STPM (Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia)
The thought of pursuing your pre-university through the STPM or Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia) often send shivers down your spine. That is probably because you might have heard by now that the STPM is widely known to be one of the hardest pre-university examinations in the world if compared to others like the ‘A’ Levels, the Canadian Pre-U or the SAM. To put it simply, if you are qualified to enroll into Form 6, then you should have no problem passing because you would be familiar with the environment and system of the course by now. After all, STPM are offered through public secondary schools with an exception of one or two private colleges, for example Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR College).
The STPM was introduced to replace the English language conducted HSC (High School Certificate) more than 25 years ago (1982). This government run course is conducted in Bahasa Malaysia, which is the reason why to qualify, you must have at least a Credit in Bahasa Malaysia. One very good thing about the STPM is that, if you pass this examination, you have the necessary qualification to enroll into most universities whether they are public or private. Of course, the fact that you took Form 6 means that you first intention is to get into a public university first. The only problem with enrolling into a public university is that you might not land the course you are interested in due to the quota system.
It is very important which stream you came from in SPM which determines which stream you will continue in Form 6. If you are intending to pursue a degree later in Science, then it is essential that you are in the Science stream which requires you to have at least 5 Credits which must include Bahasa Malaysia, English Language, Additional Mathematics and any the Science Subjects where you will take up your degree in areas like Medicine or Engineering. If you are from the Arts stream, the usual papers that you will take includes Malay Literature, Accounting and such are offered. This will prepare you if you decide to pursue your degrees later in these areas which also includes Sociology and Law.
One of the drawbacks of the STPM is that students find that they are unable to enroll for the course they like and hence have to find alternatives elsewhere. This is a tedious process because by then, 2 years have already been spent.