Introduction

Welcome! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.


Thursday, 23 January 2014

My 2013 Year End Examination

Until now, the longest examination that I have ever taken was my 2013 year end examination. The SPM examination that I took in November 2012 was also quite long, but it lasted for only about 3 weeks. On the other hand, my 2013 year end examination lasted for almost 2 months. During my 2013 year end examination, I actually took 4 different examinations. My first day of exam was on 15 October 2013, while my last day of exam was on 7 December 2013. During that 2 months, I was very busy studying for my exam. However, I did not feel too stressful, and some interesting events happened during the 2 months. In fact, I felt that I was more stressful during my SPM examination.


Here are some details of the 4 examinations I took.

1. Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level Final Examination:

I am currently studying A Level in Taylor's College Subang Jaya. AS Level is the first half of the full A Level. The AS Level final examination contributes half of the marks for the overall A Level results. I took 4 subjects, which are Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. For the AS Level examination, Mathematics has 2 papers, while Chemistry, Physics and Biology have 3 papers each.

2. BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT):

I applied to the Oxford University, University College London and Imperial College London for Medicine course. I applied for these universities because they are in the top 10 universities list of the JPA scholarship. These 3 universities require all applicants who apply for Medicine course to take an admission test, which is the BMAT. The BMAT examination has 3 sections.

3. Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM):

I first took the SPM in year 2012. However, I did not take the Chinese language subject in SPM 2012 because I was not confident of getting A+ or A. However, as a Chinese, I have the responsibility to take Chinese language in SPM. Therefore, I took Chinese language in SPM 2013 as private candidate. I did not take any other subjects in SPM 2013. SPM Chinese Language has 2 papers.

4. International English Language Testing System (IELTS):

All universities that I have applied to or plan to apply to require proof of English language proficiency because the courses are studied in English. IELTS is the most commonly used English language proficiency test by universities. My IELTS testing fee was paid by the Ministry of Education under the Bursary. The IELTS test has 4 components, which are Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.


This is my diary for every day during the examination.

11 October 2013 (Friday):

This is the last day of college before the AS Level Final Examination starts. After college, I had lunch with my friends at Ooi's Noodle House. After returning home, I revised Mathematics Paper 1. 

12 October (Saturday) to 14 October 2013 (Monday):

There were no college during the 3 days. I spent most of my time doing revision for Mathematics Paper 1. I did past year questions for Mathematics Paper 1 and also went through the examples in the textbook and my teacher's notes.

15 October 2013 (Tuesday):

It was the first day of the AS Level Final Examination. The subject tested on that day was AS Mathematics Paper 1. The questions were very easy. I could finish all the questions within the time limit and I even had time to recheck all my answers. I was confident to score very high marks and maybe full marks for Mathematics Paper 1. After the examination, my friends told me that they were planning to go to Singapore for holidays in December 2013 and they asked me if I wanted to join them. I was interested to join them but I had to ask my parents' permission first. They had a discussion about the trip to Singapore in the college learning hub. After returning home, I told my parents about the trip to Singapore and they agreed to let me go. I also telephoned my grandparents to tell them about that and they agreed. Later, through Whatsapp told my friends that I would be joining them to go to Singapore.

16 October (Wednesday) to 21 October 2013 (Monday):

There were no examination during these few days. From 16 October to 19 October, I spent most of my time revising Biology Paper 2. I did past year questions for Biology Paper 2. I also revised my teacher's notes, the notes that I took down myself while in class and the textbook. Then on 20 October, I revised for Physics Paper 3. I went through the past year papers and the mark schemes on the internet. I also went through my practical manual book and the textbook. I then posted on Facebook some common answers for the Limitations and Improvements questions which always appear in the Question 2 of Physics Paper 3 to help my friends.

22 October 2013 (Tuesday):

The subject tested on that day was AS Physics Paper 3. I was in Shift 1 so I did not have to be quarantined before the examination started. Some of my friends were also in Shift 1 but others were in Shift 2. For Physics Paper 3, the experiments were easy to carry out and the questions were quite easy. For the Limitations and Improvements question in Question 2, 3 out of the 4 answers could be found in my list of common answers which I posted on Facebook a day earlier. I was confident to get high marks for Physics Paper 3. After the examination, I and all students in Shift 1 had to be quarantined for 1 hour. My friends told me that they also used the answers in my list of common answers. After returning home, I revised Biology Paper 2.

23 October 2013 (Wednesday):

The subject tested on that day was AS Biology Paper 2. The questions were moderately difficult. They were easier than what I expected. One of the question was exactly the same as the question which appeared in the previous year's examination. I could get full marks for that question since I just did it one day earlier. However, there were also a few questions that were quite difficult. I was confident of getting at least 48/60 for Biology Paper 2. After returning home, I revised Physics Paper 2 and Chemistry Paper 2.

24 October (Thursday) to 28 October 2013 (Monday):

There were no examination during these few days. From 24 October to 27 October, I spent most of my time revising Physics Paper 2 and Chemistry Paper 2. I did past year questions for Physics Paper 2 and Chemistry Paper 2. Then on 28 October, I did revision for Chemistry Paper 3. I went through the past year papers and the mark schemes on the internet. I also went through my practical manual book.

29 October 2013 (Tuesday):

The subject tested on that day was AS Chemistry Paper 3. I was in Shift 2 so I had to be quarantined for more than 2 hours before the examination started. Some of my friends were also in Shift 2 but others were in Shift 1. For Chemistry Paper 3, the experiments were not difficult to carry out and the questions were easy. The questions, especially those on Qualitative Analysis, were easier than what I had expected. During that examination, it was the first time that I successfully got a 'pop' sound when I used a lighted wooden splinter to test for hydrogen gas. After the examination, I did not have to be quarantined. After returning home, I revised Physics Paper 2.

30 October (Wednesday) to 4 November 2013 (Monday):

There were no examination during these few days. From 30 October to 2 November, I spent most of my time doing revision for Physics Paper 2. I did past year questions for Physics Paper 2. I also revised my teacher's notes and the textbook. Then on 3 November and 4 November, I did revision for Mathematics Paper 6. I did past year questions for Mathematics Paper 6 and also went through the examples in the textbook and my teacher's notes.

