Malaysian Higher School Certificate

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The Malaysian Higher School Certificate (Malay: Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia), commonly abbreviated as STPM, is a pre-university examination in Malaysia. It was formerly known as the Higher School Certificate (HSC). Since 1982, STPM has been administered by the Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC), a statutory council under the Ministry of Education.

STPM is one of the major pre-university systems for admission to Malaysian public universities, besides matriculation programme and Malaysian Higher Islamic Religious Certificate (STAM). STPM is internationally recognised by many universities, and its results are considered as equivalent to GCE Advanced Level results.

From year 2012 onwards, the modular system has replaced the previous terminal system.[1] The examination series is divided into three semesters and assessed thoroughly, instead of holding one major examination at the end of the examination series in the previous system. Besides that, examination results are monitored by a representative from Cambridge Assessment to maintain standards and quality.[2]

Form Six[edit]

Examination performance letter of the STPM examination

As the national education in Malaysia is modelled after the educational system in England, the pre-university programme is the sixth form of secondary education, referred to as "Form Six". The Ministry of Education selects secondary schools it considers capable of providing Form Six classes. STPM examinations are held throughout Form Six.

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 societies of the school, often with lax enforcement of certain school rules and regulations, sometimes even holding a separate morning assembly and recess for sixth formers, also separate co-curriculum activities.

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). The main annual activity of these councils is the initiation of new sixth formers during orientation.


STPM is an open-list examination, that means any combination of subjects may be taken.[3] However, most schools and colleges stream their students into science and arts/humanities streams. To be qualified for Malaysian public university admissions, candidates must take General Studies (Pengajian Am) and at least three other subjects.[4]

STPM candidates usually sit for four or five subjects.[3] Candidates are advised to take only four subjects, because university admissions only take four subjects into consideration. However, some candidates still take five subjects as a challenge. Although it is rare and strongly not recommended, it is possible to sit for less than four subjects, but the results are only recognised by some local private and overseas universities.

All STEM-related subjects (Mathematics (M), Mathematics (T), ICT, Physics, Chemistry and Biology) are offered bilingually in English and Malay. All the other subjects, besides language subjects, are offered only in Malay.[3]

School-based assessments (SBA) are implemented for most subjects (except Chinese Language and Literature in English subjects), made up the weighting of 20% to 40% of overall marks for each subject.[3]

Candidates are allowed to resit for Term 1 and Term 2 examinations if they are unsatisfied with the results. The repeat examinations are usually held around Term 3 examination. The highest grade between the resit paper and the original paper of each subject is taken into the calculation of final grade. That is, if the grade of the resit paper is higher than that of the original paper, the grade of the resit paper is taken; otherwise, the grade of the original paper is taken.

Up to 2015, Further Mathematics was provided as a subject in STPM. However, it was removed since then. In 2020, Quran Recitation (Tahfiz Al-Quran) was introduced as a new subject.

A list of subjects available in STPM are:[3]

Language and Literature[edit]

Code Subject (Official title) Subject (English title) Examination language
900 Pengajian Am General Studies Malay
910 Bahasa Melayu Malay Language Malay
911 Bahasa Cina Chinese Language Chinese
912 Bahasa Tamil Tamil Language Tamil
913 Bahasa Arab Arabic Language Arabic
920 Literature in English Literature in English English
922 Kesusasteraan Melayu Komunikatif [a] Communicative Malay Literature Malay
a Formerly known as "Kesusasteraan Melayu (Malay Literature)".

Social Sciences and Religion[edit]

Code Subject (Official title) Subject (English title) Examination language
930 Syariah Islamic Law Malay
931 Usuluddin Islamic Studies Malay
932 Tahfiz Al-Quran [a] Quran Recitation Malay
940 Sejarah History Malay
942 Geografi Geography Malay
944 Ekonomi Economics Malay
946 Pengajian Perniagaan Business Studies Malay
948 Perakaunan Accounting Malay
a Introduced in 2020.

Science and Mathematics[edit]

Code Subject (Official title) Examination language
950 Mathematics (M) [a] English or Malay
954 Mathematics (T) [b] English or Malay
958 Information And Communications Technology [c] English or Malay
960 Physics English or Malay
962 Chemistry English or Malay
964 Biology English or Malay
a May not be taken with Mathematics (T).
b May not be taken with Mathematics (M).
c Formerly known as "Computing".

Arts and health[edit]

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[edit]

STPM grading system adapts to the 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 subject grade point (SGP) for each of these grades are between 4.0 and 1.0, with A being 4.0 and D being 1.0. The F grade gives an SGP of 0.[5]

Subject and overall SGP at 2.0 and above are considered principal pass. Those SGP below 2.0 are considered partial pass, though public considers them as fail and don't meet the minimum requirements in many extent. Those SGP with 0 are considered fail.

Paper grade Subject grade Subject grade point (SGP) Status
A A 4.00 Principal Pass
A- A- 3.67 Principal Pass
B+ B+ 3.33 Principal Pass
B B 3.00 Principal Pass
B- B- 2.67 Principal Pass
C+ C+ 2.33 Principal Pass
C C 2.00 Principal Pass
C- C- 1.67 Partial Pass
D+ D+ 1.33 Partial Pass
D D 1.00 Partial Pass
F F 0.00 Fail

The grade and SGP of each paper and subject appears on the result slip and the certificate. The grade and SGP of each subject is determined by the weighted average results of all papers in the subject. However, if one of the paper in the subject fails, the grade and SGP of the subject would be F and 0 respectively.

The actual range of scores within each grade is undisclosed and changes for every examination series, depending on the performance of the candidates.

Admissions to Malaysian public universities require at least an overall SGP of 2.0 and above, though some local private universities accept students with overall SGP less than 2.0.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Format & Free Syllabus for STPM & MUET in 2012". Malaysia Students Blog. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Cambridge rep to monitor new STPM system". Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e
  4. ^ "KPM - Permohonan/Kelayakan Universiti Awam". Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  5. ^ "New assessment system for STPM". Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.

External links[edit]