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The Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM, English: Malaysian Higher School Certificate) is a pre-university examination taken by students in Malaysia. It was formerly known as the Higher School Certificate (HSC). The HSC was the precursor to the GCE A Level in the UK, and is still the name of the pre-university examination in some states in Australia.
Since 1982, the STPM has been administered by the Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC), which, since 1999, has also run the Malaysian University English Test (MUET). However, national exams such as the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah and the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia are all set and examined by the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate (MES). Both the MEC and MES, however, are under the Ministry of Education.
STPM is one of the two major pre-university systems for admission to Malaysian public universities. The other is a one-year matriculation programme conducted by the Ministry of Education. STPM is not the only qualification accepted besides the matriculation programme and Malaysian Higher Islamic Religious Certificate (STAM). Candidates technically may apply for admission to degree-level courses with a variety of pre-university examinations considered equivalent with STPM, including A-Level. All those applying for universities, however, must have taken the MUET. STPM is internationally recognised by many universities, especially those within the Commonwealth of Nations as well as the United States and the Republic of Ireland. Most universities consider STPM results equivalent to GCE A-Level results.
From year 2012 onwards, new modular system will replace the existing terminal system for Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). Besides that, examination results under the new STPM assessment system will be monitored by a representative from Cambridge Assessment to maintain standards and quality.
As the national education in Malaysia is modelled after the educational system in England, the STPM pre-university programme is the sixth form of secondary education, referred to as "Form 6". The Ministry of Education selects secondary schools it considers capable of providing Form 6 classes.
Students in Form Six are called sixth formers. Sixth formers in national secondary schools are usually distinct from other students in the lower forms such as wearing different school uniforms, usually given higher posts within the school's societies, often with lax enforcement of certain school rules and regulations and sometimes even holding a separate morning assembly and recess for sixth formers.
Sixth formers in most schools generally form their own association, officially called the Pre-University Student Representatives Council (formerly known as Form Six Association or the Form Six Society). These councils' main annual activity is the initiation of new Lower Sixth students during orientation.
STPM candidates sit for no more than five subjects, all within the same examination season. All Science- and Mathematics-related subjects (Mathematics M, Mathematics T, ICT, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology) are offered bilingually in English and Malay. All other exams, other than languages, are still offered only in Malay and are likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
STPM is an open-list examination; that means any combination of subjects may be taken. However, to be considered for Malaysian public university admission, students must take Pengajian Am (General Studies) and at least three other subjects. Most, if not all, schools and colleges offering STPM, however, do stream their students into science and arts (humanities). Under the new modular system of STPM, students are allowed to take up to 5 subjects, including General Studies. Due to the requirements of local universities, students are strongly encouraged to take General Studies, although it is not compulsory to do so. Besides, school-based assessment (SBA) will be implemented for all the subjects, made up the weighting of 20% to 40% of overall marks. Students are also allowed to repeat the Term 1 and Term 2 examination only if they are not satisfied with the results. Nevertheless, SBA cannot be repeated and repeaters are required to sit for an alternative written paper in place with SBA.
Further Mathematics was removed as a STPM subject from 2015 onwards.
A list of all subjects available for STPM students are:
Language and Literature
|a Formerly known as "Kesusasteraan Melayu (Malay Literature)". The subject is revised to "Kesusasteraan Melayu Komunikatif (Communicative Malay Literature)" due to the implementation of modular system in STPM.|
Social Sciences and Religion
Science and Mathematics
|a May not be taken with Mathematics T.|
|b May not be taken with Mathematics M.|
|c Formerly known as "Computing". The subject is revised to "ICT" due to the implementation of modular system in STPM.|
Change in format
Mathematics S (stands for Applied Mathematics) and Mathematics T (stands for Pure Mathematics) in the old format of STPM (before year 2012) are revised to Mathematics M (Management) and Mathematics T (Technical) respectively.
The syllabi for both Mathematics subjects are divided into three parts based on topic areas.
- Algebra and Calculus
- Financial and Decision Mathematics
- Algebra and Geometry
All mathematics subjects share the same syllabus for "Algebra" section but different syllabus for "Statistics" section despite the same title.
Arts and health
|Code||Subject (Official title)||Subject (English title)||Examination language|
|966||Sains Sukan||Sports Science||Malay|
|970||Seni Visual||Visual Arts||Malay|
Grades and grade points
STPM uses a Cumulative grade point average (CGPA) system. There are 11 grades, which are A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+ and D, with F as the failing grade. The grade points for each of these grades are between 4.0 and 1.0, A being 4.0 and D- being 1.0. The F grade gives a grade point of 0. From year 2012 onwards, CGPA point for each subject is known as Subject grade point (SGP) meanwhile the overall CGPA point for all subjects will be known as "Overall Subject Grade Point".
In accordance with the implementation of modular system in STPM from year 2012 onwards, MEC will implement a new assessment system for each STPM subjects. Cited the information from an experienced STPM teacher's website, marks below 40% (grade lower than C) is considered as fail. However, MEC announced that grade lower than C is considered as "Partial Pass".
|Paper grade||Subject grade||Subject grade point (SGP) ||Expected marks (%)||Status|
Each paper's grade and SGP appears on the result slip and the certificate. The subject's grade and grade point is determined by the weighted average results of all papers in that subject, where all papers must be passed, otherwise the grade and grade point would be, respectively, F and 0. The overall subject grade point is the average of the top four subjects taken and usually rounded up to 2 decimal points. Therefore, if a student scores A in four subjects and fail in the fifth, his CGPA would be 4.0.
The actual range of scores within each grade is undisclosed and changes annually, depending on the performance of the candidates. Usually, the range of marks of science subjects is higher than non-science subjects.
Cumulative and subject GPA at 2.0 and above is considered a pass with credit or principal pass. GPA below 2.0 is considered a sub-fail, and a 0 is considered a fail. Admissions to local public universities requires at least a CGPA of 2.0 and above, though private universities, university colleges and colleges generally may accept student with CGPA less than 2.0.