Which are the Best A-Levels Combinations to Study in Malaysia
The A-Levels is a popular Pre-University Programme in Malaysia that is based on the UK education system. It is highly sought after by students after SPM and IGCSE/O-Levels. The A-Levels’ syllabus prepares students for undergraduate studies at Malaysian private universities or in the UK through in-depth study of multiple subject areas. It is also accepted by universities in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and China.
In addition, the A-Levels is a rigorous programme and prepares students for undergraduate studies in medicine, pharmacy, engineering, law and more. Generally, it is 15 or 18 months in duration depending on which college and intake. Students generally take 3-4 subjects for the A-Levels and it is important to take the right combination of subjects depending on what you want to take up for your degree studies. If you choose the wrong combination of subjects, you may not be able to enter into the degree course of your choice.
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- Cambridge CIE A-Levels vs EdExcel Board A-Levels in Malaysia
- How to compare the Pre-University programs in Malaysia to choose the best Pre-U to study after SPM or IGCSE/O-Levels
- Top 10 Most Popular Pre-University (Pre-U) Programmes in Malaysia
- Top 10 Best Courses to Study at University in Malaysia
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How to Choose the Right Subject Combinations for the A-Level Programme in Malaysia?
Malaysia’s Top Private Colleges have been offering the popular A-Level programme for many year in order for students to pursue their tertiary education at top universities in the UK, Malaysia and other countries. The A-Levels is 100% exam-based and students are required students to take between 2-4 subjects depending on which degree programme they plan on choosing. The course takes between 12-24 months to complete, depending on the intake and college.
To enter into universities, you will need at least 2 principal passes or 2 E’s. Hence, most students will take 3 subjects so that they can focus on achieving a high grade. There is a lot to cover in the syllabus. However, for high achieving students who desire to enter top tier universities in the UK, Singapore or Australia as well as Ivy League Universities in the USA, it is advised to take 4 subjects.
When choosing your A-Levels subjects, it may be challenging as you need the right subject combination depending on the degree or field of interest. It is also advised to find out which subject combinations are preferred by your university of interest for that particular degree programme as well.
What is the A-Levels?
Cambridge GCE A-Levels is the ‘gold standard’ qualification, which is based on rigorous, academic syllabus that optimises the abilities of talented students with a wide range of abilities and stretches the full potential of the most able students.
The GCE A Level qualification places emphasis on in-depth knowledge, deep understanding, strong reasoning abilities and critical thinking.
It is arguably the most widely recognised pre-university qualification in the world, readily accepted as proof of superior academic ability for entry into world-class universities around the world.
The Cambridge A-Level curriculum provides a firm bedrock of fundamental knowledge by guaranteeing comprehensive coverage in the breadth and depth of each subject offered.
Students are assessed for their mastery of subject matter, their application of knowledge and understanding to everyday scenarios and their ability to think critically in unfamiliar situations. In the Sciences, a fair part of the assessment involves the demonstration of lab-based skills.
The Cambridge International AS and A-Levels courses are viewed as equivalent to the AS and A-Levels in the UK, and are accepted for entrance to all UK universities.
Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) A-Level Assessment
The Cambridge GCE A-Level programme follows a ‘staged’ assessment, in contrast to the traditional linear A-Levels where all subjects are assessed in a single examination session at the end of the course.
The Cambridge A Level consists of two stages, namely the Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level and the Advanced 2 (A2) Level. Its flexibility enables students to sit for the AS level in one examination and complete the final Cambridge International A-Levels at a subsequent session.
The A-Level subject syllabi are divided into the AS Level, which is the first half of the programme and form the foundations of A-Level, and the A2 Level, which is the second part of the syllabus and covers more difficult topics, with each level contributing 50% towards the final A-Level grade.
Students take the A-Level examinations conducted by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) in two phases: AS Level and A2 Level.
AS Level will account for 50% of the marks while Advanced Two (A2) Level the other 50%.
Students who complete the correct pattern of AS level units (usually 2 or 3 units at this level, depending on the subject) will be awarded an AS level certificate.
A2 refers to the final stage of A-Levels. Students who have successfully completed AS units in a subject move on to do A2,
Completing the correct sequence of subjects at both AS and A2 level means students have finished a full A level in a subject.which are of a higher standard.
University places often need a number of grades at A-Level (so both AS + A2 in a subject) but completed AS awards also attract UCAS points and are often counted towards university entrance.
There is also a performance feedback session where students who have completed the AS level will receive valuable feedback on their performance, thus identifying their own strengths and weaknesses that will help them set learning goals for the A2 level.
To score an A* in the Cambridge A-Levels in Malaysia, you require an average of 90% in your both AS and A2 units to qualify for an A*. If a student scored very highly in AS and only got grade A in A2, but overall uniform mark scale (UMS) is 90% or above, it’s an A*
The examination papers at both the AS and A2 Levels are set and marked by examiners from Cambridge International Examinations.
|18-month programme||AS examinations||End of Semester 2|
|3 semesters (1 semester = 6 months)||A2 examinations||End of Semester 3|
The Cambridge AS and A2 Level examinations are conducted in May/June and October/November. Results are released in August for the May/June examination and in January for the October/November examination. Students receive a certificate after completing the AS Level examination, and the A Level certificate after completing both the AS Level and A2 Level examinations.
Which are the Top 5 A-Levels Subject Combinations?
Student who have taken science subjects are able to enter into the science degree courses as well as arts and humanities like business, accounting, law, mass communication, etc. On the other hand, the subject combination for arts and humanities will not allow you to enter into science degree programmes.
