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See What These Alumni Have to Say About Their Pre-U Experience

Published by on Jan 10, 2020, 05:39 pm

Are you still unsure which pre-university course to take? Curious to know what past students have experienced and what they have to say about the courses that they took? 

For this article, we at spoke to nine past students from various pre-university courses about their experiences. Perhaps with this, you’ll be able to know what it’s like to be a pre-university student and see it from their perspectives. Hopefully, by the end of this, you’ll have a clearer picture of your desired course in mind, what to be aware of and even some advice to guide you into the new intake! 

A Levels

Nurain Wajihah binti Mohamed Hidayahthullah, also known as Wajihah, studied A-Levels at Sunway College in Bandar Sunway, Selangor. A-Levels is a 2-year pre-u programme based from the United Kingdom. A-Levels is 100% exam-based, so do bear this in mind if taking exams isn’t your strong suit. 

AS: Why did you take the course?

Wajihah: The main reason I took this course is because I wanted to give myself more options for my future career, as I still had not figured out what I wanted to do yet. It also seemed like a safer option at the time, regardless of where I wanted to study i.e. abroad or local.

AS: Was the course difficult?

Wajihah: The course was definitely tough for me. There were so many things that we had to learn, and the depth of each topic made it difficult. Because the course is 100% exam-based, there were no internal assignments that I could rely on, so I had to work extra hard to make sure I could do well in the exams.

AS: How did you manage in the programme, and what advice would you give to future students?

The best advice that I can give is to make sure you have good friends by your side. Good friends will help you get through the most stressful and frustrating moments in the course. I would also advise students to set goals for themselves so that they know what they’re doing rather than aimlessly studying. Be organised and make sure to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically.

Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP)


Sanjey Ravi Elangkoh took his Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) back in July 2017 till July 2018 at Sunway College in Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia. He graduated from SPM a few months before and decided to take the foreign pre-university course, CIMP, after his high school years. 

Now, to understand Matriculation Programmes, Matriculation is a type of formal process of entering a university, or becoming eligible enough to enter by fulfilling certain academic requirements such as a matriculation examinations.

AS: Why did you take the course?

Sanjey: The main reason is because the course itself is based on assignments and a very small percentage of it involved examination. This suited me and my preferred way of studying.

AS: Was the course difficult?

Sanjey: The course was challenging in aspects of assignments as they were really testing our creativity and thinking skills. Since a huge percentage of the course involved assignments the workload was heavy as well. 

AS: How did you manage and what advice would you give to future students?

Sanjey: I eventually learned how to manage my time which is very important because more assignments just mean more deadlines. Being able to spread out the right amount of time for yourself and studying helped me get through this course. My advice for future students is to go to school every day with a goal to learn something new rather than attending classes everyday just to finish assignments and to get good grades. Develop skills and not just high grades which will be of great help in your future.


Siti Sarah Balqis Kamarudin, preferably called Ami, is currently pursuing Diploma in Town Planning at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Seri Iskandar Perak. She began her course in late June 2018 and will be studying until the end of 2021, as a diploma programme runs for3 years at UiTM. 

AS: Why did you choose to pursue a diploma?

Ami: The course seemed very interesting to me; however, my initial plan was to study architecture instead of town planning. People around me had told me that architecture was difficult, and from the outside it did look very complicated. So, my aunt advised me to take town planning instead because it is similar to architecture but isn’t as heavy-loaded.”

AS: Is the course difficult?

Ami: The course is difficult, as it is similar to architecture and requires a lot of visual/art skills, which has not been my strength. The subjects that I had to take were difficult. However, it was nice to know that my subjects were already decided on beforehand instead of having to choose my own subjects, as a diploma guides you on what subjects you must take based on your field of study. The course, though difficult, allows you to understand the field of study very well and gain different perspectives on the subject with more knowledge and training. 

AS: How have you been managing in the programme, and what advice would you give to future students?

Ami: Some advice that I would give to students is to do the following:

  1. Do not leave your work till the last minute and do not give in mediocre work;
  2. Always speak with your lecturers if you don’t understand anything or need help with your assignments;
  3. Always read up on the subjects beforehand as it helps you to understand things better; and
  4. Finally, do not give up!


