The first two years of high school are designed to introduce students to a wide range of subjects from which they will make a selection of seven subjects for their senior phase (Grades 10 to 12). Senior phase subjects must include two languages, Maths or Maths Literacy and Life Orientation. You may select three additional subjects offered by your school.
If you are planning on studying at university, at least one of these three additional subjects should be on the approved list of subjects for university entrance. To see the list go to http://www.uct.ac.za/apply/criteria/eligibility/.
Schools report on your subject performance using achievement bands. These should be used from the start of Grade 7 (however, depending on your primary school, you may not see them until Grade 8) all the way through to your final matriculation exams. In the past Band 7 was also called getting an A or getting a subject distinction. Some schools still use this language.
Achievement is directly related to your chances of being accepted for tertiary studies. To study for a diploma you will need to achieve at least band 4 for all your subjects. To study for a degree you will need to achieve at least band 5 for all your subjects. In addition, particular tertiary courses may have higher requirements for individual subjects.
To read our blog on how to read a school report, click here.
Your final matric exam is called the National Senior Certificate. You can pass this with a Higher Certificate, a Diploma or a Bachelor’s Pass. Only a Bachelor’s Pass can lead to a tertiary degree or diploma. When you ask a high school about matric pass rate, be sure to specify BACHELOR’S pass rate!
|NSC Level Achieved|
|Bachelor’s||Achievement rating of 4 (50–59%) or better in FOUR subjects from approved list of subjects (see above), excluding Life Orientation.|
|Diploma||Achievement rating of 3 (40–49%) or better in FOUR subjects from approved list of subjects (see above), excluding Life Orientation.|
|Certificate||Achievement rating of 3 (40%) or better in THREE subjects, one of which must be ENGLISH, and achievement rating of 2 (30%) or better in THREE other subjects.|