AUSMAT Vs. SACE: Which Australian Program is Best for You?

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While considering the numerous options for pre-university programmes, you may have come across or even heard about Australian Matriculation. Australian Matriculation programmes are essentially Australian-based qualifications that students may choose to take before entering their preferred choice of university. It is equivalent to Year 12, or STPM, or A-Level qualification. 

Malaysian universities are currently offering two types of Australian Matriculation programmes for pre-university students.

  • SACE

What is AUSMAT?

AUSMAT, or Australian Matriculation, is an internationally recognised programme based on the Australian education system. However, AUSMAT has recently come into being alternatively called as WACE. WACE stands for the Western Australian Certificate of Education. Its curriculum does not differ widely from AUSMAT as it maintains the programme’s well-structured and balanced educational pathway. WACE programme is graded through 50% coursework and 50% examination among 5 subjects of your choice. By choosing to study WACE, you will be able to attain a certification that is recognised by various international universities of Malaysia, as well as universities overseas. Not to mention that the curriculum itself helps you hone the skills of independent learning, better equipping you on how to absorb and retain information through a method best suited for you. 

The programme lasts between 10 – 12 months, depending on how well you perform. In some cases, students may take up to a 15-month long course. Additionally, WACE is internationally recognised through the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) who are responsible for setting the standards of education and qualifications across Australia, incorporating qualification from every area of education into a single framework. A completion of WACE indicates that a student has been well equipped and prepared with the necessary standard of academic education needed for the progression of their tertiary education.

Do be aware of universities’ tendency to still use the term “AUSMAT” as opposed to “WACE”. Be sure to confirm with your respective universities that you are in fact looking for the programme under the Western Australian government body

What is SACE?

South Australian Certificate of Education, or SACE for short, is the second type of pre-university programme that offers roughly about the same level of qualification as WACE (or AUSMAT). It is on parr as A-Levels, STPM, and other Foundation Programmes in Malaysia. Primarily known as SAM, SACE has become the latest term for the international programme that students may use as a gateway into their university of choice. SACE was administered by the Board of South Australia, which is a statutory authority of the South Australian Government. Its curriculum is built to prepare you with life skills and relevant academic knowledge you need to enter into your degree. 

The SACE programme is designed to help students become innovative thinkers outside the classroom and to assist them in the pathway to becoming well-rounded individuals. Like WACE, SACE also requires you to take 5 subjects with the flexibility of choosing varying subjects from both the science and art streams. Its curriculum consists of both coursework and examinations as well. However, WACE and SACE differ in this area as SACE’s grading system consists of 70% coursework and only 30% on its examinations. The duration of this programme lasts between 10 -15 months, depending on the student. Completion of this pre-university programme will not only give you a certification that is recognised in top local universities, but internationally as well!

What is the Difference Between AUSMAT & SACE?

So what is actually between these programmes? To make it easier for you to digest and compare, we have taken the liberty of listing down the differences in the table below:




Government Bodies

Implemented by the Western Australian government

Implemented by the South Australian Government

Course Structure

50% coursework


50% final exam

70% coursework


30% final exam

Subjects Offered

  • English
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Chemistry
  • Human Biology
  • Physics
  • Mathematics Applications
  • Mathematics Methods
  • Mathematics Specialist
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Business Management and Enterprise
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Career and Enterprise
  • Computer Science
  • Food Science & Technology
  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Legal Studies
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Nutrition
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Specialist Mathematics
  • Research Project

For information regarding the differences of WACE and SACE, contact us now!

Which One Should You Choose?

As a student, you have to be careful to choose a programme that best suits your preferred study methods and most importantly, what you believe you will thrive in better. WACE and SACE are both equally qualified pre-university programmes that will equip you with the appropriate educational background you need to progress into your degree. With that in mind, if you find that you thrive better in an equal balance between coursework and final exams, then perhaps WACE would suit you better. In this programme, you have the option of completing your assessment in a shorter period of time that tests your ability and knowledge of your subjects.