Foundation in Arts

Samuel Too Kim Yong is from Johor but has lived in Subang, Selangor his whole life. He is an alumnus from the University of Nottingham Malaysia where he studied Foundation in Arts from July 2012 until July 2013. The University of Nottingham Malaysia provides 4 branches of the foundation course: engineering; science; business and management; and arts and education. The diploma is a 1-year course with your degree programme already set in mind for you. 

AS: Why did you choose to do a Foundation in Arts course?

Sam: I began doing research about pre-university life after graduating from SPM. The scholarships I received from UPU and other private universities required me to pursue engineering and other soft skills, which I wasn’t interested in. I was then offered a scholarship to study at The University of Nottingham Malaysia, so I decided to take them up on it and give it a try. I chose to study in the field of arts at Nottingham not only because I was offered the full scholarship, but it also allowed me to venture away from the science stream that I had studied in school, which wasn’t my strength at all.

AS: Was the course difficult?

Sam: The foundation programme was very extensive, and I wasn’t very prepared for it. It was difficult for me to adapt to the transition into the programme, especially from a government school background with a Malay language background. I was unable to split between the two different experiences. The foundation course was also more focused on the idea of doing things with academic purposes, and the classes emphasised reading and speaking, which was a struggle for me during my first semester there. My government school background gave me some disadvantages in terms of articulating in English frequently. That made things a bit difficult for me.

AS: How did you manage eventually, and what advice would you give to future students?

Sam: I managed my time at Nottingham by finding people outside of my course to help me with the transition from secondary school life to university. It was very difficult at first, as there were a lot of expectations I had to meet, especially in terms of writing and speaking in fluent English. Besides that, I also had a huge fear of failing. I opted out of seeking counsellors for help, and I eventually found friend groups. The lecturer-peer system at Nottingham also helped me a lot; they definitely help students grow and ensure that they achieve their goals.

My advice to future students is always be hungry for information, understand the course materials thoroughly, know the whole picture before deciding on or doing things, and use the holidays not only to take your break but also to learn your materials beforehand. However, my main advice for students is to find a sense of belonging as it you gain confidence and be immersed in university life.

Foundation in Management

Muhammad Nur Izham bin Zamani from Ampang studied at Multimedia University in June 2011 for about a year and ended the programme in September 2012. We spoke to him about his experiences in the foundation programme and how it went for him.

AS: Why did you take this course?

Izham: Initially my parents wanted me to do accounting, and so I took it because I was still unsure about what I wanted to do. Multimedia University (MMU) offers business and economic courses, so I decided to take them up on it. As the course went on, I was eventually able to deviate to analytical economics.

AS: Was the course difficult?

Izham: I realised the course wasn’t difficult only after I left and graduated from MMU. I just had the tendency to be lazy, which slowed down my process in completing the foundation. The course isn’t hard; it is actually quite comprehensive and allows students to choose from multiple subject choices. However, there are times in the foundation course where things are already set for you, limiting some of those choices. The foundation course focuses on theory, which means there’s a lot to learn as well. It allows for various experiences and things for students to do. For example, I was able to partake in projects and sell things outside of class by making our own store for my subject field. The foundation course is very hands-on and also very detailed.”

AS: How did you manage in the programme, and what advice would you give to future students?

Izham: The foundation programme can help you understand your field of study better and in more detail, so be sure of what you want to do before you choose your field of study. When you’re studying, be prepared for anything that can happen, give your passion a chance, and open up your eyes to whatever is there; put yourself out there.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Nur Liyana Hares is a student from Selangor, Malaysia. She studied International Baccalaureate (IB), a 2-year program at Nexus International School in Putrajaya. 

AS: Why did you choose to pursue IB?

Liyana: I decided to pursue IB because it is convenient and allows for a lot of opportunities upon graduation, and because it would help me prepare thoroughly for university life. 

AS: Was the course difficult?

Liyana: The course was very tedious and required a lot of work and time. However, it also depends on the subjects you take. IB requires you to take six subjects that are then divided into higher-level subjects and standard-level subjects. While the course is difficult in general, your second year is the most difficult due to the various assignments and mock exams you would have to sit for to prepare you for your final IB worldwide examination. On top of that, you would also have to complete a 4000-word essay that must be submitted based on your topic of choice and field of study. IB is both course-based and exam-based, so do keep this in mind as you will have to deal with both types of assessment.

AS: How did you manage in the programme and what advice would you give to future students?

