What does my matric mark mean?

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The pass requirements aren't as simple as you may think.
The pass requirements aren't as simple as you may think.

The pass requirements aren't as simple as you might think.

In 2018, the Department made amendments to the pass requirements, allowing students to fail one subject. But there are still very specific subjects and marks you need to pass.

At the time, Elijah Mhlanga, a spokesman for the Department of Basic Education, explained that, "If the learner does not satisfy the minimum subject requirements, he will not be awarded with the [National Senior Certificate], even though he may have attained an exceptionally high mark in one or two of the other subjects."

But let us break it down for you in detail. 

Firstly, there are 3 pass levels:

1. Higher certificate
2. Diploma
3. Bachelors pass (previously known as an exemption).


Check your matric results online at News24's Matric Results site

Here are the matric pass requirements for each of these levels:

Higher certificate pass requirements

  • Must obtain at least 40% in your Home Language,
  • Must obtain at least 40% in two other subjects,
  • Must obtain at least 30% for four other subjects. 
  • Must past at least 6 out of 7 subjects.

Diploma pass requirements

  • Must obtain at least 40% for your Home Language,
  • Must obtain at least 40% for three other subjects excluding Life Orientation,
  • Must obtain at least 30% in the Language of Learning and Teaching (LOLT) of the tertiary institution (Higher Education Institution),
  • Must pass at least 6 out of 7 subjects.

With this pass you can apply to study for a diploma at a TVET college or University of Technology.

Bachelors Degree pass requirements

  • Must obtain at least 40% for your Home Language (compulsory),
  • Must obtain at least 50% for four other subjects excluding Life Orientation,
  • Must obtain at least 30% in Language of Learning and Teaching (LOLT) of the tertiary (Higher Eduction) institution,
  • Must obtain at least 30% for one other subject,
  • Must pass at least 6 out of 7 subjects.

With a Bachelor's pass you can apply to study towards a degree at a university, university of technology, TVET college or any accredited Higher Learning Institution.

Level system: What the grades mean

  • Level 7: 80–100% (Outstanding achievement)
  • Level 6: 70–79% (Meritorious achievement)
  • Level 5: 60–69% (Substantial achievement)
  • Level 4: 50–59% (Moderate achievement)
  • Level 3: 40–49% (Adequate achievement)
  • Level 2: 30–39% (Elementary achievement)
  • Level 1: 0–29% (Not achieved: Fail)

Which subjects are compulsory?

  • Home Language
  • First Additional Language
  • Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy
  • Life Orientation
  • Either English or Afrikaans as one of your languages

Sources: The Department of Basic EducationNSC Pass Requirements by Umalusi 

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