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APS

When you are busy getting ready to apply for university or any other tertiary education institution, you will come across the term “APS” quite a bit. 

Knowing what an APS is and how to calculate your APS is very important if you want to study further.

What Is An APS?

Admission Points Score (APS) is a tool that is used by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to determine which National Certificate Qualification you get when you pass Matric. The Matric Passes in order from the lowest APS to the highest APS are:

  • National Senior Certificate Pass – 15 APS
  • Higher Certificate Pass – 17 APS
  • Diploma Pass – 19 APS
  • Bachelor’s Degree Pass – 23 APS

Universities also use the APS system to set the minimum requirements for courses. For example, to study towards a Bachelor of Medicine, your Matric Certificate needs an APS score of 35.

How Do I Calculate My APS?

Below is a table you can use to calculate your APS:

Percentage Achieved

Letter Achieved

APS Achieved

80% – 100%

A

7 Points

70% – 79%

B

6 Points

60% – 69%

C

5 Points

50% – 59%

D

4 Points

40% – 49%

E

3 Points

30% – 39%

F

2 Points

0% – 29%

G

1 Point

To calculate your APS score, you will first need to know how many APS points you scored in each subject. For example; if you got 76% for Biology, you would have gotten 6 APS points for Biology.

Here are the steps you can follow to calculate your overall APS:

  1. Get the APS points for all your subjects (excluding Life Orientation)
  2. Add all the APS points together
  3. The sum of all the APS points will be your APS score

This score will determine which courses you can study at university and which Matric Pass Level you receive, depending on how good your APS score is.

What Is A Good APS Score?

Any APS score over 35 can be considered as a “good” APS score. This is a heavily debated topic, since there is no “good” APS score, it all depends on what you want to study after Matric.

To maximise your opportunities after Matric, try to aim for a Bachelor’s Degree Pass in Matric. This needs a minimum APS score of 23. 

However, if you can not get a Bachelor’s Degree Pass, do not worry. There are plenty of courses available to study without such a Matric Pass. Check out these institutions that offer courses that does not require a Bachelor’s Degree Pass:

Please note that if you want to study at a university, most university’s minimum entry requirements is a Bachelor’s Degree Pass. Although some universities might hold a NBT.

The National Benchmarking Test (NBT) is a type of pre-screening test. This test will give students who have come from a disadvantaged background an opportunity to study at the university.

What Is The Highest APS?

The highest possible APS score that you can achieve is 42. This is when a student received 7’s which is 80 – 100% for all of their subjects.

An APS score of 42 is a Bachelor’s Degree Pass, though the minimum requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree Pass is an APS of 23.

When you have a Bachelor’s Degree Pass, you can study at a university towards a Bachelor’s Degree (Bachelor’s of Science, Bachelor’s of Arts, or Bachelor’s in Business Administration)

What Are The APS Requirements For Matric Pass?

The level of Matric Pass you get will ultimately depend on your APS score. To get a minimum Matric pass (The National Senior Certificate Pass), you need to achieve an APS score of 15. To get the highest Matric Pass (The Bachelor’s Degree Pass), you need to achieve an APS score of 23.

The different requirements for all Matric Passes are:

  • National Senior Certificate Pass – Requires 15 APS
  • Higher Certificate Pass – Requires 17 APS
  • Diploma Pass – Requires 19 APS
  • Bachelor’s Degree Pass – Requires 23 APS

Below are the different Matric Pass Levels explained. The National Senior Certificate (NSC) is awarded to students who complete normal Matric, The Senior Certificate Amended (SCA) is awarded to learners who complete Adult Matric.

National Senior Certificate Pass

This pass is achieved when you pass Matric with the minimum requirements. Having a National Senior Certificate Pass will allow you to apply to entry level jobs and study Short Courses.

Short Courses are not accredited, but they provide you with really useful skills and knowledge of the workplace.

If you are not satisfied with this level of pass, you can always upgrade your Matric Pass or rewrite your Matric at:

Here are the APS criteria to get a National Senior Certificate Pass:

National Senior Certificate

  • Home Language – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 2 Other Subjects – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


  • 4 Other Subjects – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


Total APS score: 15

Senior Certificate Amended

  • Home Language – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 2 Other Subjects – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


  • 3 Other Subjects – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


Total APS score: 14

Higher Certificate Pass

A Higher Certificate Pass will allow you to study for a Higher Certificate. This Certificate Pass will be awarded to you when you pass Matric with an APS of 17.

This pass does not meet the minimum requirements for university, but you can further your studies at college and/or apply for an entry level job.

Here are the APS criteria to get a Higher Certificate Pass:

National Senior Certificate

  • Home Language – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 2 Other Subjects – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 4 Other Subjects – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


Total APS score: 17

Senior Certificate Amended

  • Home Language – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 2 Other Subjects – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 3 Other Subjects – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


Total APS score: 16

Diploma Pass

The Diploma Pass is the second highest pass you can obtain in Matric. You qualify to get this pass when you have an APS of 19. With a Diploma Pass, you can study towards a Diploma at colleges or a university of technology (For example, TUT).

However, the Diploma Pass does not meet the minimum requirements for regular university entrance. 

Here are the APS criteria to get a Diploma Pass:

National Senior Certificate

  • Home Language – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 4 Other Subjects – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 2 Other Subjects – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


Total APS score: 19

Senior Certificate Amended

  • Home Language – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 4 Other Subjects – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 1 Other Subject – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


Total APS score: 18

Bachelor’s Degree Pass

The Bachelor’s Degree Pass is a great achievement, it is the highest level of pass you can get in Matric. Learners achieve a Bachelor’s Degree Pass when they have an APS of 23 or more.