5 November 2013 (Tuesday):

The subject tested on that day was AS Mathematics Paper 6. The questions were very easy. I could finish all the questions within the time limit and I even had time to recheck all my answers. I was confident to get very high marks and maybe full marks for Mathematics Paper 6. I was very sure of getting above 90 marks or maybe 100 marks for AS Mathematics. After returning home, I revised Biology Paper 3.

6 November 2013 (Wednesday):

The test on that day was the BMAT. The test was held in the afternoon. I went to college in the morning. I went to the library and did revision for Biology Paper 3. I did not revise for the BMAT because it tests on scientific knowledge that is already in the A level syllabus, as well as aptitude and writing skills. In the library, I met one of my friend who was also revising Biology. Then when I was about to go for lunch, I met a few of my friends. I had lunch with them at JoJo's Kitchen. After lunch, I walked to the 7th floor of Wisma Subang Jaya to take the BMAT. BMAT Section A was very difficult because the questions tested on aptitude and IQ. I could not answer many of the questions and I also did not have enough time to finish all the questions. BMAT Section B was easier because the questions tested on Science and Mathematics. I could answer many of the questions, but I still could not finish all the questions within the time limit. BMAT Section C was moderately difficult. I could finish writing the essay within the time limit. After returning home, I continued revising Biology Paper 3. I went through the past year questions and the mark schemes on the internet. I also revised the Practical worksheets, my teacher's notes and the textbook.

7 November 2013 (Thursday):

The subject tested on that day was AS Biology Paper 3. I was in Shift 1 so I did not have to be quarantined before the examination started. All my classmates were also in Shift 1. For Biology Paper 3, the questions were not too difficult and were easier than what I had expected, but the experiments were very difficult to carry out. For question 1, I could not get a correct trend for the results of experiment and I had to rush to finish it just on time. For question 2, the image of the specimen in the microscope slide observed under the microscope was not clear so it was very difficult to draw. I was not confident to score well in Biology Paper 3 and I believe that I had screwed it up. After the examination, I and all students in Shift 1 had to be quarantined for 1 hour. Many of my friends also felt that Biology Paper 3 was very difficult. After returning home, I did revision for Physics Paper 2.

8 November 2013 (Friday):

The subject tested on that day was AS Physics Paper 2. The questions were moderately difficult. They were easier than what I expected. However, I later realised that I made a careless mistake in one question, where I misread 'Elastic potential energy' as 'Electric potential energy'. There were also a few questions that were quite difficult. I was confident of getting at least 50/60 for Physics Paper 2. After returning home, I revised Chemistry Paper 2.

9 November (Saturday) and 10 November 2013 (Sunday):

There were no examination during these two days. I spent most of my time doing revision for Chemistry Paper 2. I did past year questions for Chemistry Paper 2. I also revised my teacher's notes.

11 November 2013 (Monday):

The subject tested on that day was AS Chemistry Paper 2. The questions were quite easy and were easier than what I had expected. However, there were a few questions that were a bit difficult.  I was confident to get at least 54/60 for Chemistry Paper 2. After the examination, I went to the bookshop opposite my college to buy the past year questions for Chemistry, Physics and Biology Paper 1. Then, my friends wanted to go to somewhere for lunch, and they would be driving there. I was interested to follow them there, but my mother would be fetching me home in an hour so I was afraid that I could not return to college on time. At last, I decided to follow them there. I sat one of my friend's car. When I was on the way there, I sent an SMS to my mother to tell her to fetch me 2 hours later. At first, my friends wanted to go to a restaurant in Glenmarie but later we found out that the restaurant no longer existed. Later, they decided to go to Secrets of Louisiana restaurant in Kelana Jaya. It is not too far away from our college. It has a nice scenery since it is located beside a lake and the food there was tasty. Then, my mother telephoned me and told me that she agreed to fetch me 2 hours later. After eating, some of my friends wanted to go shopping at Paradigm Mall but I could not follow them because my mother was going to fetch me soon. My friend drove me back to college. That was the first time I followed my friend out to somewhere far away from our college and it was really an interesting experience. After returning home, I slept for a while. On that night, my parents took me back to Kulim because I had no examination for the following 2 weeks.

12 November (Tuesday) to 25 November 2013 (Monday):

There was no examination during this 2 weeks. From 12 November to 22 November, I stayed in  Kulim. Them, I returned to Subang Jaya on 23 November. Throughout this 2 weeks, I spent most of my time revising Physics Paper 1, Chemistry Paper 1 and Biology Paper 1. I did past year questions for the 3 subjects. I also revised SPM Chinese Language. I did the questions in my SPM Chinese Language revision book.

26 November 2013 (Tuesday):

The subject tested on that day was AS Physics Paper 1. Most of the questions were quite easy and I could answer all questions within the time limit. However, two of the questions were difficult and I later found out that I answered both questions wrongly. I was confident to get above 36/40 for Physics Paper 1. I was very sure of getting grade A and above 90 marks for AS Physics. After returning home, I did revision for Chemistry Paper 1.

27 November 2013 (Wednesday):

The subject tested on that day was AS Chemistry Paper 1. Most of the questions were easy and I could answer all questions within the time limit. However, I later found out that I made a careless mistake in one of the questions. I was confident to get above 36/40 for Chemistry Paper 1. I was very sure of getting grade A and above 90 marks for AS Chemistry. After returning home, I revised SPM Chinese Language.

28 November 2013 (Thursday):

There was no examination on that day. I spent most of my time revising Biology Paper 1. I did past year questions. I also revised my teacher's notes, the textbook and the notes that I took down while in class.

29 November 2013 (Friday):

That was the last day of the AS Level Final Examination. The subject tested on that day was AS Biology Paper 1. Most of the questions were not difficult. However, a few questions were quite difficult and I was not sure whether I answered them correctly or not. I was not confident to get very high marks for Biology Paper 1. I was very sure of getting grade A but not above 90 marks for AS Biology. After retuning home, I did revision for SPM Chinese Language.