Liyana: My advice would be:

  1. have a planner with you at all times and a calendar;
  2. ask questions to your teachers if you have any issues or do not understand;
  3. choose your subjects wisely and take subjects that you have passion for and is your strength;
  4. always practice and study the past papers before any mock exams or the final IB examinations in May of your final year!

Because IB can be tedious, do take the time to relax and give your mental health a break. But most importantly, once you know what you want to study in university, make sure the subjects that you’re taking are accepted for that particular course. Finally, don’t give up even when things do get hard, because it really pays off in the end, especially when you start university life. 

Matriculation (KPM Matrikulasi)

Najwa Shafiqa pursued her Matriculation studies at Kolej Matrik Perak, focusing on Human Resource and Administration (HR).

AS: Why did you decide to take the course?

Shafiqa: Because there was not much guidance in the options of study after SPM, I just followed what was considered the ‘normal’ procedure at the time.. Most of my friends chose to pursue either a diploma, foundation programme or matriculation. Although I enrolled in a foundation programme for a while, it was too difficult for me to proceed, so I decided to join the matriculation programme.

AS: Was the course difficult?

Shafiqa: I would say it was fifty-fifty. It entirely depends on the subjects. There are some subjects that I did like, in which case it was not that difficult for me.

AS: How did you manage in the programme and what advice would you give to future students?

Shafiqa: Be patient and work hard. It’s more about how you handle yourself in terms of coping with the stress. Learn how to be able to cope with your emotions and focus on what you really want to do. This advice can also prove to be useful later during your work life. Learn to be tough in the things you face. It is never easy, whether it’s in school, during your studying time, or even later in your work life.

Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY)

Ng Chung Hou has just finished his undergraduate studies in computer science, and now currently looking for a Master’s degree in the same field of study. He is  former Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) student at Sunway College. MUFY is a steppingstone to enter Monash University Malaysia for their degree programme. The course is designed to ensure that students undergo a smooth transition to Monash University Malaysia.

AS: Why did you decide to take the course?

Ng Chung Hou: I took this course because I wanted to enter Monash University Malaysia, so I figured, what better choice is there to take other than the course that is designed to take in Monash students? 

AS: Was the course difficult?

Ng Chung Hou: The course wasn’t difficult, but there were subjects within the course that I found difficult. You can choose your subjects in the course (along with the compulsory units), so I chose my subjects based on what I was passionate in and what my interests were. For example, globalisation was a tough subject, especially for a science student like me. But what got me through the subject is the lecturer I was lucky to have. She is passionate in her field, and her witty personality definitely kept the interest of her students in her class. She is also extremely helpful and loving towards her students, and that motivated us to study harder and gain a deeper understanding of the unit.”

AS: How did you manage in the programme, and what advice would you give to future students?

Ng Chung Hou: Live your student life to the fullest, because it’s only after you graduate that you realise how great is it being a student really is.

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)

Shikin has just finished her Master’s degree in Educational Management at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), and a Bachelor’s degree in Southeast Asian Studies at University of Malaya (UM). Previously, she pursued STPM in Humanities at SMK Syed Hassan, Perlis. According to Shikin, STPM is one of the hardest examinations in the world. 

AS: Why did you decide to take STPM?

Shikin: I chose to do STPM because I wanted to further my studies at one of the most prestigious and well-known universities in Malaysia, which University of Malaya. And I did manage to achieve it.

AS: Was the course difficult?

Shikin: During my time, the STPM course was very difficult because we needed to learn all of the chapters in the textbook and take the examination in Upper Six at the end of the year. We had to complete our studies in almost one and half years. Since 2012, STPM has adopted a modular system that assesses students continuously over three semesters. You can choose from 23 available subjects and take a maximum of 5 subjects, including General Studies. The curriculum is divided into three parts based on topic areas. Each part will be taught and studied in either the first, second or third semester. Students’ assessments will be carried out each semester, with the results being released at the end of each respective semester. The overall STPM results will be based on the best combined results of the three semesters. And so with this new system, in each semester, you won't have to study all topics, but only few topic areas each time.

AS: How did you manage in the programme, and what advice would you give to future students?

I depend on my timetable to manage myself well during STPM. I also loved to find additional information to increase my knowledge in each subject. All of the teachers gave all their knowledge to help us. For future STPM students, I do advise them to prepare well before entering the next class. Also, finding additional information is useful so that they will understand the topic better.

We do hope this interview compilation article helped you, and we would like to wish all new students good luck with the next step in life!

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