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After SPM or IGCSE O-Level

After SPM Guide 2024. What to do after SPM? What are the study options?

Foundation courses (111) found

Congratulations, you've successfully completed your Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exams! How do you feel now that the exams are over?

I'm sure you're breathing a sigh of relief, but here's the thing: your educational journey isn't over yet. While waiting for the official SPM results, why not take some time to read this guide and figure out your next steps for higher education?

As an SPM graduate, you have various options to continue your studies, such as matriculation, pre-university, the American Degree Program (ADP) and more. 

Let's go through this guide together to explore your options after SPM, so you can make an informed decision about your higher education journey in Malaysia.


What are the available pathways after SPM?

After SPM Pathways

After SPM, you have different options to choose from based on what you like and what you want to do in the future. Here are some of the pathways you can take:

  • STPM/Matriculation
  • Pre-University courses such as Foundation, A-Level, etc
  • Diploma courses
  • American Degree Program

Now, let's take a closer look at each of these options to determine which one might be the most suitable for you.

a. Malaysian Matriculation Program

The Malaysian Matriculation Program (Program Matrikulasi Malaysia) is a one-year program offered by the Ministry of Education. It is conducted in matriculation colleges throughout the country. 

This program focuses on core subjects related to the chosen stream and prepares students for undergraduate studies at local universities. 

Benefits of this program include familiarity with the local education system and lower costs.

b. Pre-University Programs (Foundation, A-Level, etc)

Pre-university programs or courses are designed as a pathway for SPM leavers to progress to a Bachelor's degree and prepare students for higher education. 

They provide a solid academic foundation and typically take one to two years to complete.

Here are the some Pre-U options available in Malaysia:

  • Foundation
  • A-Level
  • Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)
  • Canadian Matriculation

Compare Pre-U courses in Malaysia on EasyUni

i. Foundation Studies

Many colleges and universities in Malaysia offer Foundation programs in various fields such as science, arts, business, and engineering. 

These programs usually span one year and provide a solid academic foundation for students intending to pursue a degree. 

The benefits of foundation studies include the opportunity to explore different disciplines and a smoother transition to a Bachelor’s degree at the same university. 


  • Shorter duration than A-Level (1 year vs 1.5-2 years)

  • Lower cost

  • Smooth progression to a Bachelor’s degree at the same university

  • Recognized by other universities in Malaysia

Entry requirements: SPM or IGCSE or equivalent with minimum 5 credits including English.

Here are some institutions that provide this Foundation program:

ii. A-Level

A-Levels, short for Advanced Level, are internationally recognized qualifications widely accepted by universities worldwide. 

They are typically a two-year program and offer in-depth knowledge and critical thinking skills. 

Students are required to undertake a minimum of 3 subjects. Some students even can take up more than 3 subjects if they want to enroll in a more competitive university such as Oxford or Cambridge.

A-Levels is suitable for students who have a strong command of English, academically disciplined and able to prepare well for exams, and may be planning to study abroad or want to keep options open in terms of continuing their Bachelor’s degree in Malaysia or abroad.


  • Recognized and accepted by universities all over the world including Malaysia
  • Provides a flexibility to students in deciding to continue to Bachelor’s degree in Malaysia or abroad

Entry requirements: SPM or IGCSE or equivalent with minimum 5 credits including English.

Here are some institutions that provide this A-Level program:

iii. Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT or SACE International)

This program follows the Australian education system and allows students to pursue a range of subjects. 

There are 2 types of Australian matriculation offered in Malaysia:

  • Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)
  • SACE International (South Australian Certificate of Education)

Both of them 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.

AUSMAT is administered by and follows the curriculum of the Western Australia Certificate of Education (WACE). You will be assessed and graded based on 50% coursework and 50% final examination.

SACE International is administered by the SACE Board of South Australia. You will be assessed and graded based on 70% coursework and 30% final examination.

Benefits of these Australian matriculation programs include flexibility in subject choices, development of independent study skills, and preparation for studying in Australia.

Choosing an AUSMAT or SACE International program is not only beneficial if you plan to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Australia, but it also holds recognition worldwide, including by universities in Malaysia.

This means that even if your plans to study in Australia are canceled, you can still secure admission into a Malaysian university without encountering any obstacles.


  • Shorter duration than A-Level
  • Recognized and accepted by universities worldwide including in Malaysia
  • Assessment is based on coursework and final exam

Entry requirements: SPM or IGCSE or equivalent with minimum 5 credits including English.

AUSMAT and SACE International are offered by a few private colleges in Malaysia such as:

iv. Canadian Matriculation

The Canadian International Matriculation Program (CIMP) or also known as Canadian Pre-University (CPU) is an option for students interested in pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at a university in Canada.

