There has been a debate over the years on SPM vs IGCSE. Students and parents endlessly contemplating between SPM and IGCSE Malaysia for the final examinations after a long 10 to 11 years of schooling.

There is indeed a significant difference between SPM and IGCSE. From the subjects, recognitions, universities acceptance and so much more. So, it is understandable when students and parents are concern about the choices.

In this article, we will lay out the pros and cons of IGCSE and SPM. in terms of the examination timetable, the grading system, the programs duration and the cost for each program. This article will provide you with a thorough insight into both SPM and IGCSE programs.

Before we go further, let’s get to know SPM and IGCSE more. SPM is the acronym for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia. It is a Malaysian national examination taken by form 5 students in their last year of secondary schooling.

IGCSE stands for International General Certificate for Secondary Education. It is taken by students near the end of students last year at the secondary education level. IGCSE is an international examination offered by Cambridge.

SPM Examination
SPM examination is held once per year, usually in November. (Source: Unsplash)
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When Are The SPM And IGCSE Examinations Being Held?

SPM examination is held once per year, usually in November. And the result will be issued on Mac the next year.

You will be able to check your SPM result through the online website, mobile application or Semakan SMS (SMS Review). All the mediums will be activated and opened usually within one week after the SPM result is announced.

There will be another session for the Malaysia SPM examination in June. However, the June session is open for students who wish to resit for certain SPM subjects only such as Malay language, History and Mathematics. That particular examination is called Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia Ulangan (SPMU).

Meanwhile, the IGCSE examination is held twice per year, in June and November. Results for Cambridge IGCSE are issued in August and January.

The result comes out just in time for university entrance and scholarship application. You will be able to view your marks through the Candidate Result website.

In order to view your result, you need your login details. If you don't have your login details or have lost them, contact your exams officer at your school.

If you opt for IGCSE, you can sit for the papers separately on different sessions. For example, you can take 3 papers for the June examination session and attend the other 3 papers for the November examination session.

If you wish to resit for any paper, you can always do that. Basically, you will have two results for that particular subject.

In any case that you get a lower grade when you resit the paper, it is at your discretion on which certificate you want to represent your level of achievement. Your certificate will state the subjects and the grades you obtained on each subject. It won’t tell how many times you have sat for the paper.

 

How Do The SPM And IGCSE Grading System Work?

SPM and IGCSE have their own evaluating framework. The two outcomes will decide if the students fit the bill to be selected into tertiary education level including matriculation, foundation, diploma or any other certificates program.

For SPM, the grades are alloted in a range from A+ (the highest grade) to ('G' represents Gagal that signifies 'Failed' in Malay). The full grades are recorded as A+, A, A-, B+, B, C+, D, E and G in the report format SPM.

Meanwhile, for IGCSE, there is two evaluating framework utilized in the IGCSE report results. They are A*-G grading and 9-1 grading.

The ‘U’ grade which stands for ‘Ungraded’, indicates the performance which is below the standard of the lowest grade. Take a look at the table below. The table shows the full grades of both grading systems.

IGCSE grading system
Two types of grading system that are being used in IGCSE examination. (Source: Cambridge Assessment Internation Education)

 

The 9-1 scale is the new grading system. Notwithstanding, the A*-G reviewing scale is still being utilized and won't be impeded for university acknowledgement. You can refer to the IGCSE grading factsheet to get an inside and out about the grade scaling framework.

To enrol into a university, you need to get a minimum grade of C which is compulsory in Malay language and History in the SPM examination. The same goes for IGCSE. You need to obtain at least a C in your IGCSE subjects but there are no compulsory subjects.

Take a look at the lists for SPM and IGCSE subjects that you can take here as well as the other resources for the syllabus, exam paper format and past year papers to prepare for either your IGCSE 2021 and SPM 2021.

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The Duration Of SPM And IGCSE Program

When comparing the lengths of both the SPM and IGCSE programmes, it is clear that IGCSE offers students the opportunity to complete their secondary education more quickly.

Students who can catch up with the IGCSE syllabus might be taking the IGCSE exam earlier and graduate from high school as early as 16 years old.

Meanwhile, for SPM students, you have to complete your 11 years of schooling to be able to sit for the examination. You will usually attend the SPM examination at the age of 17.

You will be pleasantly surprised to discover the study options available after SPM and IGCSE. From local public universities to local private colleges to overseas universities, there are so much to explore.

SPM IGCSE Cost
SPM examination normally cost you nothing but IGCSE can make you fork out around RM24 000 to RM100 000 per year. (Source: Bloomberg)

How Much SPM And IGCSE Cost?

There is no question that SPM cost a lot lesser than IGCSE. For students in local public schools, you don't need to pay anything your school expense other than your school uniform and your revision books. Your SPM examinations are totally free.

Even you register as a private candidate, the cost for the SPM examinations are still affordable. It does not cost you more than RM25 per paper. The most expensive expenses might be textbooks and revision books.

On the other hand, IGCSE examinations could cost you a fortune. You might need to fork out around RM20 000 up to RM100 000 per year depending on how many papers you take, the school you go and the textbooks you use.

However, there are many ways better alternatives you can go for.

As a matter of choice, you can go to tuition learning centres or hire tutors for home-schooling. These two alternatives especially hiring tutors would cost you much cheaper compared to attending private schools.

If you are wondering where to find tutors to help with IGCSE preparation, there are a lot of online tutoring websites you can look for on the internet. One of the most reputable online tutoring websites has to be the Superprof.

With Superprof, you can definitely find tutors in just about any subjects you might be thinking of. IGCSE English, IGCSE Malay or even if you need help for SPM in English subject, you would find the best tutor through the website.

You can choose to opt for the physical lesson or online learning session. Due to the current global situation, more students and parents prefer to attend online learning sessions.

Currently, online learning has become a norm in people’s lives. In fact, online learning offers huge advantages both for students and tutors.

By hiring tutors and learn online, you can schedule your own learning time based on your lifestyle and convenience. Discuss with your tutors what times are the best suit both of your and your tutors’ available time.

Online learning cost you less than a physical class. Basically, your tutor doesn’t have to pay for the premises and other expenses. On the other, you can also avoid transportation, snacks and their associated cost by learning from home.

At Superprof, you can find a tutor with a one-hour tutoring fee as low as RM20. The best thing is, the first one hour is usually free. There is also a potential to get a lower rate if the tutor agrees to a reduced price for groups either for 2 classmates or siblings.

There is nothing that can beat the comfort of learning online from home. Imagine having a ‘class’ while sitting in the comfort of your comfy sofa or your well-decorated study room. You don’t have to wake up early to get ready for school or stuck in a traffic jam.

So why wait? Search for your tutor through Superprof now.

IGCSE vs SPM
IGCSE vs SPM: Making a decision on which option is the hardest thing. (Source: Unsplash)

IGCSE vs SPM: Which One Is Better?

To conclude, both SPM and IGCSE have their own pros and cons. Based on learning abilities, some students might be more suitable with SPM and others might be better off with IGCSE.

Apart from that, you will also need to consider your financial condition, the school’s reputation that you will be attending and feedback from other parents.

By now, you should have an idea about what are IGCSE and SPM all about. We hope that you could come up with the best decision between taking IGCSE or SPM. 

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Fadzi

Fadzi is a social introvert content writer. She is shy, please say hi.