Best Pre-University Courses in Malaysia at Top Colleges & Universities

Best Pre-University Courses in Malaysia

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Students who are not sure of what to study after SPM or O-Levels can contact EduSpiral Consultant Services to help guide you to choose the right course and university. There are many Pre-University programmes that you can go for after SPM or O-Levels so it can be confusing for you to choose the right one.

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 in Malaysia will include a percentage of the breakdown of assessment. You need to understand yourself and capabilities in order to decide which Pre-University course would best suit you.

There are many types of Pre-University programmes in Malaysia and students after SPM should find out more about various pre-university programmes are available at top private colleges & universities to see which Pre-University programme would be most suited for you. There are many different Pre-University programmes available in Malaysia. I will list some of the most popular ones.

For more information contact 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 courselor will send you a message on WhatsApp & provide assistance from there.

The Best Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia

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Gan twins, Foundation in Arts at Taylor’s University

“Pre” means “before”, therefore, “Pre-University” means the course that you take before entering into a university degree programme. Most students will enter into the Pre-U after completing SPM or O-Levels  . There are many different Pre-University programmes available in Malaysia.

There are many types of Pre-University programmes in Malaysia and students after SPM or O-Levels should find out more about various pre-university programmes are available at top private colleges & universities to see which Pre-University programme would be most suited for you. In addition, there are many different types of Pre-University programmes available in Malaysia.

Below is a list of pre-university programmes that’s popular in Malaysia at top universities & colleges:

How to Choose the Best Pre-University Course in Malaysia that Fits You

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Chun Tim, Foundation in Business into Finance at Taylor’s University

Choosing the right Pre-University course after SPM or O-Levels can be confusing. There is no such thing as the “best” Pre-University or Pre-University programme. It is choosing the right Pre-U programme that fits you and your future goals. Students need to do the research and compare the various Pre-University (Pre-U) Programmes in Malaysia to see which one fits their tertiary and career goals.

To choose the best Pre-University programme to study in Malaysia, you have to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you prefer exam-based or a mix of exams, assignments, course work, etc.? What is your learning style? Talk to the counselors at the private universities to find out in detail about the curriculum of the Pre-University programme to see which one best fits you.
  2. What you want to study for your degree? If you know that you want to go for Business studies, then there is no need to take the Foundation in Science. Students planning to go for medicine, law, pharmacy or dentistry are recommended to take the A-Levels.
  3. What is your budget? A Foundation programme tuition fee could range from RM10,000 to RM25,000 while a degree at a private university may cost from RM50,000 – RM150,000 for a business course and RM130,000 to RM200,000 for a Pharmacy course in Malaysia. If this is out of your budget, then you should consider taking the STPM and going for Public University. If you do not have the finances to study at private universities, then just go for STPM. Note that STPM is extremely tough and takes 2 years of your time. However, you may not get the degree of your choice when entering into Public University.
  4. Do you want to continue your studies in Malaysia or overseas? If you plan to go overseas, then go for the external Pre-University programme and choose based on which country you want to go to. If you plan to continue your degree course in Malaysia, you should just take the Foundation course as it is cheaper and generally easier than the external Pre-U. To study overseas will cost from RM150,000 to RM200,000 a year at least. So, if you do not have the finances to study overseas, there is no point to go for an external Pre-University Programme. A Foundation course at a top private university in Malaysia will be sufficient.
  5. What’s your results in SPM or O-Levels? If your results is weak, I would recommend for you to either go for Foundation or a Diploma programme as they would be easier to handle compared to A-Levels or STPM.

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

Sometimes students choose the Pre-University programme for the wrong reasons. Students must research carefully the type of Pre-University and its assessment style. Some students don’t perform well in the Pre-University because the assessment of the Pre-University doesn’t fit them or their command of the English language is too weak to handle the written assignments.

Intakes are also important for students who want to perform the best in the exams. Taking the March intake is generally a mistake as it is compressed in duration therefore making the student having to complete the syllabus in a short amount of time.

Just because a Pre-University is free, doesn’t mean that it would be the best or “less burden” to your parents. Taking the STPM may be free but it is a very tough exam. If you have 9As and you take the STPM, which is tougher to score, you may not be able to get 4As to apply for scholarships for degree. But if you take the Foundation, even if you have to pay a bit, but you score because it is very much easier than STPM, you will be able to apply for partial or even full scholarship for your degree.

