After-SPM Guide 2018.

Your Pre-University options, university and career decisions, scholarships, loans and more - all in one place.

This is the day you have been preparing for - the day you can finally throw a fist (or your old school books!) in the air and say a hoorah, because you’re done with your SPM (or equivalent such as IGCSE, GCSE, GCE O-Level). Onto the future!

But wait... what’s next? You’ve got the questions, and our After-SPM Guide has the answers.

How to check your SPM results

There’s no one way of checking your SPM results - pick and choose according to your own convenience, of the three methods: at your school, online, or via SMS. For more information read SPM Results Out Today: Here's How to Check the Results.

After SPM: What’s next

Completing your SPM, you’re faced with one of the two paths:

  • continuing your studies straightaway at tertiary level, or
  • taking a break (i.e. gap year) to refocus.

There's no right or wrong here; whichever path you choose, it should be suited for you.

A gap year should be nothing for you to be ashamed about. During this time – contrary to what your parents may believe – you won’t be couch-sitting. Instead, you’ll be making something of yourself. Use the gap year as a refresher course for your future - you’ll come out anew and more level-headed.

Continuing your studies at university or college right after SPM is a good option too - after all, the sooner you earn your degree or diploma, the sooner you can enter the workforce and begin making a life of your own.

The usual process is:

  1. you choose a course/programme/major you want to study (e.g. civil engineering), and then
  2. you find the right university for you that offers your chosen course.

Choosing a course can be overwhelming. You should talk to your parents, older siblings, cousins, friends.. You can reach out to EasyUni counselors too if you need more opinions. In general, these 3 core questions can help you narrow down your options.

  1. What are you passionate about?
  2. What are you good at?
  3. What's your budget?

Pro-tip! Consider using the Hedgehog vs Fox approach for better judgement.

You might also be interested in:

Do you need help?

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Choosing a university

Once you’ve decided on your course, the next step would be deciding on where you’d like to study the course. Study abroad destinations such as the UK and the USA, Australia and Singapore are popular choices amongst students. However, it can be expensive! To combat this, why not look to Malaysia itself?

In Malaysia, students have the choice of enrolling in several different types of institutions, such as:


Public universities. There are 20 public universities in Malaysia. Tuition fees at public universities are a lot cheaper than in private, but admission is very competitive.


Private universities and colleges. Although higher in tuition fees, Malaysia is home to several prestigious private universities specialising in a variety of fields, and are often divided between colleges, university colleges and universities.


Politekniks. Offering courses in vocational and technical subjects, these schools in Malaysia are famous for their skilled workforce and knowledge, with 37 polytechnics existing in Malaysia, divided into three categories: premier, conversional, and metro.


Kolej Komuniti. Many schools nationwide offer the Technical and Vocational education and training (TVET) certificate and diploma course - these types of higher education institutions often have two-year programmes only, preparing students for a four-year degree or early entry into the workforce.


Foreign universities with campuses in Malaysia. While on the slightly higher end when it comes to tuition fees, foreign branch campuses from the likes of the UK, Australia and China allow students to continue studying in Malaysia while obtaining a degree from abroad.

Pro-tip! Attend as many open days and education fairs as you can, because then you can see what the school, students, and teachers are like.

Types of Pre-University Courses - Your Pathway After SPM

Each pre-university course is catered to specific students, in regards to their eventual university’s location, subject, etc. Here, we list out the various courses that should be on your radar, as well as each course’s unique point, to make it easier for you to choose which would be the ideal one for you. Cost? Duration? Popularity? Fret not - we’ve got you covered!

After SPM flowchart


The A-Level is one of the most widely acknowledged UK-based pre-university courses around the world, with the possibility of acceptance at the majority of universities, whether in Asia itself or elsewhere abroad. The A-Level is offered in colleges under either the Cambridge International Examinations board or the Edexcel board, and constitutes of two parts, the Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level and the A2 Level.

Intakes: January, March, July
Tuition Fees: RM15,000-RM35,000
Duration: 1 ½ - 2 years
Subjects Taken: 3-4 subjects
Assessments: Exams & Coursework
Recognition: Worldwide

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme

This one’s for the toughies; originally from Geneva, Switzerland, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) may be a newbie but has gradually become more widely known and accepted around the world. It is, too, often referred to as quite a challenge, the system being structured in a way so as to produce students knowledgeable and experienced in all areas of the sciences and arts. A unique feature of IB is that students are also required to complete courses and assessments on two subjects: Creative, Action and Service Activities (CAS), and Theory of Knowledge (TOK).

Intakes: August
Tuition Fees: RM20,000-RM60,000
Duration: 2 years
Subjects Taken: 6
Recognition: Worldwide


For those planning on enrolling in local public universities, the Matriculation course is ideal, with the government subsidising tuition costs for students. Apart from the chosen study stream, those studying the course are required to take four other compulsory subjects: English Language, Dynamic Skills, Islamic/Moral Education and Information Technology.

