At the end of Form 5, students are required to take the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or Malaysian Certificate of Education examination, before graduating from secondary school. The SPM was based on the old British 'School Certificate' examination before it became General Certificate of Education 'O' Levels examination, which became the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education). As of 2006, students are given a GCE 'O' Level grade for their English paper in addition to the normal English SPM paper. (Previously, this was reported on result slips as a separate result labelled 1119, which meant students received two grades for their English papers.) This separate grade is given based on the marks of the essay-writing component of the English paper. The essay section of the English paper is remarked under the supervision of officials from the British 'O' Levels examination. Although not part of their final certificates, the 'O' Level grade is included on their results slip.
In 2011, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin declared that the PMR examination would be abolished in 2014, and the Form Three students' performance for that year would be tested through a School-Based Assessment (SBA) conducted by the schools themselves. The SBA is to be monitored by the Examination Board to ensure the examination questions are of adequate quality and can truly gauge the students' level of performance. According to the then Deputy Prime Minister, this measure will also enable parents to obtain the latest information on their children's academic performances in school. After numerous debates, it was finally confirmed in early October 2012, that PMR would be officially abolished.