Which Pre-Uni Should You Choose: Foundation, A-Level, SAM, or AUSMAT?

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What is Pre-University in Malaysia?

It’s no surprise many who plan on kicking off their tertiary academic journey get overwhelmed and confused on which pathway is viable for continuing their studies. Your mind gets flooded with questions like “What’s next?” and “Is this for me?” due to how big the decision is and the long list of options for Pre-University in Malaysia.

Firstly, let’s explore the notion of Pre-University in Malaysia. Typically, it is a programme catered to prepare and subsequently qualify students going into Undergraduate Programmes after their secondary studies. In short, it aids in the transition into getting a taste of the ‘university life’. There are many options for Pre-University in Malaysia which includes STPM, Diploma, A-Level, Foundation, Australian Matriculation, and the list goes on. This article will focus on Foundation, A-Level, South Australian Matriculation (SAM), and Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT).

What is Foundation?
Foundation is a Pre-University programme with a one year time span. It allows a seamless transition into your preferred Undergraduate course by preparing you with basic and fundamental knowledge of your selected subject area. Many universities in Malaysia offer Foundation Programmes with varying subject areas. More common ones are programmes such as Foundation in Arts, Business, or Science. To further delve into understanding Foundation Programmes, you can read our article here.

What is A-Level?
A-Level typically occurs for a duration of 18 months. The A-Level Pre-University programme is based on the UK educational system, allowing students to further their studies in the UK. Having said that, an A-Level qualification is widely accepted and recognised by many different countries, as stated in the Cambridge website. Students are allowed to take 3 or 4 subjects depending on which Undergraduate Degree they plan to pursue. Our article, here, provides detailed elaboration on the A-Level Programme.

What is South Australian Matriculation (SAM) and Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)?
South Australian Matriculation (SAM), also known as South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), along with Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) is a Pre-University programme equivalent to a Year 12 in Australia. A major difference between the two is that the former is implemented by the South Australian Government while the latter by the Western Australian Government. If you’re wondering how they differentiate from each other, you can read our article at this page.

So, if you’re planning to continue your studies but the choices seem overwhelming, perhaps this article can help you decide which option to choose.

A-Levels vs Australian Matriculation vs Foundation

 

Foundation

A-Levels

SAM/SACE

AUSMAT

Duration

12 Months

18 Months

9-15 Months

12-18 Months

Core Subjects

  • Arts
  • Business
  • Computing
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Natural and Built Environments
  • Science
  • Digital Tech
  • Business
  • Media Studies 
  • Hospitality
  • Law
  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Further Mathematics
  • Law
  • Literature in English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • English
  • Business & Technology
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Arts
  • Languages
  • Humanities
  • Physical Education
  • General Studies
  • Arts
  • Language
  • Social Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technology

Structure

Modules across two or three semesters

100% Exam-based Assessment

70% Assessment 

30% Examination

50% Assessment 50% Examination

In terms of suitability, Foundation Programme is generally meant for students who want a cost-saving direct pathway into an Undergraduate Degree in a fairly shorter amount of time compared to a Pre-University Programme such as a Diploma. If you’re interested to know how a Foundation Programme differs from a Diploma, read our article here. A-Level Programme is suitable for students who wish to pursue their Undergraduate Degree abroad, especially the UK, and thoroughly master their subjects to pursue highly competitive programmes such as Law or Medicine. SAM or AUSMAT Programmes are for those who wish to pursue their Undergraduate Degree abroad, especially to Australia, with sufficient foundation knowledge on your subject area excluding the 100% examination-based structure of A-Level.

In terms of recognition, some Foundation Programmes in Malaysia are not recognised by Universities in other countries. However, there are exceptions, such as Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) and many others. You can reach out to us for more information on Foundation programmes. A-Level is widely recognised by Universities across the globe whereas SAM/SACE and AUSMAT is mainly recognised in Australia with other recognition from the UK, USA, New Zealand, Singapore, and Canada. Students can also use their A-Level, SAM, or AUSMAT to qualify for an Undergraduate Degree in private higher education institutions in Malaysia.

Why study Pre-University in Malaysia?

1. Prepare for Undergraduate Degree

Pre-University programmes would provide a smooth transition for those aspiring to pursue an Undergraduate Degree as the programme would prepare students with fundamental skills and knowledge needed to face the challenges of university life.

2. Wide range of Pre-Uni courses to choose from 

With the long list of Pre-University choices to choose from, comes a list of varying Pre-University courses or subjects. For instance, a Foundation Programme has many study areas – ranging from Arts, Science, even Law. Students should have a good grasp on their interests to ensure an informed decision. For further information on Foundation Programmes in Malaysia, you can read our article here.

