How many subjects do you need to pass matric?

You need six subjects to study the Adult Matric Course at Matric College. From the six subjects, at least five of the subjects must be passed to pass the course

When you are in Matric, you must study seven (7) subjects. To pass your Matric, you must do well in six (6) subjects. You are allowed to fail one subject and still pass Matric. 

It is however best to do well in all seven subjects. When you have good marks, you have a better chance of studying at university.

Can I Pass My Matric With 5 Subjects?

No, you can not pass traditional Matric with five (5) subjects. You can only pass Adult Matric with five subjects. This is because you will only complete six (6) subjects for the Adult Matric Course. You can do well in five subjects and pass

However, you are advised to pass all six subjects as it will help you with university admissions.

Can You Pass Matric If You Fail 2 Subjects?

No, you cannot pass Matric if you fail two or more subjects. The only exception is if you have failed one subject. If you have failed two subjects, you fail Matric.

What Are The 4 Compulsory Subjects?

When you study your Matric, you need seven subjects. Four of these subjects are compulsory and three are elective subjects. Your compulsory subjects must include the following subjects: 

  • Home Language subject 
  • Life Orientation 
  • First Additional Language subject 
  • Mathematical subject 

These are the compulsory subjects

  • Sesotho Home Language
  • Siswati Home Language
  • Setswana Home Language
  • isiZulu Home Language
  • isiXhosa Home Language
  • isiNdebele Home Language
  • Sepedi Home Language
  • Xitsonga Home Language
  • Tshivenda Home Language
  • English Home Language
  • English First Additional Language
  • Afrikaans Huistaal
  • Afrikaans Eerste Additionele Taal
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematical Literacy
  • Life Orientation 

You should also select elective subjects. You can choose any subjects you want to study, as long as you choose three (3):

  • Economics 
  • Physical Sciences
  • Business Studies 
  • Accounting 
  • History 
  • Geography 
  • Religious Studies
  • Life Sciences 
  • Agricultural Sciences

How Are Matric Final Marks Calculated?

Matric final marks for traditional Matric are calculated based on the marks you receive in your School-based assessments and final examination. Your final mark is made out of 100% marks. 75% of marks come from the final exam and the remaining 25% comes from the school-based assessments. 

You must do well in your school-based assessments because these are the marks used to boost your final exam mark. Your school-based assessments are the following: 

  • Tests 
  • Assignments 
  • Oral presentations
  • Trial examination 
  • June Examination 

For your final exam, you must earn a mark of at least 50% to pass. A good mark would be from 60% and above. If you receive 80% and higher marks, you receive a distinction pass. Good marks will help you get into university.

How Are Matric Points Calculated?

Matric points are calculated based on the subjects you have. For different marks you receive, you get points. When your points have exceeded a certain number, they are accepted by different universities. 

For example, if your APS Score is above 35, you will have a better chance of studying at university. Below is a table to show you how Matric points are calculated:

Percentage of marks received 

Type of Achievement 

APS Points

80-100% (Distinction)

Outstanding Achievement 

7 points 


Meritorious Achievement 

6 points


Substantial Achievement 

5 points 


Adequate Achievement 

4 points 


Moderate Achievement 

3 points 


Elementary Achievement 

2 points 


Not achieved Achievement 

1 point    

Here is an example on how you calculate your APS Score

  • Agricultural Sciences- 52% = 4 points 
  • Life Sciences – 81% = 7 points (Distinction)
  • Geography – 72% = 6 points
  • English First Additional Language – 72% = 6 points 
  • isiZulu Home Language – 71% = 6 points 
  • Mathematics – 52% = 4 points 
  • Life Orientation – 63% =  (We do not include L.O in APS calculations)

6 + 6 + 4 + 7 + 6 + 4 = 33 APS Score

What Are The Requirements To Pass Matric?

