Making Subject Choices in Grade 9

Subject Choice

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Making Subject Choices in Grade 9

Subject Choice in Grade 9 

You must choose a minimum of 7 (seven) subjects at the end of Grade 9 of which, 4 (four) are compulsory and 3 (three) are for your own choice, called elective subjects. 

Choose (7) seven subjects:

Four compulsory:

1. Home Language (compulsory)
2. First Additional Language (compulsory)
3. Life Orientation (compulsory)
4. Mathematics or Maths Literacy (compulsory) 

Three Electives: 

5. ________________________ (elective) 
6. ________________________ (elective)
7. ________________________ (elective) 

Choose your final 3 elective subjects from the list below:  

Languages
Physical Sciences
Life Sciences
Computer Applications Technology
Information Technology
Geography
History
Religious Studies
Accounting 
Business Studies
Economics 
Consumer Studies
Hospitality Studies
Tourism
Dance Studies
Design Studies
Dramatic Arts
Music
Visual Arts
Civil Technology
Electrical Technology
Engineering and Graphic Design
Mechanical Technology
Agricultural Sciences
Agricultural Management Practice
Agricultural Technology

Rules related to subject choice and changing subject subject choices:   

  • A minimum of 7 and a maximum of 12 subjects may be taken
  • You can take up to four languages as part of your 7 seven-subject package
  • In Grades 10 and 11, you may change two of your subjects to other subjects
  • In Grade 12, you may change one of your subjects.
  • Your school will provide you with a list of elective subjects and subject choice combinations, 

What do you need to pass matric?

There are three pass levels, in order to pass matric you need to achieve a Higher Certificate pass: 

 (1) Higher Certificate pass

This will allow you to study towards a Higher Certificate at a public TVET College or a Private College.

  • Pass 6 of your 7 subjects 
  • Obtain at least 40% for your Home Language 
  • Obtain at least 40% for 2 other subjects (excluding Life Orientation) 
  • Obtain at least 30% for 3 other subjects. 

(2) Diploma pass

This will allow you to study towards a Diploma at a university of technology.

  • Pass 6 of your 7 subjects 
  • Obtain at least 40% for your Home Language
  • Obtain 40–49% (moderate acheivement) in 4 other subjects (excluding Life Orientation)
  • Obtain at 30% in 3 other subjects.

(3) Bachelor's pass (previously known as matric with exemption)

This will allow you to study towards a degree at university

  • Pass 6 of your 7 subjects 
  • Obtain at least 40% for your Home Language
  • Obtain at least 50% in 4 subjects (excluding Life Orientation)
  • Obtain at least 30% in 2 other subjects. 

Note: If you intend studying at a higher education institution after school then one of your languages must be either English or Afrikaans.  The reason for this is that the language of instruction at higher education level is in English or Afrikaans.

Entry requirements (APS)

Over and above the the pass requirements, each university or university of technology has its own minimum entry requirements. When you apply to a university you will be required to produce your marks (if you are in Grade 12 then you will be required to produce your final Grade 11 marks) which will be converted to an APS score to determine what programmes you will be accepted into. Each university will have its own minimum APS score requirements per course. Contact the university or visit the university website to check APS requirements. 

Other things to consider when choosing subjects:

Your choice will depend on:

• What subjects you enjoy doing
• Your field of interest
• Your academic achievement

What subjects do you enjoy most? These are usually subjects which you do well in. They also provide an indication of the kinds of career fields you may be interested in following. For example, if you enjoy Life Sciences it means that you are interested in topics like human anatomy and plant biology; If you enjoy Art at school you may be inclined towards careers which allow some degree of creative expression.   

The best subject choices are made when you know what field you are interested in following from which you can determine the subject combinations best related to your chosen field. 

When choosing subjects don't do the following: 

  • Don’t choose a subject just because your friends a doing it.
  • Don’t choose a subject just because it is easy
  • Don't choose a subject just because it is less work.
  • Don’t choose a subject based on the teacher.

Don't's for parents:

  • Don’t be scared to talk to your children about careers (your job is not to be the expert but to listen, ask questions and encourage).
  • Don't dominate the conversation! Make decisions together as a family after researching the options.
  • Don't live your dreams and ambitions through your children and force your choices upon your children.     

All schools have different subject offerings and combinations so check to see what subject your school offers before choosing the final 3 subjects. If you reach a deadlock and you are still not sure what to do, speak to a teacher and/or a career counsellor. 

Maths vs. Math Literacy?

The choice between Mathematics and Maths Literacy is often the one which leads to the most concern for learners and parents. One of the reasons for this is that Mathematics is the most difficult subject at school as demonstrated by the fact that it has highest failure rate in matric. The other two subjects which are also technically "difficult" are Physical Sciences and Accounting which also have high failure rates in matric. As such, Mathematics is a common source of stress and is especially stressful during exam times. You may ask whether it is worth it or not to take Mathematics. Lets compare the two subjects in terms of their purpose and content and what fields of study are affected when choosing Maths Literacy over Mathematics.

Mathematics is a conceptual, problem-solving subject whereas Maths Literacy is a concrete practical subject which applies Maths to every-day life. Mathematics is as the study of numbers, equations, functions and geometric shapes and their relationships. Its major subdivisions are arithmetic, algebra, geometry and calculus. In Maths Literacy learners calculate and interpret statistical reports, income tax, home loan repayments and intepret graphs ratio and percentage.  Mathematics allows for interpretation and problem solving using a variety of methods algebra, calculus, analytical geometry and probability whereas Maths Literacy provides the skills for compiling a personal budget, determining the profitability of a venture, ratio and percentage for everyday calculations, for example, fuel consumption, discount calculations, inflation and exchange rates.

Mathematics is a gateway subject for career fields such as Science, Engineering, Medicine or Finance (accounting and actuarial science). Mathematics is compulsory for students wanting study a Bachelor of Commerce at a university. If you are coping with Mathematics in Grade 9 then take Mathematics as one of your subjects. However, if you are failing Mathematics or are borderline then consider choosing Maths Literacy. It is better to pass Maths Literacy than it is to fail Mathematics.  One of the misconceptions often quoted is that without Mathematics I can’t do or become anything. This is incorrect! There are hundreds of degrees and diplomas you can do with Maths Literacy- see Careers without Maths

Ask for Advice

In order to make the best subject choice do more research on your interests and the requirements for entry into various programmes linked to your interests. Don't stop asking questions, and don't be afraid to ask for help:

• Speak to your subject teachers or LO teacher and ask them more about their subjects.
• Speak to your parents and ask them what they think.
• Do the PACE interest questionnaire www.gostudy.net/questionnaire.
• For more in-depth assessment, visit a trained career counsellor or psychologist who specialises in career guidance. 

Remember that the final choice is up to you. You know yourself better than anyone else and once you have done the research make your choice. Have confidence in your choice and make the best of it.


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