Intakes: April/May Tuition Fees: Free (apart from registration fees) Duration: 1-2 years Subjects Taken: 4 Recognition: Local & Partly Overseas

STPM (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia)

Although often looked upon as a difficult course when it comes to pre-university, Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) or Form 6 is generally a very cost-effective course, which allows students to be flexible in their future careers and eligible to enter universities worldwide while having to pay an affordable fee. Students are also given the option of taking resits of papers if they wish to improve their grades further, all of which leads to the popularity of the course in Malaysia.

Intakes: May
Tuition Fees: RM450+
Duration: 1.5 years
Subjects Taken: 5
Recognition: Worldwide


The Asasi or Foundations programme is a direct access route into university for potential students who have already decided upon their degree of choice. Purely exam-based, Asasi is available as both an open and closed programme, where an open programme would allow students entry into other public universities, while a closed programme restricts students to the university they are currently enrolled in.

Intakes: March, June
Tuition Fees: Free
Duration: 1-2 years
Subjects Taken: 1 (as per intended degree)
Recognition: Local

American Degree Programme (ADP/ADTP)

The American Degree Programme (ADP) or American Degree Transfer Programme (ADTP) is a course whereby students skip the pre-university stage and directly graduate with a degree in their chosen field after completion of this course. During their studies, students have the option of spending 1 or 2 years in Malaysia, and the rest of the ADP’s years in a university located in the USA or Canada.

Intakes: January, March, May, August
Tuition Fees: RM35,000-RM62,000 (2 years in Malaysia)
Duration: 4 years
Subjects Taken: 7
Recognition: American Universities

Institutions that offer this course: MCKL, MAHSA University and more!

Australian Matriculation/South Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT/SAM)

While especially recommended for students hoping to pursue their degrees in Australia, this programme is generally recognised in several countries around the world. The course is available by two different bodies: the Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) administered by the Western Australian Government, while the South Australian Matriculation (SAM) comes under the South Australian government. While two different programmes, both are similar in every way, with the exception of the weight of assessments.

Intakes: January, March, July, September
Tuition Fees: RM15,000-RM27,000
Duration: 1 year
Subjects Taken: 5
Recognition: Worldwide

Institutions that offer this course: INTI International University, MCKL, Taylor’s College and more!

Canadian Pre-University

Also known as the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, the Canadian Pre-University (CPU) course allows students to venture to countries worldwide instead of just Canadian universities for their degrees. Along with their studies, students of CPU are also required to finish a specific number of hours of Community Service. The programme focuses much on the real world and practical skills as well, through assessments which include presentations and projects, among others.

Intakes: January, March, September/October
Tuition Fees: RM25,000-RM32,000
Duration: 1-1.5 years
Subjects Taken: 6
Recognition: Worldwide

Institutions that offer this course: Taylor’s College, President College and more!


A Foundation course is commonly taken up by students who are already decided on their intended career path, making the course inherently specific and tailored to fit the students’ future degree’s curriculums, essentially equipping students with a foundation for their degree. A Foundation course is also the fastest track to get you enrolled in a university.

Intakes: January, March/May, July/August/September
Tuition Fees: RM15,000-RM25,000
Duration: 9-12 months
Subjects Taken: 1 (stream)
Recognition: Limited universities locally & abroad

Institutions that offer this course: MSU, Curtin University, Manipal International University and more!

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Fast Track Courses

There’s always more than one option open to you; if you wish to skip pre-university altogether, you may want to consider one of these fast-track courses instead.

TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training)

TVET is an exclusive programme tailored to provide its students with the knowledge and practical skills to enter the workforce directly, without having to attend a formal education system of any sort. Currently, the marketability of TVET graduates in Malaysia’s employment market is higher (98%) compared to university graduates (60%). Furthermore, in addition to being employed faster, TVET graduates are also offered higher wages due to the high demand for graduates with specific skill sets.

Intakes: January, April, July, September
Duration: 6-24 months
Subjects Taken: 1
Recognition: Worldwide


Although not a course which is up to par with that of a Bachelor’s degree, a diploma is a step ahead of a pre-university course, wherein it prepares students to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation, instead of going on to university. The qualifications required to enter a Diploma programme are also usually lower than entry into other pre-university programmes such as A-Levels, STPM, etc.

Intakes: January, March/May, August
Tuition Fees: RM19,000-RM45,000
Duration: 2-3 years
Subjects Taken: 1
Recognition: Worldwide

English Language Proficiency Tests

Along with subject entry requirements, universities also require you to possess a certain level of English competency, through one of the tests below.

English proficiency tests

PTE Academic Test (The Pearson Test of English Academic)

PTE Academic is a computer-based test that targets non-native English speakers who seek to study abroad or work in another part of the world where English is their mother tongue. PTE Academic is accepted by numerous and prestigious universities worldwide, including Harvard Business School and YALE, whereas in Australia and New Zealand, it is accepted for visa purposes from the respective governments. PTE Academic is highly demanded from institutions such as the university or college you may be currently eyeing to apply for, government and other organisations to test on your absolute readiness to participate in a university-level English language instruction program.

