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SPM VS. IGCSE Grading System

by StudyMalaysia.com on November 3, 2015 | Top Stories

What’s better than an A and what do your grades mean? Whether you’re a student or a parent, understanding the grading system used in exams will help you in interpreting your scores.

One of the main purposes of exams at secondary school is to determine if a student has the required grade to pursue a course of study at the next level. If you’re a student planning for your further education, it will be useful for you to understand the grading system used in exams. Grades are also useful in applications for scholarships or study loans.

SPM exam grading system

Students in Form 5 sit for the SPM examination. The results of this exam will determine if a student qualifies for further studies such as pre-university, foundation, certificate or diploma programmes.

The grades awarded are: A+, A, A-, B+, B, C+, C, D, E and G.

Students applying for courses at public higher education institutions (HEIs) need to convert their grades into a merit point calculation system. The calculation of merit is based on the points allocated to the respective subject grades (see table below).

As an example, the calculation of points for diploma programmes at public HEIs is done on a 120-point scale that is based on 8 subjects, that is, 5 out of 6 core subjects (90 points) plus three of the remaining best subjects (30 points). Extra-curricular activities will only be used as a tiebreaker in an event where 2 or more students’ graders for their papers are the same.



(before 2010)

Subject Grade and Point Allocated (from 2010 onwards) 
Subject Grade Points Allocated
–  A+  18 
1A  16 
2A  A-  14
3B  B+  12
4B  10
5C  C+  8
6C  6
7D  4
8E  2
9G  0

Table: Allocation of academic points for each grade

Minimum requirement to be awarded an SPM certificate: 

Candidates must pass both Bahasa Melayu and Sejarah (history) papers.

Cambridge IGCSE grading system

Candidates who sit for the Cambridge IGCSE exam will be awarded one of the following grades:

A*, A, B, C, D, E, F or G.

Performance which is below the standard of the lowest grade is ungraded and is denoted by a ‘U’.

Generally, applications for post-secondary courses require a minimum of a C grade and above that may or may not be subject specific.

The IGCSE grading system aims to maintain the standard of grading such that the same level of achievement will receive the same grade from one year to the next. This means that grades should reflect a consistent level of achievement between different syllabuses within the same qualification and in different years.

In addition, grades are awarded based on grade thresholds chosen at each examination series and for each syllabus. Grade thresholds reflect the minimum level of achievement worthy of the grade and may vary from one examination series to another.

Students should also note that grades are not awarded based on a quota system. If the candidates are better, the results will improve.

Minimum requirement to be awarded an IGCSE certificate:

The candidate will be awarded a certificate stating the subjects and corresponding grades obtained. However, performance which is below the standard of the lowest grade is ungraded.

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