Study A-Levels vs AUSMAT in Malaysia.

Sharing is caring :)

Choosing a pre-university program is as important as choosing the degree program a student wants to pursue  as both play a symbiotic role. It determines the students’ study paths and the opportunity for them to enrol into the top universities both abroad and locally. 

However, students are often confused with the wide selection of pre-university courses available, such as A-Levels, Australian Matriculation and Foundation, all of which have different study structures. 

The Australian Matriculation program provides two different pre university  programs under it namely, SACE the South Australian Certificate of Education and AUSMAT, the Western Australia Certificate of Education. 

At the end of the day, the battle narrows down between the best two pre-university programs are A-Levels and the Australian Matriculation, for students who would like to pursue their tertiary studies abroad especially in the UK or Australia. 

This article will be focusing on the differences between A-Levels and the Australian Matriculation. By the end of this article, you should be able to differentiate on both of the programs, A-Levels and AUSMAT.

What is A-Levels & SACE/ AUSMAT?

A-Levels is one of the most recognized pre-university programs that are accepted worldwide, and is mostly taken by students who want to pursue their degree in the UK. Known to be one of the most established pre-university programs and is recognised by top universities worldwide, including Ivy League universities. It’s often used as a benchmark for university placements. 

That doesn’t make the SACE/AUSMAT program any less. It is also a recognized pre-university program accepted worldwide and is mostly taken by students who would want to pursue their higher studies in Australia. 

Although both of the pre-university programs are widely accepted in universities around the world. It depends on the student on where they would like to pursue their degree program. If it’s the UK, then it’s advisable to enrol in the A-Levels program as it is accepted by all the top tier universities in the UK,

But if you have already made up your mind on studying in Australia, then SACE/AUSMAT would be the right choice. 

However both pre-university programs do not restrict students from applying for universities in other countries as most students have also been accepted in universities in New Zealand, Singapore, and even in the States.

Conclusion: If you have already made up your mind of studying in the UK then A-Levels would be a right choice but if you want to study in Australia then SACE/AUSMAT would be a great choice.

Program Duration for A-Levels & SACE/ AUSMAT

A-Levels roughly takes a minimum of 18 months to complete. Most students who have a clear idea of what they would like to pursue usually apply right after completing their SPM. However, the intake dates for A-Levels vary according to the higher institutions. Some might even have two to three intakes per year. Since it’s an 18 month-long program, students who have decided that they want to pursue their studies in the UK would usually enrol in the January intake as the UK’s annual intake is in September. 

SACE/AUSMAT, on the other hand, takes about 10-12 months to complete, which comes to a year when roughly calculated. It makes it the program for students who want to pursue their higher education in Australia as their intakes start in February/ March or June/ July. 

Conclusion: If you want a program with a shorter period and would allow you to get a headstart among your friends then you should opt for SACE/AUSMAT but if you’re not rushing to complete you pre-university and would like to study more in-depth of the subjects that you have chosen then A-Levels should be your choice.

For more information on A-Levels, click here to read our article on it. 

Program Structure of A-Levels & SACE/ AUSMAT

However, although students might only be required to take the minimum of 3 subjects for A-Levels, it does not mean they have got it easy. A-Levels covers the subject that students have chosen in-depth, which means you are not merely covering the subject’s surface. Their exams are challenging as they always test the students’ understanding of the particular topic. A-Levels are usually taken by students who have decided to take up challenging and competitive degrees such as Medicine or Engineering. 

The A-Level program is structured into two levels; the first part being Advanced Subsidiary (AS Level) and the second part known as A2. 

  • Advanced Subsidiary (AS Level): This is where students will usually learn the introduction of the subjects they’ve chosen or could be known as the foundation of A-Levels. 
  • A2: The second half of the program, where students will be covering more in-depth of the subjects they’ve chosen. 

On the other hand, under SACE/AUSMAT, there are two different certification programs that students can enrol into SACE/AUSMAT. Students must take 5 subjects, although 5 subjects might seem a lot they would not be going too in-depth on each subject. SACE/AUSMAT provides more flexibility to explore a broader range of subjects as students will pick subjects from different streams. However, although SACE and AUSMAT are Australian pre-university programs, they have their differences when it comes to the grading system.

