The purpose of examinations at the end of secondary education level is to determine whether the students are in a good state to further their studies at the tertiary education level. Generally, there are two types of final examinations for secondary students.

The first examination is SPM. Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia which is also known as SPM is taken by Form 5 students at the age of 17. It is the national exam that is set and examined by the Malaysian Examination Board (Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia).

Meanwhile, IGCSE stands for International General Certificate for Secondary Education. IGCSE exam was first examined in June 1988 and introduced in September 1986 in the UK. The exam is established by Pearson Edexcel and Cambridge.

While both of the programs have their own uniqueness, students are still debating on which one is the best option for their future.

SPM Subject
There are 6 compulsary subjects to be taken for SPM examinations and two of them require you to obtain at least C grade to receive the SPM certification. (Source: Unsplash)
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What Are The Subjects Available For SPM?

For SPM, you can take a minimum of 7 subjects and up to 12 subjects for the examination. However, there are compulsory SPM subjects that you need to take to in the examination. The compulsory subjects are:

  • Malay language
  • English language
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Islamic Studies (for Muslim students except for Islamic Science stream)
  • Moral Education (for non-Muslim students)
  • Science (compulsory for non-science students - Commerce, Literature and Arts stream only)

Below are the lists of some elective subjects that you can take according to the stream.

Science And Mathematics

  • Additional Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Additional Science
  • Information and Communication Technology

Languages And Literature

  • Chinese language
  • Tamil language
  • Arabic language
  • Malay Literature
  • English Literature

Economics And Business

  • Entrepreneurial Studies
  • Commerce
  • Principles of Accounting
  • Economics

Social Science And Religion

  • Geography
  • Islamic Law
  • Bible Knowledge
  • Quran and Sunnah Studies

Art And Health

  • Visual Arts Education
  • Music Education
  • Sports Science Knowledge

Technical And Vocational

  • Engineering Drawing
  • Mechanical Engineering Studies
  • Home Science
  • Computer Graphics

For full available SPM subjects, you can refer to the Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia website. In order to actually receive the SPM certificate, you have to pass 2 subjects - compulsory in Malay and History.

Since the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics subjects were switched from Malay to English in 2003, the questions in the examinations booklet are given in dual-language. Students have the option to answer their examination papers in either English or Malay according to their preference.

SPM Dual language
Students are allowed to answer science and mathematics examination papers in either Malay or English language. (Source: Unsplash)

 

The subjects that use dual language medium are:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Additional Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Additional Science
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Engineering Drawing
  • Mechanical Engineering Studies
  • Civil Engineering Studies
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering Studies

The rest of the subjects are using either Malay, English or according to the subjects’ language. For example, the Arabic Language will be using an Arabic examination language medium.

In the year 2021, the Ministry of Education Malaysia (MOE) has made some changes in the format of a number of papers for the SPM examinations. You can refer to the Buku Format Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2021 for the full review.

You can still refer to the SPM past year papers to practice for revision. Just take note that the current paper format will be a little bit different from the previous ones.

If you have doubts about preparing yourself for the SPM examinations, you can always look for tutors. What are tutors? And how to find tutors?

A tutor is basically a private teacher that is being hired to teach a single student or a small group of students. The responsibility of a tutor is to help students in understanding certain subjects.

A tutor is usually an experienced teacher in a specific subject. He or she will assess, assist and support students during the learning process.

A good tutor will come up with unique lesson plans for each student. This is because different students have different needs and learning abilities.

Apart from teaching and coaching, a tutor is also responsible to review materials he or she uses in the class, clarify in-depth about the topics in the specific subject, answer students’ questions and doubt regarding that specific topic.

So, how do you look for a tutor? You can simply go on the internet and search for your specific subject tutor online. But the best way is always through a reputable online tutoring website such as Superprof.

Superprof offers the most experienced tutors inside and outside of Malaysia. Take this advantage to learn from the best tutor available.

You can get help with your SPM in English subject or Malay language. Learn how to get familiar with writing an essay using newspaper report format SPM or schedule a speaking mock test for your coming IGCSE test.

