as opposed to only academic
  • Progressive accumulation of marks towards your final grade instead of depending on one final exam or coursework
  • Public speaking and debate may not be suitable everyone (requirement for CPU)
  • Very high entry requirements for competitive programmes like Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, etc.
  • Students must do well consistently in all assessment types to obtain a high final grade


American Degree Transfer Programme (ADTP)

Students after SPM or O-Levels will enter directly into Year 1 of the degree program for a total of 4 years. The American Degree system after SPM or O-Levels is

  • Year 1 (Freshman) – ADTP in Malaysia
  • Year 2 (Sophomore) – ADTP in Malaysia
  • Year 3 (Junior) – University in the USA
  • Year 4 (Senior) – University in the USA

The American undergraduate degree provides an education that emphasizes problem-solving, critical thinking and decision-making skills. American education provides a flexible, holistic and well-rounded approach to education. It produces graduates with strong critical and analytical thinking skills with the ability to put knowledge into action.

Country of origin USA
Duration 48 months. After SPM or O-Levels, students will enter into the American Degree Programme for 2 years before transferring their credits to a university of their choice in the USA for the final 2 years.
Number of subjects Students will take about 40 subjects (110 – 140 credit hours) in total during their four years of studies, where 20 subjects (60 credit hours) are completed at ADP and the rest are completed in the USA. Students will normally take about 4-5 subjects each semester.
Assessment Students are assessed through exams, coursework, assignments, presentations, quizzes and research papers. The percentage of exams and assignments varies depending on the subject you are taking.
Grading System Final results will be a single score, the Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 0.0 to 4.0 scale. The highest grade is an A, which equals 4.0 The final result is the CGPA (cumulative grade point average) which is also on a 0.0 to 4.0 scale, and is your GPA obtained from all subjects taken.
Cost RM30,000 – RM60,000 for duration of 2 years of study in Malaysia. Cost of studying in the USA would range from RM150,000 to RM200,000 per year including cost of living.
  • The curriculum is broad based and flexible.
  • Students are allowed to switch major if they decided to do so even after 2 years of studies.
  • Students are required to take courses outside of their major (commonly known as the liberal arts education philosophy).
  • Continuous learning and testing system (70% coursework, 30% final examination) where students are involved in projects, teamwork, presentation, extra- and co-curricular activities.
  • The education is learning-driven instead of exam-driven. Students are groomed to be all rounded team players with strong critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Students are expected to speak, ask, and challenge your instructors during discussions in / outside of class.
  • Students must transfer to the USA for the final part of the studies. If you complete the ADTP and decide not to go to the USA, it is not accepted for entry at any university in Malaysia.
  • Students who prefer exam-based programmes will find the ADTP challenging.

Diploma Course at Private Universities in Malaysia

Students who are sure of what they want to study can go for a Diploma course. If you are still not sure, then you should go for a Pre-University programme. The diploma generally is more practical while a degree course is more theoretical and academic.

After completing your diploma, you can go find a job or continue on to Year 2 of the degree if your college or university offers the degree or you can transfer credits into another university. If you transfer to another university, you may not be able to get the full exemptions to enter into Year 2 of the degree.

Duration 24 – 30 months
Number of subjects 25-35 subjects (May include internship)
Assessment A mix of Assignments, Coursework, and written examination percentage. The diploma programme provides students with relevant, interesting, stimulating and practical experience via a variety of teaching and practical techniques.

Students will experience different dynamic learning processes are employed in the delivery of a diploma programme, such as lectures, tutorials, computer lab work, team-based project, real life system development, presentations, independent projects supervised by supervisors from university lecturers or industry experts. The learning is very much practical oriented.