A Bachelor’s Degree Pass meets the minimum requirements for university entrance. This means that you can study towards a Bachelor’s Degree at a university. Which Bachelor’s Degree course you can study will depend on your subject choices in High School, and your APS.

If you want to study a Bachelor’s Degree course but do not have the subjects to do so, you can always upgrade your Matric Certificate. This will not affect your Bachelor’s Pass status, it will only add an extra subject to your Matric Certificate.

Here are the APS criteria to get a Bachelor’s Degree Pass:

National Senior Certificate

  • Home Language – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 4 Other Subjects – APS 4

(50% – 59%)


  • 2 Other Subjects – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


Total APS score: 23

Senior Certificate Amended

  • Home Language – APS 3

(40% – 49%)


  • 4 Other Subjects – APS 4

(50% – 59%)


  • 1 Other Subject – APS 2

(30% – 39%)


Total APS score: 22

What Can I Study With My APS Score?

Short Courses

Short Courses are non-accredited courses that offer you the opportunity to learn the skills of a certain career. Here you will also gain knowledge of the workplace and how to become an entrepreneur.

These skill-based courses are typically open based, this means that for most of these courses you only need to be 16 years older.

Some of the most popular Short Courses are:

  • First Aid Concepts
  • Child Daycare 
  • Digital Photography
  • Interior Design 
  • Interior Decorating
  • Wedding Planning
  • Event Planning
  • Secretarial Courses
  • Personal Assistant 
  • Tourism Marketing 
  • Tourism Management
  • Operational Health and Safety Courses

ICB Courses

The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers created ICB Courses to uphold the quality of bookkeeping, management and administration in accounting. These courses will equip you with knowledge of how to ethically conduct various accounting related duties.

These courses will also equip you with scarce skills. These are skills that will help you find a job anywhere in the world.

The ICB Courses you can study are:

  • ICB Business Management
  • ICB Financial Accounting
  • ICB Office Administration

NATED Courses

National Accredited Technical Education Diploma (NATED) Courses will allow you to study after your first year of studying. NATED Courses allow you to begin your career in that field and study towards your Diploma at the same time.

The NATED Courses that you can study are:

  • NATED Educare
  • NATED Business Management
  • NATED Human Resources Management
  • NATED Financial Management
  • NATED Management Assistant
  • NATED Legal Assistant
  • NATED Marketing Management

How Will My APS Affect What I Can Study?

Your APS score will determine which Matric Pass you will achieve:

  • 15 APS will reward you with the National Senior Certificate Pass (14 APS for Adult Matric)
  • 17 APS will reward you with the Higher Certificate Pass (16 APS for Adult Matric)
  • 19 APS will reward you with the Diploma Pass (18 APS for Adult Matric)
  • 23 APS will reward you with the Bachelor’s Degree Pass (22 APS for Adult Matric)

Which courses you can study after Matric will depend on your APS score. The list of courses you can study gets longer the higher your APS is. In other words; the higher your APS score, the more courses you will be able to study.

15 APS (National Senior Certificate Pass)

This APS is the minimum requirement needed to pass Matric, making it the lowest APS score you can study with. Despite this, there is still a wide range of courses you can study with this pass. 

Courses you can study with an APS score of 14 are:

  • Short Courses
  • ICB Courses
  • NATED Courses
17 APS (Higher Certificate Pass)

15 APS is the minimum requirement needed to obtain the Higher Certificate Pass in Matric. With a Higher Certificate, you will be able to study toward a Higher Certificate Qualification. This is one NQF Level above a Matric Certificate (One qualification higher).

Courses you can study with an APS score of 17 are:

  • Short Courses
  • Higher Certificate ICB Courses
  • Higher Certificate NATED Courses
19 APS (Diploma Pass)

When you get a Diploma Pass in Matric, you can study any Higher Certificate course, but you also study a Diploma course to achieve a Diploma Certificate qualification. This qualification is one NQF Level above the Higher Certificate qualification. 

With a Diploma Pass, you can also study towards a Diploma at a university of technology (For example, TUT).

Courses you can study with an APS score of 19 are:

  • Short Courses
  • Higher Certificate ICB Courses
  • Higher Certificate NATED Courses
  • Diploma Courses
23 APS (Bachelor’s Degree Pass)

The highest form you can get in Matric is a Bachelor’s Degree Pass, to meet the minimum requirements for this form of pass you need an APS score of 23 or above.

When you have a Bachelor’s Degree Pass, you can apply to a university and study towards a Bachelor’s Degree Certificate qualification. This is one NQF Level above a Diploma qualification.

Courses you can study with an APS score of 23 are:

  • Short Courses
  • Higher Certificate ICB Courses
  • Higher Certificate NATED Courses
  • Diploma Courses
  • Some Bachelor’s Degree Course
24 APS Or Higher

Depending on which university you ask, the APS requirements for courses will differ. 

For example, if you study towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), you will need an APS of 42 while other universities only ask for an APS of 28.

Other courses you can study include; teaching, psychology, law, and medicine.

What Have We Learned?

Admissions Point Score (APS) is a measuring tool that is used by the Department of Education to determine which Matric Pass a student will achieve. These passes are:

  • National Senior Certificate Pass
  • Higher Certificate Pass
  • Diploma Pass
  • Bachelor’s Degree Pass

Your APS score will depend on the percentage you received for each of your subjects (except Life Orientation) on your Matric Certificate.

 

Courses that you can study no matter how low your APS score is are; Short Courses, ICB Courses, and NATED Courses. These courses can be studied at:

Matric College and Skills Academy offers courses that allow you to rewrite or upgrade your Matric Certificate.

Author: Tyla Groenewald
Editor: Razeen Dollie
Date: July 12, 2022

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