Student Info & Guide

Is STPM for You? Here Are 12 Things You Should Know Before You Decide

by on May 4, 2021 | Top Stories, Pre-University Programmes & Foundation Studies

Is STPM for You?


Since 2012, STPM has adopted a modular system which assesses students continuously over three terms. The previous terminal system was based on one final exam.


Students can choose from 23 subjects, and take a maximum of 5 subjects including General Studies. To apply to public universities, only the best 4 subjects (including General Studies) will be taken into account.

Subjects offered in the new STPM examination are:

No. Subject Code Subject
  1. 900   General Studies
  2. 910   Malay Language
  3. 911   Chinese Language
  4. 912   Tamil Language
  5. 913   Arab Language
  6. 920   Literature in English
  7. 922   Communicative Malay Literature
  8. 930   Syariah
  9. 931   Usuluddin
  10. 940   History
  11. 942   Geography
  12. 944   Economy
  13. 946   Business Studies
  14. 948   Accounting
  15. 950   Mathematics (M)
  16. 954   Mathematics (T)
  17. 958   Information and Communications Technology
  18. 960   Physics
  19. 962   Chemistry
  20. 964   Biology
  21. 4966   Sports Sciences
  22. 970   Visual Arts

(Note: All maths and science-based subjects have bilingual options, i.e. BM and English.)


The curriculum is divided into three parts based on topic areas. Each part will be taught and studied in either the first, second or third term. Students’ assessment will be carried out each term with the results being released at the end of each respective term.


Soft skills such as communication skills, teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, information management and ethics are included in the new curriculum.


Assessments are now divided into two: School-Based Assessment (SBA) with a weighting of 20% to 40%, and a centralised examination with a weighting of 60% to 80%.


SBA consists of project work, field study and practical work. The centralised written examination is held at the end of each term; question types consist of multiple choice, structured, and essay questions.


The students’ score for each term will be aggregated to determine the overall subject grade. The overall STPM results will be based on the best combined results of the three terms.

STPM subject grades and the corresponding subject grade point:

Subject grade Subject grade point (SGP) (%) Status
A 4.00 Full Pass
A- 3.67 Full Pass
B+ 3.33 Full Pass
B 3.00 Full Pass
B- 2.67 Full Pass
C+ 2.33 Full Pass
C 2.00 Full Pass
C- 1.67 Partial Pass
D+ 1.33 Partial Pass
D 1.00 Partial Pass
F 0.00 Fail


Students do not need to achieve a minimum grade to continue their studies in the following term.


In fact, students are allowed to improve their first and second term results by retaking these term examinations at the end of the third term. Students can also re-sit their third term exams.


Students are allowed to change, add or drop the subjects they have registered for in the first and second terms (Note: there will be charges to make these changes).


Students enrolled at government schools do not need to pay to sit for the STPM exam. Otherwise, the basic fee for the examination is RM120.00, while the fees for each subject is RM90.00. However, the fee to repeat examination for each paper is RM50.00 for all students.


STPM is a qualification that is recognised all over the world. To uphold the standards of STPM, a representative from Cambridge Assessment (CA), United Kingdom attends the Standards Setting Committee meeting to endorse the results.

8 reasons why you should consider STPM

  • It’s an extremely affordable pre-U option
  • You don’t have to wear the school uniform unless you want to
  • STPM is recognised locally and internationally as a pre-university qualification
  • You have a wide range of subject choice
  • The new STPM modular format is more appealing: instead of one BIG exam at the end of 18 months, you will be assessed at the end of each of the three terms
  • Most subjects have a School-Based Assessment (SBA) component; your project work, field study and practical work will help contribute towards your final grade
  • You will progress to the next term regardless of your academic performance (no getting held back if you fail a paper)
  • You can improve your subject grade point by re-sitting for a paper

Related Articles: STPM vs. A-Levels Grading System


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