Complete Guide to AUSMAT / SACE International in Malaysia
What is AUSMAT / SACE International?
Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) / SACE International (SAM / South Australian Matriculation) is an assessment based pre-university course. AUSMAT in Malaysia is offered to anyone who has finished their SPM, O Level or Year 11. It is a popular pre-university course for students who prefer continuous assessments such as quizzes, reports and assignments. However, the examination based component in AUSMAT still accounts for 30-50% of the grade.
AUSMAT focuses on hands-on learning. For example, students studying sciences will be required to participate in laboratory practicals, while students taking mathematics can expect weekly quizzes that test their understanding and ability to apply their knowledge. Students can expect to be graded via essays and oral tests in language subjects, while business students will be able to hone their skills via presentations and group assignments.
All assessments and grades are converted into the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) at the end of the programme. ATAR is used by Australian universities as an entry requirement for undergraduate studies. Students who intend to pursue further studies in the land down under should seriously consider this as their pre-university option.
Difference between Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) and SACE International
Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) and SACE International are essentially 2 similar Australian pre-university programmes. Some minor differences can be observed in the table below.
||Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) Board
||South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Board
||50% coursework (continuous assessments) and 50% examination
||70% coursework (continuous assessments) and 30% examination
How is Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) / SACE International structured?
The programme follows a linear structure whereby students will study a minimum of 5 and maximum of 6 subjects throughout the duration of the course. Thus, at any given time, students will need to juggle continuous assessments from at least 5 subjects. As each subject’s continuous assessment can contribute to up to 70% of their total grade, students must be consistent with their work without neglecting the 30% to 50% of the final examination.
ATAR score awarded at the end of the programme is calculated based on the 100% of the 4 highest scoring subjects plus 50% of the 5th highest scoring subject. This brings the total percentage to 450%. This percentage is then compared to all students who are sitting for the programme in that year. An ATAR of 90 means you performed better than 90% of your peers who took this programme.
Why study AUSMAT / SACE International in Malaysia?
- This programme is highly recommended to students who intend to further their studies in Australia as the grading structure is geared towards admittance into Australian universities.
- AUSMAT / SACE International in Malaysia is also recognised as an entry qualification across universities around the world. It is a safe choice for students who have not yet decided on their next course of study.
- As there is flexibility in choosing subjects in different streams, students can pursue both science and business subjects for a more holistic education.
Is AUSMAT / SACE International your ideal choice?
This course may be suitable for you if...
- You dislike taking exams and prefer doing continuous assessments such as assignments, presentations and group works.
- You want more degree choices as you are not sure what to study.
- You plan to further your study in Australia.
You may want to consider a different course if...
- You plan to study competitive courses like medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.
- You know what degree programme you will be pursuing.
- You want a degree course that is practical and hands-on like hospitality, design, art and architecture as entry requirements into these courses often ask for a portfolio or project.
This programme is certainly not for you if...
- You aim to study in a top university like the Ivy League or Russell Group universities.
- You prefer studying and taking exams rather than assignments, group presentations and field studies.
If either one or both of the above applies to you, you should check out A Level instead.
What subjects should you take for AUSMAT / SACE International?
Should you take 5 or 6 subjects?
Students are advised to take 5 subjects unless they are able to cope with the workload of 6 subjects. This is because students study all subjects at the same time. Given the need for consistency in performance, it can get incredibly stressful and demanding to juggle continuous assessments from 6 subjects.
In addition, unlike the A Level programme where the additional subject (the 4th subject) has a significant impact to the final grade, the additional subject in AUSMAT / SACE International (the 6th subject) does not carry the same “safety value”. The final score in AUSMAT / SACE International is a single score calculated based on the performance of the 5 highest scoring subjects. Furthermore, the weightage of the 5th highest scoring subject is only 50%.
3 things to consider when choosing subject combinations
1. Choose subjects that will meet the entry requirements of your intended degree.
Students are generally advised to take Mathematics, English and 3 other subjects which are relevant to their further study. An example would be a student wanting to study life sciences could study Mathematics, English, Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. Students can refer to the following table for recommended subjects for some fields of study:
|Field of Study
|Accounting & Finance
||Mathematics, English, Economics, Business Management, Accounting & Finance
|Business & Management
||Mathematics, English, Economics, Business Management, Accounting & Finance
|Computer Science & Information Technology
||Mathematics, English, Specialist Mathematics, Physics, 1 other subject
||Mathematics, English, Specialist Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry
|Health, Medicine & Pharmacy
||Mathematics, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics
||Mathematics, English, Biology, Chemistry, Psychology
||Legal Studies, Economics, Mathematics, English, Psychology
2. Choose subjects that you know you will be able to score well.
Keeping university entry requirement in mind, it is important to make sure that you choose subjects that you know you can score well. A good way to predict this is by choosing subjects that you are strong at or enjoy studying.
3. Make sure your chosen institution and intake offer the subjects that you are looking for.
Each institution has different subject choices. In fact, institutions may only offer certain subjects in a particular intake. Make sure you check subjects listing before committing to any institution and intake.
What should you do if you are not sure what to study?
Students who are uncertain about their intended degree are advised to take subjects that will give them the most degree options. You can select your subjects through these 3 steps.
1. Choose Mathematics and English as the “must” subjects.
2. Determine whether do you want to pursue Art / Business or Science pathway.
- If Art / Business, proceed to 3A.
- If Science, proceed to 3B.
- If Not sure, proceed to 3B.
3A. Choose Legal Studies and Economics plus 1 or 2 subjects out of the following:
- Accounting & Finance
- Business & Management
3B. Choose Physics and Chemistry plus 1 or 2 subjects out of the following:
- Specialist Mathematics
Do you have to take Mata Pelajaran Umum (MPU) subjects?
All students, whether Malaysian or International, must sit for mandatory MPU subjects as required by the Malaysian Ministry of Education. MPU subjects are intersped within the academic semester, but do not contribute to the ATAR score.
Entry requirements of AUSMAT / SACE International in Malaysia
- At the SPM, O Level or equivalent level, students should attain a minimum of 5 C's including English. Students must also pass Bahasa Melayu & Sejarah (History) papers.
- Students pursuing a degree in the field of science should attain a C in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and/or Biology.
- Students who intend to pursue Medicine need a minimum of 5 B’s, which include Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.