30 November (Saturday) to 2 December 2013 (Monday):

There was no examination during these few days. On 30 December, my parents drove me back to Kulim because I would be taking the SPM Chinese Language in Kulim. During these few days, I spent most of my time doing revision for SPM Chinese Language. I revised my SPM Chinese Language reference book. I mostly did revision on the Idioms and Practical Writing sections.

3 December 2013 (Tuesday):

The examination on that day was the SPM Chinese Language. I took the examination at SMK Keladi. It turned out that I was the only candidate in the whole examination hall on that day. Actually there was another candidate who took SPM Arabic Language but he was absent. SPM Chinese Language Paper 2 started first, followed by Paper 1. Paper 2 was quite difficult but was easier than what I had expected, while Paper 1 was not difficult. I was not sure what grade I would be getting for SPM Chinese Language. I hoped to get grade A- or better. After the examination, my grandparents took me to a restaurant in Bukit Mertajam for lunch. On that night, I and my grandparents took a train to Subang Jaya. It was more than 10 years ago since I last took a train. We slept on the train. It was an interesting experience taking a train. 

4 December 2013 (Wednesday):

There was no examination on that day but I had college. We arrived in KL Sentral at about 6:30AM. My parents were already there to fetch us. We then had breakfast at one of the restaurants near my college. After breakfast, I attended college. I told my friends about the SPM Chinese Language examination and my experience taking a train. After returning home from college, I wanted to prepare for the IELTS Speaking but I realised that there were nothing much that I could prepare. I just went through the IELTS reference book that I borrowed from my friend.

5 December 2013 (Thursday):

The test on that day was the IELTS Speaking. I attended college as usual in the morning. Then at 11AM, I left class and walked to IDP Subang Jaya opposite my college to take the IELTS Speaking.   Before the test started, the person in charge told me that the IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing two days later would be held at KBU International College instead of Wisma Subang Jaya because there would be an event at Wisma Subang Jaya. The IELTS Speaking was moderately difficult. For the first part, I was asked questions about myself. For the second part, I was asked to describe a historical event that interests me. I talked about the independence of Malaya, but I could not describe it very well. For the third part, I was asked a few more questions regarding history. I was not sure what band score I would get for IELTS Speaking. I hoped to get a band score of 6.5 or higher. After the test, I returned to college and continued attending lessons. After returning home, I prepared for IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing.

6 December 2013 (Friday):

There was no examination on that day but I had college. In the morning, I attended college as usual. After returning home, I made preparation for IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing. I went through the IELTS reference book that I borrowed from my friend.

7 December 2013 (Saturday):

That was the last day of all my examinations. The test on that day was the IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing. In the morning, my mother took me to KBU International College in Damansara. There, I waited for some time before the test started. IELTS Listening started first, followed by IELTS Reading and finally IELTS Writing. IELTS Listening was very easy. I could hear most of the words clearly and I could answer most of the questions. IELTS Reading was also very easy. The passages given were easy to read and understand and I could answer most of the questions. However, IELTS Writing was difficult, especially the second part. For the first part, it asked me to describe the data given in a table. For the second part, the question was 'Is it possible to be a responsible tourist?'. The question did explain the meaning of 'responsible tourist' and I could understand it, but the essay was difficult to elaborate. I was confident to get higher than band 7.0 for IELTS Listening and Reading, but I was not confident in IELTS Writing. I hoped to get a band score of 6.5 or higher for IELTS Writing and an overall IELTS band score of 7.0 or higher. After the test, my mother took me to Village Park Restaurant for lunch. After returning home, I relaxed for the whole day, and for the rest of the days until the 3rd semester of A Level started on 7 January 2014.
 

These are the results for my examinations.

BMAT:

Before the results was out, I hoped to get at least 5.0 for Section A, 6.0 for Section B, 3.5 for Section C Quality of Content and Grade B for Section C Quality of Writing. The results was out on 27 November 2013. I checked my results online using the computer in the library of my college. My actual results was 4.8 out of 9.0 for Section A, 6.4 out of 9.0 for Section B, 4.0 out of 5.0 for Section C Quality of Content and Grade B for Section C Quality of Writing. According to the website, the mean score for all candidates on that year was 4.8 for Section A, 4.6 for Section B, 3.0 for Section C Quality of Content and Grade A for Section C Quality of Writing. Few candidates got above 6.0 for Section A and B. I was satisfied with my results for Section B and Section C but not Section A. My BMAT results was able to meet the entry requirements for University College London and Imperial College London but not Oxford University.

IELTS:

Before the results was out, I hoped to get band score of at least 6.5 for Writing and Speaking, band score of at least 7.5 for Listening and Reading, and overall band score of at least 7.0 . The results was out on 20 December 2013 2PM. I checked my results online at home using my newly bought iPad Air. My actual results was Band 8.5 for Listening, Band 9.0 for Reading, Band 7.0 for Writing and Band 6.5 for Speaking. My overall band score was 8.0 . I was very satisfied with my results. My IELTS results was able to meet the entry requirements of all universities that I have applied or planning to apply, except Oxford University and University of Queensland, which require band score of 7.0 for all 4 components. However, both Oxford University and University of Queensland accept SPM English 1119 as an English language proficiency test, so I can still apply for them.

AS Level Final Examination:

Before the results was out, I hoped to get grade A with Percentage Uniform Mark of at least 90 for all 4 subjects. However, I was not confident to get Percentage Uniform Mark of 90 for Biology, although I was confident to get grade A for Biology. The results was out on 24 January 2014 2PM. I checked my results online using the computer in the library of my college. My actual results was grade A for all 4 subjects. My percentage uniform mark was 96 for Mathematics, 96 for Chemistry, 93 for Physics and 90 for Biology. I was quite satisfied with my results. However, I was a little disappointed for getting 96 marks for Mathematics because I earlier expected that I could get 100 marks. Still, I was very happy because that was the first time in my life where I got 90 marks and above for all subjects in one examination. 90 marks and above is actually an A* grade, but there is no A* grade at AS level, only at the full A level. My results was able to meet the entry requirements of all universities that I have applied or planning to apply.

