School Curriculum

We help you make important Subject Choices!

Introduction to Curriculum selection

The Pretoria Chinese School offers a broad and balanced curriculum that provides the best possible education to meet the needs of students according to their talents and strengths.

Our curriculum design will excite students and will provide students with vibrant and creative learning environments that are challenging and encourage curiosity and choice.

Our highly qualified educators create learning programmes that are culturally rich, relevant, and enjoyable for all students.

New projects are implemented in each phase that the teachers manage. Students must participate in these weekly periods as these form part of the academic timetable:

  • Reading programme
  • Community Service
  • Clubs / Life Skills

Curriculum selection for the PCS Junior Preparatory Phase

The PCS Junior Preparatory Phase will follow the CAPS curriculum outlined by the Department of Basic Education.

The school further enriches and extends this curriculum with the Time2Read Programme and Abacus Maths Programme, as well as a Singapore Science programme.

Each grade integrates its day and subjects through themes. The themes for the term are sent home during the first week of each term.

Curriculum selection for the PCS Senior Preparatory Phase

The PCS Senior Preparatory Phase follows the CAPS curriculum outlined by the Department of Basic Education.

The school further enriches and extends this curriculum. We additionally strive to be comparable with other IEB schools.

Our teachers attend Independent School cluster meetings to ensure that our academic offering remains of a high standard.

Annually Grade 7 students write the standardised IEB MATCH assessment, and Grade 6 students write the Core Skills Assessment.

Curriculum selection for the PCS College  Phase

The PCS College follows the CAPS Curriculum and the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) Subject Assessment Guidelines (SAGS).

Grade 12 students write the National Senior Certificate (NSC) implemented by the IEB. The College staff attend annual IEB Subject Conferences and IEB Cluster Meetings.

The College staff also participate in the marking of the final NCS Examinations.

Assessments are a vital component of the PCS educational philosophy. Regular testing of smaller amounts of work has proven beneficial in preparing students for mid-year and final examinations. It also allows teachers to test all students simultaneously and does not impinge on valuable class time. Teachers will post dates and details of these Cycle Test dates on the d6 Connect.

Students are required to be present at school for all examinations. The school will not permit students to miss examinations for any reason. If a student is absent for an examination, the school must be notified by 07:30 on the day of the absence. A doctor’s certificate must be handed to the Deputy Principal on their return to school. All IEB tasks are compulsory, and absence without a doctor’s note will result in 0% being given. Absence from an IEB NSC assessment may result in the NSC results not being released. Reports will be issued at the end of each term for all grades.


The Matric Year is a year characterised by Assessments. Please treat every evaluation task as a mark contributing to the final portfolio mark. No school days can be missed, and it is the responsibility of every Grade 12 to complete ALL work handed to them. Results are usually released the following year in January.

Grade 9 Subject Choice Summary

Subject choice is the first ‘adult’ decision high school students make. There is a lot of pressure that comes with this decision as it is one that affects their future greatly. However, they do not need to make this decision alone. We've compiled all the information you may need in a separate booklet available from the school. The most important information in the booklet is listed below. This SUBJECT CHOICE booklet provides comprehensive details on the subjects students can take, as well as bigger picture concepts they need to start thinking of. Please use this booklet and the information provided here to guide your decision making and to ensure that the final decision is the best decision for the student.

Subject keys: Our Key design Subject Choices stimulate students and provide a vibrant and creative learning environment that encourages problem-solving and curiosity. 

1. Open Communication and Guidance

The key to academic success is open communication between students, parents, and teachers. Parents must be willing to listen to their child’s concerns and desires and not try to decide their future for them, as well as be open-minded when teachers provide feedback and advice. Students are more successful in their academic endeavours when they feel comfortable, secure, and supported by the significant people in their lives.

It is essential that students feel comfortable enough to tell their parents when they are struggling with a subject or to talk to them about the career path they want to follow. Forcing a student to do a specific subject rarely leads to real success in school and later life. Open and honest communication is vitally important in this developmental stage of students’ lives.

