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Choosing the right subjects for your future career path

by mickey.geldenhuys

Imagining what job your future self will enjoy doing for many years is difficult, especially as there are many careers to choose from. Selecting a career path in line with your passion and interests is not easy but if you look for the right information, start developing a plan and ask for advice, you will start to narrow down your choices. A possible career path, that is right for you, will start to become clearer.
To obtain your Grade 12 National Senior Certificate (NCS) you need the following requirements to pass:

  • One official language at home language level and achieve a minimum of 40%
  • Two other subjects and achieve a minimum of 40%
  • Three subjects and achieve a minimum of 30%

Note: you may fail one subject (achieve less than 30%) if you have completed all the schools-based assessments in this subject but this should not be what you aim for. The better your marks, the better your chance of getting into a higher education institution.

The X-kit Achieve Subject and Career Choice Guide is an informative and practical guide that will assist you in choosing your subjects for the FET Phase.

Let us take a look at some of the terminology you will encounter when choosing your subjects and help you understand them.
NSC subjects
NSC subjects that are recognised for entry to courses at higher education institutions each have a credit value of 20, except for Life Orientation, which has a credit value of 10.
Some higher education institutions base their APS scores only on the 20-credit subjects, while others include Life Orientation in their total APS.
What is an APS?

APS stands for Admission Point Score. The APS system gives points for the marks that you get in your matric subjects. Admission to higher education institutions depends on the total number of points that you obtain.
Various institutions have an APS calculator on their website that can help you calculate your score and suggest what you can study with your score. Remember though, the calculator is merely a guide and final admission is based on your final NSC exam results.
Click here to calculate your score.
NSC Pass Requirements

A minimum of seven subjects are required to be considered for a national senior certificate. Of those, three are compulsory. Compulsory subjects include:

  • Home Language
  • First Additional Language
  • Mathematical Literacy or Mathematics
  • Life Orientation

The remaining four subjects can either be chosen from recognised subjects. These subjects are divided into high or low credit subject lists. Subjects on the high credit list are given more recognition by tertiary institutions.
The table below lists recognised subjects and will give you an indication of what subjects you need to study for a particular field of interest.

Recognised subjects
Learning fields Subjects
Agriculture Agricultural Management Practices
Agricultural Science
Agricultural Technology
Culture and Arts Dance Studies
Dramatic Arts
Visual Arts
Business, Commerce and Management Studies Accounting
Business Studies
Mathematical Literacy
Engineering and Technology Civil Technology
Electrical Technology
Mechanical Technology
Engineering Graphics and Design
Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy
Human and Social Studies Geography
Religion Studies
Physical, Mathematical, Computer and Life Sciences Computer Applications Technology
Information Technology
Life Sciences
Physical Sciences
Services Consumer Studies
Hospitality Studies

Different higher education institutions may require specific combinations of recognised NSC subjects. To learn more about the minimum requirements for admission to study for higher certificate, diploma or bachelor’s degree, click here.
Need more help in fidning your career path?

Take the career questionnaire, browse occupations, find out where to study, browse qualifications and access career advice on the National Career Advice Portal.

The X-kit Achieve Subject and Career Choice Guide will help you understand how your subject choices will influence your tertiary education and career options. Equip yourself with knowledge to ensure your future success.

Grade 9 , Grade 10 , Grade 11 , Grade 12