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Options after SPM


With the myriad of courses and options available, picking one has become a science in itself.

IT’S decision time once again for school-leavers. Now that students have obtained their SPM results, they have to decide what they want to do next.

There are many options from taking a gap year to choosing from the many tertiary courses available.

To make matters easier, StudyExcel Sdn Bhd general manager Jerry Tan offers some advice on what to consider and look out for when picking a course.

He said affordability is not the only thing to consider.

“Identify the most suitable pathway, and ask whether you prefer exam oriented courses, or those that are more practical based,” he added.

Tan recommended seeking guidance from education counsellors, as well as taking profiling tests to identify one’s strengths, weaknesses, and personal preferences.

He also strongly advised against meekly submitting to parents’ decisions, or following friends’ footsteps.

“It is likely you will regret the decision later as you had followed someone else’s dream instead of your own,” he said.

On taking a gap year, Tan said it is not necessary for those who already know what they want.

“The purpose of a gap year is to explore what you really like. Don’t waste time if you already have a pathway in mind.”

Tan is also not keen to see anyone enter the workforce straight after SPM.

“This is not the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago, where sheer hard work will take you places.

“Having an academic qualification will make it easier to understand the working world, and could lead to faster promotions.”

Below is a table outlining popular pre-university options that are available in Malaysia.

*This is not a comprehensive list of choices. You are encouraged to conduct your own research, as well as to check the most current information regarding tuition fees and entry requirements with the schools and institutions you are interested in.

  • For more information, visit the Star Education Fair 2017 in Penang on March 25 and 26. It will be held from 11am to 7pm at the Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition (SPICE) Centre in Relau, Bayan Lepas. Admission is free.
  • Tan will be speaking on “Options After SPM - Choosing the Right Subjects & Pathways” on March 25 from 12pm to 12.45pm at Arena area, Level 2, SPICE.


What they say...


Yap Chien Shing, 19, former CIMP student

“As the programme revolves around coursework and assignments, it played its role well in preparing me for university. ”


Wong Tien Yuen, 20, former A Levels student

“A Levels is undoubtedly challenging as its syllabus is in-depth and covers a wide area. I was unsure of what to pursue after SPM, so I took A Levels while deciding because it broadens my options.”


Beh Yu-Farn, 20, former A Levels student

“A Levels is challenging but once you understand the concepts, it will be easy. Since it is 100% exam based, it wasn’t too hard for me to adapt because we have been exposed to it since primary school.”


Nabilla Adnan, 21, former IBDP student

“The range of subjects in IBDP gave me the flexibility to diversify from humanities to science and even the arts. In the two years in IBDP, I discovered my passion lies in Economics - a subject I never studied before. Subsequently, pursuing a degree in Economics in Australia has been a breeze.”


Bryan Tiang Zhang Quan, 19, current American degree transfer programme student

“This is a flexible programme that allowed me to take up a course in business as well as performing arts, and it certainly taught me how to manage my time well.”


Nursakinah Abdul Jabar, 19, current American degree transfer programme student

“It is like a fast track programme where you get to study things you actually want to study, and you get to choose subjects that are fun and satisfying.”


Phoebe Ong Yun Liang, 20, former STPM student

“Doing Form Six gave me time to decide my next move, and it gave me a second chance academically as I did not do so well in SPM.”


Khairunnisaq Khairuddin, 20, former STPM student

“I would tell potential STPM students not to be afraid as Form Six is a good and steady way.”


Darren Robin, 20, former South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) student

“I took SACE because I preferred assignments and hands-on work. A lot of the assignments aren’t based on textbooks, thus equipping us with soft skills and an idea of how the working world is like.”


Roshan Jayachandran, 22, former foundation student

“I chose foundation because I was still unsure of what to do then. If I had chosen diploma, I would have had to choose what to specialise in immediately, which I wasn’t ready for.”


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