 

Duration of the Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia

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Hanson, Foundation in Science (Engineering) at UCSI University

The duration of the Pre-University Programme vary from programme to programme and takes about 8 months to 24 months to complete.

  • Foundation programmes by private universities in Malaysia – Duration is 12 months
  • Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) Malaysia – Duration is 18 months
  • Matriculation Certificate, Ministry of Education Malaysia – Duration is 12 months
  • University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) UK A-Levels – Duration is 12-18 months
  • Edexcel International Advanced Level UK A-Levels – Duration is 12-18 months
  • South Australian Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International – Duration is 10 months to 18 months depending on intake
  • Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) Duration is 7 months to 10 months

Entry Requirements of Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia

General Entry Requirements for all Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia:

  • SPM or ‘O’ Level or equivalent – 5 credits. Additional requirements may include credits in English, Mathematics or Science depending on the Pre-University Programme or degree you intend to take.
  • Medical & Pharmacy degree programmes will require at least 5Bs in SPM including the Science subjects while Engineering would require credits in Physics & Maths.
  • Students must have passes in BM and Sejarah in SPM
  • Note that you will need to take into account the degree requirements for certain courses for SPM subjects.

Subjects for Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia

The number of subjects for the Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia vary from 3 to 12. When choosing the subjects, it is important to take those that would be relevant to the intended degree course. It is important to choose the right combination of subjects which would be related to your degree programme.

For example, if you take up Arts subjects, you will not be able to continue into a Biotechnology degree course.

Acceptance & Recognition of the Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia

As long as the Pre-University Programme has been accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), it will be accepted into any private university in Malaysia and the external Pre-University programmes such as A-Levels, AUSMAT, SAM, etc are accepted into universities overseas. The Internal Foundation Programmes of Private Universities in Malaysia are generally not accepted for entry by universities overseas therefore you have to take this into consideration when making your decision.

Malaysian Private University Internal Foundation Programme

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Bryan Yap, Foundation in Business at Heriot-Watt University 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. These courses are accredited by the Malaysia Qualification Agency (MQA) and recognised by the respective foreign partner universities.

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 businesscomputer 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. If you are still not sure of what to study for your degree, the Foundation programme is a good choice and is shorter in duration than the STPM and less difficult.

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Recognition: Mostly in Malaysia and some overseas. As long as the Foundation course is accredited by MQA, it will be accepted by another private university for entry into the relevant degree programme.
  • Cost: Ranges from RM8000 to RM25000. The Foundation Programme is generally cheaper than external Pre-University courses and A-Levels
  • Subjects: Students will take about 10-12 subjects in 3 semesters (1 year) for the Foundation programme at private universities in Malaysia.
  • 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. The assessments are subject to quality assurance procedures to maintain high standards and ensuring fair assessment.
  • Intakes: Generally, intakes are in January, April, May & September

List of the Different Types of Foundation Programmes in Malaysia

  1. Foundation in Science
  2. Foundation in Arts
  3. Foundation in Business Administration or Management
  4. Foundation in Communication & Media Studies
  5. Foundation in Computing & Technology
  6. Foundation in Engineering
  7. Foundation in Natural & Built Environment or Architecture
  8. Foundation in Design

 

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) A-Levels in Malaysia

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Ban Moon (Left), Scored 3As in the A-Levels at HELP Academy

After SPM or O-Levels, Malaysian students have a choice to continue with the GCE A-Levels programme offered by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) which is part of the Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate (UCLES).

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.

For assessment purposes, students can choose any one of the following options:

  • Take all papers of the ‘A’ levels in one sitting, usually at the end of the second year of study, or
  • Take the ‘staged’ assessment route, that is, to take the ‘AS’ level in one examination session and the final part of the assessment ‘A2’ level at a subsequent session, or
  • Take the ‘AS’ level only, either at the end of a one-year or two-year course.

Many private colleges prepare students to sit for the Cambridge A-Levels which is a popular choice among Malaysians. It is internationally-recognised for admission into universities worldwide including professional courses.

