Pre-University Options

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20th Feb 2014

3 min read

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For many in Malaysia, the end of secondary school is marked by the completion of the SPM examination. Students are then faced with one of the biggest questions yet – what’s next? For those of you intending to further your studies, choosing a good pre-university course is vital in terms of providing a strong foundation for your chosen academic pursuit. To help you with this formidable decision, we have listed out some of the most common pre-university options. Whatever your choice, we wish you the best in your future endeavours.

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)

Grading: From 2012, 20%-40% coursework and 60%-80% examinations.

Duration: 24 months.

Awarding Body: Malaysian Examinations Council.

Subjects: Accounting, Business Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Chinese Language, Economics, General Studies, Geography, History, Islamic Law, Literature in English, Malay Language, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Tamil Language.

Style: Has changed from exam-oriented learning to an outcome based education. Overall STPM results will be on a cumulative basis over three exam terms. Coursework also contributes to results – projects or assignments, laboratory work and field research. All subjects are taken simultaneously, requiring consistent learning and in-depth understanding.

Cambridge A Levels (CAL)

Grading: 100% external examination.

Duration: 18 months.

Awarding Body: University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE).

Subjects: Accounting, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computing, Economics, Law, Literature, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Sociology.

Style: Completely examination oriented. Exams are conducted in two phases – AS Level and A2 Level. Subjects are taken simultaneously and students will be examined on cumulative work. Committed dedication to learning and in-depth understanding is required.

South Australian Matriculation (SAM)

Grading: 70% continuous assessments and 30% final examination.

Duration: Ranges from eight to 16 months.

Awarding Body: SACE Board of South Australia.

Subjects: Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English Studies, Information Technology, Legal Studies, Literature, Malay, Mathematical Studies, Physics, Psychology, Research Project.

Style: Assessment tasks that include projects, assignments and laboratory work are assigned throughout the year. Students should be prepared for examinations that include multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions and essay questions. Time management is key in order to juggle both coursework and preparation for examinations.

Canadian Pre-University (CPU)

Grading: 70% continuous assessments and 30% final examination.

Duration: 12 months.

Awarding Body: Ministry of Education, Ontario, Canada.

Subjects: Analysing Current Economic Issues, Biology, Business Leadership, Canadian and World Politics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Financial Accounting Principles, Functions, International Business Fundamentals, Literacy Skills, Physics.

Style: Focus is on performance-based skills. continuous assessments, varied assignments and class presentations encourage students to develop as well-rounded individuals. To develop community awareness, there is a 10-hour compulsory community service.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)

Grading: 80% final examination and 20% continuous assessments including tests and project work.

Duration: 24 months.

Awarding Body: International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO).

Subjects: Accounting, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computing, Design Technology, Economics, Exercise and Health, Film, Geography, Latin, Literature, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Theatre, Visual Arts.

Style: Required to take six subjects, one from each of the subject groups listed below and either one from The Arts or a permitted substitute. Divided into six subject groups – Language A1, Second Language, Individuals and Societies, Experimental Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, and The Arts. Designed to provide a balanced and academically challenging programme of education.

American Degree Transfer Program (ADTP)

Grading: 70% continuous assessments and 30% final examination.

Duration: One year (one+four option) or two years (two+two option).

Awarding Body: Credit transfer programme

Subjects: Accounting, Advertising, Biological Science, Computer Programming, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Economics, Effective Public Communication, Acting, General Chemistry, Physics for Science and Engineering, Psychology, World Religion.

Style: The ADTP is a credit-transfer programme – students complete about half the degree requirements locally and complete the other half in the United States. Suitable for students that are still exploring as majors only need to be decided in the second year of studies. The liberal arts education philosophy ensures that students are exposed to both the Sciences and the Arts.

Australian Matriculation Programme (AUSMAT)

Grading: 50% continuous assessments, 50% external examination.

Duration: Ranges from eight to 16 months.

Awarding Body: The Curriculum Council of Western Australia.

Subjects: Accounting & Finance, Biological Sciences, Business Management and Enterprise, Career & Enterprise, Chemistry, Computer Studies, Economics, English, German, Mathematics, Physics, Politics and Law, Psychology.

Style: Generally, does not restrict students to any particular subject combination which allows students to pursue different areas of interests. Focused on developing student holistically through a balanced approach of exams and coursework.

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