SPM:

Before the results was out, I hoped to get at least grade A- for SPM Chinese Language. However, I was not sure what grade I would be getting. The results was out on 20 March 2014 10AM. I checked my results online using my iPad in the learning hub of my college. My actual results was grade A-. I was quite satisfied with my results. However, I was a little disappointed for not getting A or A+ for Chinese Language. My results was able to meet the entry requirements for the University of Hong Kong, which requires grade C.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Pre-university Programmes in Malaysia

NOTICE: This post was previously titled 'After SPM Plans'.

LAST UPDATED: 9 June 2016

If you have finished sitting for the SPM examination, now it is time for you to start planning for your future. Your next step is that you will be studying a pre-university course. There are several pre-university courses available, and you should choose the one that is most suitable for you. Studying a pre-university course is required in order to get into most degree courses in universities, whether local or overseas. Without pre-university course, it is not possible to get into degree courses in universities. While some people may go straight into universities after SPM, they still have to study a pre-university course (either foundation or diploma) first in that university before they can start their degree course.

For your information, I previously planned to study the Ministry of Education Matriculation after my SPM. I applied for the Matriculation on August 2012. However, the results of the application will only be known after the SPM, and the Matriculation programme will only start around June 2013. My parents did not want me to waste my time after SPM, so they wanted me to study A level first. In January 2013, I started studying A level in Taylor's College Subang Jaya. At first, I planned to switch to matriculation later if I get the offer. However, after studying A level for a few months, I began to prefer A level over Matriculation, so I no longer wanted to switch to Matriculation. Eventually, I did not get the offer to study Matriculation. I continued studying A level in Taylor's College and I completed the program in June 2014. Currently, I am studying Medicine at Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia.

Here is a list of pre-university courses in Malaysia and their details.


1. A Level

Structure: This program is based entirely on examinations. A level is divided into 2 semesters, AS and A2, where there is a final examination at the end of each semester. The examination results for both semesters will be combined to give the overall A level results. You will then use your A level results to apply for universities.
Intake: The intake for A level differs according to the college. For most colleges, the intake is at January, April and July every year. Most students will choose the January intake. The January and July intakes are usually the standard course, while the April intake is usually the accelerated course.
Duration: The duration of the A level course differs according to the college and intake. The standard course usually lasts for about 1 year and 6 months while the accelerated course usually lasts for about 1 year and 3 months. Some colleges also offer 2 year A level course, but usually only for the July intake. By choosing the 2 year course, you will have more time to prepare for the A level examination, but you may have to enter universities half year or one year later than others.
Location: You will study A level in private colleges that offer A level. Examples are Taylor's College and Kolej Yayasan UEM. College life is different from secondary school life, so you may need some time to adapt to college life. Some private schools also offer A level.
Fees: The cost to study A level is quite high. Because it is studied in private colleges, you have to pay for tuition, examination and resource fees. You will also need to pay for the reference books and some other fees. Some colleges may offer scholarships to excellent students, but it usually does not cover the full cost of study.
Recognition: A level is widely recognised by universities in Malaysia and throughout the world. With the correct combination of subjects taken in A level, you can apply for almost any course in any universities. However, please note that it is not possible to use A level to apply for Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy courses in Malaysian public universities (IPTA). You can still apply for these courses in Malaysian private universities (IPTS) and overseas.
Subjects: A wide range of subjects is available in A level, including Sciences, Arts and Humanities subjects. Many colleges make it compulsory for students to take the Mathematics subject. You can take either 3, 4 or 5 subjects for A level.
Medium of instruction: All subjects, except language subjects, are studied entirely in English, and the examinations will also be set entirely in English.
Difficulty: A level is moderately difficult. For the AS semester, many of the topics are basically the same as the topics studied in SPM, with some new topics added. Most of the new topics are only found in the A2 semester. Because A level is not too difficult, many students are able to catch up with the syllabus. Besides, studying A level is not too stressful. A level is also not very easy, so it can still provide you with sufficient preparation for degree courses.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For A level, there is no guarantee of entry into any universities, no matter how your results is. You will have to apply for universities by yourself. Your A level results must meet the entry requirements for the universities you apply in order to be accepted by the universities. If your A level results is poor, you may not be accepted by any universities.
Application method: You need to enrol in a college that offers A level before the A level course starts. Usually, you need to visit the college or its office to submit the application. Because there are limited places available in each college and there may also be a deadline for applications, you are advised to apply early.
Entry requirements: To study A level, you need to obtain at least 5C in SPM. To enter A level science stream, you must also obtain at least grade B in all mathematics and science subjects in SPM.


2. Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)