  • Duration: 15 to 18 months (3 semesters)
  • Recognition: University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) which is part of the Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate (UCLES). The A-Levels is accepted worldwide at all top universities
  • Cost: Ranges from RM10,000 to RM40,000
  • Subjects: There are normally between 2 to 4 A-level subjects and the General Paper. Both the ‘AS’ and ‘A2’ levels are flexible and students have the freedom to select the subjects that they are interested in, either to study a broad variety of subjects or to specialise in a particular area.
  • Assessment: The A-Level Programme 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.
  • Intakes: January, March & July
  • Examination Sessions: May / June and October / November

Edexcel International Advanced Levels in Malaysia

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Lay Hoe, A-Levels at HELP University

Edexcel International Advanced Levels is a new suite of A level qualifications developed for  international centres.  With a modular structure, the Edexcel new suite of International Advanced Levels have examination windows in January and June of each year, allowing students to finish their course in January if they need to, for entry to local and international universities.  Please note Law will continue to be examined in June of each year only.

The qualifications have been written to the same rigorous standard as all Edexcel qualifications and Edexcel International Advanced level qualifications are already recognised by many leading universities in the UK and internationally.

  • Duration: 15 to 18 months
  • Recognition: Recognised by Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), UK and fully accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) The A-Levels is accepted worldwide at all top universities
  • Cost: Ranges from RM10,000 to RM40,000
  • Subjects: There are normally between 2 to 4 A-level subjects and the General Paper
  • Assessment:   No coursework (100% examination)
  • Structure: Modular structure. AS can be used as a stage on the way to completing an Advanced Level.
  • Intakes: January, March & July
  • Examination Sessions: January and June examinations. Students sit for the exams in the same time as UK students

What’s the difference between the Cambridge A-Levels and the Edexcel A-Levels in Malaysia?

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Gi Hang, A-Levels at Taylor’s College

Academic system: The Cambridge A-Level programme follows a staged assessment route to A Level by taking the AS Level in one examination session and completing the final A Level assessments at a subsequent session. Some papers are actually practical papers, in which you have to do experiments and answer related questions.

The Edexcel A- Level programme follows a modular system. Most Edexcel A-Level students would sit for 1-2 papers per subject at the end of every 5 to 6-month period.

Examination board: Edexcel and CIE are both examples of UK examination boards which provide a range of exams and qualifications. All exam boards operate under the guidelines produced by the JCQ (Joint Committee for Qualifications).

There is no difference in the level or degree of difficulty between the examination offered by Edexcel and CIE. The specifications of syllabuses might differ but both of them are recognized by colleges, universities and employers all around the world.

The Edexcel International Advanced Levels A-Levels modular system aims to test you on the application of each unit, and hence a student can choose to repeat a single unit on its own, without having to repeat an entire level.

Only the highest mark scored in any attempt will automatically be taken into account.

The Cambridge Board, on the other hand, is linear-based. Students attempt to take the examinations in two stages, AS & A2 Level.

Students unsatisfied with any of their individual units must re-sit the entire level, i.e. either AS or A2, and only the last score will automatically be taken into account.

Advantage of the Cambridge A-Level programme

  • Examination fees for Cambridge A-Level are lower than its Edexcel counterpart.
  • Fewer modules per subject (max five) than Edexcel (max six).
  • The CIE is internationally recognised by universities around the world including all UK universities and over 450 US universities including Harvard, Yale, MIT and Stanford.

Advantage of the Edexcel International Advanced Levels programme

  • This modular system aims to test you on the application of each unit, and hence a student can choose to repeat a single unit on its own, without having to repeat an entire level. Only the highest mark scored in any attempt will automatically be taken into account.
  • The Cambridge Board, on the other hand, is linear-based. Students attempt to take the examinations in two stages, AS & A2 Level. Students unsatisfied with any of their individual units must re-sit the entire level, i.e. either AS or A2, and only the last score will automatically be taken into account.

South Australia Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International Programme 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

The South Australian Matriculation (SAM) (SAM / SACE International (SACEI) attracts aspiring individuals who enjoy self-directed learning and leadership through an investigative approach. The various activities in the programme allow students to lead and contribute to society, making it the most popular Australian-based Pre-U programme in Malaysia. Many SAM / SACE International graduates have gained entries into top universities worldwide.

SAM is a 10-month matriculation programme with a unique assessment pattern – 30% of the final mark is derived from the final public examination (usually in the month of October/November) while the remaining 70% is awarded internally through continuous assessment of coursework and tests. It offers students the flexibility to complete the programme over an extended period although the normal duration of study is one year. Students can also repeat subjects without a penalty.

