How Do You Calculate Matric Points?

In South Africa, matric points play a pivotal role in determining a student’s eligibility for university admission and bursary applications. But how exactly are these points calculated? Let us delve into the details.

What Should You Know About Matric Points and APS?

Understanding matric points and the
Admission Point Score (APS) is crucial for every Grade 12 student aspiring to further their studies in higher education institutions.

What Are The Basics Of Matric Points?

Matric points are numerical values assigned to your final matric results. These points are used by universities and bursaries to assess your academic performance.

How Many Matric Points Are Needed To Pass Matric?

To pass matric in South Africa, a student must achieve a minimum of 30% in three subjects, one of which should be an official language at the Home Language level, and 40% in three other subjects. The total points will vary based on the individual’s performance in each subject.

How Are Matric Points Determined For University Applications?

For university applications, each subject’s final mark is converted to a point on a scale. For instance, a mark between 80-100% might earn seven points, 70-79% six points, and so on. The points for all six subjects are then added together to get the total matric points.

How Are Matric Points Determined For Bursary Applications?

Bursary applications often use the same point system as universities. However, some bursaries might have specific criteria or give additional points for subjects relevant to the field of study they support.

How Can You Perform Advanced Calculations?

While the basic calculation of matric points is straightforward, there are advanced calculations that students should be aware of, especially when considering university applications.

How Is The APS Score Calculated?

The APS score is a weighted average of your matric results. Each subject is assigned a point value based on your final mark, and these points are then added together. Some universities might have specific APS requirements for certain courses.

What Distinguishes Matric Points From APS?

While both matric points and APS are used to assess academic performance, APS is a specific scoring system used by certain universities. it is a more detailed evaluation, considering the weightage of subjects.

How Can You Calculate Matric Points Without All The Required Subjects?

If a student hasn’t taken all the required subjects, they can still calculate their matric points using the subjects they have completed. However, it is essential to remember that most universities require results for six subjects, excluding Life Orientation.

Are There Special Cases to Consider?

When calculating matric points, it is essential to be aware of certain special cases that can affect your total score. These special cases can vary based on individual circumstances, and understanding them can help ensure that you are accurately assessing your eligibility for university or bursary applications.

How Do You Calculate Matric Points If A Subject Is Repeated?

Repeating a subject is not uncommon, especially if a student feels they can achieve a better mark the second time around. Here is how to handle the calculation:

Only The Highest Score Counts

If you have taken a subject more than once, only the highest score you have achieved will be considered for your matric points.

Inform The University

When applying to a university, it is crucial to inform them if you have retaken any subjects. This ensures transparency and allows the institution to make an informed decision regarding your application.

Check Bursary Requirements

Some bursaries might have specific rules about repeated subjects. Always check the criteria to ensure you are eligible.

How Are Matric Points Calculated For Qualifications Outside South Africa?

For students who have completed their schooling outside South Africa, the process of calculating matric points can be slightly different:

Conversion Tables

Most South African universities have conversion tables that equate foreign grades to the South African matric point system. These tables help in translating your grades to a format that is recognized locally.

Required Documentation

When applying with foreign qualifications, you will need to provide:

  • Certified copies of your academic transcripts.
  • A certificate of equivalence from the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
  • Any other relevant documentation requested by the university.

Language Proficiency

If you have studied in a language other than English, you might be required to prove your proficiency in English, given its widespread use in South African universities.

Specific University Guidelines

Each university might have its own set of guidelines for foreign qualifications. it is advisable to check with the respective university’s admissions office for detailed information.

How Can I Understand Matric Subjects Better?

In the South African education system, matric subjects play a pivotal role in shaping a student’s academic journey and prospects. These subjects not only determine your matric points but also influence university admissions and bursary opportunities. 

Understanding the intricacies of these subjects, their types, and their requirements can provide a clearer path towards achieving your academic and career goals. Let us delve deeper into the world of matric subjects and uncover the nuances that every Grade 12 student should be aware of.

What Types And Levels Of Subjects Exist?

The South African matric curriculum offers a diverse range of subjects, each designed to cater to different interests and career paths. These subjects are categorized based on their content, complexity, and relevance to higher education and specific professions. To make informed choices, it is essential to understand the types and levels of subjects available.

What Are The Various Matric Subjects Available?

The South African matric curriculum is designed to offer students a broad spectrum of subjects, catering to diverse interests and future aspirations. From languages to sciences, commerce to arts, the range of subjects ensures that every student finds something that resonates with their passion and goals. 

These subjects not only shape the academic foundation but also pave the way for future studies and career paths. Let us explore the variety of subjects that the matric curriculum offers.

  • Languages: This includes official languages like English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, and others.
  • Sciences: Subjects like Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Agricultural Sciences.
  • Mathematics: This encompasses both Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy.
  • Humanities: History, Geography, and Religion Studies are examples.
  • Commerce: Subjects like Business Studies, Economics, and Accounting.
  • Arts and Technology: Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts, and Information Technology.