Structure: This program is based on both examinations and courseworks. Examinations carry a greater weightage (around 70% to 90%) compared to courseworks (around 10% to 30%), but the actual weightage differs according to the subject. The STPM is divided into 3 semesters, where there is a final examination at the end of each semester. The marks for the courseworks and the examination results for all semesters will be combined to give the overall STPM results. You will then use your STPM results to apply for universities.
Intake: The STPM program starts at June of the year after your SPM. No other intakes are available.
Duration: The STPM program lasts for about 1 year and 6 months, where each of the 3 semesters lasts for 6 months. Becuase the STPM program only starts about 6 months after your SPM, you will have to spend about 2 years if you take STPM. Therefore, you may have to enter universities half year later than those who took other pre-university programs.
Location: You will study STPM in government secondary schools that offer Form 6. If your secondary school offers Form 6, you will continue to study in the same school. Otherwise, you will study in another school that offers Form 6. Therefore, STPM life is basically the same as secondary school life, so it will be easy for you to adapt to it. Some private schools and colleges also offer STPM.
Fees: Because STPM is studied in government schools, there is no need to pay for any tuition, examination or resource fees. You will still need to pay for the reference books and some other fees. However, if you study STPM in private schools and colleges, you have to pay for tuition, resource and examination fees.
Recognition: STPM is widely recognised by universities in Malaysia and throughout the world. With the correct combination of subjects taken in STPM, you can apply for almost any course in any universities.
Subjects: A wide range of subjects is available in STPM, including Sciences, Arts and Humanities subjects. Pengajian Am is a compulsory subject for STPM, and you must also pass it in order to pass the STPM. You can take either 4 or 5 subjects including Pengajian Am for STPM.
Medium of instruction: Science and Mathematics subjects are studied entirely in English, but the examination papers will be set in both English and Malay, and you can choose to answer in either language. All other subjects, except language subjects, are studied entirely in Malay, and the examination will also be in Malay.
Difficulty: STPM is very difficult. In fact, it is one of the most difficult pre-university examinations in the world. The STPM syllabus has a wide coverage, and its standard is high. Therefore, you need to study very hard in order to get good results for STPM. Studying STPM can be very stressful. Weaker students may face difficulties in catching up with the syllabus. However, due to the high standard of STPM, it can provide you with excellent preparation for degree courses.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For STPM, there is no guarantee of entry into any universities, no matter how your results is. You will have to apply for universities by yourself. Your STPM results must meet the entry requirements for the universities you apply in order to be accepted by the universities. If your STPM results is poor, you may not be accepted by any universities.
Application method: There is no need to apply for STPM. You will be offered to study STPM automatically if you meet the requirements. The offer to study STPM is usually out on April of the year after your SPM. If you meet the requirements but do not get the offer, you can make an appeal.
Entry requirements: To study STPM, you have to pass the Bahasa Malaysia, Sejarah and Mathematics subjects in SPM and obtain at least 3C in SPM. To enter STPM science stream, you must also obtain at least grade C in all mathematics and science subjects in SPM.


3. Ministry of Education Matriculation

Structure: This program is based on examinations, coursework, and assignments. Examinations carry a weightage of about 70% while coursework and assignments carry a weightage of about 30%. The matriculation program is divided into 2 semesters (for 1 year program) or 4 semesters (for 2 year program), where there is a final examination at the end of each semester. The marks for the coursework & assignments and the examination results for all semesters will be combined to give the overall matriculation results. You will then be offered a place in one of the Malaysian public universities (IPTA) based on your results. You can also use your matriculation results to apply for other universities.
Intake: The matricluation program starts at June of the year after your SPM. No other intakes are available.
Duration: There are 2 types of the matriculation program, the 1-year program (Program satu tahun) and the 2-year program (Program dua tahun). Students are offered one of the programs based on the SPM results. Usually, stronger students are offered the 1-year program while weaker students are offered the 2-year program. Usually, it is not possible to switch from one program to the other. For the 2 year program, you may have to enter universities half year or one year later than those who took other pre-university programs.
Location: You will study matriculation in one of the matriculation colleges. Matriculation life is different from secondary school life, and you will be required to stay in the hostel. Therefore, it may be difficult for you to adapt to matriculation life.
Fees: Because the Ministry of Education Matriculation is a government program, there is no need to pay for any tuition, examination or resource fees. You will still need to pay for the reference books and some other fees.
Recognition: The matriculation certificate is recognised by both public universities (IPTA) and private universities (IPTS) in Malaysia. Some overseas universities may also recognize the matriculation certificate.
Subjects: Only subjects related to Science, Accounting and Technical are available in matriculation. Pendidikan Islam/Moral and Information & Communication Technology are compulsory subjects, but students only have to attend classes for these 2 subjects without taking examinations. You have to take 4 subjects for matriculation excluding the compulsory subjects.
Medium of instruction: Science and Mathematics subjects are studied entirely in English, but the examination papers will be set in both English and Malay, and you can choose to answer in either language. All other subjects are studied entirely in Malay, and the examination will also be in Malay.
Difficulty: Matriculation is not very difficult. Therefore, many students are able to catch up with the syllabus. Besides, studying matriculation is not too stressful. However, its standard is quite low, so it may not be able provide you with sufficient preparation for degree courses.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For matriculation, there is no guarantee of entry into any universities, no matter how your results is. You will have to apply for universities by yourself. Your matriculation results must meet the entry requirements for the universities you apply in order to be accepted by the universities. If your matriculation results is poor, you may not be accepted by any universities.
Application method: You need to apply for the matriculation online around August when you were in Form 5. The offer to study matriculation is usually out on April of the year after your SPM. If you meet the requirements but do not get the offer, you can make an appeal.
Entry requirements: To study matriculation, you have to obtain at least grade B for SPM Mathematics and grades C for SPM Bahasa Malaysia, English, Additional Mathematics and 2 other subjects that related to the stream that you are applying for.


4. Foundation / Asasi

Structure: There are a few types of foundation programs, such as Foundation in Science, Foundation in Business and others. Foundation program is based on examinations, coursework, and assignments. The weightage of examinations, coursework and assignments differs according to the university or college. Usually, examinations carry a weightage of about 70% while coursework and assignments carry a weightage of about 30%. The foundation program is usually divided into 2 semesters, where there is a final examination at the end of each semester. The marks for the coursework & assignments and the examination results for all semesters will be combined to give the overall foundation results. You will then be offered a place for degree course in the same university where you do the foundation based on your results.
Intake: The intake for foundation courses differs according to the university or college. For most universities and colleges, the intake is around June or July every year.
Duration: The duration of the foundation course differs according to the university or college. Most foundation programs last for about 1 year. Therefore, you may be able to enter degree courses half year or one year earlier than those who take other pre-university programs.
Location: You will study foundation in Malaysian private universities (IPTS) or public universities (IPTA) that offer foundation programs. Examples are Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia and International Medical University. Some private colleges also offer foundation programs. University or college life is different from secondary school life, so you may need some time to adapt to it.
Fees: The cost to study foundation differs according to the university. If you study it in private universities (IPTS) or colleges, you have to pay for tuition, examination and resource fees. However, if you study it in public universities (IPTA), there is no need to pay for any tuition, examination and resource fees. In either case, you will still need to pay for the reference books and some other fees. Some universities may offer scholarships to excellent students, but it usually does not cover the full cost of study.
Recognition: In most cases, foundation program is recognised only by the same university where you do the foundation. Therefore, after completing the foundation program in a university, usually you can only apply for degree courses in that university. However, some universities may accept the foundation program of other universities. For example, International Medical University and Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia accept the Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) program.
Subjects: The subjects available depends on the type of foundation program you take. For example, if you do Foundation in Science, usually you can only take Science related subjects. The number of subjects you need to take depends on the university or college. Usually, you have to take between 3 to 5 subjects.
Medium of instruction: The medium of instruction depends on the university or college. In most universities and colleges, the program is studied entirely in English, and the examinations will also be set entirely in English. However, in some universities and colleges, the program may be studied in Malay.
Difficulty: Foundation is usually not very difficult. Therefore, many students are able to catch up with the syllabus. Besides, studying foundation is not too stressful. However, its standard is usually quite low, so it may not be able to provide you with sufficient preparation for degree courses.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For foundation, you are usually guaranteed a place for degree course in the same university where you do the foundation, provided that you meet the entry requirements for the degree course.
Application method: You need to enrol in a university or college that offers foundation programs. For private universities (IPTS), you usually need to visit the university or its office to submit the application. For public universities (IPTA), you have to apply it online through the UPU. The offer to study foundation in public universities is usually out on May of the year after your SPM.
Entry requirements: The requirement to study foundation differs according to the university. Usually, you need to obtain at least 5C in SPM. To enter Foundation in Science, usually you must also obtain at least grade B in all mathematics and science subjects in SPM.


