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Which Pre-U Course is Right For You?

Published by Afterschool.my on Mar 22, 2017, 03:16 pm

Finished SPM? Read about all the pre-university courses you can take? Still have no idea what you want to do? Don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. Here you will find a run-down on the most popular pre-university courses, with all the vital information you need, which will hopefully ease you into a decision. Have a read and see what you like!


The United Kingdom


Country of origin: The United Kingdom

Duration: 15-24 months

Number of Subjects: 3 or 4

Coursework: 100% exam based

Grades: The body assessing your papers will give you grades from A* to E for each subject taken with a maximum score of A*A*A* for 3 subjects, and A*A*A*A* for 4 subjects.

Price: RM20,000 – RM40,000


  • Known as the Gold Standard of Pre-U programmes & recognised globally (UK, USA, Singapore, Australia & many more)
  • Over 40 subjects to choose from


  • Pricey
  • Duration longer than others
  • Not recognised in some public universities

Is it right for you?

Do A-Levels if you want a globally recognised pre-university qualification, don’t mind the cost, and prefer exam oriented courses to coursework and projects/assignments.

 Australian Matriculation (SACE/AUSMAT)



Country of origin: Australia

Duration: 10-12 months (18 if you aren’t careful)

Number of Subjects: 5


SAM: 70% coursework and 30% examination

AUSMAT: 50% coursework and 50% examination

Grades: Final results will be a single score, called the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), derived from your best four subjects, plus 50% of your weakest subject.

Price: RM21,000 – RM34,000


  • Bigger emphasis on coursework
  • Widely accepted qualification
  • Shorter Duration
  • Continuous assessment


  • Extremely high final grades required to continue on to competitive fields (like medicine)
  • Graded on a curve
  • Self-directed learning may not be for everyone

Is it right for you?

Do SAM/AUSMAT if you prefer assignments to exams, and you want a fast pre-university qualification that is globally recognised.

 Canadian Pre-U



Country of origin: Canada

Duration: 12-15 months

Number of Subjects: 6

Coursework: 70% coursework and 30% examination

Grades: Your final results will be an average percentage across all 6 subjects taken, where the maximum score will be 100%.

Price: RM13,000 to RM35,000


  • Holistic Approach
  • Worldwide recognition
  • Around 20 subject choices
  • Relatively short duration


  • Emphasis on assignments & projects may not be for everybody
  • Debates & public speaking may not be for everyone (Requirement for Canadian Pre-U)

Is it right for you?

Do the CPU if you want a fast pre-university qualification, and don’t mind public speaking as well as debates on subjects, which is part of their curriculum.




Country of origin: Malaysia

Duration: 18 months (+6 months if you intend to apply to public universities)

Number of Subjects: Maximum of 5


School-based assessment (weightage of 20 – 40% of the final score)

Centralised examination (weightage of 60 – 80% of the final score)

Grades: Each grade carries a specific Subject Grade Point (SGP), with 4.00 (Grade A) as the highest. Your overall SGP will be aggregated by taking into account your four highest SGPs

Price: Less than RM1,000


  • Affordable
  • Recognised globally
  • Option to re-sit papers to improve on grades


  • Difficult
  • Longer duration compared to most
  • Fully exam based curriculum may not be for all

Is it right for you?

Do STPM if you want a cheaper pre-university course that is recognised globally. Better chance of entry onto Public University with good grades.

 Malaysian Matriculation Programme

Malaysia Flag


Country of origin: Malaysia

Duration: 12 months (PDT) – 24 months (PST)

Number of Subjects: 3 streams (Total of 8 subjects)

Coursework: Classroom Assignments + Exams

Grades: Your GPA is determined from the grade values associated with the grades that you obtain for each subject every semester

Price: RM600


  • Cheapest option
  • Very good prospects to gain admission into public universities
  • Variety of degree courses to pick from


  • Recognised mainly by Commonwealth countries only
  • Allocation for 2 year programme only open to bumiputras
  • Less options once you finish (In terms of variety of courses you can then pursue as a degree)

Is it right for you?

Do the Malaysian Matriculation Programme if you intend to go to a public university in Malaysia to further your studies (International institutions may not recognise your pre-u) and already know what you want to study. Matriculation is also a faster route into a public university compared to STPM.




Duration: 24 – 36 months

Number of Subjects: Varies with different Diplomas

Coursework: Varies with different universities

Grades: Varies with different universities, typically involving CGPA

Price: Varies with different universities


  • Can be expensive
  • It’s one level below an undergraduate degree (NOT a pre-university course), meaning you can work after you graduate!
  • Lower minimum requirements


  • Not globally recognised (Diplomas from certain universities may not be accepted in others, locally and overseas)
  • Longer duration
  • Expensive
  • Fixed options once you graduate (Only in the field you have your Diploma in)

Is it right for you?

Do a Diploma if, you’re sure about which field you want to pursue, and know exactly which institutions you want to pursue them at.

Click here to read about STPM vs Matrikulasi

Click here to read about Matrikulasi vs Asasi

Click here to read about the top Scholarships for Malaysians (July 2017)

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