However, if you feel that your style of study methods are more effective when you are focusing on coursework, then SACE would be a better option for you. This programme’s structure concentrates mainly on coursework, giving you the option to spread your work over a more extended period of time while also avoiding the possibility of experiencing anxiety and poor performance in a high-pressure environment.

Looking to Study AUSMAT or SACE in Australia vs. Malaysia?

Should you pursue your pre-university programmes here in Malaysia, or should you be in Australia? After all, it is an Australian programme!

If studying WACE or SACE abroad in Australia is something you are interested in doing, here are two benefits you can consider:

  • You will be exposed to one of the finest education systems in the world

Australian universities has always been well-known and respected in academic circles. Its prestige has been well recognised by the QS World University Rankings, placing several Australian universities among one of the top global universities.

  • You will be exposed to a rich multicultural student body

In US News, Australia has been reported to be the 3rd most popular destination for students to complete their tertiary education. It is because of this that Australia hosts several international students, which gives you the opportunity to grow into a well-rounded individual by way of experiencing and learning through the multicultural community you will have around you. 

With all that in mind, you do need to consider the fact that there is an application process that you will need to undergo to get yourself to study abroad in Australia. In a nutshell, the process is a five-fold step: 

  1. Choose your preferred choice of university to study WACE/SACE
  2. Submit your application to the university.
  3. Receive your university offer letter.
  4. Receive your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).
  5. Begin the process to apply for a student visa. 

If this is something you are more keen on exploring and learning more about, contact us now!

However, if you plan on studying WACE/SACE in Malaysian universities, feel free to do so! Universities here in Malaysia have a lot to offer and according to an article from the QS World University Rankings, Malaysia is currently ranked as the 11th most popular study destination. There are several benefits by choosing to stay in Malaysia, some of which include: 

  • Affordable living costs for students

In the QS Best Student Cities, Kuala Lumpur has ranked as the second most affordable city for a student to be living in. So aside from getting quality education from Malaysian universities, you will also be living in an affordable environment that is accommodating to your student budget.

  • Malaysia has a diverse and multicultural population

With or without the large influx of international students and foreign workers, Malaysia in itself has a rich cultural diversity. With the main ethnicities of Malaysia being Malays, Indians, and Chinese, along with other Bumiputera ethnicities, Malaysia is well surrounded by different cultures and races which builds the country into the multicultural hotspot that it is. With this, you will be given a space for you grow and more about respecting and appreciating differences around you.

Pathways You Can Take After Completing AUSMAT or SACE

So what does your pathway to degree look like after completing your Australian Matriculation programme? Since WACE and SACE cover subjects from both Science and Art streams, you have flexibility of choosing either one of them for your pursuit of a degree. Upon completion of WACE/SACE, you can progress into Year 1 of your Bachelor’s or Degree programme at the university of your choice. 

Pathways you can choose to pursue from hereon may be:

  • Science-based course
  • Arts-based course
  • Arts & Science-based course

Where Can You Study AUSMAT or SACE in Malaysia?

Now that you have been provided with the necessary information about what WACE and SACE are, you may be wondering where you can pursue it in Malaysia. 

Below are the top 3 private Malaysian universities where you pursue these programmes:

  1. Sunway College


Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)


10 – 12 months


January, March, April, June, September

Indicative Fees

Contact us for more information!

For more information about the programme structure and fees, do contact us now!

        2) Taylor’s College


SACE International


10 – 12 months


February, April, August

Indicative Fees

Local Students:

RM24,950 (Feb/Apr intake)

RM27,780 (Aug intake)

International Students:

RM41,500 (Feb/Apr intake)

RM45,970 (Aug intake)

For more information about the programme structure and fees, do contact us now!

         3) Methodist College Kuala Lumpur


Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)


12 – 18 months


January, June, August

Indicative Fees

Local Students: RM17,750

International Students: RM31,800

For more information about the programme structure and fees, do contact us now!

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About The Author

Karisse Hannah 

Journalism and Advertising major. Passionate about reading and writing, and an advocate for the truth.

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