3. Liberty of choice 

Enrolling into Pre-University courses (and continuing with a Bachelor’s Degree) differs from the system in secondary school. Unlike secondary school, students have the liberty of choosing which subjects and electives that they are passionate for or are intrigued in. 

4. Opens up opportunities 

Opting for Pre-University Programmes in Malaysia licences for more opportunities such as qualification for Undergraduate Degrees, direct entry to universities abroad and the chance to study in accredited universities.

5. Opportunities for Scholarships

Joining a Pre-University Programme in Malaysia could grant you the chance to get a scholarship or financial aid. This way, your tertiary academic journey is eased through financial support from respective education institutions.

Are you eligible to study Pre-University?

Academic Entry

Pre-University Programme

Minimum Score

SPM

O-Levels

UEC

A-Levels

5 Credits

5 Credits

3B

AUSMAT

5 Credits with English

5 Credits with English

5B

SACE/SAM

5 Credit with English, Mathematics, and relevant subjects

5 Credit with English, Mathematics, and relevant subjects

3 Credit with English, Mathematics, and relevant subjects

Foundation

5 Credits

5 Credits

3B

Note: Universities may have different requirements. To learn more, get in touch with us!

English Language Entry Requirement

Entry Level

Minimum Score

IELTS

Band 4.0

MUET

Band 2

TOEFL

31

Note: Universities may have different English Language requirements. To learn more, get in touch with us!

Universities in Malaysia to study Pre-University

1. Taylor’s College

Taylor’s College, under Taylor’s University, prides itself with their status as an institution recognised for their enriching student learning experience through star lecturers, quality classroom pedagogy, and cutting-edge facilities offered for their students. It is also a very well-known private higher education institution in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

Taylor’s offers a range of Pre-University Programmes from Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT), Cambridge A-Level, and a variety of Foundation Programmes granting you multiple pathways for a Bachelor Degree, with over 40 offered at Taylor’s University. The Taylor’s College Pre-University Programmes are made to provide holistic student development to foster critical thinking skills and readiness for diverse challenges. Students would also get the chance for guidance through their University Placement Services (UPS) on the Taylor’s campus.

Programme Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

AUSMAT

1 Year

February, April, August

Local Students: 

MYR 27,950 (February/ April Intake)

MYR 32,285 (August Intake)

International Students: 

USD 10,197 (February/ April Intake)

USD 11,468 (August Intake)

A-Level

1 Year

February, April, August

Local Students:

 MYR 28,000 (3 Subjects)

 MYR 43,718 (4 Subjects)

Foundation

Arts

1 Year

February, April, August

Local Students:

MYR 28,000

International Students:

USD 10,109

Business

1 Year

February, April, August

Local Students:

MYR 28,000

International Students:

USD 10,109

Computing

1 Year

February, April, August

Local Students:

MYR 28,000

International Students:

USD 10,109

Design

1 Year

February, April, August

Local Students:

MYR 28,000

International Students:

USD 10,109

Engineering

1 Year

February, April, August

Local Students:

MYR 30,000

International Students:

USD 10,609

Natural and Built Environments

1 Year

February, April, August

Local Students:

MYR 28,000

International Students:

USD 10,109

Science

1 Year

February, April, August

Local Students:

MYR 42,437

International Students:

USD 10,609

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

2. INTI International University & College (INTI)

INTI International University & College (INTI) empowers their students to be exceptional global achievers, innovators, and leaders through contemporary and collaborative learning approaches imbued with advantageous industry-learning curriculum across four campuses located throughout Malaysia. INTI also has extensive partnerships with other institutions and industries.

INTI holds out Pre-University Programmes such as the Cambridge A-Level and an array of courses under the INTI Foundation Programmes. The INTI Pre-University Programmes are suited with a team of Subject Matter Experts (SME), who are capable of conducting classes with specialised expertise in their respective field. This has resulted in many graduates of the INTI Pre-University Programmes to be the top-scorers and achieve outstanding awards.

