This week on Khetha #Week15

Topic of the week: Apply Now: Health Sciences at University

Programme date: 10 - 13 April 2017

 Script Notes:

  • The programme is entitled: Apply Now: Health Sciences at University
  • This script will be translated to other official languages and broadcast on 10Broadcasting Services (PBS) radio stations.
  • The programme is characterised by the radio presenter and a guest from the Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • The radio presenter is the main anchor of the programme and he/she will control the activities on the programme.

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • Ensure the audience is aware of the application processes, dates and requirements in the Health Sciences faculties;
  • Provide information about screening processes;
  • Provide information about Assessment tests;
  • Motivate applicants to apply early.

Programme Introduction

Presenter: Thank you for joining us for another informative episode of Khetha brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in partnership with SABC Education. As you know we have spoken about Apply Now in the past weeks in order to emphasize the importance of applying early. Once again; today we are talking about Apply Now: Health Sciences. Applications for careers or qualifications in the Health Sciences faculty close early, around May/June for admission to study the following year. Hence it is important that learners be aware of the application processes and other requirements. We are joined in the studio by our guest speaker from the Department ********. Our guest will enlighten us about the topic today. It’s good to have you on the show ********.

Presenter: What exactly are Health Science careers?

Guest:The field of Health Sciences is very broad with a wide range of occupations and requires applicants who are passionate about making a difference in the health and well-being of people. Health Science careers refers to careers such as Medicine, Pharmacy, and Nursing. The careers can further be categorized as follows:

  • Dental therapy and oral hygiene
  • Dietetics and nutrition
  • Emergency care
  • Environmental health
  • Medical and dental- Possible qualification Dentistry
  • Medical technology
  • Occupational therapy, medical orthotics, prosthetics and arts therapy
  • Optometry and dispensing opticians
  • Physiotherapy, podiatry and Biokinetics
  • Psychology
  • Radiography technology
  • Speech language and hearing professions

There are specific occupations within these categories and mostly; these require a University qualification and professional training.

Presenter: What are the admission requirements to study within the categories you have mentioned?

Guest: It is essential to mention that each and every qualification and institution has specific minimum admission requirements. However, there are generic principles that learners need to be aware of especially when we talk about admission to study at university. Let me explain these in details:

  • The minimum requirement is the National Senior Certificate with admission to a Bachelor’s degree for a degree qualification. Learners who passed matric prior 2008, require Senior Certificate with Matriculation exemption. For diploma qualifications; learners need to have NSC with either Bachelor or Diploma pass.
  • Subject requirements: The common compulsory subjects are Mathematics and Physical Sciences. Some institutions include Life Sciences as either required or recommended. It is crucial that learners get excellent marks or results for these subjects. Learners are encouraged not to just aim for the minimum level or percentage as required by the institution but exceed so to stand a better chance for admission.
  • Admission Point Score (APS): this is the overall or total sum of subjects’ levels obtained by the learner. For example, the total subjects marks are added together to calculate the required APS. For example APS of 40 means all the subjects summed up should amount to that number except Life orientation. Note each qualification requires a specific APS as a basis for admission to the programme.

University admissions are based on merit. This means that the higher your marks the higher the chances of getting accepted. Therefore, meeting the minimum requirements does not automatically guarantee admission to the programme you applied for. Furthermore; there is stiff competition considering that you apply with other learners who also want to get into the similar programme as you. Therefore, learner needs to work hard in order to achieve excellent marks

Presenter: What are other important admission requirements applicants must be aware of?

Guest: The National Benchmark Test (NBT) is one of the common requirements for admission to university studies. NBT is an assessment/ test that assess academic readiness of first year university students. It assesses the ability to combine aspects of prior learning in competency areas that directly impact on success of first year university students. These tests are administered under standardized testing conditions at sites across South Africa on designated ‘national’ test dates. The university prescribes whether a learner should or should not write the test and which test to write.

Presenter: Please tell us more about the National Benchmark Test.

