STPM Baharu: Introduction to the Pre-U of 63,000 Pursuers

I've written about my life in all the semesters in STPM, I've written on the comparisons between STPM with A-level and Malaysia Matriculation, and now my Form 6 journey has come to an end, so I've decided to write a full 'review', or you can say a total all-round intro about STPM. OKAY LETS GET STARTED!

The Myths 

#1 - STPM is crazily tough
Truth : Well, I think one major reason why SPM leavers have chosen not to enter Form 6 because almost everyone says that it is hard to get good results in STPM and the TRUTH is: No. STPM is not crazily tough, at least. STPM is kinda special, unlike other Pre-U that always start with all the easy stuffs, STPM starts with all the tough ones first. But it tends to get easier, and you can take my word for it. As an example, Account is one real killer in first semester but it is one must-get 'A' during the second semester. Same for Maths (M) and Maths (T), you get to learn all the differential equation kind of stuff in first semester but you'll be learning probability after that (which is easier when compared to first semester). 

#2 - STPM Baharu is less prestigious or easier compared to the old system of STPM
Truth : Alright, STPM is getting easier semester by semester as I mentioned above but NO, in overall it is not getting easier compared to the old system. The standard is still high, and it is still being accepted by universities overseas. As for the 'easy or not' question, I can just say that it is the matter of coping to semester-based type of studying environment, especially for SPM-leavers who are not used for having major exams every few month instead of one a year. 

#3 - Entering Form 6 means no life for 18 months
Truth : If you really are facing this after you enter Form 6, this just means that you sucks in your time management. Read on my other blog posts, all the events and awesome memories made during my 18 months of Form 6 life, come on it is just a matter of finding the time to relax! (and still I take up 5 subjects in my STPM)

STPM Baharu in a glance:

Unlike the old terminal system of STPM, the STPM Baharu is now using the modular system a.k.a semester system, something quite similar to A-levels out there. The duration of STPM Baharu is still 18 months, which is slightly longer than some of the Pre-U courses out there such as foundation etc etc and being a Form 6 student means you will need undergo your STPM in a secondary school, as there're no specific center or place specially for Form 6 students to study currently. Your timetable is pretty much similar to what you have in Form 5, which is one plus point as you'll need to arrange your timetable yourself in some of the private colleges. In a glance, STPM Baharu is easily one of the most financial-friendly Pre-U course that you can find in Malaysia and is widely recognized by institutions overseas and locally.

Duration of Study

As I mentioned earlier, STPM Baharu is a 18 months Pre-U course and it usually starts on April/May. Well, it really depends on yourself whether you like it or not with this duration. For some, it might be too long as they are eager to step out to the society ASAP and get a job. But for some, it might be just fine as they still do not have a clear idea on their future path and this 18 months is just nice for them to figure out their destiny.

Modular System vs Terminal System

The new modular system a.k.a the semester system under STPM Baharu got its own pro and cons when compared to the old terminal system. As the first batch of student under this STPM Baharu, I would say the hardest part of this modular system is the coping part. As we're all used to the terminal style of education (one major exam after a certain long period of study, such as PMR and SPM), I faced a hard time coping with semester system of studying when I first entered Form 6, while the seniors will not face this problem when they are under the old terminal system. But on the bright side, you'll face these kind of semester system of education when you're in your Degree studies, so you're just actually facing it earlier, which I think is a good thing, actually.

Still on the bad side of modular system, since it is a pretty new system introduced the overall system is still not mature yet. Why do I say so? Under the new system, the syllabus for most of the subjects are 're-engineered', but it seems that the authorities do not have the enough time to ensure everything runs smoothly because our 'cool' education ministry decided to introduce the modular system while everything is still under 'construction' and in the end leading to some flaws when I first entered STPM Baharu as the first batch. Lacking of reference books, improper guide to PBS, out of syllabus question during STPM and lack of related information are some of the headache me and my teachers faced. Yeah, not to forget, the way Majlis Peperiksaan Malaysia (MPM) arranged my first semester STPM timetable was also terrible, having to sit for 3 subjects in a day and 1 more on the consecutive day (forget not this is STPM standard). Crazy fella!

On the bright side, the arrangement of the timetable got more reasonable after that, and though some of the major problems are still yet to be fixed, the condition has got better for my juniors (the second batch of STPM Baharu) as the teachers are getting the whole idea of STPM Baharu and I believe that it'll get better for the upcoming batches.

Besides that, the burden of studying for each exam is lighten significantly under this new semester system compared to the old terminal system. Under this new semester system, you'll be able to put aside what you've learnt in your current semester while proceeding to the next semester, but bear in mind that you'll still need to remember the basics you learnt every semester as you might still need them in your next semester or during your degree studies.

A complain I sent to The Star last year regarding the flaw on the STPM timetable
And this is the reply I got.

