STPM Baharu vs A-Levels

Seeing the A-levels results of the friends around me being released, suddenly I have this urge to write about A-levels and STPM. Many have been asking: Whats the difference between A-levels and STPM?

Many comparisons between A-levels and the old system of STPM have been made over the years, but since the implementation of the new STPM system, it seems that there are very very limited (in fact, messy and incomplete) resources around us, hence causing confusions around the SPM leavers and parents. So, my article today will be kinda explaining A-levels and STPM, two of the most popular Pre-U in Malaysia.

Before you continue reading, please note that I write this in my view as the first batch under the new STPM Baharu, in the meantime from a perspective of a Pre-U student towards A-levels. Hence, reader, read with an open mind. =)


This, I think will be one of the most often asked question by SPM leavers and parents regarding A-levels and STPM. It is common to listen from our friends, mentors and family members that STPM is one tough sh*t, and this mindset seems to be set in many SPM leavers, causing them to choose the alternatives instead of STPM. But go on and ask your A-levels seniors (those who really studied), ask whether their life is much easier after choosing A-levels?

Personally, I think it is unfair to consider A-levels is easy while saying that STPM is tough. I cannot say that both are equally tough, since I never pursued A-levels, but what I can say is both A-levels and STPM are not easy to handle.

BUT! Bare in mind that it is 'LUCK+HARDWORK' in order to achieve an A under this new system of STPM. Why do I say so? Because this whole sh*t new system is so not mature yet! Compare to A-levels that already have years of history, STPM Baharu is just 1 year old! So basically all the marking schemes, grading system and the guide-to-do assignments thingy of A-levels is already clear and stable. In another word, A-levels is one mature Pre-U. On the other hand, we are the lab-rat of the STPM Baharu, unclear directions, confusing syllabus, limited resources, incomplete guide for assignments etc etc..........

So, what I wanna say here is that both A-levels and STPM Baharu are tough, but what make STPM Baharu more challenging is the incomplete new system that'll really make both students and teachers suffer!

Money Matters  

Do I need to say much about this? Hahaha when it comes to money, no doubt STPM will kick A-levels' butt. Look, I pay for RM 15,000 ( and maybe more depends on that particular college) for an A-levels course, while I am only paying less than RM1000 for STPM (I'm lazy to count this out, so this is just a number I randomly give). A difference of RM14,000! Well if you are from the rich family this might be nothing but for many this is a very big amount.

Now think in a larger point of view, after you completed you A-levels you'll be leaving to private Universities, say local or overseas. And even you get a full scolar, think of all the $$ you'll be spending in your daily life if you are in an foreign university! And I believe that most of you still depends on your parent's money for supporting your  Pre-U and Degree studies. Think of the burden your dad and mom will need to carry if you are not from a wealthy family!

After STPM, if you get the chance to enter public universities, it is obvious that you'll really lighten your parent's financial burden, A LOT LOT MORE.

Well, sometimes money really do make a difference for many people. Personally, I think most parents and afford to support their children until Degree, but on the other hand as an eldest son, I think it is a responsibility to help our parents cut down their burden. The choice is on you, though.


I cannot tell you much about life in A-levels, but as far as I know, college life as an A-levels student is not easy. For some, the stress of maintaining the scholarship received is really not something everyone can handle.

Well, as for life in Form 6, being the oldest (nah, eldest!) in the school is definitely one experience. It is like a second chance to experience high school. But bare in mind you're still 'strangled' by the school rules though, hahaha =) To know more about life in Form 6, pls read all my previous posts. All I can say, it has been interesting and challenging in the same time, and it really depends on you to cope with it.

Chance and Glory

First of all, ask yourself a question: Have you ever see any A-levels top scorer being in the headline of newspapers because of his/her excellent results? Hmmmm..... as far as I can remember, nope. But you can see STPM top scorers being the headline of newspapers when the results are out everytime. Not to say anything bad about A-levels, but it is certainly feels good to be known nationwide regarding your excellent achievement right? (people will be like, wow, you're great etc etc)

But the chance of getting into the public university if you study in STPM is uncertain. If you're reading the newspaper (you should) these days, you'll be seeing many top scorers unable to get the course of their choice and some even didn't received any offer to get into the public university! So, it is like a gamble and a fight for luck if you wanna enter public university via STPM. Go for Matriculation if you really want to ensure a place in public universities, that is my advice. =)

Still, STPM results are well-recognized by local private universities and  many foreign universities! If you are good, do consider more options besides just thinking of entering public universities.

To Conclude............

To round up everything, it really depends on your decision. To study under an immature Pre-U course but with a much lesser burden financially OR to study under a well-developed Pre-U course but with a heavier financial burden. Life is kinda fair (and maybe not), you cannot have all the goods in the same time, at least this apply to the majority of people. 

But as a STPM student, I would say that STPM sucks, but life in Form 6 have been awesome so far. Endurance, commitment and some luck are all you need to strive in Form 6. There were some time that I really wanna give up studying in Form 6 (especially during the first semester), but luckily with all the supportive people around me (love, dad and mom), I managed to get over the hard times and now doing my best to enjoy my Form 6 life, in the same time giving all I got to get a good grade in STPM.

My advice, choose, learn to regret before it is too late, and after you finalized your choice, DON'T GIVE UP! =)

The Choice Is Yours


  1. but if I'm not sure whether what am i going to study( i mean what field) , which one do you recommend ? a level or stpm?

    1. well, if this is your prb, stpm might be the choice because
      1. you do not need to pay alot, so at least you'll not feel that bad if you wanna quit stpm halfway when you found out what your true interest is.

      2. STPM is 1.5 years, plus another 9 months post-stpm holiday. Long time to think about this!

      hope my opinion helps! =)

  2. Erm do overseas private school accept stpm ?

  3. I'm planning to do a degree in Swinburne University Australia in Sarawak campus, so will stpm be better for me or a-levels?

  4. As i know , the stpm starts in may every year . I scare that i have wasted my time cause i hv nothing to do while i am waiting the school starts ...can i know how u spend ur time during waiting?

  5. As i know , the stpm starts in may every year . I scare that i have wasted my time cause i hv nothing to do while i am waiting the school starts ...can i know how u spend ur time during waiting?

  6. Biased comment mtf

  7. Hey, actually i got 2A+ 3A 4B+ 1B (inshort 5A5B). Which one will you reccommend ? A-Levels or STPM ?


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