CIMP is a globally recognized Year 12 secondary school curriculum originally from Ontario, Canada. It holds approval from Malaysia's Ministry of Education, and its delivery is overseen by the Ontario (Canada) Ministry of Education, which conducts annual inspections. Upon successful completion, CIMP graduates receive the prestigious Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). 

By enrolling in this programme, students gain the valuable opportunity to pursue higher education not only in Canada but also across the globe. The comprehensive and internationally recognized nature of CIMP opens doors to educational pathways and institutions worldwide.


  • Shorter in duration - only 1 year

  • Recognized and accepted by universities worldwide including in Malaysia

  • Assessment is based on coursework and final exam

Entry requirements: SPM or IGCSE or equivalent with minimum 5 credits including English.

Sunway College, Kuala Lumpur is the only institution in Malaysia offering CIMP.

c. Diploma Programs

Diploma programs provide hands-on training and specific skills in various fields. These programs generally take two to three years to complete. 

Diploma holders can either enter the workforce or continue their studies at a higher level. 

Benefits of diploma programs include practical experience, early entry into the job market, and the possibility of credit transfers towards a degree program.

  • Duration: 2-2.5 years

  • Cost: RM 20-30k in general, but some niche and specialized Diploma courses can be more expensive

  • Entry requirements: Minimum 3 credits in SPM and a pass in Sejarah & Bahasa Malaysia or any equivalents such as O-Levels/IGCSE.

d. American Degree Program (ADP)

The American Degree Program (ADP) is available at selected private universities in Malaysia and is designed to align with the American higher education system. 

You can join ADTP right after completing your SPM.

This program enables students to complete the initial two years of their undergraduate degree in Malaysia before seamlessly transferring to a university in the United States, Canada and a few other countries to continue their studies. 

ADP offers students the advantage of flexible subject choices, fostering active learning and critical thinking skills, while providing exposure to the American education system. 


  • More affordable pathway than going to the USA directly

  • Flexibility in transferring to a university in the USA, Canada, and a few other countries

Here are a few institutions that offer ADP:

What are the estimated tuition fees for each level of study?

Tuition fees vary for each level of study depending on the institution. Below, we have listed several colleges and universities in Malaysia along with the estimated tuition fees for the different study programs available at each institution:

MSU Malaysia

Management & Science University (MSU) is one of the top private universities in Malaysia. MSU is currently ranked as a QS World Top 100 among the world’s Top 50 Universities Under 50 and 147th among Asia’s Best Universities. MSU offers a wide range of Foundation and Diploma courses for SPM leavers.


APU Malaysia

Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) is one of the top private universities in Malaysia and boasts a new and impressive campus in Bukit Jalil area of Kuala Lumpur. APU is one of the most diverse university with students from all over the world. They offer a wide range of Foundation and Diploma courses.

What can you do while waiting for the SPM results?

While waiting for the SPM results, there are several productive things you can do to make the most of your time and prepare yourself for the next phase of your education and career.

1. Develop new skills

One of the most beneficial activities you can engage in is skill development. Consider taking short courses or workshops to develop new skills or improve existing ones. This could include language courses to improve your communication skills, computer skills to enhance your digital literacy, or vocational skills training to prepare you for specific industries.

2. Find a part-time job or internship

While waiting for your results, it's an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience through part-time work or internships. Look for opportunities related to your field of interest to gain valuable work experience and insights into your chosen industry. 

Internships not only provide hands-on experience but also allow you to network with professionals in your field and gain valuable insights into potential career paths.

3. Do volunteer work

Volunteering is another productive way to spend your time while waiting for your SPM results. You can get involved in volunteer activities or community service projects that interest you, such as animal welfare, charity work, outreach programs, and more.

Volunteering not only allows you to give back to society but also helps you develop important soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and leadership.

What's even better, you have the opportunity to meet new people. By volunteering, you can make friends with people of different ages and backgrounds, broadening your perspective on various matters.

4. Personal development

Take advantage of this break from academic studies to focus on your personal development. Dedicate time to reading books, exploring new hobbies, or practicing mindfulness and self-care. 

For instance, use this time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, and set personal and academic goals for the future. 

You can also engage in activities that challenge you and help you grow both personally and academically. Remember, this break is an opportunity for you to recharge and prepare yourself for the next phase of your academic journey.

5. Prepare for entrance exams

If you plan to pursue certain pre-university programs or international qualifications such as the SAT (for American universities) or the IELTS/TOEFL (for English proficiency), use this time to prepare for these exams by improving your basic English skills, such as writing, listening, grammar, and others. Familiarize yourself with the exam format, practice sample questions, and seek guidance from your English teacher if needed.

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