Different Types of the Best Pre-University Programmes Offered at Top Private Universities & Colleges in Malaysia
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A Pre-University programme is a preparatory course for students after SPM or O-Levels. The Pre-University programme at private colleges in Malaysia acts as a ‘bridge’ between secondary school and university, equipping you with proper knowledge and learning skills so that students will be able to handle the challenges of an undergraduate degree course.
There are a number of different Pre-University programmes in Malaysia that’s available to you. You should find out more about various pre-university programmes are available at top private colleges & universities before making your decision. You need to understand yourself, your learning style, career goals, academic goals and capabilities in order to decide which Pre-University course would best suit you. EduSpiral Consultant Services is here to help you narrow down your choices with sound professional advise.
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A List of the Top Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia
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,
- Foundation programmes by private universities in Malaysia
- Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) Malaysia
- Unified Examination Certificate (UEC)
- University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) UK A-Levels
- South Australian Matriculation (SAM) or SACE International
- American Degree Transfer Program (ADTP)
- Edexcel International Advanced Level UK A-Levels
- Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)
- Matriculation Certificate, Ministry of Education Malaysia
- Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP)
There are many different Pre-University programmes available in Malaysia. I will list some of the most popular ones.
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.
|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|
The Best A-Level Programmes in Malaysia
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:
|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.|
|Price||RM20,000 – RM40,000|
Australia Matriculation Programmes in Malaysia
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)|
|Awarding Body||South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)|
|Price||RM21,000 – RM40,000|
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|
American Degree Transfer Programme (ADTP)
- 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.|
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|
Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)
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)|
|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|
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.|
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
|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
• English as an Additional
• Legal Studies
• Mathematical Methods
• 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|