Have you ever wondered what your APS score is and how to actually calculate it? In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about APS scores. It’s fair to say that the entire APS system tends to look more complicated than it actually is.

Calculate APS Score

What is APS

In case you didn’t know, APS stands for Admission Point Score. In South Africa, universities and other tertiary institutions will often ask for this score in their application process. It is sometimes used as an entry requirement on application forms.

Plenty of times teachers and parents emphasize the importance of matric. The reason is that matric marks and your choice of subjects make a massive impact on the university one gets into. To simply explain it, an APS score is calculated from an individual’s examination subjects matric marks.  Therefore, the better the marks, the better the APS score.

Students will have to meet a certain APS minimum requirement, depending on the course they would like to study. It should be noted that each African university has a different way of determining this score. Furthermore, each tertiary institution is different and has different pre-requisites and admission requirements.

If a student does not have their matric finals marks, they can apply with their grade 11 marks.

What are APS Scores

A student’s APS scores are very important as it helps for a number of reasons:

  1. It helps determine whether they will be considered for university admission.
  2. Furthermore, it’s an initial screening method that almost all universities look at.
  3. The better a potential student’s APS score, the greater their chances of getting into university.
  4. It gives them some direction as to what their options are after school.

How to calculate APS Score

Calculating your APS score is rather easy. All you need to do is take your top six high-school subjects and your examination certificate. Next, take a look at the points system below to help work out your score.

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

The percentage you received for each matric subject will determine your points and score calculation. Most universities will follow this 1-7 points system, you will recognise the same shown on your Matric Certificate.

For example, Matthew had the following marks for his six matric subjects:

  • Math’s: 55%
  • English: 85%
  • Afrikaans: 77%
  • Geography: 90%
  • Accounting: 50%
  • Physics: 52%

This is what his points will look like:

  • Math= 4 points
  • English = 7 points
  • Afrikaans= 6 points
  • Geography= 7 points
  • Accounting= 4 points
  • Physics= 4 points

In total Matthew has a score of 32 APS, which isn’t too bad. The highest APS score that someone can get is 42. That would mean that they would have to have distinctions for all of their fundamental subjects.

Here are some of the minimum APS scores required for qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree 21+ points
  • Diploma – 18 points
  • Higher Certificate – 15 points

Determining your APS will help give you a clearer understanding of what you can study. Furthermore, once you have your APS score you can determine which degree programme you can qualify for. You can also view what your university or tertiary options will be.

Subjects that contribute to APS scores

What is APS Score

Unfortunately, most universities do not count Life Orientation marks when calculating APS. However, they do look at every other subject’s marks.

The first three APS marks that are calculated come from the three compulsory subjects. That is maths literacy, home language, and a first additional language. The next three extra subjects come from the correct subjects students have chosen. This gives a total of six subjects that are then added to work out the APS score.

Most academic students opt to take on two additional subjects. The extra subject will contribute a great deal to their APS scores.

Does subject choice make a difference?

Subject choice makes a huge difference when deciding what you’d like to study. Students who know what they want to study can use this to their advantage. However, if you do not know what you’d like to do, it’s important to keep your options open.

Choosing “essential subjects” is always a good idea and most definitely will benefit students. The main reason for this is that they will have a lot more career options.  When students take less familiar subjects, they are limited to certain career paths.

Students also often ask about math and math literacy. Pure math is undoubtedly the better option. This is the perfect subject to take if you would like to follow a path in engineering etc. However, if for instance, you’re interested in a fashion career, then pure math isn’t a necessity.

Furthermore, maths literacy is also adequate for the following courses:

  • BA Courses
  • Educational degrees
  • Commerce degrees
  • Law degrees

Some degrees do have subject requirements, for example teaching degrees often have a different a requirement for Engineering and Science degrees.

Does a good APS score make a difference?

A good APS score can make some sort of a difference. However, as we’ve previously mentioned, it doesn’t guarantee acceptance. It does depend on the respective programmes and varies institution to institution. The bottom line is that APS scores need to be good enough for the course you’d like to study.

It’s a good idea to have a backup plan and to apply at different institutes. The reason being, if one university rejects your application another might accept it. Therefore, this allows you to keep your options open while keeping the possibility of studying available.

APS scores for different Matric pass requirements

Let’s take a look at how APS scores affect the matric pass requirements. Here, we will take a look at each pass level accompanied by APS scores.

Bachelors pass – 23 APS points

In order for a student to get a Bachelors’s Pass, they will need to have a total of 23 APS points.

  • 4 APS points for four high credit subjects
  • 3 APS points in home language
  • 2 APS points in other two subject

This means they will need to get:

  • At least 50-59% for four subjects
  • 40-49% in home language
  • 30-39% for two other subjects

Diploma pass- 19 APS points

Students will need at least 19 APS points to get a Diploma pass.

  • 3 APS points for home language
  • 3 APS points in four high credit subjects
  • 2 APS points in two other subject

This means they will need to get:

  • At least 40-49% in home language
  • 40-49% in four other high credit subjects
  • 30-39% in two other subjects

Higher certificate pass- 15 APS points

For a student to get a higher certificate pass they will need at least 15 APS points.

  • 3 APS points for home language
  • 3 APS points in two other subjects
  • 2 APS points for three other subjects

This means they will need to get:

  • 40-49% for home language
  • 40-49% in two other subjects
  • 30-39%  for three other subjects

National Senior Certificate- 14 APS points

Students who pass with an NSC will obtain a minimum of 14 APS points.

  • 3 APS points in home language
  • 3 APS points in two other subjects
  • 2 APS points in four other subjects

This means they will need to get:

  • 40-49% for home language
  • 40-49% in two other subjects
  • 30-39%  for four other subjects

Important things to remember

APS Score

While having a good APS score is important, simply meeting the pass mark doesn’t guarantee admission into a university. Universities will look at other important criteria and basic requirements that need to be met by students. This includes subjects taken in school and, attaining a bachelor’s pass. It should be noted that Life Orientation is excluded from the APS calculation.

Universities will also have to evaluate the amount of space available for the course. Furthermore, some students might even have to write an entrance exam, depending on the course. A student’s chance of getting accepted improves once they have passed the National benchmarking test.

All of the above factors play a detrimental role in whether or not a student will get accepted. At the end of the day, your APS score can help you determine which career path to take.