Guest: The NBT assesses a writer’s proficiency levels in three content areas, focusing on Academic Literacy (AL), Quantitative Literacy (QL) and Mathematics (MAT). AL and QL are combined in the AQL test and written in a three hour morning session; the MAT is written in a three hour afternoon session. The purpose of all the tests can be summarized as follows:

  1. Academic literacy test assesses the learner’s ability to:

  • Make meaning from text, typical to that encountered in tertiary studies;
  • Understand vocabulary related to academic study, in context;
  • Identify and track points and claims made in texts;
  • Evaluate evidence used to support writers’ claims;
  • Deduce and draw inferences and conclusions from text;
  • Differentiate main from supporting ideas in the overall and specific organization of a passage;
  • Identify text differences that relate to writers’ purposes, audiences, and kinds of communication;
  • Understand and interpret information that is presented visually (e.g. tables and flow-charts); and
  • Understand basic numerical concepts and information used in text.

  1. Quantitative literacy test assesses the learner’s ability to:

  • Select and use a range of quantitative terms and phrases;
  • Apply quantitative procedures in various situations;
  • Formulate and apply formulae;
  • Interpret tables, graphs, charts and text and integrate information from different sources;
  • Do calculations involving multiple steps accurately;
  • Identify trends and patterns in various situations;
  • Apply properties of simple geometric shapes to determine measurements;
  • Reason logically; and
  • Interpret quantitative information presented verbally, symbolically, and graphically.

  1. Mathematics test assesses the learner’s ability to:

  • Understand and apply properties of the real number system;
  • Recognize and use patterns, including sequences and series;
  • Apply relationships such as ratios and percentages in a variety of contexts;
  • Use logarithms and exponents in a variety of algebraic and numerical contexts, including solution of exponential equations and financial calculations;
  • Carry out algebraic manipulations, apply these in the solution of equations and inequalities;
  • Solve problems using mathematical process skills;
  • Understand function concept and identify properties of functions, such as domain and range, in the context of straight lines, parabolas, hyperbolas, exponential and logarithmic graphs, and trigonometric graphs (sine, cosine, tangent);
  • Identify relationships between graphs and their equations, or inequalities and the regions they describe;
  • Interpret transformations of functions represented algebraically or graphically;
  • Apply trigonometric concepts in solving problems;
  • Understand and use trigonometric identities in solving equations;
  • Understand properties and interpret representations of two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes;
  • Solve problems relating to perimeter, area, volume;
  • Apply principles of analytic geometry;
  • Interpret various representations and measures of data; and
  • Use logical skills in making deductions and determining the validity of given assertions.

Presenter: How does a learner register to write?

Guest: You need to register on the internet. The following are needed to register:

  • Your official ID book (if you are not a citizen of South Africa, you will need your passport)
  • City and site where you want to write
  • NBT requirements from the institutions where you plan to apply
  • Date when you want to write (allow 4 weeks to receive results)
  • Pen and paper to record your username and EasyPay number

Also take note of the following:

The NBT Project does not determine which test you must write nor the deadline for submitting results.
Most higher education institutions in South Africa post their requirements on their website and in their prospectus. 

Your username (ID or Passport number) and password are used to: 

  • Complete the registration process if you did not finish
  • Correct personal information
  • Request change to test date or site

The EasyPay number assigned to you during registration is used to:

  • Verify payment so that your results may be released. 

Presenter: So where and when can a learner write?

Guest: There are dedicated centers in all nine provinces. It is important that learners check the Centre that is close to their area. If a learner cannot find a venue close to where they live, he or she may register as remote writer/student. Usually it is a writer who is in another country or in an area too remote to be able to make a trip of a reasonable distance to the nearest testing Centre. They can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register as a remote writer.Learners should write when they feel ready, but must ensure that they write in time to meet all deadlines and requirements for the progamme(s) to which they are applying. They must write both tests on the same day. Registration for all NBT sessions opens 1 April 2017.

There are fees that learners need to pay for the NBT test. The fees for the 2017 Admission cycle are:

  • AQL only - R80 AQL and
  • MAT - R160

In addition to the NBT; some universities have additional assessments, such as selection interviews.

Presenter: You really provided detailed explanation about the admission requirements. Now let’s talk about the application process. What are the important things to look out for?

Guest: Applicants should be aware that there are two methods of applications namely: manual (hardcopy) and online application. It is worth noting that nowadays most institutions emphasise online applications. There are most crucial aspects that you have to consider for both methods of application. First and foremost you need to check the prospectus/information booklet for the following:

  • Closing dates: The closing date of the application according to the course you are applying for. Note the applications for admission to health sciences qualifications close early; that is end of May and June.
  • Important documents: attach certified copies of relevant documents required. When using online application it is important to upload the relevant documents.
  • Application fee: This is the amount an applicant has to pay in order for the application to be processed (this might not be applicable for online application because in some institutions it is free).
  • Check list: go through a check list to ensure that you have followed correct instructions.