Recognition  Accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)
Cost RM15,000 to RM50,000
  • The Diploma is technically not a pre-university programme; it is one level below undergraduate degree
  • Needs at least 3 credits in SPM to enter the Diploma programme
  • Students may apply for the PTPN Loan for Diploma courses. There is no PTPN Loan for Foundation & External Pre-University programmes
  • You will study the subjects that you are interested in. The subjects are specific to your field of interest.
  • The course is more practical with mixed assessment.
  • Upon completion of the Diploma, you may choose to start work or continue on to Year 2 of the related degree.
  • You cannot change to a different course for degree level
  • You may lose some credits when transferring to a different university


Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)

I was planning to study in IPTA after STPM but then my parents talked to EduSpiral. They realised the importance of studying at a top award winning university for computing.
Mark Siew, Software Engineering at Asia Pacific University

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) is Malaysia’s version of the UK’s GCE A-Levels and is a Pre-University course recognised for entry into public universities (IPTA) in Malaysia. The STPM is also accepted for entry into private universities in Malaysia and overseas universities. The STPM is acknowledged as one of the toughest exams in the world.

If you had scored high is SPM, you are eligible for scholarships for Foundation programmes at top private universities. The Foundation programmes are easier and so if you score for Foundation, you can get more scholarships to cover part or all of your degree studies.

Problem is if you take the STPM which is so much tougher than the Foundation course, although Form 6 is free, but if you don’t score in STPM, you have no scholarship for your degree studies and in the end have to pay all of the fees for your degree studies in private university.

The STPM is extremely tough and if you do not do well, you would have wasted 2 years of your life and time is money. The earlier you graduate and join the work force, the more work experience you can gain and add this to your resume where it translates into higher salary. If you take a diploma at a private university in Malaysia, you would have finished it at the same time you would have taken to complete Form 6.

You need a lot of discipline and good teachers in order to do well in the STPM. If you have alright results for your SPM, don’t expect a miracle in the STPM as it is 20 times tougher than the SPM. If you can afford, choose an easier way through the 1-year Foundation offered at top reputable Private Universities in Malaysia.

Country of origin Malaysia
Duration 18 months (+6 months if you intend to apply to public universities)
Number of subjects Between 4 – 5 (including General Paper)
  • Students will go through a school-based assessment with a weighting of 20-40% of the final score and a centralised examination with a weighting of 60-80% of the final score (The weighting varies according to subjects).
  • Nevertheless, School Based Assessment (SBA) cannot be repeated and repeaters are required to sit for an alternative written paper in place with SBA.
  • The curriculum is divided into three parts based on topic areas. Each part will be taught and studied in either the first, second or third term.
  • You will take the examinations at the end of each term (3 in total). One term is 6 months. Students who are not satisfied with their results for the first two terms can retake the examinations at the end of the third term.
  • Students’ assessment will be carried out each term with the results being released at the end of each respective term. The overall STPM results will be based on the best combined results of the three terms.
Grading Final results will be a single score, the Overall Subject Grade Point. Grades are given from A to F for each subject taken, which corresponds to a grade point. The Overall Subject Grade Point is the average of the top four subjects with the maximum score of 4.0.
Cost Less than RM1,000
  • A Pre-University course recognised for entry into public universities (IPTA) in Malaysia
  • An affordable Pre-University programme
  • Recognised for entry into universities worldwide
  • With School Based Assessment, teaching and learning are integrated with assessment. Students are allowed to improve on their first term and second term results by retaking these term examinations at the end of the third term. Students who do not obtain satisfactory results for the third term may also re-sit it.
  • The STPM can be very challenging for students who are weak academically or who do not prepare themselves well
  • Longer duration compared to most Pre-University courses in Malaysia
  • Heavy weightage of exam-based assessment
  • As soon as you enter Lower 6 you will have to hit the books because your first exam will be in December and you will have not much time to study and the teachers do no have enough time to cover the material as well. There is no rest as you will need to keep studying  the exams every 6 months.
  • To enter into most private universities, students must achieve at least a CGPA of 2.00 or at least 2 Principal Cs in the relevant subjects. A C- is not a principal and some universities do not accept the Pengajian Am as entry into the university.
  • STPM requires you to take in too much information in 1.5 years. That in itself shows the inadequacies of a system which doesn’t give enough time for students to consume the information required. Furthermore, STPM needs a lot of study time in order to score well. If you are not ready to commit the time and effort, you should consider other options.
  • From the time you enter Form 6 till the exam and getting into IPTA would be 2 years. If you had taken a diploma, you would have already completed it.
  • English language not emphasized so you do not gain the all important language and communication skills needed to succeed in the workforce
  • The government chooses the course and university (IPTA) for you. Therefore, after 2 years, you may not get to study what you want.

