Education in Malaysia begins at a preschool level, at which there are no solid rules that define when this begins but most tend to start when the child turns five years old but it can begin earlier at up to three years old. At age seven the child moves on to Primary School.
Primary Schools vary in type but typically last for six years up until the child is thirteen. The years are known as Year (Tahun), the first to third years are known as Level One (Tarhap Satu) and the fourth to sixth years are known as Level Two (Tarhap Dua). Regardless of performance all students move on at the end of each year to the following one. At the end of Primary Education, the Year 6 students sit the Primary School Achievement Test (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah or UPSR) which tests Malay Comprehension, Written Malay, English, Science and Mathematics. In Chinese Schools, Chinese students additionally are tested on Chinese Comprehension and Written Chinese. Whilst in Tamil Schools, Tamil students are additionally tested on Tamil Comprehension and Written Tamil.
Secondary School lasts for five years up until the age of eighteen and Secondary Education teaches Melay, English, Chinese and Tamil languages with some schools additionally teaching Arabic, Japanese, German and/or French. The forms are known as Form (Tingkatan) with forms 1 to 3 known as Lower Secondary (Menengah Rendah) whilst forms 4 and 5 are known as Upper Secondary (Menengah Atas). Primary Students are required to have a C grade minimum before being able to attend Secondary School, if not then a year-long class must be attended to compensate before they can move on. Additionally, co-curricular activities are compulsory and at least 2 or 3 activities must be participated in, this may include Performing Arts, Clubs, Societies, Sports, Games and Uniformed Groups.
At the end of the Lower Secondary, the Lower Certificate of Education (Penilaian Menengah Rendah or PMR) is taken and based on the results the students are divided into Art and Science oriented classes, however, over time some students may shift back and forth between the two. At the end of Upper Secondary, the Malaysian Certificate of Education (Sijil Pelajaran Rendah or SRP) is taken before being able to graduate Secondary School. Within these primary and secondary schools there are typically a large number of free government-run ones with a widespread amount of private ones. There are even residential schools used for those considered to be academically gifted and have been modelled after British Boarding Schools.
Following Secondary School, students may move into Sixth Form or go into a type of College called Matriculation (Pre-University). In Sixth Form the students will take the Malaysian Higher School Certificate (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia or STPM) whilst in Matriculation students undergo several semesters with an exam at the end of each one and a final exam at the end of the course. Each option lasts between one and two years in length.
University-level and postgraduate education is readily available and the country incorporates not only a string of facilities and programs for most subjects but additional Polytechnic facilities which provide courses for Bachelor Degrees, Advanced Diplomas, Basic Diplomas and Special Skills Certificates.