1. Everything You Need to Know About Pre-University

Everything You Need to Know About Pre-University

Published on 24 Aug 2020

What Is Pre-University?

Pre-university is simply defined as the time period before entering university, usually lasting one to two years. Secondary school leavers can enrol in the pre-university programme of their choice to kick start their higher education journey. Malaysia offers a wide variety of pre-university programmes for those looking to further their studies. 


Age Group Of Pre-University? Best age to start?

In Malaysia, national secondary school leavers can enrol in pre-university programmes at age 18 as they leave school at 17 years of age. Majority of secondary school students at international schools complete their IGCSE examinations at age 16. Therefore, they can begin their pre-university journey earlier. 


The benefits and importance of Pre-University? 

Pre-university education is an important stepping stone in an individual’s academic life before they transition to university. Students have a change to determine what programme they want to pursue based on their interests, passions, aspirations and budget. This is also the time where their learning preferences and learning styles will be fully developed. In addition, they can also gauge their level of interest in academics and whether they want to enter the workforce right away. As pre-university courses are offered by colleges and universities, students will experience a taster of university life and provides them an opportunity to hone their soft skills and interpersonal skills. 


What are Pre-University programmes?

The topics one learns at pre-university is heavily dependent on the type of pre-university programme chosen. Generally, pre-university courses cover a variety of subjects in Science, Arts, Humanities and Languages. Students have the opportunity to pick the subjects they want to focus on according to their academic goals. Most pre-university programmes will have broad subjects that will provide students with the qualifications needed to enter a range of undergraduate programmes. Diploma programmes are the only pathway that leaves graduates with a specific skill set that allows them to enter the workforce right away. 


Types of Pre-University

A typical A Level programme takes up to two years to complete. A minimum of three A Level subjects is required to enter most universities. A Level is divided into Advanced Subsidiary (AS Level) and A2 Level. Examinations are carried out at the end of each level and carry 50% of the overall grade. A Level results will be recognised globally and allow you to enter most private and public universities in Malaysia and around the world. 

Both SACE and AUSMAT can be completed in a year. The curriculum is roughly 50% examination based for AUSMAT and 30% for SACE International, while the remaining is based on coursework. Both programmes are also recognised by most Malaysian private universities and most universities around the world. 

The CPU and CIMP take up to 18 months to complete. The Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) is granted to students who complete the CPU or CIMP. Students have to fulfil at least 10 hours of community service and pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in order to graduate. In addition, students are assessed continuously through 70% coursework and 30% examinations. 

The American Degree Programme (ADP) leads directly to a degree and takes around four years to complete. Many institutions offer credit transfer options which allow students to continue their degree in American universities. Students can opt for 2+2 (two years in Malaysia and two years abroad) or 1+3 (one year in Malaysia and one year abroad). Alternatively, students can complete the entire ADP locally as some colleges also offer 4+0. 

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a two-year programme and is offered by a number of international schools in Malaysia. Applicants need to have excellent academic results in addition to passing an entrance test and interview. The IBDP requires students to complete six subjects, which are assessed through assignments, oral presentations and examinations. Each subject is graded from 1 to 7, with 7 being the highest. Fees range from RM75,000 to RM90,000.

Foundation programmes are catered to students who want to continue their undergraduate degree in the same university. The most common Foundation programmes are in Science, Arts and Business. Taking a year to complete, Foundation courses are assessed through a combination of assignments, quizzes and exams. 


Types of Pre-University in Malaysia

GCE Advanced Level (A Level) is suitable if you want a widely recognised qualification that keeps your study options open at the same time. SACE International and Western Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) is suitable if you want a balanced curriculum that is recognised by Australian universities. Canadian Pre-University Programme (CPU) and Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) is suitable if you prefer coursework to examinations and want to further your studies in North America. The American Degree Programme (ADP) is suitable if you want to further your studies in North American universities. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is suitable if you want a challenging programme that promotes critical thinking. Lastly, University Foundation Programmes are suitable if you want a fast track to a degree programme at the same university.


How do you apply for Pre-University?

Students should start early and do as much research as possible before choosing a pre-university programme. It is important not to follow what friends are doing or choosing a course because it is seemingly easy. Information is readily available online with course structures, fees, duration, career prospects and many more. In addition, students need to make sure they meet the entry requirements and have the qualifications needed to enrol in a particular course. Students can also visit Open Days and higher education fairs to see what pre-university options are available to them. 


How to choose the right Pre-University

Enrolling in a pre-university programme that fits your needs paves the way for a positive and fulfilling education experience and eventually a long lasting career. Before choosing a pre-university course, it is important to ask yourselves the following questions: 

  • Do I want to study locally or abroad?
  • Do I want to pursue an undergraduate degree? If so, which field would I like to explore?
  • Do I possess the entry requirements needed for the pre-university programme?
  • What are my learning preferences? Do I enjoy studying for examinations or thrive in group work and presentations? 
  • What is my budget for pre-university studies? Are there scholarships or financial aid available? 


What are the fees for Pre-university?

The estimated fees for A Level range from RM14,000 to RM66,000. The fees for SACE International range between RM21,000 and RM28,000, and AUSMAT between RM15,000 and RM25,000. Canadian pre-university programmes can cost anywhere between RM27,000 and RM30,000. The ADP costs approximately RM30,000 a year. Fees for Foundation programmes range between RM10,000 and RM25,000. Many higher education institutions offer scholarships and financial aid to deserving students. Therefore, students are encouraged to take this into consideration when it comes to choosing a pre-university programme. 

Click here to find schools that offer pre-university levels! 

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