Malaysian Matriculation Programme (Matrikulasi) and Asasi IPTA

Program Matrikulasi Malaysia) is a one-year pre-university preparatory programme offered by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Starting 2005, the selection process for the programme is done through a race-based quota system, where 90% of the places are reserved for bumiputeras students while the remaining 10% are open for non-bumiputeras.

Prior to 2006, only one-year programmes are being conducted. Since then, four different programmes are offered. They are One Year Programme (PST, short for Program Satu Tahun in Malay), Two Year Programme (PDT, short for Program Dua Tahun in Malay), Technical Programme and Accounting Programme. Mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry and informatics science subjects are conducted in English. Other compulsory subjects are English, Dynamics Skills (Kemahiran Dinamika), Islamic/Moral Study and Information Technology. Students are also required to take up a co-curricular activity of their choice (sports/games, societies/clubs or marching band) during the programme.

Country of origin Malaysia
Duration 12 months (Program Satu Tahun) – 24 months (Program Dua Tahun)
Number of subjects Students must study at least six subjects over two semesters (one year). There is one intake a year, usually in March or April. The matriculation programme in Malaysia offers three streams – science, accountancy and technical streams
Assessment Combination of classroom assignments and examinations
Grading System Your GPA is determined from the grade values associated with the grades that you obtain for each subject every semester. All grades are internally assessed.
Cost RM600
  • Extremely affordable
  • Good prospects to gain admission into public universities
  • Wide range of subjects to choose from
  • Recognised for entry into universities in Commonwealth countries
  • Has limitations, such as ‘Program Dua Tahun’ only open for bumiputras
  • Fewer options of degree courses as the subjects are divided into ‘streams’

Comparison Chart of the Top Pre-University (Pre-U) Programmes in Malaysia

Pre-U Programme Brief introduction Duration Assessment Subjects
Cambridge A-Levels           Awarded by Cambridge Advanced Level Certificate                                                                               The Cambridge GCE A Level is the general certificate of education qualification through examinations by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE).The GCE A Level programme places emphasis on knowledge, understanding and reasoning abilities and skills. Duration is 12 or 18 months                Intakes in January, March and July                                                                                                Exams in June & November Assessed totally through external examinations. The examination papers are set and marked by examiners from the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE).  You can now sit for the A-Level examination in two phases:  at Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS) and at Advanced Two (A2) Level. Students unsatisfied with any of their individual units must re-sit the entire level, ie either AS or A2, and only the last score will automatically be taken into account. No. of Subjects: 3-4                                                SciencePhysics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Economics.Arts

Law, Mathematics, Economics, History, Accounting, English Literature and Business Studies.

LONDON EDEXCEL INTERNATIONAL – A-Levels          The Qualifications & Curriculum Authority (QCA) in the UK only recognises the London A-Levels. The London A-Levels is under the tight scrutiny of the QCA for all preparation, distribution and marking of the examination papers. For the London A-Levels, there is a centre in every region to facilitate communication with Edexcel UK, in addition to ensuring that the London A-Levels centres meet the standards set by the QCA. Duration is 12 or 18 months      Intakes in January, April and July         Exams in January & May/June 100% external examination. n Modular A-levels, each A-Level subject is subdivided into SIX UNITS where each unit is separately assessed in stages. In the Staged assessment it is divided into stages and in each stage the candidates get to select any number of the six units to be assessed in each examination session. An assessment is done every six months and the number of units selected for each examination session is entirely up to the candidate. The best grades for all the 6 units will be added together for a full A-Level final grade. No. of Subjects: 3-4


Further Maths








South Australian Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International                                                               Awarded by South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) SAM offers  – Proven learning techniques tailored to university study- A balanced choice of subjects leading to a variety of university degree courses- A mixture of school assessments and external examinations that assess students fairly

– The flexibility for students to complete the program over an extended period

– An opportunity for students to increase their tertiary entrance rank by repeating subjects without penalty.