Students may choose from the following subjects

  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Legal Studies
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Nutrition
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Research Project B
  • Specialist Mathematics

The SAM programme gives students an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR, which is a percentile ranking that is utilised as a selection criterion of students for bachelor’s degree courses by universities in Australia and different parts of the world.

  • Duration: 10 to 18 months
  • Recognition: Recognised by Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia (SSABSA) and fully accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). Students will be awarded the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).SAM or SACE International is accepted worldwide at all top universities
  • Cost: Ranges from RM30,000 to RM45,000
  • Subjects: 6
  • Assessment:  30% Exam while the remaining 70% is awarded internally through continuous assessment of coursework and tests
  • Intakes: January, March or August
  • Examination Sessions: November & March

Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) in Malaysia

The Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) is the final year (Year 12) of the secondary school programme offered by the government of Western Australia to enable entry into year one Bachelor’s degree programmes of most universities around the world.

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.

The AUSMAT is an internationally-recognised pre-university programme administered by the Curriculum Council of Western Australia on behalf of the Western Australian government.  Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE). The student’s score (based on best four subjects) is ranked for the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for university application at undergraduate level. This arrangement not only helps to remove pressure from the single year-end assessment, but also provides opportunities for the usage of a variety of assessment techniques in determining the students’ standard of achievement.

Students are required to take five subjects including English as an Additional Language (EAL/D) or English. The remaining four subjects can be a combination of these subjects: Applicable Mathematics, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Economics, Accounting, Information Systems, German, and others.

  • Duration: 7 to 10 months
  • Recognition: Recognised by Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)
  • Cost: Ranges from RM30,000 to RM45,000
  • Subjects: 5
  • Assessment:  50% Exam while the remaining 50% continuous assessment of coursework and tests
  • Intakes: January & March
  • Examination Sessions: November

Difference between AUSMAT and SAM/SACE International

Both of these pre-university programmes are based on the Australian education system and both incorporate a combination of coursework and final exams which ultimately leads to an Australian Year 12 qualification.

The South Australian Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International is administered by the SACE Board of South Australia, a statutory authority of the South Australian Government. SAM students will be assessed and graded based on 70% college-based assessment (coursework) and 30% final examination.

The difference between SAM/SACE International and The Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) is that AUSMAT is administered by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority of Western Australia, a statutory authority of the Western Australian Government. Unlike SAM, those studying AUSMAT will be assessed and graded based on 50% coursework and 50% examination.

American Degree Transfer Programme (ADTP)

“I did not get the results as expected in my A-Levels. EduSpiral helped me to find the right course to fit my needs.”
Foo Hong, American Degree Program at HELP College of Arts & Technology

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.

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), Year 2 (Sophomore), Year 3 (Junior) and finally Year 4 (Senior).

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.

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.

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.

  • It is a 4-year degree program after SPM or O-Levels
  • Students gain direct entry to university level after high school.
  • 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.

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)

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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 set and run by the Malaysian Examinations Council since 1982. 

The STPM is acknowledged as one of the toughest exams in the world. The other way to enter public university (IPTA) is the Matriculation course where only 10% of the seats are set aside for Non-bumis therefore the competition will be extremely high for the spots.

  • Duration: 18 months
  • Recognition: Exams are set and run by the Malaysian Examinations Council. The STPM is accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).
  • Cost: Almost Free
  • Subjects: 5
  • Assessment:  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).
  • Intakes: May
  • Examination Sessions: 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.
  • Structure: Modular

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EduSpiral Consultant Services is a full-service educational counseling & planning firm that guides students from across Malaysia to help them choose the right course and university.

EduSpiral Consultant Services represents the best colleges and universities in Malaysia offering a wide range of choices for students to choose from. These colleges and universities offer value for money in the quality of education and excellent facilities that you get.

These universities and colleges are chosen by EduSpiral because they represent the best in their fields in Malaysia and affordable. EduSpiral provides in-depth information and counseling on their courses so that students are able to make the right choice.

If you are still not sure what to study, please contact us and we will send you a free EduSpiral Career Assessment FormEduSpiral Consultant Services has helped hundreds of students to choose the right course and enter into the university of choice. Please do contact us should you need any advise.

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