10 Things IGCSE Students MUST know When Choosing Your Course to Study at University in Malaysia

Top 10 Tips on How to Make the Right Choice for Your Studies after SPM or IGCSE O-Levels

Top 10 Tips on How to Make the Right Choice for Your Studies after SPM or IGCSE O-Levels

What you Need to Know in order to Choose the Right Programme to Study after Completing Your IGCSE

Choosing the right course after IGCSE involves plenty of research and financial preparation. It is just the first step in the right direction of achieving a life with stable or high income. The ever-increasing cost of living in Malaysia & high graduate unemployment rate is making it challenging for fresh graduates and working professionals to support their lifestyle. In light of that, it would be important for students to plan ahead what career that you want to enter into so that you can choose a course that has future job demand and high salary in Malaysia.

To find the best course to study after your IGCSE, you will need to identify your interests, values, passions, academic achievements and abilities. Combine that with the future job demand and salary for the courses that you are looking at. Choosing a course is basically coming up with a plan for your future.

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 IGCSE. If you read this guide from start to finish, you’ll know the best courses in Malaysia that would suit you.

You should carefully think about what are the options available to you, look at your results, interests and budget. 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 don’t want to graduate after 4 to 5 years and find out that you actually don’t like the job related to the course or that the job is not in demand anymore or that the salary is very low.

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Best 10 Tips for IGCSE Graduates on Choosing the Right Degree Programme to Study in Malaysia

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The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is the international equivalent of UK’s GCSE examinations. IGCSE is offered by many international schools & homeschools in Malaysia.

The IGCSE qualification is recognised by universities worldwide and opens many doors for students who want to study locally or abroad.

In Malaysia, there are two examination boards offering the IGCSE which are Pearson Edexcel and Cambridge Assessment International Education. However, Cambridge is more popular.

IGCSE was first introduced by the Cambridge Examination board in 1985 and is equivalent to O-Levels.

IGCSE Subjects

IGCSE students have to take a minimum of five subjects in addition to mandatory subjects which are are English, Mathematics and Sciences. The Cambridge IGCSE focuses on application of knowledge, critical thinking, adaptability, good English language skills and cultural awareness.

IGCSE offers more than 70 subjects where students are required to take a minimum of 5 up to a maximum of 14 subjects. Students can choose other subjects ranging from Social Sciences (commonly Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Sociology) to Arts & Technology (commonly Computer Studies, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Art & Design etc.

The number of subjects that need to be taken varies from school to school, and also depends upon individual preference.

Cambridge IGCSE Grading System

The IGCSE is graded from A* to G, with U stated as “Ungraded”. Each subject is graded from A* to G, with A* being the highest grade. Students are required to obtain minimum grade C for the 5 core subjects in order to proceed to the next advanced level or further education.

A credit is A* to C. Any grade “D” and below is not a credit.

The Cambridge IGCSE offers examinations twice a year, in June and November. The IGCSE issues the results in August and January every year.

Top 10 Tips on Choosing the Best Course to Study after Completing IGCSE

was confused about what to study & didn't want to do what my dad was working as because he was so busy. My mum asked EduSpiral to advise me. He showed my that I am different from my dad & helped me to make the right choice. Chong Han, Foundation in Engineering at Taylor's University
I was confused about what to study & didn’t want to do what my dad was working as because he was so busy. My mum asked EduSpiral to advise me. He showed my that I am different from my dad & helped me to make the right choice.
Chong Han, Foundation in Engineering at Taylor’s University

Choosing a course or career 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.

In addition, choosing the best possible course to study is a very important decision to make, and often a challenging one.  For some people, choosing the course is simple as they have always wanted to be a brain surgeon or a dentist or an engineer.

There are many courses that you can choose to study in Malaysia. If you plan to work in Malaysia, then you should choose courses that would be in demand  in Malaysia and has a high salary so that you can support your family.

One of the aims of education is to get a job. One of the aims of getting a job is to obtain a salary that can take care of yourself, your future family and your parents. Therefore, keep in mind what kind of lifestyle you want and whether the course that you are choosing will give you the salary to sustain that lifestyle.

Furthermore, many students in Malaysia tend to choose their course based on what their parents or relatives recommend, rather than on what they are good at or really like to study. The end result is that a lot of Malaysian students discover that they have started on courses that may be unsuitable to them after studying a few semesters. Worse is when they start work, they find that it is not what they like.