There are four pass levels you can obtain to pass Matric. You must gain the following marks to pass:

Bachelor’s Degree Pass

Diploma Pass

Higher Certificate Pass

National Senior Certificate Pass

  • A minimum of 40% in your home language 
  • A minimum of 50% in four subjects 
  • A minimum of 30% in two other subjects 
  • A minimum of 40% in your home language 
  • A minimum of 40% in four subjects 
  • A minimum of 30% in two other subjects 
  • A minimum of 40% in your home language 
  • A minimum of  40% in two subjects 
  • A minimum of 30% in four other subjects 
  • A minimum of 40% in your home language 
  • A minimum of 30% in two other subjects 
  • A minimum of 30% in three subjects 
  • You can fail one subject 

What Is A Bachelor's Pass?

A Bachelor’s Degree Pass is the highest pass in Matric. You must obtain this pass in order to increase your chances of getting into university.

What Can I Study If I Failed Matric?

If you fail Matric, there are options to help you get 

At Matric College, you can further your education with or without a Matric Qualification. There are different courses that you can study without Matric. These courses are: 

Rewrite Matric Course

You can study the Rewrite Matric Course offered at Matric College and improve your marks. This course allows you to rewrite your Matric final examination. You will have the following resources to help you study for the final examination: 

ICB Courses

You can enrol for our ICB Courses to gain skills and knowledge that you can apply in a business or workplace. These are courses that provide you with skills that are in demand in the work environment. This raises your chances of getting hired. 

These are the ICB Courses you can enrol for: 

Short Courses

Adult Matric Course

You can enrol for our Adult Matric Course to get your Matric. This course is for adults who want to obtain their Matric Qualification. You can enrol if you are 21 years or older. You will be supplied with the following as you study: 

You will be awarded a Matric Certificate once you have completed the Adult Matric Course. You will be able to use your qualification to study further or find work.

Can You Change Subjects After Matric?

Yes, you can change subjects after Matric. You can do this when you complete the Upgrade Matric Course at Matric College. You are permitted to choose a minimum of four (4) subjects that are new. This means you can change your old subjects and replace them with new ones. 

You will be awarded a Matric Certificate with your new subjects when you have completed the course. 

People Also Asked

A diploma pass and a higher certificate pass are different passes students can receive after finishing matric and they depend on your marks and APS score. 

The Diploma pass is the second-highest pass one can receive with 19 APS points and the higher certificate is the third-highest pass with 15 APS points. Here is a table detailing more differences between the passes:


Diploma Pass

Higher Certificate

Level of Education

More advanced than high school, less than a degree. Focuses on practical and career-oriented skills.

Shorter course focusing on foundational knowledge and basic skills in a specific field.


Typically 1-3 years of full-time study.

Usually about 1 year of full-time study.

Depth and Scope of Study

In-depth study including theoretical and practical aspects, possibly with internships or practical training.

Basic and foundational study, focusing on essential skills and knowledge for a specific job or further study.

Career Opportunities and Further Education

Valued for middle-level positions; can be a stepping stone to advanced diplomas or bachelor’s degrees.

Leads to entry-level employment or a pathway to higher education like diploma courses or some degree programs.

Admission Requirements

Often requires a high school qualification with specific grades or subjects.

Usually requires a high school qualification, sometimes with fewer or different prerequisites than for a diploma.

  • Do research based on the career you want to pursue
  • Create a study schedule and study environment to help you become productive
  • Self-motivation is important to remind yourself of the results you want to achieve
  • Learn different ways to study and stick with the one that works best for you
  • Have books with notes to keep the important information available
  • Make sure you manage your time and limit distractions
  • Seek help from friends and family to help with studying and understanding your work

Your matric results will not define your life. They can hold back your progress and affect how you will continue moving forward but it is not the end of the world.

Second chances are always there for everyone and we believe every one of our students and South Africans as a whole deserves it. We understand that it can be hard but with the right course, resources and team behind you, it’s never too late.

A lot can happen to your matric certificate, but in case it becomes damaged or lost you can replace it through the Department of Basic Education either online or in person. Here is what you will need: 

  • An affidavit stating what happened to your Matric Certificate
  • A certified copy of your identity document (ID)
  • Proof of payment

The fee to replace a matric certificate is R164 and the process takes 4 – 6 weeks for you to receive it, however, a statement of results is R57 and can be received immediately.

Note: These prices are valid from 01 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. A matric statement is only valid for 12 months from the date of issue

Author: Mulisa Nethononda
Editor: Sive Ncanywa
Date: July 13 , 2022