Should I Change to Maths Literacy? Making the Big Decision.

Maths Literacy or Maths? How do I decide?  If you are thinking about this, you are probably in Grade 10 or 11 and maths is not working out for you.  This doesn’t mean you haven’t worked hard.  There are all sorts of reasons why we struggle to make friends with maths.   Here are some questions to help you make the decision.  (If you are in Grade 12, it is too late to change subjects – sorry).

What do you want to do when you finish school?

Many tertiary courses require you to have maths rather than maths literacy.  If you are interested in health, finance, science or engineering then you most likely will need maths.   To find out if you are going to need maths, look up your dream career on GoStudy.  Required subjects are listed under information about the career.    However, there are 100s of other courses you can study that do not require maths.  You can study a tertiary course with maths literacy as long as you meet other entry requirements.  To find out about alternatives that do not require maths, look here.

How good is good enough?

The maths pass mark for matric is 30%.  That can make if feel OK if you are passing at 30 or 40%.  The reality is that this sort of maths pass is not enough.  Most tertiary courses at universities and universities of technology (teknikons) require maths or maths literacy over 50%.  Did you notice the “or”?  Even though maths literacy is easier than maths, many courses will take either, as long as you have 50%.  Under 50% is not good enough.  You can still apply for courses at TVET Colleges with maths literacy under 50%.  Read this to find out more about TVET College.

Can Maths Literacy help you get a Bachelor Pass?

A Bachelor pass is the best pass level at matric.  It is the minimum requirement for going on to study a Bachelor degree.  A Bachelor pass is 4 subjects over 50%, not including Life Orientation, Dance, CAT or Hospitality (and some other non-designated subjects).  Also you must have your Home Language above 40% and no subjects under 30%.  If you are not headed for a Bachelor Pass and your maths is under 50%, you might consider changing to maths literacy.  Most learners who change to maths literacy get big improvements in their marks.  This gives you a better chance at a Bachelor Pass.

Changing to maths literacy is a big choice.  It does close  the door for some career options.  However, it may open other doors of opportunity in making sure you get a Bachelor Pass.  If you want help in making this decision please comment on this blog post or email me your recent results at kathsaili@gmail.com

36 replies
  1. Thiambi Netshiluvhi
    Thiambi Netshiluvhi says:

    Following a poor pass (30%) in pure maths in grade 9, my son is now being forced to do math lit in grade 10. Even though my son has indicated that he would like to do pure math and that he is willing to work very hard in pure math, the school principal says the school policy does not allow it. I also indicated to the principal that I would get a math tutor for him and also ensure he consistently attend extra math classes offered by the school.

    I always thought a child and his / her parents make such decision. I thought the school can advise or make suggestions. My son is not comfortable with registering math lit as one of his subjects, which I support.

    Please provide your views on this.

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Schools can and do make the decision about which subjects learners can register for. Practically they are constricted by class sizes and availability of teachers. Functionally they also want to ensure that learners succeed in the subjects chosen. As you have already done, you can approach the school and request a change but they do not have to give it. Sorry … Kath

      Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi Lubelihle, this is a big decision for you. If you change to maths literacy you cannot study medicine. You could be a nurse though and there are many many career paths you can choose without maths. If you struggle with maths then changing to maths literacy will give you the best chance for a Bachelor pass. If your heart is really set on medicine then you are going to have work harder and longer to reach your dream. Talk to your maths teacher at school and do some research to see if there might be another career you are interested in. All the best, Kath

      Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Absolutely! Although you are restricted in what you can study. You can’t do medicine, science, engineering or accounting without a strong maths score. If you struggle with maths then taking maths lit can be your best option for getting into university. All the best, Kath

      Reply
        • Kath Morse
          Kath Morse says:

          Hi, Yes there are some courses that require maths that will take a strong maths lit score. However there are not many and you should check your options carefully. All the best, Kath

          Reply
  2. Paul
    Paul says:

    What if you are done with matric but failed pure maths. Is it possible to switch and try maths lit? If yes then how do you go about doing it?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, You can take maths lit as an additional subject however you have to do it over two years with a registered school so that you can get your school based assessment. You can do it online with Brainline. Some communities offer registered adult matric classes. Ask at your library or community centre if there are any classes in your area. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  3. Kian Loesch
    Kian Loesch says:

    I’m currently in Grade 10 Term 3, and i was thinking of changing to Maths Lit, as my current Maths Core mark is under 30%, and i don’t understand the work, even after attending extra lessons.
    When I leave school I would like to study to become a writer and a performing arts teacher (mainly singing and drama), as well as literature (just because I’m interested in it, not for a career), and I’m considering changing to Maths Lit.
    My mom doesn’t want me to change to Maths Lit, but i know, with my current marks, there is no way I will be accepted into a university. What should I do?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi Kian, If your marks continue in the 30s then you are right, you are risking your chance of getting into university. You need 4 subjects over 50% to get a Bachelor Pass (LO not included). Then you will need a good average, usually at least 60%. Finally most tertiary courses require maths or maths lit to be over 50%. If your maths mark isn’t budging and you’ve done everything you can to improve it then I would recommend changing to maths lit. A maths lit score of 60 is going to be so much better for your tertiary chances. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  4. Loret
    Loret says:

    Hi, im trying to find out for study for Bachelors of commerce in business management is Maths literacy acceptable.?
    My son is in matric now with API 29 but does Maths Lit?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, He can study BCom general some institutes with Maths Lit and also NDip Business at some institutes. For example, UWC offers BCom 4 year stream with Mats Lit code 5 or B Admin with maths lit code 5. You can also check UJ and CPUT. All the best, Kath

      Reply
      • Mandy Me
        Mandy Me says:

        Good day, My daughter is struggling with Maths gr9. She however excels in all her other subjects. Can she pass the grade even if she fails Maths. She has opted to do Maths literacy from gr 10. My eldest daughter received a bachelors pass in gr 12 but maths was not on her certificate as she failed it in her finals year. not sure what the requirements are for gr 9 though

        Reply
        • Kath Morse
          Kath Morse says:

          Hi, The maths pass mark used to be 40% but it has dropped to 20%. If your daughter is close to 20 and doing well in other subjects, it is likely that the school will give her the extra marks and pass her anyway. Going forward, it is really important that she does her best with maths lit. A Bachelor pass without a maths or maths lit pass excludes you from most tertiary study options. All the best, Kath

          Reply
  5. Sisanda
    Sisanda says:

    Hi, I’m doing grade10 this year but I’m not sure on whether I’ll be doing math core or math lit. I’ve gotten good grades in maths till the 4th term. I got 41% but I’m still confused on whether I’m doing literacy or pure math

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi Sisanda, Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been on leave. If you still have a choice I suggest you do maths lit. It will give you the best chance of a good matric average and that helps for studying further. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  6. Zola
    Zola says:

    I’m in grade 11 and our teachers will be deciding who will be going to maths lit and staying on pure maths.on my term 4 grade 10 report card I got 37% in maths.but passed all other subjects with good marks.Do you think I’ll be taken to maths lit?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, There are very few tertiary options for learners with maths or maths lit under 50%. You are better off to change to maths lit. It will give you a stronger overall matric. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  7. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    I am in grade 11, however last year I did well in maths, and even got a 74% for term 4, but I do not understand, or I am struggling with geometry, And I know for sure in matric it’s only going to get harder and paper 2 consists a lot of geometry. I am considering to take math lit. What can I do?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, 74% is a good mark for maths. I think you should keep trying. Notice the things that are hard, practice them more, ask questions, get help. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  8. Mervyn pillay
    Mervyn pillay says:

    My son is doing pure maths. Last year he was in grade 10 and performed poorly in pure maths.so now he want to change to maths lit but his mother says he can’t enter university. Can he do draughting or be architecture with maths lit.thanks

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, He can go to university with maths lit but he cannot be an architect. If his maths mark is under 50% he should change to maths lit to give him the best chance of getting a Bachelor pass and being eligible for university. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  9. Merle
    Merle says:

    Hi good day my daughter is this year matric she didn’t do good in pure maths in grade 11 the big decision is for her now must she change to maths lit but will she get the understanding of it if she change to maths lit see that see didn’t do it since grade 10 please she is in a difficult decision…what must she do?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, It is not too late for her to change to maths lit. The only topic that will be new is financial maths. She can get help with The Answer Series, G12 Maths Literacy book. You can buy from PNA or directly from their factory shop in Claremont. All the best, Kath

      Reply
      • Merle
        Merle says:

        Hi Kath if she stays with pure maths wil the grade 12 series maths book help and any suggestions of maths tutoring for grade 12 kids please thanks for your advise

        Reply
        • Kath Morse
          Kath Morse says:

          Yes there is Answer Series for Pure Maths (and many other subjects. It’s a huge help. Online resources include Paper Video, Khan Academy and Siyavula. All the best, Kath

          Reply
  10. Buhle nzama
    Buhle nzama says:

    Kath Morse
    I’m in grade 10 now and the school doesn’t want me to take pure maths
    Last year term1 I got 54%the term 2 got 45% term 3 got 50% then term 4 got 47%
    Am I not good at maths should itake math lit?

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, My general advice is that if your maths is under 50% in Grade 9 then you will get a stronger matric with maths lit. It does mean that there are some courses you can’t do at tertiary (if you are planning on studying further). However, if your maths is under 50% you won’t get into those courses anyway. All the best with your decision. Kath

      Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, My general advice is that if your maths is under 50% in Grade 9 then you will get a stronger matric with maths lit. It does mean that there are some courses you can’t do at tertiary (if you are planning on studying further). However, if your maths is under 50% you won’t get into those courses anyway. All the best with your decision. Kath

      Reply
  11. Olwethu
    Olwethu says:

    I’m current in grade 12 I’m thinking of changing to math literacy…it not because I wasn’t good at pure math it because I wasn’t good at physical science.Last year I got level 5 in pure math in term 4 and level 2 in physics . In order for me to change physics I have to leave both subjects pure math and physical sciences and do History and also Math lit

    Should I change my subjects? I’m desperately in need of help

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi Olwethu, I don’t recommend changing to history at the start of Grade 12. It is a really big syllabus and too much to catch up now. I see you are stuck with the way your school streams the subjects. If you can change to geography that might be a better option. Otherwise I think you should stick with what you have. A code 5 in maths is a good mark and it can take you places. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  12. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    My daughter is a grade 12 learner who dropped to ath lit in middle of grade 11. She wants to study Bcom marketing Management. Do you have any suggestions regarding which university will accept math lit or what can she do to upgrade. Her current average for math lit is above 85 percent. Thank you

    Reply

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