APS Calculator

How Do You Calculate APS?

To calculate your APS, you must first know what it is. APS stands for Admission Points Score, and it is the system that universities use to determine whether or not you are eligible to apply to study there. 

The way to work out your APS is to convert your final Matric marks into points, and then add those points. The points are allocated as follows: 

  • 7 points – 80% – 100%
  • 6 points – 70% – 79%
  • 5 points – 60% – 69%
  • 4 points – 50% – 59%
  • 3 points – 40% – 49%
  • 2 points – 30% – 39%
  • 1 point – 0% – 29%

You can use this information to find how many points you got for each of your subjects, and then add up those points to get your APS. Remember to exclude your Life Orientation marks when adding your APS, as not all universities count it. 

An Example Of How To Calculate Your APS:

Subject (%)APS
Mathematics: 67%5
English Home Language: 72% 6
Afrikaans First Additional Language: 54% 4
Life Orientation: 76%6 (excluded)
Dramatic Arts: 87% 7
Economics: 63%5
Geography: 81%7
Total APS34

Because you will exclude Life Orientation, this will give you a total score of 34, not 40.

Which App Can You Use To Calculate Your APS?

There are many different ways to calculate your APS, and you can use an online calculator, also known as a live app, to make it easy.

What Subjects Count For APS?

When calculating your APS, all subjects except Life Orientation count towards your total score.


The subjects that do count are as follows: 


  • Accounting 
  • Agricultural Management Practices
  • Agricultural Sciences 
  • Agricultural Technology
  • Business Studies 
  • Civil Technology
  • Computer Applications Technology
  • Consumer Studies 
  • Dance Studies
  • Dramatic Arts 
  • Economics 
  • Electrical Technology
  • Engineering Graphics and Design 
  • Geography 
  • History 
  • Hospitality Studies
  • Information Technology 
  • Life Sciences 
  • Mathematics 
  • Mathematical Literacy
  • Mechanical Technology
  • Music 
  • Physical Sciences 
  • Religion studies 
  • Tourism
  • Visual Arts

Your Home Language and your First Additional Language subjects will also count toward your APS. 


Does Life Orientation Count For APS?

No, Life Orientation does not count towards your APS. This is to make sure you are certain of what your APS will be because not all universities account for Life Orientation in the same way. 


Some universities count Life Orientation for a single point, as long as you passed, no matter what your marks actually were. Some universities count Life Orientation for half the number of points allocated to the points bracket it falls under. Some universities do not count Life Orientation at all. 


Leaving your Life Orientation mark out of your APS gives you a safe idea of what your APS will be so that you always know what your score is. 


What Is The Highest APS Score?

The highest APS you can get is 42. This is because you write 7 subjects for Matric, but Life Orientation does not count towards your APS. The highest number of points you can get for a subject is 7, and only six subjects will be counted.

What Is A Good APS Score?

There is no set standard for a good APS, as this is subjective. Your idea of a good APS could depend on what you are planning to do after Matric, among other factors. To decide whether or not you have a good APS, you will need to know what APS you need to achieve for what you are planning to do. 


The pass levels and their APS requirements are as follows: 


  • Bachelor’s pass (also known as an exemption) – 21 points 
  • Diploma pass – 18 points 
  • Higher Certificate pass – 15 points 
  • NSC pass (also known as Matric pass) – 14 points 


Note that these are only the minimum requirements for each passing level, and this does not guarantee you entry into a qualification course at that level. This is because universities receive thousands of applications each year, and you will be contending with others who may have a higher APS than you do. 


What Is The Minimum APS Score For A Bachelor’s Degree Pass?

The minimum APS for a Bachelor’s Degree pass, also known as Matric exemption pass, is 21. As noted above, this is only the minimum requirement. 


Also, remember that some universities will have their own additional requirements, and some courses will have a higher APS requirement. 


Check with the university you are applying to about the specific requirements for the course you want to apply to. 


What Is The APS Score For Medicine?

The minimum APS to apply to study medicine in South Africa is 35. This is because medicine requires much higher results than other qualifications to apply, such as Maths. For a Bachelor’s pass, you are required to get 40% or above for Maths, however, to be eligible to apply to study medicine, you must pass Maths with at least 60%. 


What APS Score Is Needed For Engineering?

Engineering does not have a set APS requirement, each university has its own. However, it is higher than 21 at every university. For example, the requirement at Tshwane University of Technology is 25, but the requirement at the University of Witwatersrand is 42. Check with the university you are applying to for their specific APS requirement.

Which Marks Do Universities Look At?

When applying to universities, many of them will look at your Grade 11 report to decide whether or not to grant you provisional entry before your Matric marks is released. 

This does not mean that your Grade 11 marks are what they use to decide, it is simply a preliminary measure to lower the number of new applications when Matric results are released. 

Once Matric results are released, you will have to submit them to the university, and they will use your Matric marks to decide whether to grant you admission or revoke provisional entry. 

Can You Apply To University with Grade 12 Marks?

Yes, you must apply to university with your Matric marks. You can apply before your results are released using your Grade 11 report, and the university will use this to decide whether or not to give you provisional entry. 

Provisional entry means that you have been admitted on the condition that you pass Matric well enough. They can revoke this if you do not pass Matric at the required standard. 