Ensure that the information provided on the application form is complete and accurate

Presenter: Where can learners obtain the application forms?

Guest: They can obtain application forms through the following processes:

  1. Download and print application forms from the institution’s website.
  2. Collect forms at the registration and applications office in various campuses.
  3. Request that an application form be mailed to you by writing a letter to the institution’s Registrar
  4. You can call CDS helpline office for further advice

Please note that most universities encourage online application.This means that applicants must have access to internet. There are various places where learners can access free internet such as community libraries, youth desks at Municipal offices, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and schools with the help of Educators.

Presenter: Okay, let’s say a learner has applied early, and then what should happen next?

Guest: Learners often think that after application then the process ends. Although it is expected that institutions should communicate with the applicants regarding the status of their application. I urge learners to also take the initiative of contacting the university to track the status of their application. They must not wait for the last minute.

Presenter: Are there any available funding opportunities in the field and who offers them.

Guest: There are different types of funding opportunities available; namely Bursaries, Scholarships, and Loans.

These are offered by different organizations such as government departments and entities, private companies and other organizations. Funding opportunities are advertised by the organization or department concerned and leaners must ensure that they apply in time. To get details about available funding opportunities from government departments, entities or private companies; learners must apply directly to these organization have listed a few of these opportunities specifically for Health Sciences careers:

  • The Department of Health has a bursary for learners who are interested in health related careers. Applications are normally accessible s at the district and provincial offices for the Department Health in different areas. I urge learners to enquire at the nearest Department of Health regarding the application processes.
  • The Department of Correctional Services also offers bursaries for some Health Sciences careers e.g. Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing just to mention a few. Applicants can visit the Department’s website to get more information:
  • The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is one of the National Public Entities which offers funding both in a form of bursaries and loans. NSFAS is accessible to all deserving and financially needy students in public higher institutions of learning. The Department of Higher Education and Training established a funding scheme managed by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. For more information visit NFAS website:
  • ·The South African Medical Association (SAMA) The bursary is intended for students studying within themedical field, who are from disadvantaged backgrounds and also show strong academic ability. For more information visit the website:

  • The Professional Provident Society (PPS) of South Africa
    • Biochemist
    • Biokineticist
    • Gynaecologist
    • Industrial Psychology
    • Nurses (with 4 year B.Cur degree)
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Pharmacist
    • Physiotherapist
    • Speech and Hearing Therapist
    • Surgeon
    • Veterinarian

For more information send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Motsepe Foundation Bursary also offers bursaries in the Medical field. For more send an email to:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact the Motsepe Foundation: 011 324 1500.

As mentioned there are many sponsors for Health Science careers, therefore learners can contact the Career Development Services: Helpline to enquire about other opportunities.

Presenter: This is very enlightening! Do you have any words of encouragement to our prospective applicants?

Guest: It is crucial to get all the information you need as early as possible so that you will make informed decisions and apply in time. Applying early for admission also puts you in a better position to apply for financial assistance. Remember when applying for funding opportunities you need to have evidence that you have applied or been provisionally admitted at the university.

Most learners procrastinate applying because they want to get their grade 12 mid-term (June) reports. Note thatif you are in grade 12, you need to use your grade 11 results to apply for admission at university. If your mid-term results are required; the university will surely communicate this to you, but do not wait until universities close applications

It is also essential to apply to as many universities as possible, at least three universities if not more.

To listen to Khetha podcasts, visit SABC Education platform at http://iono.fm/p/230

Presenter: Thank you for sharing the information with us and for words of encouragement. I am certain that most of our young listeners really enjoyed and would need further advice. Where can our listeners get more information?

Guest: It is a pleasure and for more information the listener can reach us through

  1. SMS or “please call me” to 072 204 5056 with your question, or
  2. Call 086 999 0123, which is a call share line, from Monday to Friday between 8:00am and 4:30pm,
  3. Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
  4. Visit to our offices at 123 Francis Baard, Pretoria
  5. Facebook at www.facebook.com/careerhelp or,

Twitter at www.twitter.com/rsacareerhelp

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