How to Calculate Your APS Score in South Africa

by Staff Reporter

If you’re a student busy applying to university in South Africa, you’ve most likely come across the Admission Point Score (APS) or APS. This score is critical in determining whether or not you meet the entry requirements for the course you’d like to apply for. 

Feeling a bit lost? Don’t worry, we’re here to guide you. In this article, we reveal exactly how to calculate your APS score in South Africa.

Table of Contents

aps score

Before jumping straight into it, it’s important to first define what an APS Score is.

What is an APS Score?

The APS, or Admission Point Score, is a scoring system used by South African universities to evaluate applicants. Institutions will calculate this score based on your final matric results to see if you meet their minimum entry requirements. In a nutshell, your APS score helps universities determine if you qualify for their courses.

Why Are APS Scores Important?

The APS score is your one-way ticket to getting into universities in South Africa. A higher APS score means you did well in school and helps determine if you can join the programme or course you want. Without a good APS score, your choices are pretty limited.

The highest APS score you can get is 42, which means that you’ve gone above and beyond to achieve over 80% in all your subjects (aka, you aced it). Each high mark earns you 7 points, but that doesn’t mean you have to get 42. Scoring 35 points or more is still considered excellent. However, each university has its own APS score requirements. Some require a lower score than others.

With that said, securing a spot at uni isn’t the only use for your APS score. It can also help you get scholarships and bursaries. To put the cherry on top, a strong APS score increases your chances of winning awards and standing out from other applicants.

How is My APS Score Calculated?

Figuring out how to calculate your Admission Points Score (APS) is key for applying to universities in South Africa. It affects if you can get into the courses you want. Here’s how to work out your APS in a few simple steps:

  • First, give each subject a point value according to the grade you got. For instance, 80-100% should get 7 points while 0-29% gets just 1 point.
  • Then, add up these points from your best 6 or 7 subjects, leaving out Life Orientation.
  • Your final APS score is this total. It should include your top subjects only and can go up to a maximum of 42 points.

Take the below matric results as an example:

  • 75% in Mathematics
  • 80% in English
  • 70% in Afrikaans
  • 65% in Life Sciences
  • 60% in Physical Sciences
  • 70% in Business Studies
  • 85% in History

Using the above results, here’s how your APS would add up: 

6 + 7 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 6 + 7 = 42.

Knowing how to calculate your APS is a must to make sure you can get into the university of your choice.

learner highlighting high credit subjects

Which Subjects Count for APS?

Six subjects will count towards your APS score (you will complete at least 7 subjects in Matric, but Life Orientation is not included in the APS score). Your APS score consists of three compulsory subjects and three elective subjects.

Compulsory Subjects:

  1. Home Language: (Choose one) Afrikaans, English, IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda, or Xitsonga.
  2. First Additional Language: (Choose one) Afrikaans, English, IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda, or Xitsonga.
  3. Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy

Elective Subjects:

  1. Accounting
  2. Agricultural Management Practices
  3. Agricultural Sciences
  4. Agricultural Technology
  5. Business Studies
  6. Civil Technology
  7. Computer Applications Technology
  8. Consumer Studies
  9. Dance Studies
  10. Dramatic Arts
  11. Economics
  12. Electrical Technology
  13. Engineering Graphics and Design
  14. Geography
  15. History
  16. Hospitality Studies
  17. Information Technology
  18. Life Sciences
  19. Mechanical Technology
  20. Music
  21. Physical Sciences
  22. Religion Studies
  23. Tourism
  24. Visual Arts

Now, it’s important to note that some subjects rank higher than others. These are known as “high credit subjects” and they can make or break your ability to get into university. 

What Exactly Are High Credit Subjects?

High credit subjects are core subjects that can significantly boost your APS score. These typically include:

  • Mathematics
  • Physical Sciences
  • Accounting
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Consumer Studies
  • Physical Science
  • Life Sciences
  • Information Technology
learner viewing aps score requirements online

Matric Pass Levels and Their APS Requirements

In South Africa, your matric exam results are put into different pass levels, and each level requires a specific Admission Point Score (APS) for university entry. Understanding these pass levels and APS scores is essential if you’re aiming for higher education.

There are four main matric pass levels you need to know about:

  • Bachelor’s Degree Pass: A Bachelor’s Degree Pass is the highest level, and you’ll need an APS score of 30. To achieve this, you must score at least 40% in your home language and 50% in four other subjects.
  • Diploma Pass: If you’re aiming for a university of technology, a Diploma Pass is the level for you. It requires an APS of 25, with a minimum of 40% in your home language and four other subjects.
  • Higher Certificate Pass: This pass level can get you into colleges or allow you to study online. You’ll need an APS of 20, with at least 40% in your home language and two other subjects.
  • Senior Certificate (Amended) Pass: For a Senior Certificate pass level, you need an APS of 12 and must pass three subjects with 40% in your home language.

The APS point system assigns points from 1 to 7 based on how well you did in your subjects. The APS score you need can change depending on what you want to study.

Here’s a quick summary for you:

Matric Pass Level

Minimum APS Score

Minimum Home Language

Minimum Other Subjects

Bachelor’s Pass



50% in 4 higher credit subjects

Diploma pass



40% in 4 subjects

Higher Certificate Pass



40% in 2 subjects

National Senior Certificate



40% in 3 subjects

Understanding these different matric pass levels and their requirements is crucial. This knowledge will help you plan better and ensure you can get into the university courses you’re aiming for.

What Happens If My APS Score is Low?

If your APS score is lower than what your chosen university asks for, don’t fret. There are alternative paths you can take in order to achieve your academic goals. 

Foundation programmes and extended courses are one such route. They support students who need to boost their skills and knowledge. These programmes offer more help, tutoring and time for students to get ready for higher education.

For instance, the University of Limpopo (UL) has the LLB Bachelor of Laws Extended Curriculum Programme. It only needs an APS of 26, which is lower than the standard LLB’s 30. This shows how extended programmes help students with potential but lower grades.

Unisa also steps in with alternative access programmes for those with lower APS scores. These programmes aim to prepare students better. They act as a way to start on a competitive degree course.

It’s important to look at these options and not get disheartened by your APS score. With the right support and resources, overcoming this challenge is possible. 

Your APS score isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to getting into university. Keep working hard and stay open to other possibilities. This will help you find paths that match your dreams.

matric learner viewing aps score requirements for university

Fund Your Studies with Fundi

Once you’ve worked out your APS score and applied for university, it’s time for the next step: Funding your studies. Luckily, Fundi can help with that!

Fundi study loans cover a range of educational costs—such as tuition fees, textbooks, technological devices, accommodation and more!

Before you start the application process, be sure to check out our student loan calculator to see if you qualify and let Fundi enable your dreams today!

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