Once high school ends, it’s time for you to step up onto the next phase in your education journey. At this point, students are all itching to get into universities and get their degrees. 

BUT, before you go straight for a degree, you have to take your first step by enrolling in a pre-university programme. This is the difficult part: there are so many pre-university programmes offered locally and abroad and you have to make this one decision that will determine the pathway for your degree studies. Many students are, unfortunately, still unaware of the numerous options they have (and what differentiates them) when it comes to these programmes. 

To help you out, we have listed the top 5 choices of pre-university programmes available in Malaysia!



Also known as “Asasi” in Malay, Foundation is a 1-year programme, run by public universities, that focuses more on theoretical knowledge. It aims for you to focus on specific subjects before jumping right ahead into your choice of Bachelor’s degree. With this in mind, when choosing a foundation program, you should already know what degree you want to pursue. In simpler words, you get to better prepare for their degree life. Due to its short duration, the foundation programme is often the top choice for those who wish to complete their pre-university faster. The downside of it though, because it only aims for certain degree courses and public universities, there is very slim chance for you to study a different course or at a different university for your Bachelor’s degree.


Choosing to pursue the Diploma programme might be your best choice if you wish to work immediately after. Due to its long duration, it gets to cover practical skills and in-depth knowledge on the courses. This also allows you to shorten your degree studies by 1 year (though usually only applicable if you went to the same university). In terms of qualification level, the Diploma programme ranks higher than the Foundation programme as it focuses more on industry-specific skills. This programme gives you a glimpse of what you will go through during your degree. Many students often prefer this particular programme due to its long duration where they feel the need to take things slow in order to catch up to university life.


The Malaysian Matriculation programme is similar to the Foundation programme. The key difference is while Foundation programmes are managed by universities, the Matriculation programme is run by the education ministry. This program is thought to be extremely cost-effective for students despite being recognized worldwide. However, they only offer 4 streams; science, engineering, accounting, and professional accounting. Other matriculation programmes that you can consider are the Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) and the South Australian Matriculation (SAM), now known as the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).


STPM is most famous for its high-quality qualification that is on par with A-levels. In fact, it is even acknowledged as one of the most difficult exams in the world. As STPM students would attend their classes mostly at high schools, it is often called “Form 6”, which is an extension of high school. It is recognized all around the world as it is monitored by a representative from the Cambridge Assessment and governed by the Malaysian Examination Council. With a duration of more than a year and a wide range of subjects for you to choose from, this pre-university programme keeps your degree options wide so you don’t have to decide on a degree course right away.


A-level is often sought after by students who wish to study their degrees abroad. It is based on the UK education and is offered in Malaysia. It is the ultimate pathway to top universities, deemed to be the “Golden Standard”. But with great achievements comes great sacrifices. Along with STPM, it is listed among the toughest education programmes. The bright side is, you can choose what subjects you want to take according to what you plan on pursuing for the future, typically 3-4 subjects. By being able to do so, it helps you gain deeper knowledge and understanding as you get to study the subjects you are actually interested in. 


If you’re an SPM leaver and have yet to pursue any pre-university programme, wishing to find the quickest way to study in Russia, then look no further. To study in Russia, those with no pre-university certificate may do so just by attending a 1-year Russian Preparatory Course. Even if you have a pre-university certificate, you may also attend this course if you wish to do so in order to prepare yourselves better before you head to Russia as a full-time student and pursue your dreams. Check out the education pathway to get a better understanding of your Russian education journey.

The Russian Preparatory course offers mandatory Russian language courses and specialization subjects required to pass the entrance exams for your university of choice. These courses are each managed by the preparatory departments from respective universities. Therefore, these departments aim to not only prepare you to adapt to life in Russia through its language and culture, but also to introduce you to the few subjects that you are likely to take once you have enrolled for your Bachelor’s degree. However, you should be well-prepared as there is a high chance that you will have to start taking classes in fully Russian. Although it seems intricated, these preparations are essential for international before starting their university life abroad.