Understanding Matric Distinctions

What’s better than passing matric? Passing matric with a distinction. Understanding Matric Distinctions will help you aim higher when studying for exams.

Your National Senior Certificate (NSC) has a variety of symbols and criteria listed. Although we have most of it figured out, many don’t know what matric distinctions are. Read on and find out everything you need to know about Understanding Matric Distinctions. 

What are Matric Distinctions?

To get a distinction in a subject, you will need to pass with 80% or more for that subject. It will be listed on your matric results and in the newspaper. There is also no limit to how many distinctions you can get. Over the years, there have been students who have walked away with distinctions in all of their matric subjects.

Does a Distinction Equal a Bachelor’s Pass?

Your bachelors pass isn’t based on your distinction, but on your Admission Point Score (APS). All your marks are combined, which determines your average mark. If you have 1 distinction, but all your other marks are low, your chances of getting a bachelors pass is slim. To get a bachelors pass, you need:

  • At least 40% or more in your home language
  • To obtain at least 50% in 4 or more subjects
  • At least 30% in a secondary language in Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT) of the higher institution

How APS is Calculated?

So if your distinction doesn’t guarantee a bachelors pass, how exactly is it calculated? Well as mentioned above, it all depends on your APS. Your APS combines your points listed in your matric results. They range from 1 – 7, with 7 being the highest. To get a bachelors pass, you will need a minimum of 21 points. 

Keep in mind: Your Life Orientation mark is not included in your APS.



Points that will be combined to determine your APS

Compulsory Subject 1

80% -100%


Compulsory subject 2

70% – 79%


Compulsory subject 3

60% – 69%


Additional Subject 

50% – 59%


Additional subject 

40% -49%


Additional subject 

30% -39%


Additional subject 

0% -29 %


But rest assured. Even if your distinction does not guarantee that you will get a bachelors pass, there’s still a very high chance that you will. So chin up and work your way to success.

Girl wearing a blue t-shirt and graduation cap stand outside of a college after passing her matric with a distinction. Understanding Matric Distinctions are quite easy. Read on below for more info.

Importance of Matric Distinctions

The merit of getting a distinction is something all matriculants want to have. It gets placed in a newspaper next to your matric exam and ID number, showcasing your achievements. But apart from that, getting a distinction in the subject you want to study further means you:

  • Stand a better chance of admission to your preferred choice of higher learning
  • Have a better chance of getting into the course you applied for
  • Could get a bursary or scholarship in the course you want to pursue

How to Pass With Flying Colors

Passing to the best of your ability is what every matriculant wants. If you want to pass with distinctions and obtain a high mark, follow our tips on how to study effectively below. 

Study!! – The only way to pass your exams is to study. Set up a timetable and grab your books. Allocate enough time to a subject you might be struggling with and succeed.

Start early – Cramming before an exam is a recipe for disaster. As soon as the school year begins, start studying. When it’s close to exams, all you have to do is revision.

Grab a nap – Although studying is important, sleep is too. Taking naps between studying is proven to help you retain information. So make sure you get enough sleep.

Take a step –  While feeding your mind, be sure to take care of your body. Exercising will help you relieve stress and keep your body healthy while you prepare for your exams.

Speak up – If you need help, ask. Whether it’s study related, or feeling emotionally drained. Speaking to a teacher or professional about upcoming exam stress will help put you at ease.

Aim High and Reach Your Goals With us

No matter what your marks are, you always have a place at Skills Academy. We offer a wide range of courses you can study via distance learning. Take your pick and start studying today. Contact our course experts today: You can:

  • Call us on 0800 39 00 27
  • Fill in our contact form for a call back
Last Updated: September 2, 2021


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Charnell Ward
Charnell Ward
Charnell is a top-class content creator at Skills Academy. She creates engaging content with the aim to provide useful information on distance learning and further study opportunities. Her passion for writing goes beyond her career, as she enjoys writing short stories and volunteering as a writer in her free time. View my LinkedIn profile

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