Australia has long been a popular overseas education destination for Malaysian students. While most Australian universities accept STPM, Australian pre-university or matriculation programmes have exploded in popularity as they allow students to acquire a pre-u qualification in one year or less, which is accepted for admission into universities in Australia; certain private universities in Malaysia; and selected universities in the rest of the world, including the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Germany and Singapore.
Malaysian students now have a choice of three Australian pre-u programmes to prepare for entry into universities in Australia. The Australian matriculation programmes presently available in Malaysia are:
- Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) leading to the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)
- New South Wales Higher School Certificate
- South Australian Matriculation.
While the curriculum and syllabus of each programme is different, assessment for all three programmes is based on roughly 50% coursework (assignments, class projects etc) and 50% external examination.
All Australian matriculation course students also earn an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank or ATAR. The ATAR is calculated based on students’ results when they complete their respective courses. Australian universities use the ATAR as one criteria when selecting applicants for admission. However, a high ATAR is not a guarantee of admission into one’s university of choice.
Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)
The Australian Matriculation pre-u programme known as AUSMAT, offered in some Malaysian private colleges, is based on the Year 12 curriculum in Western Australian secondary schools.
AUSMAT takes eight to 10 months to complete. This course has two intakes (main intake in January and accelerated intake in March). Students who successfully complete the programme are awarded the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) .
New South Wales Higher School Certificate
The New South Wales Higher School Certificate (NSW HSC) curriculum is developed by the New South Wales Board of Studies.
Featuring a broad range of science and humanities subjects, students who undertake the NSW HSC programme will have the freedom to combine subjects from the two disciplines to expand their tertiary studies options.
The NSW HSC is normally completed in a period of 11 months. Students who enrol for the March intake will complete the programme in eight months.
South Australian Matriculation (SAM)
South Australian Matriculation (SAM) was first introduced in 1982. This 12-month course is internationally recognised, just like AUSMAT and NSW HSC. Upon completion the student is awarded the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).
SAM offers a wide range of benefits to students, including:
- flexible schedules for students to complete the programme
- option to repeat subjects to improve aggregate scores without penalties
- selection of broad-based subjects as a prerequisite to degree courses in universities such as medicine, business, actuarial science, engineering and biotechnology.
SAM was the first Australian pre-u programme available to Malaysians and is currently the most commonly offered Australian matriculation course in Malaysia. As such, course quality standards and subject choice can vary widely among institutions, so research your options carefully if you elect to go for this version of Australian matriculation.
An Australian matriculation programme is right for you if...
- you have an interest in pursuing studies in a university in Australia
- you enjoy variety in your studies
- you prefer to be continually assessed throughout your course.
This article first appeared in doctorjob's CoursesNOW! Pre-University 2011.