There is always an option for you to choose either a physical face-to-face learning lesson or alternatively online learning session. Due to the current global situation, students prefer to opt for online learning.

Don’t be afraid of online learning. With the advancement of the current technology, you can be connected to your tutor using multiple remote communication tools. Your tutor might be using Google Meet, Google Hangout, Skype, Discord or Slack.

There are also thousands of online whiteboard tools to allow your tutor to teach and explain just about everything to you with ease. The sky is the limit when it comes to online learning. You can do so much with technology.

So, if you are looking for a tutor for your SPM subject, go ahead and check the Superprof website out. With more than 16 million tutors and over 1000 subjects, you will definitely find the perfect tutor that suits you.

IGCSE Subject
There is no compulsory subjects need to be taken in the IGCSE examination but it is advisable for you to take up 5 to 6 subjects. (Source: Unsplash)

What Subject To Choose For IGCSE?

There are more than 70 IGCSE subjects you can choose from. Of those 70 subjects, 30 of them are language subjects. You will have more flexibility to select subjects for the examinations when it comes to IGCSE.

In fact, there are no compulsory subjects that you need to take to sit for IGCSE. Therefore, you can choose just about any subjects based on your interests and those that you are confident to score. However, you are advised to take up a minimum of 5 to 6 subjects.

Here is a list of some IGCSE 2021 subjects that you can choose:

Language:

  • IGCSE English
  • IGCSE Malay
  • Arabic
  • Indonesian
  • Chinese
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German
  • Greek

Environmental

  • Agriculture
  • Development Studies
  • Enterprise
  • Environment Management
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Geography
  • Global Perspective

Social Science

  • Art & Design
  • Drama
  • Music

Science

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Design & Technology
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Business

  • Economics
  • Accounting
  • Business Studies

For a full list of available Cambridge IGCSE subjects, you can check them out on the Cambridge Assessment Internation Education website.

Cambridge IGCSE is designed to develop students knowledge, understanding and skill in diverse matters such as subject content, English communication, intellectual enquiry and many more.

All the IGCSE papers are written in the English language as the examination language medium except for specific language papers. For example, the Malay Language paper will be using the Malay language as the medium.

SPM IGCSE Preparation
IGCSE allows different lvel of learning abilities through its COre and Extended level. (Source: Unsplash)

The IGCSE allows students to study at a different level by offering Core and Extended curriculum papers in certain subjects. Teachers can decide which level of papers is most appropriate for the students based on the different abilities.

Core Curriculum

The Core curriculum provides a full overview of the subjects. This curriculum is targeted at students who are expected to achieve grades C to G. It is within the ability range of a large majority of students.

Extended Curriculum

The Extended curriculum is designed for students who are expected to achieve grades A* to E. the curriculum is the combination between the Core and the Supplement - the extra topics or in-depth of the Core curriculum.

However, in some subjects, the examination covers the complete ability. Therefore, there is no choice of Core or Extended papers. The full range of grades (A* to G) is enforced on these subjects.

Comparing the SPM vs IGCSE syllabus, the latter is quite broad and not that deep. Malaysia SPM on the other hand is more difficult than IGCSE Malaysia as it is more comprehensive and detailed.

SPM examiners often seek detailed descriptions and word-by-word exact answers compared to the answer scheme. As for the writing essay SPM examination, the examiners are looking at but not limited to the grammar, vocabulary, sentence constructions, organization and whether or not your essay answer the questions that have been posed.

IGCSE on the other hand, allows students to offer any answer that is relevant to the questions. It can be concluded that it is easier to collect marks in the IGCSE exam compared to SPM for these reasons:

  1. You can choose any subjects that you are confident enough to score.
  2. The IGCSE syllabus is broad.
  3. Answering scheme is not too strict

 

IGCSE vs SPM: Which Program To Choose?

Each of the IGCSE and SPM has their own advantage and disadvantage. Although there is a distinct difference between SPM and IGCSE, both of them offers the pathway for students to further their education to the tertiary level.

Choosing between IGCSE and SPM is indeed a hard decision. You need to do a lot of extensive researches from various resources, ask opinions from parents and students with experience and all. It is better to look at it from all of the perspectives before making up your mind.

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