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Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia

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The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), or the Malaysian Certificate of Education, is a national examination sat for by all fifth-form secondary school students in Malaysia. It is the equivalent of the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) of England, Wales and Northern Ireland; the Nationals 4/5 of Scotland; and the GCE Ordinary Level (O Level) of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is the leaving examination of the eleventh grade of schooling.

The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia distributed by Examinations Syndicate.
2021 version of SPM Certificates
Mockup of an SPM certificate. It is handed out by the Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia

The SPM is sat for by secondary school students before further studies in foundation, STPM, matriculation or diploma. The examination is set and examined by the Malaysian Examinations board. For students attending international schools, the equivalent exam they take is the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exam, and the Unified Examinations Certificate is equivalent to Advanced Level. All SPM examination papers are considered official confidential property and are protected under the Official Secrets Act 1972 of Malaysia.[1]

In 2021, the Malaysian Ministry of Education introduced a new SPM format for the new KSSM syllabus, which replaced the old SPM format for the old KBSM syllabus.[2] For English, the GCE O Level grade was discontinued, the Common European Framework of Reference syllabus was implemented for the English paper and the result statement is handed out with the SPM Certificate.[3]

Mockup of the front page of the Malay Language SPM Paper
SPM 2022 examination candidate QR code example


The SPM allows Malaysians to continue their studies to pre-university level. Originally there were two versions of the SPM, which were introduced in 1964: the Malaysian Certificates of Education taken by students studying in English schools and SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) taken by students studying in national schools. The difference between the two was that the SPM was conducted using the national language (Bahasa Melayu) while the MCE was conducted in English. The MCE was discontinued in 1976 when the Ministry of Education took over the examination from the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) and merged it with the SPM. The predecessor of these exam were SPPTM (Sijil Pelajaran Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Started in 1962) and FMC (Federation of Malaya Certificate. Started on 1957) before the formation of Federation of Malaysia.[4]


Compulsory subjects[edit]

Certain subjects are mandatory for students. They are:[5][6]

Code Subject (Official name) Subject (English name) Examination language
1103 Bahasa Melayu Malay Language Malay
1119 Bahasa Inggeris English Language English
1223 Pendidikan Islam[a] Islamic Education Malay
1225 Pendidikan Moral[b] Moral Education Malay
1249 Sejarah History Malay
1449 Matematik Mathematics English and Malay
1511 Sains[c] Science English and Malay

a Compulsory for all Muslim students except for students in the Islamic Science stream, who are required to take their respective electives in lieu of this subject.

b Compulsory for all non-Muslim students.

c Compulsory for students in the Commerce, Literature and Arts streams only. Students in the Pure Science, Islamic Science, and Humanities Science streams are required to take their respective Science electives in lieu of this subject.

Elective subjects[edit]

Science and mathematics[edit]

Code Subject (Official name) Subject (English name) Examination language
3472 Matematik Tambahan Additional Mathematics English and Malay
4531 Fizik Physics English and Malay
4541 Kimia Chemistry English and Malay
4551 Biologi Biology English and Malay
4561 Sains Tambahan Additional Science English and Malay

In 2003, the medium of instruction for the science and mathematics subjects was switched from Malay to English. Due to this transition, students taking science and mathematics subjects can choose to sit for the exams in either English or Malay.

Languages and literature[edit]

Code Subject (Official name) Subject (English name) Examination language
2205 Kesusasteraan Inggeris English Literature English
2215 Kesusasteraan Melayu Komunikatif Communicative Malay Literature Malay
2361 Bahasa Arab Arabic Language Arabic
6351 Bahasa Cina Chinese Language Standard Chinese
6354 Bahasa Tamil Tamil Language Tamil
6356 Bahasa Iban Iban Language Iban
6357 Bahasa Kadazandusun Kadazandusun Language Kadazandusun
6358 Bahasa Semai Semai Language Semai
6401 Bahasa Jepun Japanese Language Japanese
6405 Bahasa Jerman German Language German
6406 Bahasa Korea Korean Language Korean
6407 Bahasa Cina Komunikasi Communicative Chinese Language Standard Chinese
9216 Kesusasteraan Cina Chinese Literature Standard Chinese
9217 Kesusasteraan Tamil Tamil Literature Tamil
9303 Bahasa Perancis French Language French
9378 Bahasa Punjabi Punjabi Language Punjabi

Economics and business[edit]