Pretoria Chinese School provides guidance and career counselling for students who are unsure about what they want to do after school. Students can book a session and receive help with possible university courses, gap years, internships, and other after-school opportunities. They can also review the requirements for the courses they want to study and research bursary and scholarship options. Guidance counselling also guides students through strategies and study methods to ensure they achieve their goals.

Parents are also welcome to email concerns and queries or set up a meeting to discuss their child’s future with Miss Jess Schorr.

2. Subject Levels, Requirements, and Admission Point Score

Academic achievement is classified using numerical levels. Universities and colleges will use these levels to state their course requirements.

















The only subjects students will be required to have for university and college courses are English, Mathematics, and sometimes Physical Science. All other subjects are helpful in preparing students for their desired course but are not required.

For example:
• Visual Arts is helpful for Design and Architecture courses but is not a requirement.
• Accounting is helpful for Accounting Studies but is not a requirement.
• Life Science is helpful for Biological Science courses but is not a requirement.

Universities and colleges ensure that their first-year syllabi are inclusive and accommodate students who did not take the helpful subjects in high school. Students will not be at a disadvantage if they do not take the helpful subjects.

The most important thing to look at are the subject requirements and the Admission Point Score (APS). The APS is a score calculated with your marks and is used by universities and colleges to determine whether you qualify for the course. Some institutions have their own method of calculating the APS and it is important that students research this.

APS is calculated by adding up the levels for English, Afrikaans, Mathematics/Mathematical Literacy, and the three elective subjects. Life Orientation is not included in the APS.

For example:





Visual Art


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Level 6

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Level 7

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If a student does not know what they want to study, it is good to aim for an APS of 34-36 as this is the average APS for most courses.
It is important for students and parents to realise that universities carefully consider the APS. If a student is struggling with a subject and it is bringing down their APS significantly, it is good to consider dropping the subject.

This is especially true for subjects like Mathematics and Physical Science. Taking a subject through to Matric but not having the subject and APS requirement results will not get students into university.

3. Bursaries and Scholarships

Students should be researching bursaries and scholarships as early as possible. There are always academic requirements to qualify for bursaries and scholarships and some have extra-curricular or community service requirements. Some institutions offer bursaries and scholarships to the school, and these are communicated to Grade 11 and 12 students. It is important to look at this in Grade 9 to make sure that students can devise strategies to meet the requirements. 

4. International Universities

Many students look to study abroad and start a new life in a new country. However, many do not realise that international requirements differ from local ones. Students must begin researching international universities as early as Grade 9 to see that they can meet the standards and requirements.

For example, the Mathematics standard and requirements for many international institutions are on the same level as AP Mathematics and not the standard high school Mathematics curriculum. Students who wish to study at an international institution with this requirement will need to take AP Mathematics as an extra subject.

Some institutions may have A-Levels (Cambridge) requirements, and students must do additional subjects or courses to ensure they meet these standards.

A good option for students to consider is to study locally and then move abroad. It is easier to get a job abroad with a degree than to meet university standards with a high school certificate. South African institutions rank amongst the top in the world and students are guaranteed to get jobs internationally with a degree from one of South Africa’s renowned institutions.

5. Subject Choices

The IEB core subjects are English, Afrikaans, Mathematics/Mathematical Literacy, and Life Orientation. All students must take all the core subjects. At Pretoria Chinese School, Mandarin is also a core subject. All students must take either PCS Mandarin or IEB Mandarin.

• PCS Mandarin students receive a competency certificate at the end of Matric, but it does not reflect on their Matric certificate and cannot be used to calculate APS.

• IEB Mandarin students have the subject reflected on their Matric certificate, and the subject can be used to calculate APS.

Students must choose three elective subjects. These subjects are placed into keys (combinations), and only one subject per key can be taken.

