IGCSE VS. SPM: THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BOTH
Updated: Jul 17
In Malaysia, IGCSE and SPM are popular examination among students and teachers . While IGCSE is Cambridge certified, SPM is the national examination for form 5 students in Malaysia.
Both are equivalent qualifications with quite a number of stark differences between the two.
When it comes to subjects, IGCSE students have more flexibility as compared to SPM. For example, there is no compulsory subjects for anyone who wants to sit for IGCSE.
However, SPM students have to sit for and pass Bahasa Malaysia and Sejarah (History) in order to get their certificate. Moreover, Pendidikan Islam is compulsory for Muslims while Pendidikan Moral is compulsory for non-Muslims.
For IGCSE, students choose their own subjects based on their own interest.
2. GRADING SYSTEM
SPM EXAMINATION GRADING SYSTEM
The results of SPM examination will determine if a student qualifies for further studies after secondary school, such as matriculation, foundation or diploma programmes.
The grades are: A+, A, A-, B+, B, C+, C, D, E and G.
Students who intend to further their education at public universities must convert their grades into a merit point calculation system.
IGCSE EXAMINATION GRADING SYSTEM
The grades are: A*, A, B, C, D, E, F or G.
It’s important to bear in mind that performance which is below the standard of the lowest grade is ungraded and denoted by a ‘U’. Moreover, grades are not awarded based on a quota system.
Unlike SPM, which requires a passing in Bahasa Malaysia and History for students to be awarded a certificate, candidates of IGCSE will be awarded a certificate stating the subjects and corresponding grades obtained.
With IGCSE, fast-learning students are allowed to sit for the examination earlier at 16 years old.
With SPM, all students must follow the syllabus set for them each year and proceed from Form 1 to Form 5 accordingly. Students sit for SPM when they complete 11 years of education.
Both IGCSE and SPM are examinations of equivalent level. Both are widely recognized, although Cambridge IGCSE is best known as the world’s most popular international qualification for secondary education.
Both qualifications can get you into good colleges, pre-university programmes, diploma programmes etc, depending on your grades. However, if your plan is to enter a public university or join a Matrikulasi, SPM is the way to go.
On the other hand, if your goal is to enter a local private university/college, or even overseas, IGCSE is your best choice.
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