What is STPM? Understanding STPM


SPM leavers, do you know what is STPM? Understanding it in depth will allow you to make your decision, STPM or something else? Here are some answers.

The Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM, English: Malaysian Higher School Certificate) is a pre-university examination taken by students in Malaysia. It was formerly known as the Higher School Certificate (HSC). The HSC was the precursor to the GCE A Level in the UK, and is still the name of the pre-university examination in some states in Australia.

Is stpm really difficult to score?

STPM is one of the two major pre-university systems for admission to Malaysian public universities. The other is a one-year matriculation programme conducted by the Ministry of Education. STPM is not the only qualification accepted besides the matriculation programme and Malaysian Higher Islamic Religious Certificate (STAM). Candidates technically may apply for admission to degree-level courses with a variety of pre-university examinations considered equivalent with STPM, including A-Level. All those applying for universities, however, must have taken the MUET. STPM is internationally recognised by many universities, especially those within the Commonwealth of Nations as well as the United States and the Republic of Ireland.


Examination performance letter of the STPM examination
As the national education in Malaysia is modelled after the educational system in England, the STPM pre-university programme is the sixth form of secondary education, referred to as “Form 6”. The Ministry of Education selects secondary schools it considers capable of providing Form 6 classes.

Students in Form Six are called sixth formers. Sixth formers in national secondary schools are usually distinct from other students in the lower forms such as wearing different school uniforms, usually given higher posts within the school’s societies, often with lax enforcement of certain school rules and regulations and sometimes even holding a separate morning assembly and recess for sixth formers.


STPM candidates sit for no more than five subjects, all within the same examination season. All Science- and Mathematics-related subjects (Mathematics M, Mathematics T, Further Mathematics, ICT, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology) are offered bilingually in English and Malay. All other exams, other than languages, are still offered only in Malay and are likely continue to do so.


Under the new modular system of STPM, students are allowed to take up to 5 subjects, including General Studies. Due to the requirements of local universities, students are strongly encouraged to take General Studies, although it is not compulsory to do so. Besides, school-based assessment (SBA) will be implemented for all the subjects, made up the weighting of 20% to 40% of overall marks. Students are also allowed to repeat the examination if they are not satisfied with the results. Nevertheless, SBA cannot be repeated and repeaters are required to sit for an alternative written paper in place with SBA.


Hi @Dreams, appreciate your sharing! I have a question that about some of the students can’t get what the course they want after finish STPM. Is it really?


Exactly because the university will give priority to the matrix students. they can get 4.0 easily compare to the stpm students . :cold_sweat::cold_sweat::cold_sweat::cold_sweat:


It is true that some students after finishing STPM can’t get the course they apply for at the university. It happens every year. However it is important that you understand why this happens.

Some of the reasons are:

  • The students do not meet the minimum requirement of the specific courses that they are applying. For example, a particular course requires an B in STPM Chemistry however the students only have C in that subject. Students who do not meet the minimum requirements of a particular course are automatically disqualified from that course.

  • The course are just too competitive and the students lose to other better result students. For example, while a student’ STPM result (let’s say CGPA: 3.92) meets the minimum requirement of the particular course, let’s say Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), the student might not get because all students who got offered the course have perfect STPM result (CGPA: 4.00). Places are limited and will be assigned to the best-result students first. Just a note that Kokurikulum marks play a role too.


Matriculation (Malaysia Matrikulasi) students usually score better than STPM students. In order words, the percentage and number of matriculation students scoring perfect CGPA 4.0 is way higher than STPM students. So when both groups apply for a competitive course, it is not a surprise that many matriculation students get the offer over very few STPM students.

It is quite obvious for some highly competitive courses at University of Malaya, for example courses like Accounting, Law etc are mostly matrix students.


Ask again, I couldn’t get the Matriculation for the first badge, I wanted to make rayuan. But at the same time, if I received the Form 6, is it possible for me to get matrix again? Tq


Yes, it is possible since you are appealing for Matrikulasi.


Thank you very much!


Thank you for the article. I’m having a dilemma here, I’m waiting for the upu result, and my parents asked me to accept this form 6. I don’t know what to do, plus I’ve been offered ‘jurusan kemanusiaan’ which is not science stream anymore (and I don’t like science stream because I got C, D and E for science subjects). So, if I get upu, and also not been related to any science subjects, which one is more better for me? I really need your help guys. Thank you very much :blush:


Science or Arts stream which one is better? This is really a dilemma many form six students face every year. Read the following posts for some practical advices :wink: