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Choosing Subjects in Grade 9

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Choosing your set of subjects in Grade 9 is probably one of the most important and exciting decisions you’ll make to shape your future.

You will need to pass 7 subjects to qualify for  the National Senior Certificate: (NSC)

  • 4 compulsory subjects
  • 3 subjects chosen from a list of 29 subjects approved by the Department of Education

The 4 compulsory subjects are:

  • First Language
  • Second Language
  • Mathematics or Maths Literacy
  • Life Orientation

University entrance:

If you want to go to University after you finished school, you will need to achieve an NSC with an achievement rating of 4 or better in at least four subjects chosen from the designated 20 credit NSC subjects listed below:

Accounting, Agricultural Sciences, Business Studies, Dramatic Arts, Economics, Engineering Graphics and Design, Geography, History, Consumer Studies, Information Technology, Languages (refer to institution websites for their language entry requirements), Life Sciences, Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Music, Physical Sciences, Religion Studies, and Visual Arts.

Universities of Technology

If you want to attend a University of Technology you will need to achieve an NSC with four of the designated NSC 20-credit an achievement rating of three or better  subjects listed below:

Accounting, Agricultural Management Practices, Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural technology, Business Studies, Civil Technology, Computer Applications Technology,  Consumer Studies, Dance Studies, Dramatic Arts, Economics, Electrical Technology, Engineering Graphics and Design, Geography, History, Hospitality Studies, Information Technology, Languages (refer to institution websites for their language requirements), Life Sciences, Mechanical Technology, Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Music, Physical Sciences, Religion studies, Tourism and Visual Arts.

Many courses have their own additional subject requirements, so it is important to check the admission requirements for the educational institutions you would like to attend.

  • Level 7: 80 – 100% (Outstanding achievement)
  • Level 6: 70 – 79% (Meritorious achievement)
  • Level 5: 60 – 69% (Substantial achievement)
  • Level 4: 50 – 59% (Moderate achievement)
  • Level 3: 40 – 49% (Adequate achievement)
  • Level 2: 30 – 39% (Elementary achievement)
  • Level 1: 0 – 29% (Not achieved – Fail)

‘Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.’  – Lou Holtz (American Football coach, 1937-1980)

Whichever subjects you choose, it’s important to get good results.  Working hard and getting good marks may help you get into college or university.

If there are many people applying for the same opportunity, all with the same qualification, the one with the highest marks will probably get it.  It’s important to prepare yourself in the best possible way.

Where am I now?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I passionate about?  What do I like doing?
  • What subjects do I enjoy at school?
  • Which subjects am I good at?  Are they also the subjects I enjoy?
  • What are my marks in these subjects?
  • Can I see myself studying further?
  • What careers support my subject choice?
  • If my marks are low can I improve them?  Can I take extra lessons?  Can I pay more attention in class? Study harder and longer?  Can the teacher give me extra homework?  Can a friend help?

An important fact is that it is never too late to improve your marks.

Once you have realised what your strong subjects are, then it’s time to find out what jobs will suit your interests.  If you have a school guidance counsellor or a teacher you like, discuss your career ideas with them.  Talk through your options with your parents.  They all might be able to guide you with direction and subject choices.

On your own, research various jobs and job opportunities on Career Planet’s website.  Try to contact people working in that field.   Call them on the phone or make an appointment to see them.  Speaking to people already in the job will give you the opportunity to collect up-to-date information. If you sound positive and motivated, you might be lucky enough to be offered a job-shadowing position during your school holidays. If not, be brave and ask for one.

The more information and experience you collect, the more confident you will be in making your Grade 9 subject choice.

Where am I going?

Students who only complete Grade 10 have fewer opportunities for jobs than people who complete their matric.  Also, students who only complete their matric, will have less opportunities than those who try to study further. You can study part-time or full time.  Every bit of education (formal or informal) will help you climb the steps to success.

After researching various job options you like, the next step is to find out what qualifications you will need to prepare for that job.  These qualifications will need certain school subjects.  They will need good marks too. All this information can be found on the Get Skills page on Career Planet.

How can my school help me?

Talk to your Life Orientation and other teachers and make sure they explain the school subject choices available to you.

The school timetable can cause problems so make sure your subject choices don’t clash with each other.  Sometimes you cannot do exactly what you want. Choices might have to be made to fit the school’s timetable.

Tip:  Always have a Plan A (first choice for subjects) and a Plan B (second choice for subjects) just in case your first choice is not available.

Am I ready?

Collect as much information as you can on careers you are interested in.

Make notes.  Talk to people in the industry.  Try to work-shadow for a week or two during your school holidays to get a feel for the job.  Did you love it or not?  Swop notes and information with your friends.  The more information you collect, the more qualified you are in making one of the most important decisions of your life:  Grade 9 subject choice!!!

5 important things to remember which will help you step ahead from the bunch:

  1. Good results
  2. A varied skill set
  3. Positive attitude
  4. A desire to work hard
  5. Motivated to learn

Keep asking questions – Keep researching – Keep learning – Keep being positive!

Good things will come to those who persevere

‘In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt

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