Code Subject (Official name) Subject (English name) Examination language
3754 Pengajian Keusahawanan Entrepreneurial Studies Malay
3766 Perniagaan Business Malay
3756 Prinsip Perakaunan Principles of Accounting Malay
3767 Ekonomi Economics Malay

Social Sciences and religion[edit]

Code Subject (Official name) Subject (English name) Examination language
2280 Geografi Geography Malay
5226 Tasawwur Islam Islamic Worldviews Malay
5228 Pendidikan Al-Quran dan Al-Sunnah Quran and Sunnah Studies Malay
5228 Pendidikan Syariah Islamiah Islamic Law Studies Malay
5301 Hifz Al-Quran Quran Recitation Arabic
5302 Maharat Al-Quran Quran Skills Arabic
5303 Turath Al-Quran dan Al-Sunnah Quran and Sunnah Classics Arabic
5304 Turath Dirasat Islamiah Islamic Studies Classics Arabic
5305 Turath Bahasa Arab Arabic Language Classics Arabic
5401 Usul Al-Din Foundational Islamic Theology Arabic
5402 Al-Syariah Islamic Law Arabic
5403 Al-Lughah Al-'Arabiah Al-Mu'asirah Arabic Language Arabic
5404 Manahij Al-'Ulum Al-Islamiah Islamic Logic Arabic
5405 Al-Adab Wa Al-Balaghah Arabic Literature and Rhetorics Arabic
9221 Bible Knowledge Bible Knowledge English

Arts and health[edit]

Code Subject (Official name) Subject (English name) Examination language
2611 Pendidikan Seni Visual Visual Arts Education Malay
2621 Pendidikan Muzik Music Education Malay
4572 Sains Sukan Sports Science Malay

Technical and vocational[edit]

Code Subject (Official name) Subject (English name) Examination language
3729 Pertanian Agriculture Malay
3759 Lukisan Kejuruteraan Engineering Drawing Malay
3760 Pengajian Kejuruteraan Mekanikal Mechanical Engineering Studies Malay
3761 Pengajian Kejuruteraan Awam Civil Engineering Studies Malay
3762 Pengajian Kejuruteraan Elektrik dan Elektronik Electrical and Electronic Engineering Studies Malay
3763 Reka Cipta Design Malay
3768 Asas Kelestarian Basics of Sustainability Malay
3769 Sains Rumah Tangga Home Science Malay
3770 Sains Komputer Computer Science Malay
3771 Grafik Komunikasi Teknikal Technical Communication Graphics Malay
7101 Pembinaan Domestik Domestic Construction Malay
7102 Membuat Perabot Furniture Making Malay
7103 Kerja Paip Domestik Domestic Plumbing Malay
7104 Pendawaian Domestik Domestic Wiring Malay
7105 Kimpalan Arka dan Gas Arc and Gas Welding Malay
7106 Menservis Automobil Automobile Servicing Malay
7107 Menservis Motosikal Motorcycle Servicing Malay
7108 Menservis Peralatan Penyejukan dan Penyamanan Udara Air-Conditioning Servicing Malay
7109 Menservis Peralatan Elektrik Domestik Domestic Electrical Appliances Servicing Malay
7201 Rekaan dan Jahitan Pakaian Design and Tailoring Malay
7202 Katering dan Penyajian Catering Service Malay
7203 Pemprosesan Makanan Food Processing Malay
7204 Penjagaan Muka dan Penggayaan Rambut Facial and Hair Care Malay
7205 Asuhan dan Pendidikan Awal Kanak-Kanak Infant Care and Early Childhood Education Malay
7206 Gerontologi Asas dan Perkhidmatan Geriatrik Geriatic Services Malay
7301 Landskap dan Nurseri Nursery and Landscape Malay
7302 Akuakultur dan Haiwan Rekreasi Aquaculture and Pets Malay
7303 Tanaman Makanan Food and Crop Cultivation Malay
7401 Produksi Reka Tanda Signage Design Malay
7402 Hiasan Dalaman Interior Design Malay
7403 Produksi Multimedia Multimedia Production Malay
7404 Reka Bentuk Grafik Digital Digital Graphic Design Malay

Removed subjects[edit]

Due to the switch from the KBSM syllabus to the KSSM syllabus in 2017, some subjects were removed. The list does not include courses that have minor changes in name only.

