How To Calculate Your APS Score Correctly

The fear of a bad APS score is the beginning of wisdom. When you get to the point of writing your finals, your APS score becomes the most important concern, the word most frequently coming out of your mouth- and with good reason: without a good APS score one could find himself shut out of the academic system, unable to gain admission, and unable to reach his potentials.

Your APS score is what determines whether the institution you have applied to will accept you to study for the course you have selected. It is how universities measure the intellectual capacity of the students that have applied. Please bear in mind that various universities also have different APS scores for different courses. The institutions determine what they believe are appropriate APS scores for each course, based on the difficulty of each course.

In this post we will tell you all about APS scores, how to calculate it correctly, and what APS scores you will need to pursue your academic career. This information is important because you need to know your APS score even before applying at the university so as to ensure that you actually get the admission you seek. So let us start now breaking it down one after another.

How To Calculate Your APS Score

What is APS Score?

APS means Admission Points Score. Your APS score is the calculation of the marks you attain in your Final. It is not just a straightforward sum total of the score you get, but also what tells the University whether to give you admission or not, and also what courses you qualify for.

Because the more skilled courses demand higher APS scores, you don’t just want to have an average APS score; you want to get as high a score as possible, so as to ensure admission into the choice universities, and courses in South Africa.

As stated before, this is a calculation of the scores you get in your final exams. Remember that you probably took up to ten classes (subjects) in high school, and so you will probably sit for those ten subjects in your final exams. However, the APS score does not include all ten subjects. Only about seven subjects from the 10 are used when calculating the APS scores. Which ones?

The APS score takes the best seven subjects – the seven in which you have performed best, and converts the scores into a point system to produce the APS score. This is to the advantage of the student because the best 7 subjects a student performs well in are going to be unique to every student. Therefore the APS score is like a personalized score system with which every student is given a fair chance to excel, and to gain admission into University.

Furthermore, when the Universities see what courses you have performed well in, they can better decide what courses are better suited for the student.

So how do you calculate the APS score? It’s very easy. Just look below.

This is how you calculate your APS score:

The first step is to write out the seven subjects in which you have performed best (except Life Orientation). That means if you have scored a high mark in Life Orientation, you skip it, and go to the next subject where you have performed well.

You write the subject, the score, and then you assign a point to it.

This is how you do it.

  80% – 100% score equals 7 points

70% – 79% score equals 6 points

 60% – 69% score equals 5 points

 50% – 59% score equals 4 points

 40% – 49% score equals 3 points

 30% – 39% score equals 2 points

 0% – 29% score equals 1 point

After adding up the points the highest possible score you can achieve is an APS of 47, but most university courses only require you to have an APS of 21, while the more demanding courses require a score of around 30. Many have even had an APS of 15, but still gone on to have great academic careers.

With an APS score of 15 you can study for a Higher Certificate.

With an APS score of 18 points you can study for a Diploma.

With an APS score of 21+ points you can study for a Bachelor’s Degree, although certain courses require varying APS scores as high as 30.

Please remember that a great APS score will give knock hard at the doors of any university in South Africa, but that some Universities may have added requirements which students must meet, before they can be granted admissions, especially for certain courses where the academic demands are more challenging.

What is the Highest APS Score?

As mentioned earlier the highest APS score you can get is 47 points, but you don’t need to get a Highest APS point; an APS of 21 will give you an admission into most universities in South Africa. If you have calculated your APS score, and it is above 47 points then please recheck the calculations.

What is the Minimum APS Score for a Degree?

As mentioned earlier you can get a university admission in most South African institutions with an APS of 21. However, if you have applied for admission to study medicine, health, engineering, or any of the high profile professional courses.

Once again let us state that a good APS score may not be all you need to get admission.

What Subjects are Counted for APS Scores?




   Agricultural Science

    Consumer Studies

    Dramatic Arts

   Business Studies

   Engineering Graphics and Design




    Life Sciences

    Mathematical Literacy


    Physical Science


   Religion Studies

    Visual Arts

    Information Technology

What can you Study with an APS score of 18?

With an APS score of 18 you can study for a diploma at almost any higher institution. There is nothing stopping you from advancing your academic career after getting the diploma. 

What can you Study with an APS score of 21?

With an APS score of 21 you can get admission into a South African university. Generally, you should aim higher than that if you want to study any of the more intense courses. One could study art, communication, or marketing, although there is really no guarantee; every university determines their admission process uniquely.

Does CAT count for APS?

Computer Application Technology (CAT) is one of the subjects with which one could get the APS score he needs to get a university admission. Let us remind you that in this information age, you need basic knowledge of computers to work as a cashier in a mall, and you definitively need to have computer skills regardless of whether you are looking to study science based courses, or other courses.

Does Life Orientation count for APS?

No. when calculating your APS points please do not count Life Orientation.

Conclusion: Please remember that while you need to have a good APS score, and while you need to know how to calculate your APS score correctly, that alone may not guarantee admission to study. The thing is that the different universities usually add other requirements on certain courses, as they are trying to attract only the best potential students into those courses. Therefore, please ensure that you check very well before going ahead to apply for any course, to make sure that you have the requirement.

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