One of the best ways to figure out the subject combination is to look at the Entry Requirements for the Degree programme that you are interested at the universities.
The subject combinations are only suggested and students need to check with the college counselors and the universities of interest before making your final choice. Below are some of the best A-Levels subjects combinations :
A-Level Subject Combination #1:
Mathematics, Chemistry & Biology
Students interested to pursue a degree in health and applied sciences can choose this subject combination. You can also consider courses like architecture, quantity survey, computer science, actuarial science, business and accounting. With this combination you can enter degree programme such as:
A-Level Subject Combination #2: Mathematics, Chemistry & PHysics
Engineering is a popular degree programme and this combination will prepare you well to handle the rigorous programme. It will meet the entry requirements of top universities for their engineering programmes. You can also consider courses like computer science, architecture, quantity survey, actuarial science, business, accounting and communications.
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Electronic Engineering
- Electrical & Electronic Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Mechatronic Engineering
- Telecommunication Engineering
- Petroleum Engineering
A-Level Subject Combination #3: Economics, Mathematics & Accounting/further Mathematics/Computer Science
This subject combination is ideal for students looking to pursue degree programmes in Actuarial Science, Accounting, Business, Economics or any other commerce-related fields. In most cases, Accounting, Economics and Mathematics is adequate enough to enroll into a commerce-related field.
Those interested in Actuarial Science will find that taking Further Maths will enhance their knowledge to handle the challenging degree programme. Students considering Computer Science will be able to explore this option by taking this subject.
A-Level Subject Combination #4: Mathematics, Physics & Computer Science
Students interested in a career in technology but unsure of which area yet can choose this combination as it will allow you to explore your options in engineering and computing. Mathematics and Physics are required for engineering programmes while basically Maths is a pre-requisite already for Computing Programmes. Taking the Computer Science subject will help you to figure out if you want a career in computing or not.
A-Level Subject Combination #5: Law, Business & Psychology
Arts and Humanities students will normally choose this combination as it will prepare them well. However, note that without Maths, you will not be able to take Actuarial Science or Accounting programmes.
Pre-Requisite or Must Have A-Level Subjects for Degree Programmes
As a rule of thumb, look at the entry requirements for the degree programmes of interest from the universities that you are interested in and then you will know which subjects you must have in order to enter the course.
- Medicine, Dentistry & Pharmacy – Biology
- Engineering – Physics and Mathematics
- Computing, Economics and Actuarial Science – Mathematics
Degree Programmes with no Pre-Requisite A-Level Subjects
In addition, some degree programmes have no pre-requisite subjects for A-Levels hence any subject will allow you to enter the degree programme.
- Business Studies
- Business Management
- Business Administration
- Human Resource Management
- Digital Marketing
- International Business
- Mass Communication
- Branding & Advertising
- Media Studies
- Public Relations
- Marketing Communications
- Events Management
- Social Media Marketing
- Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)
- Early Childhood Education
Below is a list of degrees and the recommended subjects:
|Degree Programmes||Recommended A-Level Subjects|
|Applied Sciences – Biotechnology, Food Science, Biomedical Science, Nutrition etc||Pre-Requisite: Biology & Mathematics
|Psychology||Pre-Requisite: None. However, some universities may require Mathematics
|Communications – Mass Communication, Public Relations, Journalism, Media, Branding & Advertising, etc
Business – Human Resources Management, Digital Marketing, International Business, eBusiness, Management, Business Administration, etc
Hospitality – Hotel Management, Culinary Arts, Event Management, Tourism Management, etc
Design – Interior Design, Graphic Design, Multimedia Design, Animation, Film Studies, etc. (You will need a credit in your SPM or IGCSE in Design or you may have to take a semester of Design subjects before entering into Year 1 degree.)
Education – Early Childhood Education
|Computer Science – Cybersecurity, Data Science, Ai, IoT, Software Engineering, Network Computing, Game Design, etc
Business – Actuarial Science, Accounting, Finance, Fintech, Marketing, etc
Recommended: Physics, Further Mathematics, Computing
|Engineering – Civil Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronic Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Telecommunication Engineering, etc||Pre-Requisite: Mathematics & Physics
Recommended: Chemistry, Further Mathematics
Recommended: Mathematics, Economics, Law, English Literature, Accounting
|Health Sciences –Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Nursing, etc||Pre-Requisite: Chemistry, Biology & Mathematics
What are the Entry Requirements into the A-Levels in Malaysia
Generally you will need at least 5 Credits in SPM or IGCSE to enter into the A-Levels. However, there are specific requirements for various fields of study. For example, if you plan to study Medicine, Pharmacy or Dentistry, you will need at least 5Bs in the science. For Engineering, you will need credits in Mathematics and Physics while for Computer Science, Actuarial Science, and Accounting, you must have a credit in Mathematics.
Why take the A-Levels in Malaysia?
- Not sure yet of what to study for your degree
- Score and get scholarships to top universities in the world
- A challenging course to prepare you well to take on degree studies sucessfully
- Good A-Level grades are key to admission into the world’s leading universities and institutions of higher learning.
- Good A-Level grades can also result in one full year of advanced standing at universities in the USA and Canada.
|Duration and Intakes||1.5 years of 3 semesters:
|Entry Requirements||SPM, O Levels or equivalent 5 credits including English and Mathematics/Science Subject pre-requisites apply|
|No. of Subjects||A minimum of 3 or a maximum of 4 A Level subjects|
|Examination Sessions||May / June
October / November
|Assessment Style||100% external examinations in 2 phases: Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS Level) and A2 Level|
|Awarding Body||University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)|