APEL C: What is it, and Who can Apply?

The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) is committed to providing opportunities for higher education and opening possibilities for individuals. Accordingly, MQA values learning outside of the traditional classroom, such as work and life experiences, regardless of when, where, and how it was obtained. 

This recognition is given through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) initiative. APEL is a methodical procedure for identifying, documenting, evaluating, and accrediting prior experiential learning.

After APEL for Admission, also known as APEL(A), was successfully incorporated into the Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programmes of study, MQA took the next step to develop the APEL for Credit Award, known as APEL(C).

What is APEL(C)? 

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning for Credit Award, or APEL(C), allocates credits for prior experiential learning toward recognized higher education provider (HEP) courses. Thus, the APEL(C) system acknowledges relevant prior experience learning specific to a course within a field of study.

With APEL(C), individuals may save time and money while also avoiding the repetition of learning. But perhaps most significantly, it seeks to recognize those who deserve it.

What does prior learning mean? 

Learning based on experience is prior experiential learning, including formal and non-formal schooling.

Formal education

Formal education is delivered in a classroom setting. Students learn fundamental, intellectual, or trade skills through textbooks and other educational resources created to educate them. 

Post-secondary and postgraduate degrees are both options for formal education. It grades assignments in chronological order. This involves purposeful and planned instruction in various disciplines using an appropriate syllabus. For instance, students study biology, chemistry, and physics.

Informal education

Informal education is the information, skills, and abilities students have obtained from their learning initiative. 

It could also include reading, volunteering in the community, engaging in hobbies, living with family and/or friends, and other sources or activities. It may also incorporate job and life experiences. 

In contrast to formal education, informal education is not delivered by a specific teaching methodology or by a formal educational institution like a school or college. It is not preplanned or intentional, has no set syllabus, and may be learned anywhere.

How does APEL(C) work? 

The APEL(C) method assesses, recognizes, and grants credits for prior experience learning that a person has obtained through formal, non-formal, or informal ways. It does so by assessing the learner’s degree of accomplishment of the required learning and competence objectives for the award of credit for a specific course.

What are the benefits of APEL(C)? 

The benefits of Apel(C) include:

  • Recognize learning obtained through self-study, short courses taken, or job experience.
  • Promotes positive aspects of a person’s learning experience and encourages lifelong learning.
  • Limit students’ exposure to redundant learning.
  • Promote the enrollment of adult students in higher education programmes.
  • Reduce the cost and time required to finish a study programme.
  • Enables Malaysia to compete with more developed nations by allowing its educational system to be more flexible.
  • Enables the transfer of up to 30% of the last credits necessary to complete a certain programme of study. The credit transfer clause based on the current official credit transfer policy is in addition to this.
  • Encourages the growth of competent people who can contribute to the country’s development.

Who can apply for APEL(C)? 

APEL(C) is available for:

  • Registered students
  • Both local and foreign students
  • No minimum age is necessary. 
local and foreign students
Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

APEL(C) application process

Students can apply for APEL(C) in three simple steps:

Step 1: Pre-Assessment

  • You must attend an APEL(C) Centre/Unit briefing to fully understand each step of the application process. The briefing will also set realistic expectations for the outcomes of your application.
  • You will be assigned an advisor who will counsel you on the proper mode of assessment.
  • You must complete a self-evaluation exercise as part of the application procedure.
  • The advisor will determine eligibility and provide the necessary guidance based on the self-evaluation and report submitted.
  • The results will be processed to determine your success or failure in the self-evaluation.
  • The application will proceed to step 2.

Step 2: APEL(C) Assessment

  • Depending on the course’s requirements and the advisor’s guidance, you can decide whether to take a Challenge Test or submit a Portfolio.

A Challenge Test may take the form of a written test, oral examination, or performance assessment per the nature and discipline of the course. For example, the challenge test for performing arts, public speaking, and music composition might be a presentation or skills display.

A Portfolio is a collection of proof put together by students to demonstrate their prior experiential learning. It includes details like learning statements, archival proof, and comparing the student’s prior knowledge with the course learning objectives. Students must complete the APEL(C) Portfolio Submission Form.

  • You must show that you have mastered at least 50% of each course’s learning outcome to qualify for credit awards.
  • HEP will determine your eligibility for a credit transfer grade.
  • The application will proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Credit Awarded

A credit transfer grade will be given to you for the relevant course. The 30% APEL(C) credit transfer and 30% formal education credit transfer are available to students with both formal education and work experience. 

For instance, a student wanting to enroll in a degree programme can apply for 30% APEL(C) credit and 30% formal education credit if they have a suitable diploma and work experience.

Must I take an APEL(C) exam? 

No, it is not required. The field and course you apply for will determine your evaluation. Credit is awarded based on knowledge, and skills picked up via formal and non-formal learning. These teaching strategies put a lot of emphasis on experiential learning, which needs to be carefully analyzed and evaluated. The process will check to see if the obtained learnings align with the course’s objectives.

In addition to exams, other evaluation methods include portfolios, interviews, and skill and knowledge demonstrations.

APEL(C) requirements

Through APEL(C), credits must be granted based on learning that has been proved and supported by evidence, not just based on experience claims. 

You must demonstrate that you have attained at least 50% of each course learning outcome to fulfill the requirements for credit awards. Thus, APEL(C) requirements include:

  • Standard or APEL(A) route mode of admission.
  • Every course, including those from postgraduate programmes, is entirely coursework-based or hybrid.
  • All fields of study and Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) level, from Certificate (Level 3) to Doctoral Degree (Level 8).
  • For all courses, excluding those requiring a final project, thesis, or dissertation.

What is the difference between APEL(A) and APEL(C)? 

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning for Admission, or APEL(A), validates students’ learning for admission to the programme. This is regardless of how or where it was achieved. 

If you pass the APEL(A) exam, you can enroll in your chosen programme. This evaluation, which takes the shape of an aptitude exam, looks at how well you comprehend fundamental concepts to gauge your level of proficiency and competency.

You must create a solid portfolio detailing your formal, informal, and non-formal experiences. Additionally, you must also provide your language abilities and details about prior employment and educational background. You must also explain why you want to study, with references and proof to back you up.

In contrast, APEL(C) acknowledges student learning without considering the method or setting. It was acquired for the purpose of transferring course credit within the chosen academic programme. It compares your experiences to the learning objectives of a certain course, and credits for a specific programme are granted if you are qualified.

As for the cost, MQA has established the costs associated with the APEL(A) assessment for students. Conversely, the fees for assessment to students for APEL(C) are stipulated by HEPs.

How to apply for APEL(C)? 

Students are required to submit the application to the HEPs. 

Get your prior experiential learning acknowledged for credit transfer through APEL(C) by enrolling with us at UOW Malaysia KDU today. Visit Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL (C)) for more information.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

UOW Malaysia

Key highlights

  • Recognise learning acquired through work experience, short courses attended or self-learning.
  • Reduce redundant learning for students.
  • Encourage admission of adult learners to higher education programs.
  • Reduce cost and time to complete study.
  • Encourages the development of highly knowledgeable individuals who will be able to contribute to the nation’s development.


It is highly recommended that you apply for APEL(C) if you want your past learning to be acknowledged, if your skills, knowledge, and prior learning apply to a university course, and if you have the documentation to prove your prior learning.


16 December 2022


Education and Career