Old subject name New subject name
3775 Perdagangan 3766 Perniagaan
3757 Ekonomi Asas 3767 Ekonomi
3758 Ekonomi Rumah Tangga 3769 Sains Rumah Tangga
3764 Engineering Technology 3768 Asas Kelestarian
3765 Information and Communication Technology 3770 Sains Komputer
3728 Sains Pertanian 3729 Pertanian
4571 Pengetahuan Sains Sukan 4572 Sains Sukan
Terminated subjects
4581 Applied Science
6355 English for Science and Technology


When releasing the results, only the letter grades (and not the actual scores) are revealed to the candidates. Candidates may request a remarking (regrading) if they suspect errors in the original marking. Although no list of rankings is released to the public, the names of the top ranked students in the country and in each state are released to the press.[7]

Since 2010, the Ministry of Education has imposed a ten-subject limit on every candidate while lowering the minimum number of subjects from eight to six. Students are allowed to take two additional subjects (from Arabic, Chinese, Tamil, Iban, Kadazandusun languages and Bible Knowledge) but they will not be considered for government scholarships.[8]

Grade system[edit]

Candidates are assigned grades based on their scores in each subject. The exact grading scale used every year has never been made public.

Since 2009, the grading system ranged from A+ (the highest grade) to G (for gagal or fail; F is not used). The previous system assigned a grade point and a letter to each range, with 1A ("1" being the grade point and "A" the letter grade) as the highest and 9G the lowest.[9] The Kepujian (Pass-With-Credit) grade is equivalent to the UK GCSE Pass-With-Credit grade as stated on the back of the certificates.

2000–2008 From 2009 Grade value Description
N/A A+ 0 Cemerlang Tertinggi (Highest Distinction) Cemerlang

Pass With Distinction

1A A 1 Cemerlang Tinggi (High Distinction)
2A A- 2 Cemerlang (Distinction)
3B B+ 3 Kepujian Tertinggi (Highest Credit) Kepujian

Pass With Credit (UK GCSE Equivalent with said category)

4B B 4 Kepujian Tinggi (High Credit)
5C C+ 5 Kepujian Atas (Upper Credit)
6C C 6 Kepujian (Credit)
7D D 7 Lulus Atas (Upper Pass) Lulus


8E E 8 Lulus (Pass)
9G G 9 Gagal (Fail) Gagal (Fail)

Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia Ulangan (SPMU)[edit]

The Malay language (Bahasa Melayu) was slowly introduced into the national school system from 1960 but was only made a compulsory subject in 1970. Furthermore, a credit in Bahasa Melayu is essential in order to secure a seat in sixth form. One of the many problems associated with this change is that many "good" students were unable to continue their post-secondary education because of their examination result in Bahasa Melayu. In 1972, the BM failure rate was nearly 40%, and the July Paper was introduced as a solution so that students would be given a second chance to retake the paper.[10]

As time passed, changes were made in education policy and from the higher education institution standpoint. In 2013, history became the second compulsory subject. Many universities also required students to achieve at least C in Mathematics or, in some colleges, to achieve at least a passing grade. Because of this change and demand the examination syndicates announced that the history and mathematics papers would become available to retake along with the Bahasa Melayu paper in the SPMU.[11]


  1. ^ "Taklimat OSA" (PDF). Official Website of Legal Affairs Division of Prime Minister Department. Retrieved 9 March 2022. (in Malay)
  2. ^ Berita Harian (in Malay) (4 March 2020). "SPM Will Use A New Format Next Year (Malay: SPM Guna Format Baharu Tahun Depan)". bharian.com.my. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  3. ^ "Assessment Format for English Aligned for CEFR" (PDF). Examination Syndicates, Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Retrieved 9 March 2022. (in Malay)
  4. ^ Ministry of Education Malaysia. "Secondary School Examination, Education Standpoint (In Malay: Pendidikan Sekolah Menengah, Hala Tuju Pendidikan)". Ministry of Education Malaysia. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  5. ^ "Apa itu SPM?". MyExam.com. Retrieved 22 November 2011. (in Malay)
  6. ^ "Secondary School Subjects". Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Retrieved 22 November 2011. (in Malay)
  7. ^ Stamp of approval [dead link]
  8. ^ "Languages and Bible Knowledge as electives". The Star Online. 25 December 2009. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 January 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  10. ^ Astro Awani (in Malay) (1 November 2017). "Fail BM Issue: It may hard to achieve A but is it so hard to pass? (in Malay)". Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  11. ^ Informasi UPUOnline (in Malay) (10 May 2022). "How to Retake SPM (in Malay)". Retrieved 22 September 2022.