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What Matric Symbols on your Results Mean

by Shirley Erasmus

What exactly do the matric symbols on your matric certificate mean? 

The final matric result that appears in black and white on your matric report can be the key to your future. It’s important to understand exactly what these matric symbols mean. In this article we breakdown exactly what the the matric symbols mean on your certificate mean. 

After all of the hard work put into the last twelve years of school, you have finally made it to the finish line. Twelve years of waking up at the crack of dawn, spending half of your life in classes and working hard after school. You’ve spent twelve years studying for tests and working on class assignments. You’ve made friends for life and hopefully made decisions about what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life. Understanding the matric certificate symbols will help you plan for your future.  

If you haven’t been able to find your matric results yet. There are a few ways you can do so. We have each method explained, so that you don’t need to worry

Matric Certificate Symbols

Matric Mark PercentageMatric Achievement LevelAchievement Description
80–100%Level 7Outstanding achievement
70–79% Level 6Meritorious achievement
60–69%Level 5Substantial achievement
50–59%Level 4Moderate achievement
40–49%Level 3Adequate achievement
30–39%Level 2Elementary achievement
0–29%Level 1Fail

How Exactly is your Final Matric Result Calculated?

  • 25% of your final matric result comes from your Internal School-based Assessments (SBA). This is the mark given to you by your school. It’s made up of all of your class work, assignments, tests and exams done throughout the year. 
  • The other 75% of your final matric result comes from the external final exam (except, of course, for Life Orientation, which is made up entirely of internal assessments)

Here’s what you need to achieve to be able to receive the following pass levels:

National Senior Certificate

The minimum requirements for a National Senior Certificate are the following:

  • At least 40% in 3 subjects (one of which needs to be your Home Language)
  • At least 30% in 3 subjects

Please note: for all other matric passes, you will need to achieve this minimum.

What These Matric Symbols Mean?

Now that you know all of the different kinds of matric symbols, let’s talk about what each one means and where it can get you.

  • Higher Certificate Pass: This will gain you provisional entrance into any College or certificate course.
  • Diploma Pass: This will gain you provisional entrance into any Technikon or diploma course.
  • Bachelors Degree Pass: This will gain you a provisional entrance into any University or degree course.

It’s important to realize that each of the matric symbols gives you a provisional entrance. Depending on what you would like to study, each course may have their own requirements. What this means is that if you receive a diploma pass – you can study towards a diploma or a certificate, while achieving a bachelor’s pass means you will be able to study towards a degree, certificate, and diploma.

Higher Certificate Pass

To gain a higher certificate, you will need to:

  • Meet the minimum requirements for a NSC (this includes at least 40% for your Home Language)
  • Note: You will need to obtain at least 30% for the language of learning and teaching at the higher education institution ( this will either be English or Afrikaans)

Diploma Pass

In order to receive a diploma pass, you will need to achieve the following:

  • Meet the minimum requirements for a NSC (this includes at least 40% for your Home Language)
  • At least 40% for four subjects.
  • Note: you will need to obtain at least 30% for the language of learning and teaching at the higher education institution (this will either be English or Afrikaans)

Bachelors Degree Pass

In order to receive a Bachelors Degree pass, you need to achieve the following: 

  • Meet the minimum requirements for a NSC (this includes at least 40% for your Home Language)
  • At least 50% for four subjects.
  • Note: you will need to obtain at least 30% for the language of learning and teaching at the higher education institution ( this will either be English or Afrikaans)

Here is an example:

Meet Lerato. She really wants to study mechanical engineering at UCT (University of Cape Town). Even though she studied as hard as she could and achieved a Bachelors Degree Pass, her pass mark for Mathematics in matric is 60%. This means that even though she has a Bachelors Degree Pass, she won’t be able to study engineering because UCT requires 80% and above in Mathematics for admission.

This is why it is important to know exactly what you would like to study and the matric result you will need to achieve in that particular subject.

Different Subjects for your Matric Results

It is also important to know what you want to study when you are choosing your subjects in grade 9. Choosing the right subjects will set you up for what you want to study and the career you want to pursue.

You need a minimum of seven subjects to obtain your matric certificate. These must include two languagesLife Orientation and either Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy. These are your compulsory subjects. This means that you can choose the three remaining subjects from the subject list.

If you have matriculated and discover that you didn’t do a subject that the degree you want to study requires or your marks did not qualify you. You can do a bridging course. You can find out how you can improve your matric subjects and get the marks you need to pursue further education below.

You’ve worked hard and persisted until the end to achieve your pass, but it’s important to know that not all passes are equal.

In summary:

  • Bachelors Pass is a provisional entrance into a university (course dependent).
  • Diploma Pass will give you a provisional entry into a Technikon/TVET college.
  • Higher Certificate Pass will give you a provisional entry into a College or certificate course.

So, You Understand Your Matric Symbols – What’s Next?

Your future lies out there and waits for you to choose your best path. If you have achieved the mark you want to study further, there are variety of institutions you can attend

Don’t be distraught if you did not score the pass symbol you had hoped for. There are a few ways to upgrade your marks and you have the option to do a bridging course or extended degree programme.

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