Considering that some students might be unsatisfied with their results, retaking is now possible under STPM Baharu. Well, I would say that retaking is one plus point under the new modular system compared to the old terminal system. As an example, if you are not satisfied on your results, you will be able to retake the papers by paying RM50/paper. You will be able to retake the paper once so basically you will have another chance to improve your results. The reality is, albeit retaking sounds like one good option, but if you are not happy with your semester one and two results, you will need to retake them straight after you are done with your semester three papers, which is a great burden, actually. So, if you are to enter Form 6, do your best in one shot and only retake if you are really doing real bad with the paper. 

Ah, some might ask about retaking semester 3 papers, and yeah you are able to do so but it'll be a year after. If I were you, I wouldn't do so, seriously. 
Photos of actual STPM papers

Basically in STPM Baharu, most of the subjects are required to undergo PBS (no, it is not the PBS in Form 1 - Form 5), something similar to the assignments college students do. There are different requirements depends on the particular subjects, but students will be asked to present their work after they are done to their respective teachers (this is called as VIVA). PBS is something new in Form 6, and marks are given and it will affect your STPM results, so make sure you complete your work nicely and in time! 

Some of the subjects that are exempted from doing PBS includes Chinese and Further Maths. 


Malaysia University English Test a.k.a MUET is an english test that every Sixth-formers need to take and it is essential if you want to enter to a public university in Malaysia. Unlike the other subjects, there are no changes made to MUET under STPM Baharu. MUET is divided into 4 sections in order to test the mastery of English of a student. The sections are: Writing, Listening, Speaking, Reading and among these four, Reading and Writing will affect your results the most. Results in MUET is rated with Band. Band 1 is the worse while Band 6 is the best. There're a few dates available for you to take up this test but if you are doing Form 6 in a government school most of the time your teacher will make this decision for you. And yeah, if you are not satisfied with your MUET results, don't worry you'll be able to retake them too. 

I'll do a full introduction of MUET in another article, if you are curious to find out more about MUET.

A MUET result certificate

You might think that this is not important, but no, if you are to enter local public universities, it actually counts. Your co-curriculum activities in Form 6 stands 10% out of 100% in your application to local public universities. So be sure you are active in these activities despite the hectic lifestyle in Form 6!

Financial Aspects

This is, undoubtedly the best part studying in Form 6, it is the most financial-friendly Pre-U, ever! Well, if you are not a full-scholarship student and do not want to burden your parents, this is the Pre-U for you! An average Pre-U course out there costs roughly RM20,000 and this is not considering the other 'small fees' that you gotta pay during your studies. But by studying in Form 6, I actually used not more than RM500 (retaking fees, books) and the best of all, if I am to pursue my studies in a public university, I'll again saves more compared to a degree course in local/overseas private universities. Think about the money you'll be able to save! 

Form 6, STPM Baharu, My Life

Well, I have been writing a lot about this in my previous blog posts but this is one part that I'll never get bored writing about it. Being able to study in CHS for 7 years is really an honour and I've learnt a lot throughout my Form 6 life. It is definitely not easy, since I am taking 5 subjects and switching from Science to the Arts without basics in the beginning was kinda scary. But as you go on with this journey, you'll know many great friends, in this I mean true friends that make your life funnier despite all the fuss in your studies. But all in all, I do not regret entering Form 6, and I'll use 'Tough but Fun' to summarize my life in Form 6. 

If you're a CHS-ian,  I'll be coming out with article specifically to speak about CHS's Form 6 (the combination of subjects provided, the teachers etc etc),  yay! 

Update 2/12/2013: Here is my new article focusing on Form 6 in CHS! Have a read! (

In the nutshell......

I would not say that STPM is that 'super-duper-crazy tough' as imagined by many, but I think it is still not an easy 18 months journey. With the implementation of semester-based system, the first semester really requires extra hardwork and patience to cope with. But nonetheless, Form 6 is one fun and meaningful journey, and you will learn a lot along the journey.  Besides, this new system will just get better and better. Not only that, you'll get to know everyone since the size of one class is small and believe me, it will be one memorable experience in your life. One rule to enjoy Form 6: Study hard, Play Hard. 

Life would have been really different without them in Form 6


  1. Thank you sooooo much!! This is really such a big help. I'm just wondering. If I'm planning to take up Business Admin for degree, should I opt to Arts or Science stream for STPM ? Thanks.

  2. hi I would suggest Arts stream, as it'll cover some basics in ur degree =)

  3. Thanks for all the detailed info and it's helpful indeed.

  4. I am a SPM 2013 leaver. I am considering what to study next.These articles really help!:)Anyway,do you have any recommended blog about their experience of study GCE A-levels? Thanks a lot!

  5. Hi Christian! Thank you and I hope my articles are helpful! =)

    Hi Joelyn! Thank you! As for ur question, I will suggest you to ask ard as there are currently many students studying A-levels and I think u can easily find your seniors and ask them for opinions =)

  6. Hi, my currently a science stream student in form 5, if I plan to pursue a degree in mechatronics and robotics, what subjects should I take in stpm?


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