For many Malaysians, SPM marks the end of high school life and the beginning of a new chapter. Students must then make the important choice of choosing what to do next in terms of their education or work. There are various choices of pathways for a student who finishes SPM. Because of this, FINCO have simplified these Post-SPM Pathways and have included a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each option!


STPM (also known as Form 6) is a Pre-University option which may appeal to many High School Students for some of its advantages as listed below.

Minimum Requirements: Pass SPM & Credit BM
Time: 18 Months
Cost: Less than RM1,000

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Very affordable
  • Recognized worldwide
  • Challenging examination
  • 6 months waiting time to get into university

2) Malaysian Matriculation

Matriculation is a much sought after Pre-University program which also makes it difficult to get into as the competition is high. Students can choose between Science, Accounting, Professional Accounting or Engineering Streams. Admission into this course is heavily dependent on academic merit.

Minimum Requirements: Depends on your stream.
Time: 12 Months
Cost: RM600

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Short study period
  • Shorter pathway to get into Public Universities
  • Malaysian Matriculation is only recognized in a few foreign Universities

3) Foundation (Public & Private)

Foundation courses tend to be more focused on certain fields or subjects when compared with other Pre University courses. Because of this, it is an ideal choice for students who are certain of the career they wish to pursue in the future.

However, students need to understand that both Public & Private Institutions of Higher Education also offer Foundation Programs, and that the cost of learning in Public vs Private Institutions is very different.

Minimum Requirements: Depends on your choice of program, however in general, students need to obtain 5 Credits in SPM (Including BM) + Pass History
Time: 12 Months
Cost: RM600 (Public Institutions) to RM25,000 (Private Institutions)

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Focused on subjects of choice
  • Short study period
  • Restrictive in terms of University choice & course when selecting a Degree Course
  • Expensive if students choose Foundation in a Private Institution

4) Diploma

Choosing a Diploma gives students the option to either begin working immediately or furthering their studies in a University Degree program. Diplomas tend to be focused on practical and technical skills in a specific field.

Diplomas are on a higher level compared with other pre university courses in Malaysia, hence students who further their studies may be exempted from Year 1 of University Degree.

Minimum Requirements: In general, 3 Credits in SPM + Pass BM & History
Time: 2-3 years
Cost: RM1,200 – RM35,000

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Can begin working upon completion
  • May be exempted from Year 1 of University Degree
  • More practical & hands-on training
  • Longer study period (when compared to other Pre-University programs)

5) Malaysian Skills Certificate

Similar to a Diploma, Malaysian Skills Certificates (Sijil Kemahiran) are designed to provide students with practical and technical experience in a specific profession. Skills certifications are usually offered by vocational schools and training institutions. They cover a variety of subjects including automotive technology, hospitality and construction.

Minimum Requirements: Completed Form 5
Time: 12 Months
Cost: RM800 – RM1,500

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Low entry requirements
  • Suitable for students who wish to begin working quickly
  • Difficult to change streams in University
  • Job choices might be limited to low and medium skilled jobs

6) Short Courses

Similar to Skills Certifications, short courses can allow students to learn skills which prepare them for the working world. Some popular short courses include Digital Marketing courses, User Experience & Interface (UX & UI) courses, Coding and much more.

The difference is, the certifications from these courses are not issued by local institutions. However, some employers may still choose to hire students who complete short courses and students can also aim to do freelance work with the skills learned.

Minimum Requirements: No requirements needed
Time: Usually 2-6 Months
Cost: Free – RM8,000

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Short study period
  • Students can enroll for short courses while working
  • Not all employers may recognize short courses
  • Missing out on the campus life experience

7) Working After SPM

Finally, many students may also choose to begin working immediately after SPM. This can be an attractive choice for some students but may also have some potential disadvantages as listed below.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Earning an income before your peers
  • Gaining work experience earlier in life
  • It is very likely to get a low-skilled job with a less lucrative salary

Ultimately, choosing a Post-SPM pathway is an important decision in life and there is no one-size-fits-all. The most important thing to keep in mind is that every choice you make will have its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to choose the best option for yourself!

Download this resource for future use.