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

Ultimate guide to your university study options after SPM.

Congratulations on finishing your Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exams! As you start your educational journey, it's important to know the different options you have after SPM.

This guide will give you detailed information on what you can do after SPM, while you wait for the results. It covers programs like matriculation, pre-university, diploma, A-level, and the American Degree Program (ADP).

The guide will help you understand the things to consider when choosing a pathway after SPM.

After SPM Pathways

Pathways After SPM

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
Taylor's College Malaysia

Taylor's College offers Foundation, A-Level, South Australian Certificate of Education (also known as SACE International) and Diploma courses. Taylor's University is ranked #1 among private universities in Malaysia and the entire Southeast Asia in 2023.

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.



Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL) is the only university in Malaysia that champions the area of infrastructure. IUKL's tuition fees are reasonable and they offer many scholarships to deserving Malaysian students.

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.


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

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 private colleges and universities 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.

Here is an institution that provide this CIMP program:

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 to Do While Waiting for SPM Results

While waiting for the SPM results, there are several productive activities students can engage in to enhance their skills and knowledge.

a. Volunteer or Intern

Consider engaging in volunteer work or internships related to your areas of interest. 

This will provide valuable real-world experience, allow you to develop new skills, and give you a better understanding of different industries.

b. Upskill Yourself

Take advantage of online courses, webinars, or workshops to develop new skills or enhance existing ones. 

This could include learning a new language, improving your computer literacy, or acquiring industry-specific skills.

c. Research and Explore

Use this time to research different educational pathways and programs, gather information about potential career options, and explore various fields of study. 

This will help you make an informed decision about your future education and career goals.

d. Prepare for Entrance Exams

If you plan to pursue certain pre-university programs or international qualifications like the SAT (for American universities) or the IELTS/TOEFL (for English proficiency), use this time to prepare for these exams. 

Familiarize yourself with the format, practice sample questions, and seek guidance if needed.


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