5. South Australian Matriculation (SAM) / Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) / Canadian Pre-University (CPU) / Canadian International Matriculation Program (CIMP)

Structure: These 4 programs are similar to each other. The difference is that SAM and AUSMAT use the Australian syllabus, while CPU and CIMP use the Canadian syllabus. These programs are based on examinations, coursework, and assignments. Courseworks and assignments carry a weightage of 70% while examinations carry a weightage of only 30%. The marks for the coursework, assignments and examinations will be combined to give the overall results. You will then use your results to apply for universities.
Intake: The intake for these programs differs according to the college. For most colleges, the intake is at January, April and July every year. Most students will choose the January intake. The January and July intakes are usually the standard course, while the April intake is usually the accelerated course.
Duration: The duration of these courses differs according to the college and intake. The standard course usually lasts for about 1 year while the accelerated course usually lasts for about 9 months. Therefore, you may be able to enter universities half year or one year earlier than those who take other pre-university programs.
Location: You will study either one of these 4 programs in private colleges that offer it. An example is Taylor's College. College life is different from secondary school life, so you may need some time to adapt to college life.
Fees: The cost to study these programs is quite high. Because they are studied in private colleges, you have to pay for tuition, examination and resource fees. You will also need to pay for the reference books and some other fees. Some colleges may offer scholarships to excellent students, but it usually does not cover the full cost of study.
Recognition: These programs are recognised by most private universities (IPTS) in Malaysia. However, they are not recognised by Malaysia public universities (IPTA). Outside Malaysia, SAM and AUSMAT is widely recognised in Australia and New Zealand, while CPU and CIMP is widely recognised in Canada and United States of America. In other countries, many universities also recognise these programs.
Subjects: A wide range of subjects is available for these programs, including Sciences, Arts and Humanities subjects. Many colleges make it compulsory for students to take the Mathematics or English Language subject or both. Usually, you have to take 5 subjects for these programs.
Medium of instruction: All subjects are studied entirely in English, and the examinations will also be set entirely in English.
Difficulty: These programs are not very difficult. Therefore, many students are able to catch up with the syllabus. Besides, studying these programs is not too stressful. However, their standards are quite low, so they may not be able provide you with sufficient preparation for degree courses.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For these programs, there is no guarantee of entry into any universities including those in Australia and Canada, no matter how your results is. You will have to apply for universities by yourself. Your results must meet the entry requirements for the universities you apply in order to be accepted by the universities. If your results is poor, you may not be accepted by any universities.
Application method: You need to enrol in a college that offers the program before the course starts. Usually, you need to visit the college or its office to submit the application. Because there are limited places available in each college and there may also be a deadline for applications, you are advised to apply early.
Entry requirements: To study these programs, you need to obtain at least 5C in SPM. To take the Science subjects, you must also obtain at least grade B in all mathematics and science subjects in SPM.


6. International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)

Structure: This program is based on examinations, coursework, and assignments. Courseworks and assignments carry a weightage of around 20% to 50% , while examinations carry a weightage of around 50% to 80% . The marks for the coursework, assignments and examinations will be combined to give the overall results. You will then be given an IB diploma, where you will use it to apply for universities.
Intake: For most colleges, the IBDP starts at July every year. Usually, no other intakes are available.
Duration: The IBDP lasts for about 2 years. Because the IBDP only starts about 6 months after your SPM, you will have to spend about 2 and a half years if you take IBDP. Therefore, you may have to enter universities half year or one year later than those who took other pre-university programs.
Location: You will study IBDP in private colleges that offer IBDP. An example is Taylor's College. College life is different from secondary school life, so you may need some time to adapt to college life.
Fees: The cost to study IBDP is very high. Because it is studied in private colleges, you have to pay for tuition, examination and resource fees. You will also need to pay for the reference books and some other fees. Some colleges may offer scholarships to excellent students, but it usually does not cover the full cost of study.
Recognition: The IB diploma is widely recognised by universities in Malaysia and throughout the world. With the correct combination of subjects taken in IBDP, you can apply for almost any course in any universities. However, please note that it is not possible to use IB diploma to apply for Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy courses in Malaysian public universities (IPTA). You can still apply for these courses in Malaysian private universities (IPTS) and overseas.
Subjects: A wide range of subjects is available in IBDP. There are 6 groups of subjects in IBDP, which are Language & Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals & Societies, Experimental Sciences, Mathematics, and Arts. You must take 6 subjects for IBDP, one from each of the 6 subject groups. Besides, you must also complete 3 core elements, which are Extended Essay (EE), Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) .
Medium of instruction: All subjects, except language subjects, are studied entirely in English, and the examinations will also be set entirely in English.
Difficulty: IBDP is very difficult. The IBDP syllabus has a wide coverage, and its standard is high. Therefore, you need to study very hard in order to get good results for IBDP. Besides, there are a lot of assignments and courseworks that you need to do. Studying IBDP can be very stressful. Weaker students may face difficulties in catching up with the syllabus. However, due to the high standard of IBDP, it can provide you with excellent preparation for degree courses.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For IBDP, there is no guarantee of entry into any universities, no matter how your results is. You will have to apply for universities by yourself. Your IBDP results must meet the entry requirements for the universities you apply in order to be accepted by the universities. If your IBDP results is poor, you may not be accepted by any universities.
Application method: You need to enrol in a college that offers IBDP before the IBDP starts. Usually, you need to visit the college or its office to submit the application. Because there are limited places available in each college and there may also be a deadline for applications, you are advised to apply early.
Entry requirements: To study IBDP, you need to obtain at least 5C in SPM and grade B for SPM English.


7. Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) Senior Middle 3

Structure: This program is based entirely on examinations. There will be a final UEC Senior Middle examination at the end of the program. You will then use your UEC Senior Middle examination results to apply for universities.
Intake: The UEC Senior Middle 3 program starts at January every year. No other intakes are available.
Duration: The UEC Senior Middle 3 program lasts for about 1 year. Therefore, you may be able to enter universities half year or one year earlier than those who take other pre-university programs.
Location: You will study UEC Senior Middle 3 in Chinese independent secondary schools in Malaysia. Examples are Hin Hua High School and Foon Yew High School. If you are previously studying Senior Middle 2 in a Chinese independent secondary school, you can continue to study in the same school. Therefore, UEC Senior Middle 3 life is basically the same as secondary school life, so it will be easy for you to adapt to it.
Fees: The cost to study UEC is moderately high. Because it is studied in private schools, you have to pay for tuition, examination and resource fees. You will also need to pay for the reference books and some other fees. However, Chinese independent secondary schools often receive donations from the public, so the study cost is not too high.
Recognition: The UEC Senior Middle examination is recognised by most private universities (IPTS) in Malaysia. However, it is not recognised by Malaysian public universities (IPTA). Many universities in other countries also recognise the UEC Senior Middle examination.
Subjects: A wide range of subjects is available in UEC Senior Middle, including Sciences, Arts and Humanities subjects. Usually, there is no compulsory subject for UEC Senior Middle. You are free to take any number of subjects for UEC Senior Middle.
Medium of instruction: All subjects, except language subjects, are studied entirely in Mandarin Chinese. For the Science and Mathematics subjects, the examination papers will be set in both English and Chinese, and you can choose to answer in either language. For all other subjects, except language subjects, the examination papers will be set entirely in Chinese.
Difficulty: UEC Senior Middle 3 is moderately difficult. Because UEC Senior Middle 3 is not too difficult, many students are able to catch up with the syllabus. Besides, studying UEC Senior Middle 3 is not too stressful. UEC Senior Middle 3 is also not very easy, so it can still provide you with sufficient preparation for degree courses.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For UEC Senior Middle 3, there is no guarantee of entry into any universities, no matter how your results is. You will have to apply for universities by yourself. Your UEC Senior Middle examination results must meet the entry requirements for the universities you apply in order to be accepted by the universities. If your UEC Senior Middle examination results is poor, you may not be accepted by any universities.
Application method: If you are previously studying Senior Middle 2 in a Chinese independent secondary school, there is no need to apply for Senior Middle 3, and you can continue to study Senior Middle 3 in the same school if you meet the requirements. If you are not previously studying in a Chinese independent secondary school, you need to enrol in a Chinese independent secondary school. Usually, you need to visit the school to submit the application. Because there are limited places available in each school and there may also be a deadline for applications, you are advised to apply early.
Entry requirements: If you are previously studying Senior Middle 2 in a Chinese independent secondary school, you will need to pass the school examination during Senior Middle 2 in order to study UEC Senior Middle 3. If you are not previously studying in a Chinese independent school, you need to pass the SPM examination in order to study UEC Senior Middle 3.


8. Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM)

Structure: This program is based on the curriculum of Ma’ahad Bu’uth Al Azhar. There will be oral test during the program and there will be a written examination at the end of the program. The marks for the oral test and written examination will be combined to give the overall STAM results. You will then use your STAM results to apply for universities.
Intake: The STAM program starts at January of the year after your SPM. No other intakes are available.
Duration: The STAM program usually lasts for about either 1 year or 2 years. Usually, if you took Bahasa Arab in SPM, you can choose the 1 year program, but if you did not take Bahasa Arab in SPM, you have to choose the 2 year program.
Location: You will study STAM in Islamic religious schools or colleges that offer STAM. If you are previously studying in an Islamic religious school and the school offers STAM, you can continue to study in the same school.
Fees: If you study STAM in government schools, there is no need to pay for any tuition, examination and resource fees. If you study STAM in private schools or colleges, you have to pay for tuition, examination and resource fees. In either case, you will still need to pay for the reference books and some other fees.
Recognition: STAM is recognised by most public universities (IPTA) in Malaysia. It is also recognised by some private universities (IPTS) in Malaysia. Some universities in other countries, such as Al-Azhar University in Egypt and University of Jordan, also recognise the STAM.
Subjects: There are 10 subjects in STAM. It is compulsory to take all the subjects. You also have to pass all subjects in order to pass the STAM.
Medium of instruction: All subjects are studied entirely in Arabic, and the examination will also be set entirely in Arabic.
Difficulty: The STAM syllabus has a wide coverage, and its standard is high. Therefore, it can provide you with sufficient preparation for degree courses.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For STAM, there is no guarantee of entry into any universities, no matter how your results is. You will have to apply for universities by yourself. Your STAM results must meet the entry requirements for the universities you apply in order to be accepted by the universities. If your STAM results is poor, you may not be accepted by any universities.
Application method: You need to enrol in an Islamic religious school or college that offers STAM before the STAM course starts. Usually, you need to visit the school or college to submit the application.
Entry requirements: To study STAM, you need to pass the SPM examination.