Can You Pass Matric With 6 Subjects?

Yes, you can fail 1 subject except for Life Orientation. The minimum requirements to pass Matric are as follows: 

  • 40% or above for English Home Language 
  • 40% or above for Mathematics, OR 50% or above for Mathematical Literacy 
  • 40% or above for one other subject 
  • 30% or above for Life Orientation
  • 30% or above for three other subjects 
  • You may fail one of these three other subjects, provided you achieve a minimum of 20% in the final exam 

This will give you an APS total of 14, which is the minimum requirement to pass Matric. Note that this pass level will not grant you entry into any tertiary education courses such as a Higher Certificate or Diploma.

What Do You Do If Your APS Is Not High Enough?

If you are unsatisfied with your results, there are two things you can do to raise your marks, depending on your age: 


  • Matric Rewrite
  • Matric Upgrade 

Matric Rewrite is for those under the age of 21 who are unsatisfied with their results. The rewrite, also known as the supplementary exam, was previously known as the Second Chance Programme. 


When you write these exams, you may only rewrite two subjects. These subjects must be subjects you wrote for your Matric final exams, you cannot change subjects for the rewrite. 


Registration for the rewrites opens in November and closes in January each year, and the exams are written in May and June. 


To apply for Matric Rewrite, you will need: 


  • A copy of your Statement of Results 
  • A certified copy of your ID


Matric Upgrade is for those over the age of 21 who would like to improve their Matric results. You may apply for a Matric Upgrade as early as 19, but you must be over the age of 21 to write the exams, as you will write the Adult Matric exams. 


When doing a Matric Upgrade, you can upgrade as many subjects as you would like to, and you can change any or all of your subjects if you would prefer to write different ones. 


To apply for Matric Upgrade, you will need: 


  • A copy of your Statement of Results 
  • A certified copy of your ID


These options are also available if you failed Matric and would like to improve your results to a pass. Remember that you may only rewrite two subjects, so you will only be allowed to rewrite if you will pass after improving the marks of only two subjects. 


Where To Study Matric Courses

There are many reputable distance learning colleges that offer Matric programmes so that you can improve your marks and better your opportunities. Some of these colleges are: 



Studying through distance learning is an excellent option. It allows you to be able to keep your study hours flexible. You will also be able to work and earn an income while you are studying to improve your future opportunities. 


Tips On How To Pass This Time 

There are many things you can do to make sure that you pass your rewrite or upgrade exams. 


For the rewrite, remember that you will only be writing exams for two subjects, so you will automatically have more study time to dedicate to each subject. 


For the upgrade, you can choose subjects that are better suited to you, or you can choose to upgrade your subjects over time, so that you can write fewer exams, like the rewrite, and have more time to study each one. 


Some other study tips to help you pass: 


  • Make sure your study environment is clean and clear. 

A clear space equals a clear mind, and this helps to be able to focus. Keep your area free of distractions 


  • Make a study schedule and stick to it. 

Once you know how long it takes you to have information well learned, you will know roughly how long you need to spend on studying. Stick to the schedule you make, and be sure to keep other times open so that you can move your studying time instead of missing it if something unexpected happens 


  • Start studying early

As soon as you begin your work, keep refreshing your memory as time goes on. This way it will not feel like you are trying to relearn something just before the exam, you will already know it well, and will just be revising. 


  • Join a study group. Studies have shown that those who join study groups get higher marks for their assessments and exams, engage with class better, and are more likely to succeed 


Together We Pass offers a wide range of online study groups that you can join so that you can study your material with the help of others. Together We Pass also has a large selection of study resources, such as notes and exam packs to help you do the best you can. 


Joining an online study group also means that you do not have to go out to study, you can stay in the comfort of your own home. This also means that all your notes and study material will always be in one place, so you will not have to worry about losing any of it. 


Another option you can choose is to study a skills-based short course. These courses are open access, meaning you only have to be older than 16, and able to read and write in English to apply. You can check the following colleges for the short courses they offer that do not require Matric: 



Another option is to study an accredited ICB Bookkeeping course. ICB courses are internationally recognised and are highly regarded by employers in South Africa. The ICB Bookkeeping course begins with a National Certificate, which you can apply without Matric. You can then study the courses that follow, which are a FET/Higher Certificate, and then a Diploma. 


You can apply to study an ICB Bookkeeping course through any of the following reputable distance learning colleges: 


These three options are also are excellent if you failed and would like to bring your marks up to a pass. Anyone can apply for these options, and there are no limits to how many times you may write the exams. You may do a Matric Rewrite as many times as you like as long as you are still under the age of 21. You may upgrade your Matric as many times as you like.

What Have We Learned So Far?

In short, calculating your APS will give you an excellent idea of how you can proceed, and that no matter what your APS is, you have options. 


You can study at a university if you get a Bachelor’s pass, a Diploma pass, or a Higher Certificate pass. With a Higher Certificate pass or a Matric pass, you can study at a college. 


If you failed Matric, you can study a short course, study an accredited ICB course, or you can choose to rewrite or upgrade your Matric. Joining a study group can help you with this.

Author: Chloe Bydawell
Editor: Amy Venter
Date Published: April 8, 2022

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