What is IGCSE?

IGCSE stands for the ‘International General Certificate of Secondary Education’ and here are some facts about this certification to get you started:

  • Students as young as 11 to as old as 17 take the IGCSE examinations.
  • The whole process usually takes 5 years (Year 7 – Year 11) but can be flexible for those who opt for home-schooling.
  • Universities and companies all over the world recognized the IGCSE certificate.
  • Students have the flexibility to choose from over 70 subjects.

IGCSE Subjects

When it comes to subjects, students have more flexibility as compared to SPM. For one, there are no compulsory subjects.

The subjects also cover a wider spectrum ranging from languages to computer sciences and students get to choose their own subjects based on their interest.

SPM Subjects

In SPM, all students take a fix series of core subjects and a couple of electives.

Obtaining a pass in Bahasa Malaysia and Sejarah (History) is required for a student to receive their certificate.

Islamic studies and moral studies are also compulsory for Muslims and non-Muslims respectively.

Grading System


The grades are: A*, A, B, C, D, E, F or G.

Any performance below the lowest grade will be ungraded and denoted by a ‘U’.

Regardless of each subject’s performance, IGCSE candidates will be awarded a certificate stating the subjects and corresponding grades obtained.


The grades are: A+, A, A-, B+, B, C+, C, D, E and G.

For students taking the SPM route, the results determine their qualification into further study programs such as diplomas, matriculations, and foundation programmes.


Most people see IGCSE and SPM as equivalent levels of education in Malaysia. However, IGCSE has the upper hand for overseas study opportunities right after high school Top universities and colleges accept both certifications, so it comes down to your grades.

Do keep in mind that if the plan is to enter a local public university or matriculation program, then you should opt for SPM.

Final Words

We hope this has helped you in your decision between SPM and IGCSE programs. Whatever you go for, our professional tutors are ready to provide you with the help you need to achieve the best results. We have experience is producing excellent students in both SPM and IGCSE!

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