One of the main problems why some Malaysian students have no clue on what course to study is because they have not participated in various types of activities at school or organisations. When you join clubs and societies, you are able to discover your talents, as well as develop leadership, critical thinking and other valuable skills.

Here are 10 Tips for Students after IGCSE to help you choose the right course to study:

1  Know Which Subjects you are good at in your IGCSE in Malaysia
  • What you got for your actual IGCSE can be used as a guide. This is a good measure of whether you are actually capable of doing well in the course or not.
  • Look at the subjects that you scored high for, they would indicate that you are good at them and like those subjects as well. However, if you have all As for the subjects, then you have to choose based on which subjects you like most.
  • Be realistic. If you are weak in certain subjects then maybe you should not choose courses related to them. Your results are a measurement on whether you can succeed in the course or not. However, if the course is your passion, then you will have to work very hard and study to succeed.
2.  Knowing your Interests & Hobbies helps
  • Make a list of your hobbies.
  • List down your favourite subjects at school
  • A list of your extra-curricular activities can provide ideas of what type of person you are.
  • Students who love to cook can consider culinary arts. In addition, if you like to repair cars or motorbikes, then you could look at being a mechanical engineer or mechatronics engineer.
3. Make a List of the Degree Programmes that you are Interested in

Students after IGCSE will have to take either a Pre-University Programme or diploma first before entering into the degree programme. This can be a good thing as you do not need to choose which degree programme yet. The time during your Pre-University can be taken to expose yourself to various courses and explore them.

