South Australian Matriculation (SAM)

If you are considering what's your next step after secondary school, here's what you need to know about South Australian Matriculation (SAM)!
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Jaideep Patel
Publisher for the Malaysia and Singapore offices of GTI Media Asia.


The South Australian Matriculation (SAM) pre-university course (also known as the SACE International) is offered in Malaysia by several private colleges. It is based on the Australian education system.

Just like the AUSMAT, the SAM qualification is equivalent to the Malaysian STPM and A Levels qualifications. One interesting item of note is that the SAM – having been introduced locally in 1982 – was the first Australian pre-university course to be offered to students in Malaysia.


Similar to the AUSMAT, the SAM typically takes anywhere between 8 months to 11 months to complete depending on when you start your course.


There is are several intakes for the SAM each year, depending on the institution offering the course and the length of the course. Most private universities in Malaysia typically offer 2 to 3 intakes for SAM courses, which generally fall in January, March, August and/or September.

Structure & assessment

The SAM is administered by the South Australian government. The major difference between the AUSMAT and the SAM is that the SAM has a clear focus on coursework which carries a total of 70% of your final score. The remaining 30% comes from final exams.             

As a SAM course student, you will also earn an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). The ATAR is calculated based on students’ results when they complete their respective courses.

Australian universities use the ATAR as one criterion when selecting applicants for admission. However, a high ATAR is not a guarantee of admission into your university of choice.


You will be required to take 5 subjects.

Expert tips

  • Think hard about which 5 subjects to take because they will need to meet the entry requirements for your degree course in the near future!
  • Talk to university representatives if they offer pre-set combinations of subjects based on your interest!
  • Ask yourself if you want to spend a lot of your time on coursework versus preparing for exams!

It is RIGHT for you if…

  • You want to keep your study options open to both local and overseas institutions
  • You want coursework to form the major part of your assessment
  • You thrive by working on different types of projects and assignments

It is WRONG for you if…

  • You find studying 5 subjects a little difficult to manage
  • You plan to take up a very competitive degree in the near future
  • You find it easier to cram for big exams