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by StudyMalaysia on December 19, 2016 | Top Stories

Are you an international student? Here’s a list of foreign pre-university qualifications which are equivalent to Malaysia’s STPM or A-levels

If you're planning to study a bachelor's degree at a private higher educational institution (PHEI) in Malaysia, you would be glad to know that they accept all qualified students with pre-university qualifications such as STPM, GCE 'A' level, SAM (Australia), CPU (Canada), SMU3 from Indonesia, university foundation programmes, and other qualifications deemed equivalent.

Here's a list of foreign pre-university qualifications which are equivalent to Malaysia's STPM or A-levels:

Country of Origin Foreign Qualifications which are Equivalent to Malaysia’s STPM
Australia Australian Year 12
South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)
Tertiary Entrance Education (TEE)
New South Wales: Higher School Certificate (HSC)
Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)
Western Australia Certificate of Education (WACE)
Bahrain Tawjahiya (Secondary School Leaving Certificate)
Brunei Darussalam Cambridge GCE A-Level
Brunei Darussalam Matriculation
Cambodia Diploma of Upper Secondary Education (Grade 12)
Cameroon Cameroon GCE A level
Canada Canadian Grade 12
Canadian Pre-University (CPU)/Ontario: Ontario Secondary School Diploma
China Senior Secondary School Graduation Certificate
Denmark Bevis for Studentereksamen
Bevis for Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF)
Egypt Thanaweya A’ama (Certificate of General Secondary Education)
Secondary Education Certificate of Al-Azhar>
France Baccalaureát + Grandes Ecoles (entrance examination)
Germany Zeugnis der Reife / Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife / Abitur
Ghana West African Higher School Certificate / GCE A-Level
Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (since 1993)
Gambia West African Examinations Council GCE A-Level
Hong Kong Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE); Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE)
India All India Senior School Certificate (awarded by Central Board of Secondary Education)
India Higher Secondary Course Certificate / Higher Secondary School Certificates / Higher Secondary Certificate / Higher School Certificate (awarded on completion of Standard XII)
Pre-Medical from Punjab University
Pre-University Examination from Mahatma Gandhi University
Certificate of Second Year Pre-University Examination issued by Education Department of the Government of Karnataka
Intermediate Public Examination Year conducted by the Board of Intermediate Education, Hyderabad, India
Higher Secondary Examination (Class XII) Certificate, Government of Kerala, Board of Higher Secondary Examination
Intermediate Pass Certificate (cum Memorandum of Marks), Board of Intermediate Education, Andhra Pradesh
Marks Sheet, Bihar Intermediate Education Council, Patna
Senior Secondary School Examination, National Institute of Open Schooling (formerly known as National Open School)
Indonesia Sekolah Menengah Umum (SMU) 3 / Sekolah Menengah Atas (SMA) / Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan (SMK) / Madrasah Aliyah, with grade point average 6-10 
Iran High School Diploma (on completion of Grade 12) + KONKUR (university entrance examination)
Iraq Sixth Form Baccalauréat / Certificate of Preparatory Education
Ireland Leaving Certificate passed at Higher / Honours Level Grades A-C
Italy Diploma di Maturità (Classica/Scientifica/Tecnica/ Linguistica/Professionale/Magistrale/Artistica) (up until 1999)
Esame di Stato (from 1999)
Japan Upper Secondary School Leaving Certificate (Kotogakko Sotsugyo Shomeisho)
Jordan Tawjihi (General Secondary Education Certificate)
Kenya East African Advanced Certificate of Education (EAACE) / Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education (KACE) (up to1988)
Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE)
Korea-South Korea High School Graduation Equivalency Examination
Kuwait Shahadat-al-thanawia-al-a’ama (General Secondary School Certificate)
Liberia Senior High School Certificate
Libya Secondary School Certificate / Secondary Education Certificate
Macao Cambridge Overseas Higher School Certificate (COHSC) / GCE Advanced
Ensino Secundário Complementar
Mauritius Cambridge Overseas Higher School Certificate / GCE A-Level
Morocco Diplôme du Baccalaureat
Namibia HIGCSE (Higher International General Certificate of Secondary Education)
Cambridge Overseas Higher School Certificate (COHSC) / GCE -Level
Nepal Higher Secondary Education Certificate (HSEC)
Netherlands Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO) Diplomas
New Zealand National Certificate in Educational Achievement Level 3 (NCEA)/td>
Niger Baccalauréat / Diplôme de Bachelier de I’Enseignement du Second Degré
Nigeria West African GCE A-Level (up to 1989)
West African Examinations Council Senior School Certificate (WAEC Senior School Certificate) / NECO (Nigerian Examination Council) (since 1989)
Oman Thanawiya amma (Secondary School Leaving Certificate / General Secondary School Certificate)
One year Certificate / Foundation Year
Pakistan Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) / Intermediate
Palestine Tawjihi (Certificate of General Secondary Education Examination)
Poland Swiadectwo Dojrzalości / Matura
Qatar A l-Thanawaya Al-Amah (General Secondary School Certificate)
Saudi Arabia Tawjihiyah (General Secondary Education Certificate)
Scotland Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE) HIGHER GRADE, Scottish Examination Board
Sierra Leone Senior School Certificate
Singapore Singapore  Cambridge GCE A-Level
Sri Lanka Sri Lankan General Certificate of Education (Advanced Level)
South Africa Senior Certificate (with matriculation endorsement) / National Senior Certificate
Somalia Secondary School Leaving Certificate
Spain Selectividad
Sudan Sudan School Certificate (formerly called the Secondary School Certificate or Higher Secondary School Certificate)
Sweden Avgangsbetyg / Slutbetyg fran Gymnasieskola (previously Studentexamen) (Upper Secondary School Leaving Certificate)
Taiwan Senior High School Leaving Certificate
Thailand Maw 6 with a score of 50% or above / Islamic Study Upper Secondary School Certificate
United Arab Emirates Tawjihiyya (General and Religious)
United Kingdom GCE Advanced, UK
Vietnam Upper Secondary School Graduation Diploma
Yemen A l-Thanawiya (General Secondary Education Certificate)

Besides a pre-U qualification, proficiency in the English language is an important requirement by PHEIs. Students are expected to have adequate knowledge and understanding of English, as this is the language of instruction at private colleges and universities. Various international examinations such as IELTS and TOEFL are recognised as English proficiency standards and form part of the entry requirements for bachelor’s degree programmes.

Here’s an example of commonly accepted English Proficiency Standard at most PHEIs.

English proficiency test Required scores for first degree programmes
Paper-based TOEFL 500 to 600
Internet-based TOEFL 79-87 (some PHEIs may require minimum points in each of the elements – writing, speaking, reading and listening)
IELTS 6.0 to 7.0 (some PHEIs may require a minimum score in each band)

For more information, please visit the website of the national quality assurance agency at


  • Study in Malaysia Handbook, 9th edition       

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