  • List the fields of study that interest you, and come up with a list of courses you would consider studying based on these interests.
  • Do you meet the entry requirements for these courses?
  • Narrow down the degree programme choices and see which Pre-University Programmes or Diploma Programmes that would be the best to guide you to the right pathway.
4. Look at the subjects offered in the Course at the University that you are Interested in
  • Read through the course outline of the course(s) you want to apply for. See if the subjects interests you.
  • The titles of the Course may be the same but the subjects are different from university to university. Universities do not offer courses where all the subjects are the same.
  • Because the subjects vary, you must be careful to look at the subjects to see if they fit your career goals.
  • Have a look at the subjects you must undertake and the types of learning, assignments and examination tasks involved.
  • Talk to the lecturers to find out more about the courses.
5. Ask yourself and the People around you, “Are you Actually Good in that Course?”
I was confused about what to study and talking to EduSpiral helped me a lot. Coming from Sarawak made it difficult for me to know which university was best in Malaysia & EduSpiral provided good insights. Eric Lu, Business at KDU University College
I was confused about what to study and talking to EduSpiral helped me a lot. Coming from Sarawak made it difficult for me to know which university was best in Malaysia & EduSpiral provided good insights.
Eric Lu, Business at KDU University College
  • I asked a student interested in Culinary Arts, “Have you cooked before?” and he replied, “No”! It is important to choose a course realistically based on evidence and facts.
  • There is a big difference between the desire and interest in a course and actually having the talents and skills to do well in the course.
  • Your parents have been with you since the beginning and they should know you fairly well. Talk to them to find out what you are good at.
  • Your friends can be a source of information on what you are good at. They can confirm whether or not you have certain skills.
  • In addition, your results would be an indication of whether you would be suited for the course. Other evidences would be your hobbies and participation in clubs and societies in school related to your course.
  • Your IGCSE results will show what you are actually good at. Having good results in Maths, you can consider Actuarial Science, Accounting, Computing or Finance courses. Having narrowed down to these courses, you can go for the Foundation in Arts for 1 year before really choosing which one to study for your degree.
  • Alternatively you can also think about subjects you definitely don’t want to study at university level and which you can’t wait to say goodbye to. Crossing these off will make your list of options smaller and less overwhelming.
  • An undergraduate degree course in Malaysia lasts three to five years – that’s a long time to spend studying something which you don’t enjoy, especially at a more intense level! First of all ask yourself what you have enjoyed studying at secondary school in Malaysia.
6. Do a thorough Research on the Course that you are Interested in
  • The internet, newspapers, television and people around you are the best sources of information.
  • Talk to people who are working in that field to gain more insights.
  • Check online about the courses you are interested in and find out about the career prospects and the other info.
  • Find facts and evidence to support the career and job prospects. Don’t just simply listen to the counselors or agents
  • Starting salaries and how much you can earn eventually.
  • Go to education fairs and universities’ Open Days to see the campuses and collect the brochures. Tour their campus to look at the facilities. Talk to the lecturers and students.
  • Keep in mind that what you think about the course and career may be very different from the reality of working in that field.
7. Job Demand in Malaysia for the Course that You are Interested in
I had visited a university & was planning to join them as they were cheaper. I asked EduSpiral for advise & he met me & my parents at Nottingham University & explained to us why it matters to my future if I choose to study at a top ranked university.
I had visited a university & was planning to join them as they were cheaper. I asked EduSpiral for advise & he met me & my parents at Nottingham University & explained to us why it matters to my future if I choose to study at a top ranked university.
  • With the evolution of technology, the current job landscape in Malaysia has changed drastically. In many industries and countries, the current in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 or even 5 years ago. The rise of technology has led to a disruption in the way we work and live. The Digital Era has changed the way we work. As the digital economy grows, Malaysia must be prepared to choose jobs that will be in demand in the future as well as still exist. 75 million job roles are expected to disappear by 2022 according to the “Future of Jobs Report 2018” by the World Economic Forum,. Furthermore, another 133 million roles are expected to emerge.
  • Look at the job prospects of the course before selecting one. Consider various factors such as income, job security, stress, responsibility and other benefits while researching a profession.
  • Look at statistics, evidence and facts. Not just listen to your auntie say that she thinks a particular career is excellent or a university counselor say that the course is good based on their experience.
  • There are reports and statistics which you can Google online to find. Newspapers have also written on the job demand for particular careers.
  • Government Agencies such as ILMIA, Multimedia Development Corporation, Malaysia Plan, Department of Statistics, etc.
8. What is the Salary for the Job that Your Course will Lead you Into?
  • There are many degree courses that you can choose to study in Malaysia. If you plan to work in Malaysia, then you should choose degree courses that would be in demand  in Malaysia and has a high salary so that you can support your family.
  • One of the aims of education is to get a job. One of the aims of getting a job is to obtain a salary that can take care of yourself, your future family and your parents. Therefore, keep in mind what kind of lifestyle you want and whether the course that you are choosing will give you the salary to sustain that lifestyle.
  • Human Resource companies in Malaysia have also produced salary reports and statistics on the demand for certain jobs in Malaysia. You can search for reports from Kelly Services, Hays Recruitment, Robert Walters Salary Report, Jobstreet, etc
9. Choose the Best Pre-University or Diploma Course to Study in Malaysia that fits you
I didn't know what to study after A-Levels. EduSpiral helped me to understand what I am good at as well as what's in demand for the future. Renee Tan, Mechanical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
I didn’t know what to study after A-Levels. EduSpiral helped me to understand what I am good at as well as what’s in demand for the future.
Renee Tan, Mechanical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia

Students after IGCSE may go for a Pre-University programme with at least 5 credits or Diploma with at least 3 credits. These are just different pathways to the degree programme and you will have to research and see which one fits your needs.

After you have narrowed down the list of possible degree programme choices, they would serve as a guide in choosing the Pre-University programme or Diploma course that will lead you to the degree.

Pre-University” means the course that you take before entering into a university bachelors degree programme. The common courses under Pre-University are  A-Levels, Foundation, SACEi, AUSMAT, etc.

Students who have completed their IGCSE who are not sure what to study at degree level can go for the Pre-University course in Malaysia like A-Levels, SACEi, or Foundation.

During your Pre-University, talk to the lecturers and seniors about the various degree courses that you are interested in to find out more. Furthermore, join clubs and societies and expose yourself to the various fields of interest.

Students who are totally not sure of what to study can go for the arts or science streams in A-Levels, SACEi or Foundation. Since they are general, your options are wide open to most courses.

If you have narrowed down your choices to engineering courses but not sure which type of engineering course, you may go for the Foundation in Engineering. With the Foundation in Engineering, you can also enter into Computing and Business courses.

Design students may go for Foundation in Design while Architecture students can go for the Foundation in Natural & Built Environment. These courses would be better as you will be taught the technical skills and gain experience through assignments and course work. It will prepare you to do well in the degree.