Programme Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

A-Level

1.5 Years

January, July

Local Students:

RM 21,087 – RM 29,997 (3 Subjects)

RM 28, 116 – RM 39,996 (4 Subjects)

International Students:

RM 21,087 – RM 29,997 (3 Subjects)

RM 28, 116 – RM 39,996 (4 Subjects)

Foundation

Arts

1 Year

January, May, August

Local Students:

RM 19,942 – RM 20,943

International Students:

RM 19,942 – RM 20,943

Business

1 Year

January, May, April, August

Local Students:

RM 11,492 – RM 21,112

International Students:

RM 13,000 – RM 21,112

Design

1 Year

January, April, August

Local Students:

RM 21,112

International Students:

RM 21,112

IT

1 Year

January, May, April, August

Local Students:

RM 17,810 – RM 21,112

International Students:

RM 17,810 – RM 21,112

Science

1 Year

January, May, April, August

Local Students: RM 19,305 – RM 21,112

International Students:

RM 19,305 – RM 21,112

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

3. HELP Academy & University (HELP)

HELP Academy and University has a mission of providing guidance to students to ensure they live a life of significance through education. Established in 1986, HELP has shown growth by honouring themselves as a community-caring institution. HELP partners with many renowned international institutions across the globe, ranging from Australia, UK, France, Germany, New Zealand and many eminent countries.

In addition to the HELP Foundation Programmes, which are designed to give students an outstanding educational experience and equip them with the necessary skills, HELP Academy offers the Cambridge A-Level Programme and the Edexcel A-Level Programme, two A-Level programmes. They are the only facility that provides students with access to both programmes. The main difference between these two programmes are that the Edexcel A-Level students are permitted to repeat a single unit without having to retake an entire level unlike the Cambridge A-Level, which is linear-based and staged in AS and A2 Level.

Programme Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

A-Levels

Cambridge

1.5 Years

January, April, July,

September

Local Students:

RM 28,000 (3 Subjects)

RM 35,000 (4 Subjects)

International Students:

RM 28,000 (3 Subjects)

RM 35,000 (4 Subjects)

Edexcel

1.5 Years

January, April, July,

September

Local Students:

RM 28,000 (3 Subjects)

RM 35,000 (4 Subjects)

International Students:

RM 28,000 (3 Subjects)

RM 35,000 (4 Subjects)

Foundation

Arts

1 Year

January, May, July, September

Local Students:

RM 23,400

International Students:

RM 23,400

Science

1 Year

January, May, July, September

Local Students:

RM 23,400

International Students:

RM 23,400

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

4. UCSI College (USCI)

UCSI College, associated with UCSI University, offers over a hundred credentials through partnerships with esteemed universities across the globe to fulfil their aim of nurturing their graduates with profound passion and percipient intellect to bring about changes for a better world.

UCSI College offers a range of Pre-University Programmes including SACE, Cambridge A-Level, Foundation in Business, and Foundation in Science. They have the initiative of promoting a positive culture in boosting academic development amongst their students through Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) as well as personalised coaching and mentorship. Aligned with their mission of transforming students’ lives, they provide support in finding placements for graduates of their Pre-University Programmes. The previous students of their Cambridge A-Level Programme have had the chance to further their studies to named institutions such as Imperial College London.

Programme Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

SACE

9 – 15 Months

January, June, August

Local Students:

RM 16,000

International Students:

RM 23,100

A-Level

1.5 Years

January, May, August, September

Local Students:

RM25,020 (3 Subjects)

RM30,000 (4 Subjects)

International Students:

RM30,250 (3 Subjects)

RM36,300 (4 Subjects)

Foundation

Business

1 Year

January, May, July, September

Local Students:

RM13,320

International Students: RM16,566

Science

1 Year

January, May, July, September

Local Students:

RM13,320

International Students: RM16,566

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

5. Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL)

Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) was founded by the Methodist Council of Education and located in the city of Kuala Lumpur. MCKL owns a track record for providing quality education along with gold standard achievements. They aim to develop a community where graduates will positively impact society through respectable moral character and academic achievements. 

MCKL offers Pre-University Programmes such as the Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) and Cambridge A-Level. AUSMAT at MCKL is structured with a balanced emphasis on coursework assessment and examination for students to gain entries into notable institutions both locally and globally. The Cambridge A-Level Programme at MCKL is one of the earliest tertiary institutions in Malaysia offering the programme, noted for their affordability but enriching classroom environment and high quality education.

Programme Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2023)

AUSMAT

12-18 Months

January, June, August

Local Students:

RM 14,000 (January Intake)

RM 17,750 (June, August Intake)

International Students:

RM 14,000 (January Intake)

RM 17,750 (June, August Intake)

A-Level

18 Months

January, July

Local Students:

RM21,000 (3 Subjects)

RM24,000 (4 Subjects)

International Students:

RM21,000 (3 Subjects)

RM24,000 (4 Subjects)

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

For more information regarding the university, programme offered, entry requirements and fees, contact Excel Education.

Contact us to find out more!

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About The Author

hannah

Hannah Hir

Hannah appreciates various art forms, especially Asian literature, film and music. Most of her favorite Malaysian kuihs are green-coloured.

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