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Malaysian Student SPM ResultsCongratulations – You’ve received your SPM results!

This is a very exciting time for you, but can also be a very stressful time as you try to work out what your next step is.

You may be considering studying abroad – but do you do A Levels first? Or should you look at Foundation programmes, such as the NCUK International Foundation Year, instead? What’s the difference??? All these questions can be quite overwhelming, so here is a quick guide to how you can use your SPM results to find the best option for studying abroad.

What Universities accept the Foundation?

Many students considering Foundation are concerned about the recognition of their IFY qualification for admission to University. However, the IFY was specifically designed by NCUK – a group of leading UK Universities – to help prepare you to succeed in your undergraduate studies.

The IFY is recognised by NCUK UniversitiesDIFC partner Irish Universities/Colleges and specialist Medical Universities.

NCUK Universities

NCUK University Partners - DIFC

Irish Universities

DIFC Irish University PartnersMedical Universities

DIFC Medical University Partners

What can I study after Foundation?

The IFY is specifically tailored to suit the needs for international students and provides academic preparation for your first year of undergraduate study in Ireland or the UK.

There are 4 main pathways for students:

  1. Business & Management: for progression to Business, Law, Accounting & Finance, Hospitality Management, Humanities & Arts degrees
  2. Engineering & Technology: for studying Engineering or Computer Science related degrees
  3. Science: for progression to Pharmacy, Nursing, Biomedical Science, Allied Health, Environmental Science or general Science related degrees
  4. Health Sciencefor studying Medicine or Dentistry

What are the entry requirements for SPM?

For students who have completed the SPM, you need to have achieve a minimum of five C grades in relevant subjects – including English and Maths – in order to gain admission to the IFY.

For IFY Health Science leading to Medicine, you need to achieve a minimum of B grades across your subjects.

What is the difference between A Levels and Foundation?

In a benchmarking study undertaken by UK NARIC in 2019, it was concluded that “the IFY programme develops a comparable range and level of knowledge, understanding and competencies” as the GCE A Level qualification. Therefore, “it can be considered to provide suitable preparation for undergraduate study”.

Therefore, the obvious difference between A Levels and the NCUK International Foundation Year (IFY) is the time it takes to complete. Below is a table that outlines the key differences:


LengthIELTSGuaranteed PlaceChoice of University
A Levels2 yearsYesN/AUnlimited
NCUK IFY6-8 monthsNoYes – to 60+  Universities worldwideUnlimited


Study Medicine Abroad with SPM

However, the difference extends far beyond time.

  • Transferrable Skills: the IFY is specifically designed for international students to help you to develop the vital skills you’ll need to succeed at university. These include critical thinking, problem solving and organisational skills
  • Lab Reports: during the IFY students complete lab practicals and then learn how to report on their findings from the practical assessments. This is something that is critical during the early years of any Science degree, but is not always covered in A Level schools
  • Western Study Principles: the opportunity to spend a year abroad, in a country like Ireland, before starting your degree allows you the opportunity to adapt to a new culture and the Western style of learning. This is done in a small, supportive environment, before you embark as an independent student studying in a large university.


How do I apply?

The application process is very simple. All you need to do is complete our online application form and attaching a copy of your passport and SPM results transcript.

Have other Malaysian students been successful with DIFC?

In one word – yes! We’ve had some great success stories with Malaysian students over the years across Business, Medicine and Engineering.

DIFC student Lil Win

“I love the small size of Ireland which allows me to go around conveniently, also it has a myriad of special events which makes my stay full of fun. Studying abroad boosts my self-discipline in daily life and I get to discover more about myself during my stay.”

Li Win Ang, IFY Engineering

Now Studying Computer Science with Industrial Experience with University of Manchester

DIFC Malaysian student wins NCUK Award

Malaysian student, Yap How Zheng winning the NCUK Award for academic excellence in 2019. He is now studying Mathematics and Computer Science at University of Bristol.

Here’s some insight into Lakshmi’s experience studying with DIFC in Ireland

My DIFC Pathway - Lakshmi - Malaysia
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