German Educare

[2023 Updated] 5 Pre-University Courses that will Open Your Door to German Universities

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Last updated: March 2023

TL;DR: Out of the many pre-u courses offered in Malaysia, only 5 of them are recognised by universities in Germany.

– Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)

– A Level

– Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)

– South Australian Matriculation (SAM)

– International Baccalaureate (IB)

This article will dive into the different aspects of each of these pre-u qualification, including their country of origin aand awarding body, course duration and fees, mode of assessment and subject selection, as well as the grading system and minimum requirements to apply to a German university.

One of the most common questions students ask after high school is: which pre-university course should I choose? With the wide selection of pre-u courses available in Malaysia, picking the right one can be a stressful task.

The most common considerations when choosing a pre-u course are usually the cost of study, duration, and assessment mode. However, there is one that is often overlooked, which is the recognition of the course. The last thing you want to see is you being rejected by the university of your choice, not because your results fall short of their requirements, but because the pre-u course you studied is not recognized. In other words, regardless how well you scored, you need to either forego your first choice or restart your journey by studying another pre-u course, both in which we do not want you to go through.

Don’t get me wrong. Not being recognised by the university does not mean that the pre-u course is of lower standard or quality. They are just conducted differently, and some countries, universities, or programmes do not prefer them.

In this article, we will zoom into the pre-university courses recognized by German universities and lay out their similarities and differences to make your decision making easier. The idea of studying in Germany can be daunting to many. Studying your full bachelor’s degree in German language? This thought itself may have turned many away from this land of great opportunities. However, if you are reading this article, you must be one of the brave one who is willing to step out of your comfort zone and take up this rewarding challenge. Let’s take a look at your very first step in this exciting journey- picking the right pre-u course.

Pre-university courses recognised by German universities

Out of the many pre-u courses offered in Malaysia, only 5 of them are recognised by universities in Germany.

They are

  •  Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)
  • A Level
  • Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT)
  • South Australian Matriculation (SAM)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)


There are many institutions in Malaysia that offer these pre-u courses, so finding one is not difficult. Of course, you will have to take into consideration the institution’s reputation, track record, fees, facilities, student life, accessibility, and other factors to ensure your time of study there is a pleasing one.

Finding the right fit 

Now that you have narrowed down your option to the above 5 pre-u courses, next up, we will be comparing them for you based on the important factors that you need to consider. This will give you a clearer picture of which pre-u course is a better fit for you based on your learning style and budget.

pre-university recognized by German universities (country of origin and awarding body))

Country of Origin and Awarding Body

Each of the pre-u courses listed above comes from a different country and is administered by different bodies. Even so, most of them are recognized widely in other countries outside their home country and deem as equivalent to each other. That being said, the external exam fees for each course may be affected by the currency as external exams are directly regulated by the awarding body in the country of origin. You can check with the program advisor on this when you enquire about the program.  

pre-university recognized by German universities (course duration and fees)

Course Duration

The duration of course can be a deciding factor for some students, as some wish to complete their programme as soon as possible, whereas others wish to take their time or don’t mind spending more time for the pre-u they prefer. Generally, pre-u courses take around 1 to 1.5 years to be completed, except for IB which takes up to 2 years. The duration of course should also be considered on the basis of the transition to your next step, be it your university intake or your German language preparation class. In Germany, there are 2 intakes per year, winter intake, the major intake of the year, which starts in September or October, and summer intake which starts in March or April. Hence, it is important to plan your timeline properly to optimise your time and minimise waiting period during the transition from pre-u to your bachelor’s degree in Germany. 

Course Fees

The course fee is a major consideration and should be discussed with your parents or guardians to understand their allocated budget. The range of fees can be as drastic as RM18,000 to RM200,000! Within the same course itself, the fees also differ from college to college, and most of them do offer some scholarships for grab. Find out what are the scholarships available for you and choose a course that is within your budget.

pre-university recognized by German universities (mode of assessment)

Mode of Assessment

The mode of assessment for each pre-u course can be quite different and suited for students with different learning styles. If you tend to score well in exams, A Level may be suitable for you as it is 100% assessed through external exams. Check out our A Level German Pathway with MCKL to see how you can learn German concurrently with A Level. However, if you are someone who would rather be tested continuously throughout the programme over letting one final exam determine your grades, then you would prefer SAM or CIMP which is heavier on coursework and lighter on exam. The rest of the courses give you a balance of coursework and exam, which is beneficial for your transition from a full-exam high school system to university later. 

pre-university recognized by German universities (subject selection)

Subject Selection 

Choosing the right pre-u course is not enough. German universities can be quite picky when comes to your subject selection. Hence, doing your homework before jumping into the course is a must. Each pre-u course has its own compulsory subjects to take and subjects to avoid. Not only are certain subjects not considered by German universities in general, different majors also have different subject requirements. If you are unsure about the subjects required for the major of your choice, speak to us and we will guide you through this.

The above subject selection is based on the general requirements by German universities. Check with us for specific subject recommendation based on your preferred major. 

pre-university recognized by German universities (grading system and min requirement)

Grading System and Minimum Requirement

All 5 of these pre-u courses have a different grading system. Some uses our common A-E grading system, some uses CGPA, whereas others have their own unique grading scale. Understanding how you will be graded and the minimum recommended grade to obtain sets the expectation right at the start and helps you set a clear goal for yourself. 

The above minimum requirement is based on recommended requirements to be accepted into better German universities. Check with us for specific requirement based on your preferred major. 

Last words

If you have read up to this point, I hope you have at least a rough idea of which pre-u course you prefer. It is advisable for you to speak to programme advisors in colleges or schools that offer these pre-u courses to get a clearer understanding of the way the program is run. You can also speak to us so we can guide you in early preparation for your pathway to Germany.  However, a friendly reminder for you before we end: Your pre-u is just a bridge that connects you to your desired bachelor’s degree programme Metaphorically, pre-u is like a mode of transportation that brings you to your destination. Whether you choose to travel by flight or by train, your journey and experience will be different, good in its own way, just different, but your destination remains the same. Hence, as much as selecting the right pre-u course is essential and should not be done mindlessly, there is no need to be overly stress out about which pre-u course you eventually choose as it will still lead you to your intended destination- education in Germany.