What is the exam like? PTE Academic provides tests in Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening. In Speaking and Writing, self-introduction and providing verbal academic answers are required to the computer you are assigned to. In the writing section, you need to provide written responses using academic English. For the Reading section, you will be provided with tasks such as fill-in-the blanks, multiple choice questions, and more. In the third section, Listening, it consists of a series of questions based on audio or video clips and are played automatically. You need to take note and answer the questions in the text boxes provided.

Tip: To ace the PTE Academic test, you can try practicing at controlling your pace in speech and creating a basic outline of requirements you want to mention in the tests.

Did you know… There are well over 200 test locations for PTE Academic exam sessions worldwide. These sessions run almost all year round or exactly 363 days!

IELTS (International English Testing System)

IELTS conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment. It is globally recognised as a secure, valid and reliable indicator of true-to-life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation. IELTS are administered at accredited test centres throughout the world and candidates can apply online, by person or by post.

What is the exam like: During the listening exam, examiners answer questions while listening to four recorded monologues and conversations. The speaking component, is based on a face to face conversation including a short speech. For the reading component there are three long passages with tasks such as fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice questions. Writing skills are again challenged by handwritten essays about a given topic.

Tip: Try building up your communication skills.

Did you know… More than 9,000 organisations worldwide accept IELTS. This test is taken 2.7 million times in 2015, and therefore it is the world’s most popular English language test.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

The TOEFL is an internet based examination and just like the other English tests, it measures your ability to use and understand English in universities. The TOEFL is for students who want to study at a higher education institution, people applying for a scholarship or visa, and someone who is learning English and wants to track their progress.

What is the exam like: The test is given in English and it consists of four sections; reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The exam consists of multiple-choice tests, oral exam, and written exam. Between the listening and speaking section, there will be a 10-minute break.

Tip: Read a lot before the exams—read smart and choose the topics you read wisely. This is also good for improving your vocabulary as you prepare for the exam.

Did you know… Should you fail the test, then there is no need to worry, because the test can be taken as many times as you wish as long as it is not within the 12 days you failed the test. 

MUET (Malaysian University English Test)

MUET is a proficiency test administered by the Malaysian Examinations Council. It is taken by students who intend to pursue their degree studies in Malaysian public universities. Unlike the IELTS and the TOEFL, MUET is only recognised in Malaysia and Singapore.

What is the exam like: The assessment for MUET primarily focuses on four components, under which: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The listening and speaking components contribute for 15% and have a duration of 30 minutes each. The listening component is examined through five recorded texts. The speaking component consists of an individual presentation and is followed by a group interaction. The reading and writing components count for 40% and 30% respectively and have to be completed within 90 minutes. Examiner’s reading skills are tested through 50 multiple choice questions based on 6 short texts, while writing skills are challenged by handwritten essays about a given topic.

Tip: In order to get a favourable total score in your MUET, focus more of your efforts on your Reading and Writing components as they carry the bulk of your scores.

Did you know… Government officials who want to seek for promotion must also take MUET.

You may have heard about English 1119. But what is it, really?

The English 1119, is an English language proficiency test included in the SPM examination. This exam is equivalent to the GCE (O-Levels) English language in the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). The test consists of two papers, 1119/1 consists of two writing tests, and 1119/2 which is comprised of four sections including objective questions answered by multiple choice, knowledge transfer, reading comprehension, and literature.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Public Education better than Private Education?

There is no study that validates this notion as both types of education have their unique strengths. Learning is all about gaining experiences that are available in both. Job prospects depend highly on your communication skills, critical thinking, relevant work experience, and willingness to learn rather than the reputation of your institution.

Can I use my SPM trial results to enrol in Pre­-U?

You cannot use your trial results for public university applications. Only private institutions will accept trial results for short term courses only. If you’re enrolling for pre-university, the private institution will ask for your trial results for reference and will still need your actual results before you get officially enrolled.

I think I will fail in my SPM. If that happens, can I resit for the exams?

Yes you can resit for your SPM exams next year. You will have to register as a private candidate. Repeat exams happen in June and the results are released in August.

Is UEC recognised overseas?

Yes, UEC is recognised in some international universities. Read full list of universities that accept UEC.

Is a Diploma qualification enough?

If you who wish to gain employment quicker than your peers, then you may benefit in a diploma qualification. Unlike a bachelor’s programme, technical and skills training are emphasised in a diploma programme. Students are trained for a specific trade mostly in the fields of hospitality, tourism, culinary arts, graphics design, fashion design, teaching, bookkeeping, and more.

What is the difference between ‘Credit Transfer’ and ‘Twinning’?

With credit transfers, you can transfer to an American university of your choice to complete your degree. With twinning programmes, the partner university (which you will obtain your degree from, and is usually the university that’s located abroad) is already decided right from the start.

How much Maths do I need to get into Accountancy?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a math genius to get into accountancy. Some basic numeracy skills are required but to become a great accountant, you’ll need good analytical and communication skills.

I didn’t take Biology and Science in SPM but I want to take up medicine. Is that possible?

To qualify for a medical programme, you will need 5 Bs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Add Maths, and another subject. Since you don’t have these papers, you may have to wait for next year’s SPM exams to take these papers.