What Are The Different Levels Within Matric Subjects?

In the matric curriculum, subjects are categorized based on their depth and intensity of study. This differentiation ensures that students can study a language or subject at a level that matches their proficiency and interest. 

The three primary levels are Home Language (HL), First Additional Language (FAL), and Second Additional Language (SAL). Each level has its unique characteristics and requirements. Let us delve into the distinctions between these levels.

  • Home Language (HL): This is the student’s first or primary language. it is studied in depth.
  • First Additional Language (FAL): This is the second language, studied at a slightly less intensive level than HL.
  • Second Additional Language (SAL): This is an optional third language, studied at a basic level.

How Do HL And SL Matric Subjects Differ?

When choosing the intensity level of a subject, especially languages, students often encounter the terms Home Language (HL) and Second Language (SL). These terms denote the depth and complexity of the subject content. 

While both are integral parts of the curriculum, they cater to different levels of proficiency and interest. Understanding the differences between HL and SL can help students make informed decisions about their studies.


Home Language (HL)

Second Language (SL)


In-depth study

Basic foundational study





Mastery of the language

Functional proficiency



Less intensive compared to HL


For students proficient in the language

For students with basic knowledge

What Are The Subject Requirements?

Choosing the right subjects in matric is crucial, as it can influence university admissions and future career opportunities. Each subject comes with its own set of requirements and expectations, which are designed to ensure that students are well-prepared for the challenges of higher education and the professional world.

Which Matric Subjects Are Essential For University Admission?

University admissions in South Africa often hinge on the matric subjects that students opt for during their schooling. These subjects play a crucial role in determining eligibility for specific courses and programs. 

While some subjects are universally recognized, others might be mandatory for particular fields of study. Let us delve into the typical subject requirements that universities look for during the admission process.

Subject Category

Typical Requirement

Compulsory Subjects

Two languages (one being the Home Language) and Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy.

Specific Course Requirements

Some courses might require subjects like Physical Sciences or Life Sciences. This is all dependent on the course you choose.

How Should You Select Your Matric Subjects?

The process of selecting matric subjects is a blend of introspection, understanding academic requirements, and aligning with future goals. it is not just about picking subjects you like; it is about making strategic choices that pave the way for future opportunities.

Whether you are aiming for a specific university course, a particular career, or a coveted bursary, your subject choices in matric can be the key. Here are some guiding principles to consider when making your selection.

  • Interest and Passion: it is essential to choose subjects that resonate with your interests.
  • Future Career Goals: Align your subjects with the career path you envision for yourself.
  • Strengths and Abilities: Opt for subjects where you naturally excel and feel confident.
  • University and Bursary Requirements: Research the prerequisites for your desired university courses or bursaries.
  • Seek Guidance: Consult with teachers, career counsellors, and seniors to get a holistic view.

How Do Subjects Differ from Each Other?

While all matric subjects aim to provide students with a well-rounded education, they differ in content, approach, and objectives. Understanding these differences can help students make informed decisions, ensuring that they choose subjects that align with their strengths, interests, and future aspirations.

What Differentiates Compulsory From Elective Matric Subjects?

In the realm of matric subjects, there is a clear distinction between those that are mandatory and those that students can nominate based on their interests. Here are some to look at

Subject Type






Compulsory Subjects

Subjects that every student must take to ensure a well-rounded education.

Languages (English, Afrikaans, Zulu), Mathematics

Provides foundational knowledge; is universally recognized; essential for most tertiary courses.

Limited choice; can be challenging for some students.

To ensure students have a basic understanding of essential topics.

Elective Subjects

Optional subjects are chosen based on interests, strengths, or future career goals.

Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts, Life Sciences, and History

Allow specialization; cater to individual interests; and can enhance university and career prospects.

Making the right choice can be daunting; some subjects might have prerequisites.

To allow students to explore areas of personal interest or align with future aspirations.

By understanding the intricacies of matric points, university applications, financial aid, and career choices, students can make informed decisions that set the foundation for a successful future. As you embark on this pivotal phase of your life, it is essential to be equipped with the right knowledge and tools. With determination, guidance, and the information provided in this article, the path to academic and professional success becomes clearer and more attainable.

People Also Ask

While this article delves into understanding matric points and their significance, the exact calculation of matric results involves a combination of internal assessments and final exam scores. The Department of Basic Education sets specific guidelines for this.

Grade 12 points, often referred to as matric points, are calculated based on performance in various subjects. This article provides a detailed breakdown of how these points are determined and their significance in university and bursary applications.

The number of points a student gets in matric depends on their performance in each subject. Different percentage brackets correspond to different point values, which are then used for various applications.

The Admission Points Score (APS) is a score that universities use to determine if a student qualifies for a specific course. It is calculated based on matric results, and each university has its own APS requirements for different courses.


Author: Roegshana Pamplin 
Editor: Caitlin Roux 
Date Published: February 8, 2024 

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