The main differences between SACE and AUSMAT are:

South Australian Certification of Education (SACE)

  • Governed by the South Australian government 
  • The course would be graded on a 70% coursework and 30% examination

Western Australian Certificate of Education (AUSMAT)

  • Governed by the Western Australian government
  • The course would be graded on 50% coursework and 50% examination

However, both programs would need students to have prerequisite subjects before choosing their subjects, especially if they’re looking to enrol under the science stream. 

Conclusion: If you prefer to study more in-depth for your pre-university subjects, A-Levels would be a great choice but if you like studying more subjects without dwelling into too deep, SACE/AUSMAT it is.

For more information on SACE/AUSMAT, please click here to read our article on it. 

Academic Assessment for A-Levels & SACE/ AUSMAT

A-Levels: Is a 100% exam based program that is split up into 2 parts. AS Level and A2 Level, both parts equally contribute 50% towards the student’s final grade.

SACE/AUSMAT: Students will be graded based on a combination of coursework and exam. However, the ratio differs for both the SACE and AUSMAT program. SACE carries a 70% coursework and 30% exam rate while AUSMAT carries an equal 50% for both coursework and exam. 

The final grade for SACE/AUSMAT is known as ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank). However, ATAR is a rank and not a mark;it provides a measure of a student’s overall academic achievement as compared to his/her coursemates. The score is calculated based on the students results at the end of the program. The score is calculated based on four of the highest scoring subjects and 50% from the 5th highest scoring subject.

This means the students overall percentage from the five subjects will be used to compare his/her ranking to others. For example, an ATAR of 90 means you have performed better than 90% of your coursemates who took the program with you

If you’re comfortable reliving the SPM days and performing better in exams than A-Levels should be a problem for you, however, bear in mind that it’s not similar to SPM where you memorize a whole textbook and sit for an exam. A-Levels test your analytic skills and the mind. Therefore you really need to be prepared for their exams. 

If you’re someone who would strive better by combining coursework and examination, SACE/AUSMAT would be the ideal choice for you. 

Conclusion: If you’re someone who does crack under pressure and can perform well under exams (as A-Levels is a 100% exam based program) A-Levels would be the perfect suit for you but if you do not want your final grade to be depending only one exam and would like to have a combination of both exams and coursework, you should choose SACE/AUSMAT.

Entry Requirement for A-Levels & SACE/ AUSMAT



Minimum 5 credits (including English and relevant subjects to course)

O Level

Minimum 5 credits ( relevant subjects to course)


Minimum 5 credits ( relevant subjects to course)

Conclusion: The entry requirement for both the programs is the same however it depends on the student on which pre university program that they would prefer to enrol in.

For more details on the entry requirement please contact Excel Education

Program Fees for A-Levels & SACE/ AUSMAT

The rough cost estimation for A-Levels is between RM16,000 to RM45,000 while for AUSMAT is between RM14,000 to RM35,000.

A-Levels might be slightly more expensive than SACE/AUSMAT as the course duration is generally longer than SACE/AUSMAT which is about 15 – 25 months compared to SACE/AUSMAT which is about 10 -12 months long. 

 However, plenty of universities are now offering scholarships for pre-university programs that reduce the students and parents’ financial burden. 

Conclusion: If you’re looking for a more affordable program and want to be done with your pre-university program, fast SACE/AUSMAT would be the right choice.

For more details on the program fees, please contact Excel Education

Differences Between A-Levels & AUSMAT








18 months 

10-12 months 


Min 3 

Min 5


100% Exam 

Coursework and Exams 

Tuition Fees

Higher Cost

Lower Cost 

Program Recognition 



Well, that’s the end of the comparison between A-Levels and AUSMAT. Hope this article has given you a clearer picture on how both the programs work. If you would like to have more details on either one of the above programs, do not hesitate to contact us at Excel Education for a free consultation.

Articles You Might Be Interested In
Contact us to find out more!

Student enquiries:

Call/Whatsapp: +60182414802

Email: [email protected]

For more stories like this, join the Excel Education community on Facebook or follow us on Instagram

Need help with your university application? Connect with us here

About the Author

Rebecca Visvanathan

Caffeine addict thats constantly on the run!

Sharing is caring :)