O Level Vs Matric: Which Is Better In Pakistan?

By Zaryab Ahmed

People are often confused about what kind of field they are interested in or which path to choose academically. Once they are done with middle school, a huge question arises, ”Matric or O Level?”

This is a big deal as everything you choose afterward depends on it whether it may be your career or your job interests.

The recent education reforms in Pakistan have resulted in a change of the educational system from 10+2 to 12+2. This is because of the change in curriculum and the type of education that has been introduced; this advancement has not only improved the quality of education but also its diversity.

The main change is in providing four years of general education, which are equivalent to higher secondary level and two years of academic education which can be equated to bachelor degree. These changes have made it compulsory for all students who take admission under this system to sit for an examination at the end of 12th grade and qualify it. Students who do not pass their examination will not be allowed to take admission anywhere else.

Students who are studying under old curriculum have the option to either pass their examinations or get enrolled in a college. Only students who pass their matriculation exams will be allowed to enroll themselves in colleges that provide bachelor courses.

O level Vs Matric: Which Is Better in Pakistan? The recently revamped system has mixed reactions from students and parents. While some are pleased with these changes as they ensure proper quality education, there are also some who consider it as one more hurdle between them and a good degree.

Read: How to Register for O Level as a Private Candidate in Pakistan

Differences Between Matric And O Level

So here are a few differences between matric and O level and the rightful scope of both the qualifications.

1. O Level:

  • O level is internationally recognized as Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), formerly known as Cambridge International Education (CIE) are globally held by the British Council.
  • O level is three years long, in most of the institutes in Pakistan.
  • The syllabus of the O level is elaborate and comprehensive. It is to test the hidden abilities of students to polish their skills and make them think and convey their concepts in an intricate manner.
  • The degree of O level is recognized and known globally, which means that its value is internationally renowned.
  • The instruction medium for O levels is in English, which gives students an edge as ENGLISH is the official language of Pakistan, along with being the International language.
  • The overall cost of O level in Pakistan is high as students require academies in order to fulfill their academic needs, which cost them approximately 8-10k for each subject, studied at home tuitions or in academies.
  • The exams of O levels are held twice a year in two sessions. One in May/June and the other in October/November.
  • O level is wholly conceptual and there is no way a student can cram stuff and ace in CAIE’s.
  • O level learning is considered to be much more superior due to its international standards.
  • The grading system of O level is much simpler. It grades students with A, B, C’s and so on. It works on the percentile system, which remains fair.
  • CAIE aims to build logical thinking, problem-solving and practical skills in a student, which prepares him for the future.
  • There are at least 2-3 papers for every subject in O level.
  • There is a vast choice of subjects offered by the British Council in O level.
  • Being offered an immense amount of subjects, you are being offered a variety of career options and jobs if you do O level and proceed with the career choice according to your liking.

2. Matric:

  • Matric is basically a local certificate (Secondary School Completion), which is issued by the Pakistan Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education.
  • Matric takes 2 years to complete.
  • The course outline for Matric is very simple. The course hasn’t changed a bit since a very long time. The students are required to cram and learn directly from their textbooks.
  • The exams are strictly held to test a student’s memory as the exam pattern will comprise of all the questions and problems as studied from the textbook. In short, there is no extra knowledge or technical thinking required when answering questions on an exam paper.
  • Matric students may or may not face difficulties while applying to foreign countries and educational institutions because it is a local qualification.
  • Most students take their exams in Urdu, which might be a problem when applying for jobs etc.
  • The total expenditure for Matric is very less.
  • Matriculation grading works with the marks of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education.
  • The framework or Matric is designed by the local board of Pakistan.
  • Matric offers only a limited number of subjects.
  • Not only Matric is affordable and super easy, but it is readily available in every institution, whether it may be small or a high-end school/institution.
  • As it is easy and entirely based on books, a lot of people opt for it.

Which Should You Select: O Level Or Matric?

Now, taking in view all these differences between O level and Matric, what would be the ultimate right choice between these two? Now, this is a really long debate as honestly, there is no “RIGHT” choice.


Because anything you opt for is based on what you want to do in your near future.

So here are a few points that might help you out whilst choosing the right field for your interests.


If you want to do engineering or you want to become a doctor, it is essential if you choose a local route that is doing Matric.

This is important as it gets you in the top government institutions in Pakistan. As well as Entrance exams, such as MDCAT and ECAT, are wholly based on intermediate textbooks by the local Board of Pakistan.

Although O level is more conceptual and globally recognized if you want to get into a good government university, you might be at a loss because of the conversion of O level grades into marks, which is called “equivalence” here.

Plus, it is very hard to adjust and cope with the local system once you have graduated with O level because both the worlds contradict with one another and a student might feel like he’s having both his legs on two separate boats.

Hence, it is better to do Matric, score good and get into a top-rated University in Pakistan if one has to become a doctor or an engineer and have no plans of going abroad to study.


If you have made up your mind on going abroad to study whether it maybe after high school or intermediate, it would be beneficial if you opt for O level.

It would be internationally recognized as well as there will be no difficulty with the international system or coping with it.


If you want to study subjects such as Business, Humanities, Psychology, etc., you are recommended to go for O level because it will give you a wide range of subjects as well as a broader spectrum of career options to choose from.


As O level is expensive than Matric, you need to make sure you can afford it before registering yourself for it.

You need to take care of the private institutions’ fee as well as the extra tuition charges that may pressurize one’s household and put a financial strain on the family.

So opting for O level, you need to make sure of such things.


When you have a specific goal in your mind, I think you know what you have to do then.

When you know, you can choose the correct path for yourself because that’s how education and the system works.

Your career path in your head will lead to the right choice between O level and Matric.


As we have discussed everything you need to know about Matric and O level in Pakistan as well as internationally, it is up to you to decide the correct path for yourself.

And once you have done that, you have to remember to be determined about it and focus as this would be the first step on the staircase of success!