Duration is 10 – 18 months with intakes in January, April or August Balance of continuous internal assessment and a final external examination. Students are provided with a university aggregate score (out of 90 marks) and a tertiary entrance rank (TER), a percentile ranking that is recognised without modification by all tertiary selection agencies in Australia. Students must complete 5 subjects, including 1 subject from List 1 and at least 1 subject from List 2. In addition, students must achieve a satisfactory score (10/20 or better) in either English as Second Language Studies, or English Studies. No. of Subjects – 6                                       • Accounting
• Biology
• Chemistry
• Economics
• English as an Additional
• Legal Studies
• Mathematical Methods
• Nutrition
• Physics
• Psychology
• Research Project B
• Specialist Mathematics
Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)  Awarded by Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) The AUSMAT is the Year 12 curriculum of Western Australia. The Curriculum Council of Western Australia, on behalf of the Government of Western Australia, overseas the quality implementation of the curriculum. Duration is 7-10 months with Intakes in January & March

Exam in November

50% internal continuous assessment(moderated by the Curriculum Council)and 50% external final examinations (TEE)

Provides opportunities to use multiple assessment techniques to help students progress – continuous assessment may include topic tests, quizzes, assignments, investigations, research and exams.

Flexibility of calculating a student’s score based on Best-4 or Best-5 subjects .

No. of Subjects – 5                                              Required to take English as an Additional Language (EAL/D) or English The remaining subjects must include one subject from each from List 1 and List 2:LIST 1 – German, English, Economics,  LIST 2 – Accounting and Finance, Biological SciencesChemistry, Computer Studies

Mathematics, Mathematics : Specialist Physics

Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) or International Canadian Pre-University (ICPU)                               Awarded by Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) Offered according to the requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Education, students to graduate with the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) In the CIMP, they focus on your development in the following areas:- Effective communication; using English as the language   for international communication- Independent learning skills; learn how to learn

– Effective transition from secondary to tertiary education

– Talent and leadership development

– Community outreach

Duration is 10 months.               Intakes in January, March and July                Exam in May & November Assessment will be 70% coursework and 30% final examinations. Coursework includes evaluations conducted throughout the programme; quizzes, assignments, projects and class tests. The final assessment will be in the form of an examination.In addition, to graduate, students must sit for anexternal literacy test administered in March, perform Ten (10) hours of recognised Community Involvement.  No. of Subjects – 6                                            Business, Computer Studies, Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences & English Courses.
Internal Foundation at Private Universities in Malaysia -Internal qualification  It is cheaper and easier than the external Pre-University programmes. Students intending to continue on in the particular university can choose to go for their internal Foundation course. Its accredited by MQA & can transfer to other private universities in Malaysia for the relevant degree. Duration is 12 mths or 3 semesters with intakes in Jan, April, July, August or October depending on the university Assessments comprise coursework, class tests and examinations. Internally assessed by the private university. No. of Subjects – 12-15

Subjects depends on the type of Foundation

 American Degree Program (ADP)  -Direct entry into Year 1 of degree continue to Year 2 in Malaysia and then transfer to a university in the USA for the final 2 years- Holistic education Duration is 2 years in Malaysia and 2 years in the USA Assessment includes quizzes, assignments, projects and class tests. Students will take general studies for the first 2 years before specializing in their major for the final 2 years



Write your comment or question & our experts will reply you soon

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Please Fill up the Form For Education Advise on Choosing the Right Course & Private University

Want to learn more about which is the right course or the best private university for you? Get answers to your most important questions with expert advise from our knowledgeable and experienced counsellor.

If you are the Parent, please provide your Child’s Details

If you are the parent or sibling or relative, please give the name of the student, not yours.
If you are the parent or sibling or relative, please give the IC number of the student, not yours.
If you are the parent or sibling or relative, please give the email of the student, not yours.
Phone number of the Person Enquiring
Date of completion of your Academic Qualification eg SPM, IGCSE, UEC, A-Levels, etc
List down the courses that you are interested in
List down the universities that you are considering

By filling up the form you accept our Privacy Policy & allow us to share with our partner universities related to your interests. EduSpiral Consultant Services abides by the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) & do NOT sell your Personal Data.

EduSpiral Consultant Services  has more than 20 years experience in the private education industry and is an officially appointed representative for over 20 private colleges & universities in Malaysia.