Alternatively, students may go for even more specific programmes such as the Diploma. The diploma is for students who are sure of what they want. If you choose a particular diploma course, you will continue on to the related degree in the second Year.

Choosing the right Pre-University course that fits you would mean that you have to ask yourself which methods of assessment best suit you? Exams, coursework, practicals, group projects and presentations could all be in the mix in differing quantities. Every Pre-University course will include a % breakdown of assessment. You need to understand yourself and capabilities in order to decide which Pre-University course would best suit you.

Types of Pre-University Programmes Relevant to IGCSE Graduates 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 SACEi was the best Pre-U that suit me.  Khalil, South Australian Matriculation (SAM) at Taylors College
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 SACEi was the best Pre-U that suit me.
Khalil, South Australian Matriculation (SAM) at Taylors College

Choosing the right Pre-University Programme will help you enter your university of choice to study the degree course that you want.

  1. Foundation programmes by private universities in Malaysia
  2. Diploma programmes at private universities
  3. University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) UK A-Levels
  4. South Australian Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International
  5. American Degree Transfer Program (ADTP)
  6. Edexcel International Advanced Level UK A-Levels
  7. Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)
  8. Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP)
10. Ask the right people about the Courses
EduSpiral Consultant Services is a Top Education Advisor in Malaysia Helping Students to Choose the Right Course & University
EduSpiral Consultant Services is a Top Education Advisor in Malaysia Helping Students to Choose the Right Course & University
  • Ask the right Education Counselors. Would you ask a Doctor on how to repair your car? Or would you ask a mechanic for medical advise? Although this sounds ridiculous, but many students do listen to advise from young and inexperienced counselors from universities, colleges or agents’ offices.  Talking to an experienced education advisor would help you to navigate through this confusing time of choosing the best course that fits you.Speak to professionals in your field of interest and find out what it is like working in that job.
  • People who have completed university courses can give you an insight from a student’s perspective – they can tell you the pros and cons.
  • Listen to people who are experienced in the industry or know what they are talking about. Not just simply listen to Aunties or Friends who don’t know what they are talking about.
  • Talk to your school counselor or an experienced career guidance counselor. This is important as you would not ask a Doctor on how to repair your car so you must ask the right person to help you.
  • Ask your parents and friends what type of personality you are and what could fit you however note that some parents may not be objective and want you to choose the course they want for you.

Choose EduSpiral Consultant Services for Advise on Choosing the Right Course

EduSpiral Consultant Services is a Top Education Advisor in Malaysia Helping Students to Choose the Right Course & University

Choosing a course that you are passionate about without job demand and you may end up being jobless.

Look for statistics and research to support whether there is a job demand for your future career in Malaysia or Singapore. Here at EduSpiral Consultant Services, we do our research on the job demand for the careers in Malaysia, Salary Reports, and universities so that we can advise our students based on facts and evidence. Our in-depth knowledge about the courses, careers and private universities in Malaysia combined with my working in experience in the private universities itself are tools that would help you to choose the right university.

Now why would you want to talk to EduSpiral Consultant Services when you can contact the private universities directly? Well, EduSpiral Consultant Services staff have more than 20 years experience in counseling students. Having worked in the private education industry, we have in-depth knowledge of each private university and college in what they are good at.

EduSpiral Consultant Services has helped hundreds of students to choose the right course and university in Malaysia and Singapore since 2009.  With our first-hand knowledge of the universities in Malaysia and access to staff at the universities we represent, we can provide in-depth, personalized advise that no brochure or website can.

There are many factors to consider in choosing a university other than the ad in the newspaper. You have to look at the fees, financial aid, location, student culture, teaching quality, accreditation, recognition, ranking, campus size, facilities, university partnerships and more. With our vast knowledge and experience of the private higher education industry in Malaysia, we are able to help students to navigate through all the information and narrow down their choices to the best courses and universities that fit them.

We are able to offer unbiased information on the many colleges & universities in Malaysia if you are unable to visit their campuses. We will share our first hand knowledge and email you pictures of the facilities, fees, forms and other important information. We will also assist in arranging accommodation and campus tours to the universities.

Let the experienced counselors at EduSpiral Consultant Services take you step-by-step through the choices.

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