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HomeEducationIGCSE VS SPM | 5 Important Differences

IGCSE VS SPM | 5 Important Differences

One of the more popular debates between Malaysian teenagers these days is ‘Which is better? SPM or IGCSE?’ This is a crucial question as the path to your tertiary education is starting and you cannot afford to waste time regretting your decisions later on in life. So, here are the comparisons between IGCSE and SPM from various aspects.

10 things to know about IGCSE


Alright, SPM is, without a doubt, much more affordable than IGCSE. The examination fee for ONE subject for IGCSE is probably enough to cover the examination fee for the entire SPM exam, not to mention the coursebooks and revision books. However, the quality of teaching for IGCSE is arguably better than that of SPM but it all depends on the teacher as well as the student.


IGCSE offers a lot more flexibility as compared to SPM. For instance, there are no compulsory subjects for IGCSE whereas in SPM, you have to sit for, and pass, 2 subjects (BM and Sejarah) in order to get your certificate and there’s also the compulsory Pendidikan Islam for Muslims and Pendidikan Moral for non-Muslims. For IGCSE, you get to choose your own subjects, depending on your interest, with a minimum of 6 subjects up to 13 of them.


The SPM syllabus is typically considered more difficult and it is 100% exam based but the threshold marks for passing is usually pretty low (*cough* add maths). IGCSE on the other hand has a broad syllabus but it is not as deep. IGCSE also tests the students in various ways such as presentations, oral assessments, and courswork.


Now there are some arguments about this but if you take IGCSE, it’s possible for you to finish high school earlier at the age of 16.


Both SPM and IGCSE are considered exams of equivalent level so there’s no saying that one is less recognized than the other as they can both get you into good Pre-U programmes depending on your grades. However, if you intend to study at public universities, it’s best if you went with the SPM – Matriculation/STPM route as it is more favoured than IGCSE. Doing IGCSE is setting the path for private universities locally or overseas.

So there you have it, SPM and IGCSE compared side by side. They both have their pros and cons and one is not significantly better than the other. Therefore, it’s best to look at it from all the perspectives before making a decision.


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