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After IGCSE: What's Next in Malaysia? A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Mar 14

Happy students throwing their graduation caps


SPM (or IGCSE) is over, and the inevitable question arises: now what? After IGCSE, what's next in Malaysia? This is perhaps the most commonly asked question by students as they seek guidance from parents, teachers, seniors, and friends. In this article, we'll explore the options available after IGCSE/ SPM in Malaysia and provide a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this crucial decision-making process.

Deciding What Comes Next After IGCSE in Malaysia

1. Seeking Advice and Choosing a Path

I vividly recall facing this dilemma years ago after completing my SPM and receiving my results. Unlike some friends who had everything planned before SPM, I lacked a proper PC and internet connection for research. Instead, I relied on advice from a friend who was an education counselor.

During our meeting, he asked about my interests. I expressed a passion for anything related to physics. He suggested a choice between physics and engineering, emphasizing higher job prospects in the latter. Engineering it was! My friend recommended pursuing pre-university at a private college and applying to a local private university afterward. He stressed the importance of the university over the college, a piece of advice still relevant today, especially for those not planning to study overseas.

(Note: I dismissed diploma programs based on my friend's advice against them. Diploma programs could necessitate a credit transfer to a degree program, limiting the flexibility to change courses later. Learn more about diploma courses from EduAdvisor here)

2. Choosing a Foundation Program

He further advised opting for a one-year foundation to save time instead of A-Levels. I had the choice between an Australian-based and a Canadian-based program and chose the latter due to its more presentation-based assignments.

3. Transitioning to University

In CIMP, I focused on science and mathematics subjects and received a scholarship due to my good SPM results. Despite the workload, the mix of coursework and exams made it manageable. If you prefer exams over homework, A-Levels might be a better fit. After CIMP, I continued my degree at Monash University in engineering.

The Bachelor of Engineering at Monash lasts four years, with the first year being a common year. Specialization in various branches of engineering (mechanical, chemical, electrical, etc.) occurs in the second year. Only when I entered university did I apply for my PTPTN loan, and you can find the details here.

4. Financial Considerations and Scholarships

I believe many people have a similar story to tell. To sum up the available options, I've illustrated them in the diagram below. While most may choose the "red path," it is also the most expensive. During my undergraduate days, scholarships were scarce, and information about them was limited. I had to depend on a PTPTN loan and my university Merit Scholarship to reduce my university fees.

(Check out the link here for a list of scholarships that are up for grabs today!)

5. Achieving Academic Success

Motivated to study hard in university, my goal was to achieve first-class honors to receive a full waiver for my PTPTN (which I did =D). Maintaining an average of 80% throughout my four years also ensured the retention of my Merit Scholarship (which I also achieved =D). In contrast to my time, there are now many scholarships on offer, thanks to the competition between private institutions.

Conclusion and Action Steps

Either way, meticulous planning and hard work are essential. Conduct thorough research based on the online information provided above. Here's a summarized guide to overcome the "now what?" dilemma:

  1. Identify your interests.

  2. Choose a foundation program (consider a foundation in science if undecided).

  3. Explore undergraduate degree options based on your interests.

  4. Check available scholarships to ease financial burdens.

Happy hunting! ;)

Diagram showing different paths students in Malaysia can take after IGCSE or SPM
Mutliple paths to success!

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