AP Mathematics is offered as an extra subject and cannot be chosen as an elective. The subject is offered after school, and students write a final Matric examination but is not reflected on the Matric certificate and cannot be used to calculate APS; however, students will receive a certificate at the end of Matric. AP Mathematics is beneficial for students wanting to study selection courses such as Medicine or Engineering.

Core Subjects

Elective Subjects

English Home Language

Physical Science

Afrikaans First Additional Language

Life Science

Mathematics/Mathematical Literacy

Business Studies

Life Orientation


PCS/IEB Mandarin



Visual Art


EGD (Engineering Graphics and Design)


CAT (Computer Applications Technology)


IT (Information Technology)

Students will be required to fill in a Google Form with their subject choices. This is a preliminary form, and the aim is to create subject keys based on the general choices made by the grade. Students will then fill in the final subject choice form (which will indicate the keys).

Please note: The preliminary form is not the final subject choice and students must be prepared that they may not be able to take all the subjects they want. Students must have second choices ready when they fill in the final subject choice form to ensure that they only take one subject per key.

Grade 9 Subjects explained

English Home Language

English is a subject that takes students on a journey through literature while allowing them to develop their skills of critical thinking and analysis, as well as teaching them to form and communicate their own opinions logically and coherently through writing and speaking. English allows students to think independently and gives them the opportunity to listen and respond to perspectives that differ from their own. English is a core subject and is a requirement to pass Grade 12.

Read more about English Home Language as subject choice

Afrikaans First Additional Language

The Afrikaans First Additional Language subject focuses on equipping students with listening, speaking, and reading and writing skills that are used in everyday social situations. Afrikaans First Additional Language is a core subject and all students are required to take the subject (unless they have been granted immigrant status).

Read more about Afrikaans First Additional Language as subject choice


Mathematics consists of several topics including Algebra, Patterns, Functions and Graphs, Statistics, Euclidean Geometry, Analytical Geometry, Probabilities, and Trigonometry. In Grade 12 we tackle the exciting topic of Calculus as well.

Read more about Mathematics as subject choice

Mathematical Literacy

Mathematical Literacy is the application of Mathematical skills in everyday situations. One aspect of the subject is looking at current affairs and applying Mathematical calculations to prove the impact that current affairs have on our everyday life. The subject does not involve abstract Mathematical formulas, proofs, or theorems. Scenarios given to students involve various problems to solve using basic to moderate complex Mathematical skills. We focus on topics such as Finances, Measurement, Data Handling, Probability, Tariff, Financial Documents, Rates and Taxes, and Maps and Scales.

Read more about Mathematical Literacy as subject choice

AP Mathematics

AP Mathematics is an exam subject at the end of Grade 12 and is an extra subject offered. The subject helps students prepare for university, especially selection courses. The following topics are covered, in addition to standard Mathematics topics: complex number theory, partial fractions, absolute values, Mathematical induction, Integral Calculus, and graphical optimization in Calculus.

Read more about AP Mathematics as subject choice

IEB Mandarin

IEB Mandarin focuses on language skills which include listening, speaking, reading and viewing, and writing and presenting skills which allow students to communicate appropriately in Mandarin. Students will learn various forms of the language, such as literature, poems, short stories, texts, news, and correspondence in daily life.

Read more about IEB Mandarin as subject choice

PCS Mandarin

PCS Mandarin is focused on equipping students with oral communication skills to help them improve in conversation. Students are trained to express themselves as well as to listen for understanding through essay writing, conversation, and discussion practices.

Read more about PCS Mandarin as subject choice

Physical Science

Physical Science covers everything in our world. All physical and biological processes are rooted in Science. Science explains the world we live in and why our bodies and all other processes work. It teaches vital skills that enable us to find answers to how the world works.