9. Diploma

Structure: There are several types of diploma programs, such as Diploma in Health Science, Diploma in International Business and others. Diploma program is based on examinations, coursework, and assignments. The weightage of examinations, coursework and assignments differs according to the university and program. After completing the program, you will be given a diploma. You will then use your diploma to apply for degree course in the same university where you do the diploma or other universities. Sometimes, you can apply for direct entry into the 2nd year of degree course using diploma. You can also use your diploma to apply for jobs.
Intake: The intake for diploma courses differs according to the university and program. For some universities, there are intakes almost every month.
Duration: The duration of diploma course differs according to the university and program. Most diploma programs last for about 3 years. Therefore, you may have to enter degree courses one or two years later than those who take other pre-university programs. However, because it is possible to apply for direct entry into the 2nd year of degree course, you may be able to spend one year less when taking degree course compared to others.
Location: You will study diploma in Malaysian private universities (IPTS) or public universities (IPTA) that offer diploma programs. Examples are the Taylor's University and Inti University. University life is different from secondary school life, so you may need some time to adapt to it.
Fees: The cost to study diploma differs according to the university. If you study it in private universities (IPTS), you have to pay for tuition, examination and resource fees. However, if you study it in public universities (IPTA), there is no need to pay for any tuition, examination and resource fees. In either case, you will still need to pay for the reference books and some other fees. Some universities may offer scholarships to excellent students, but it usually does not cover the full cost of study.
Recognition: Usually, diploma course taken in Malaysian public universities (IPTA) is recognised by many Malaysian public universities (IPTA) and private universities (IPTS), while diploma course taken in Malaysian private universities (IPTS) is only recognised by Malaysian private universities (IPTS) but not public universities (IPTA). However, some universities only recognise the diploma courses taken in the same university but not those of other universities. Some universities in other countries also recognise the diploma programs taken in Malaysian universities.
Subjects: The subjects you have to take depends on the university and type of diploma program you do. For example, if you do Diploma in Business, you have to take Business related subjects.
Medium of instruction: The medium of instruction depends on the university. In most universities, the program is studied entirely in English. However, in some universities, the program may be studied in Malay.
Difficulty: The diploma syllabus has a wide coverage, and its standard is higher than most other pre-university programs. Therefore, it can provide you with sufficient preparation for degree courses. Diploma is also not very difficult, because the duration of diploma program is quite long, so there will be plenty of time for you to study. Many students are able to catch up with the syllabus. Besides, studying diploma is not too stressful.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For diploma, you are usually guaranteed a place for degree course in the same university where you do the diploma, provided that you meet the entry requirements for the degree course.
Application method: You need to enrol in a university that offers diploma programs. For private universities (IPTS), you usually need to visit the university or its office to submit the application. For public universities (IPTA), you have to apply it online through the UPU. The offer to study diploma in public universities is usually out on May of the year after your SPM.
Entry requirements: The requirement to study diploma differs according to the university. Usually, you need to pass the SPM and obtain grade C in certain subjects in SPM.


10. American Degree Program (ADP)

Structure: There are several types of ADP programs, such as Business, Computer Science and others. This program is based on examinations, coursework, and assignments. Courseworks and assignments carry a weightage of about 70% while examinations carry a weightage of only about 30%. The marks for the coursework, assignments and examinations will be combined to give the overall results. You will then use your results to apply for universities. Usually, for universities in the United States of America and Canada, you can apply for direct entry into the 3rd year of degree course using ADP.
Intake: The intake for ADP differs according to the college or university. For most colleges, the intake is at January, May and September every year.
Duration: This course usually lasts for about 2 years. Therefore, you may have to enter degree courses half year or one year later than those who take other pre-university programs. However, because it is possible to apply for direct entry into the 3rd year of degree course in universities in United States of America and Canada, you can spend two years less when taking degree course compared to others.
Location: You will study ADP in private colleges or universities that offer ADP. Examples are Taylor's University and Inti University. College life is different from secondary school life, so you may need some time to adapt to college life.
Fees: The cost to study ADP is quite high. Because it is studied in private colleges or universities, you have to pay for tuition, examination and resource fees. You will also need to pay for the reference books and some other fees. Some colleges or universities may offer scholarships to excellent students, but it usually does not cover the full cost of study.
Recognition: ADP is recognised by many private universities (IPTS) in Malaysia. However, it is not recognised by Malaysian public universities (IPTA). Outside Malaysia, ADP is widely recognised only in United States of America and Canada. In other countries, ADP is not recognised by many universities, although some may recognise it.
Subjects: The subjects you have to take depends on the type of ADP program you do. For example, if you do the Business program, you have to take Business related subjects.
Medium of instruction: All subjects are studied entirely in English, and the examinations will also be set entirely in English.
Difficulty: ADP is not very difficult. Therefore, many students are able to catch up with the syllabus. Besides, studying ADP is not too stressful. However, its standard is quite low, so it may not be able provide you with sufficient preparation for degree courses.
Guarantee of entry into universities: For ADP, there is no guarantee of entry into any universities including those in United States of America and Canada, no matter how your results is. You will have to apply for universities by yourself. Your results must meet the entry requirements for the universities you apply in order to be accepted by the universities. If your results is poor, you may not be accepted by any universities.
Application method: You need to enrol in a college or university that offers ADP before the course starts. Usually, you need to visit the college or its office to submit the application. Because there are limited places available in each college and there may also be a deadline for applications, you are advised to apply early.
Entry requirements: To study ADP, usually you need to obtain at least 5C in SPM, including English and Mathematics.



I hope that the information above can help you to plan your future wisely. However, the information above are only based on my personal knowledge, experience and opinion. I did not actually try to find out about every pre-university courses in detail. The information are for reference only so do not rely solely on them. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the all information. You should find out more about every pre-university courses by searching on the internet. You can also refer to family, friends, relatives, education fairs, newpapers, magazines and others for more information.

For information about the JPA Scholarship, go to here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2015/04/guide-to-jpa-scholarship.html