Your UK Education Journey

Learn How The UK Education System Works And How You Can Fit In This Journey Of A Lifetime

uk education system

There are many entry points for a student who is looking forward to studying in the UK. Here at Britannia StudyLink, we have broken down the different stages you may apply to a school in the UK from the Malaysian education system.

Education in the UK can be broken down into these 3 main education levels. The first being Primary School, followed by Secondary School and University.

Primary School

Primary School is available to students in Malaysia from the ages 5 to 10 years old. This would be equivalent to Year 1 to Year 6, in which the Malaysian equivalent would be Standard 1 to Standard 6.

Secondary School

Secondary School encompasses students from ages 11 to 17 years old. This is equivalent to Year 7 to Year 13.

Year 7 to Year 9

For students in Year 7 to Year 9, there are no special examinations that a student is required to take. This is equivalent to Form 1 under the Malaysian education system.

Year 10 to Year 11

Students entering Year 10 and Year 11 are required to take the General Certificate of Secondary Examinations (GCSEs) over 2 years; or a student may choose to take the 1 Year GCSEs / Pre-A Levels. This is equivalent to Form 3 for Year 10 (14 years old) and Form 4 for Year 11 (15 years old) under the Malaysian education system where the GCSEs is equivalent to the Malaysian SPM.


GCSE is a two-year study plan and is the most important qualification needed to support your university aspirations. You’ll study a range of subjects that will give you a broad knowledge base and let you discover which subjects you have a true passion for.

One Year GCSEs

The one-year GCSE is designed to prepare you to study A Level, International Baccalaureate or University Foundation.

Year 12 to Year 13

Students entering Year 12 and Year 13 are required to take the A Levels or the International Baccalaureate examinations. For Malaysian students choosing this avenue, you can choose to enter either from Malaysian Form 4 (Year 11) or Form 5 (Year 12). This is because the UK semester starts in September while the Malaysian semester starts in January. Put simply, students entering UK schools would enter Year 12 (16 years old) and Year 13 (17 years old).

A Levels

A world-recognised qualification, A Levels are the classic route to university in the UK. Designed for confident students who aspire to the most competitive degree courses – you’ll study three subjects in depth depending on your university and career aspirations, typically over two years.

One Year A Levels

In addition to the standard 2-year programmes, a number of independent colleges and international boarding schools also run flexi-programmes which last for 3 terms (1 Year) to 5 terms respectively, allowing students with outstanding academic and English ability to complete A-levels at a faster pace. With the additional start dates in January and April, these are excellent options for current Form 6 students. Students study fewer subjects in these shorter programmes. Typically, three to four subjects are expected for a 5-term A-levels programme.

International Baccalaureate

A two-year programme designed for motivated, capable students who are interested in a broad range of subjects. The IB is the fastest-growing, most respected qualification in the world, and a passport to the best universities. It is a qualification which challenges, encourages and inspires internationally minded students to become caring, critical thinkers, ready for university study and a global career. IB is a great op on for you if you have a broad range of talents and interests and want to keep your university and career options open.


Once a student has completed the secondary education, they will be able to apply to universities based on the A-Levels or International Baccalaureate results.

Undergraduate Degree

A UK undergraduate degree is a globally recognised qualification and the most common are BA (Hons) and BSc (Hons). It is available in many subjects across all disciplines and can be delivered at universities or through independent colleges. Your studies will usually last three years. You should be able to go directly to a UK university if you have completed 13 years of schooling and have a good English language ability.

Contact Britannia StudyLink today for free consultation on what the best avenue is for your child.