Read more about Physical Science as subject choice


Accounting focuses on measuring performance and processing and communicating financial information about economic sectors. This discipline ensures that principles such as ethical behaviour, transparency, and accountability are adhered to.
Accounting as subject deals with the logical, systematic, and accurate selection and recording of financial information and transactions, as well as the compilation, analysis, interpretation, and communication of financial statements and managerial reports for use by interested parties. The subject encompasses accounting knowledge, skills, and values that focus on the Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Auditing fields. These fields cover a broad spectrum of accounting concepts and skills to prepare students for a variety of career opportunities.

Read more about Accounting as subject choice

Business Studies

Business Studies looks at the decisions business owners are faced with on a daily basis, from an entrepreneur finding a business idea to established businesses facing challenges from external forces. The subject also focuses on and develops the skills business owners should have to regularly evolve and reinvent the business to maintain competitive advantage.

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Information Technology (IT)

Information Technology at FET level has two components: theory and practical (programming). These two components form the foundations for students wanting to go into Engineering, Surveying, and ICT systems. Many of these tertiary-level courses have ICT as a compulsory module in the first and second years.
The practical component teaches the student programming principles by means of Java. The principles include variables, mathematical operators, string handling, loops, conditional statements, and arrays. With the focus on programming principles and problem solving, the leap from a single language at secondary level to a variety of languages at tertiary level is achieved with relative ease. Within the theory component, fundamentals of hardware and software, networking, database design, and normalisation are covered, amongst other topics, over the three-year course. The content is covered in the textbook but students are expected to do additional reading regarding current trends in ICT from other sources like IT magazines and internet articles.

Read more about Information Technology as subject choice

Computer Applications Technology (CAT)

Computer Applications Technology is the study of the integrated components of a computer system (hardware and software) and the practical techniques for their efficient use and application to solve everyday problems. The solutions to problems are designed, managed, and processed via end-user applications and communicated using appropriate information and communication technologies (ICTs).
ICTs are the combination of networks, hardware, and software as well as the means of communication, collaboration, and engagement that enable the processing, management, and exchange of data, information, and knowledge.

Read more about Computer Applications Technology as subject choice

Engineering Graphics and Design (EGD)

Engineering Graphics and Design (EGD) teaches internationally acknowledged principles that have both academic and technical applications. The emphasis in EGD is on teaching specific basic knowledge and various drawing techniques and skills so that students will be able to interpret and produce drawings within the contexts of Mechanical Technology, Civil Technology, and Electrical Technology.
EGD is essential for communicating concepts and ideas in industry and engineering. In order to make the drawings easier to understand, familiar symbols, perspectives, units of measurement, notation systems, visual styles, and page layouts are used. Together, such conventions constitute a visual language and help to ensure that the drawing is unambiguous and relatively easy to understand. Many of the symbols and principles of EGD are codified in an international standard called ISO 128.

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Geography is about the interaction between people and the environment in which we live. It deals with looking at issues in the real world and is therefore an exciting and dynamic subject to study. It is unique in that it provides a balance between the Science and Social Science fields of study. Geography is skills-based, focusing on reading, interpreting, and analysing data and visual material. The emphasis is on dealing with issues using a problem-solving approach.

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Visual Arts

Visual Arts is about self-expression and helps students to engage meaningfully with, and respond to, their world in a non-verbal way. Students explore art from around the world through project-based activities. Visual literacy and the study of past historical movements and artists up until the present inform and shape students’ understanding of visual culture. Based on directed investigation, students reinterpret selected forms to promote understanding of themes, purposes, symbolism, and traditional formal characteristics. Students compare various cultural responses in art to universal themes, gaining respect for diverse perspectives and the rich heritage shared by cultures from around the world. 

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Life Science

Life Science is the branch out of Natural Sciences which deals with biological and living organisms. Life Science is an interesting subject as it includes the study of living organisms and life processes. Life Science lays the foundations for important disciplines including Zoology, Ecology, Bio Informatics, Biotechnology, Biomedical Research, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Haematology, Oncology, and Aerobiology.

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