Is it possible to determine my calibre of intelligence with my IEB NSC grades in the U.S?


Hi, I’m a high school student interest in studying overseas, preferably in the U.S.

However, I live in South Africa and I go to a private school that uses IEB and we don’t have the GPA or the Carnegie Unit (the credit system) - our grades are measured in percentages for each subject per term. And an A, for us, is actually 80% and above

So I am just curious about my level of potential were I to apply to American universities.
Here are my most recent average results:
English(Home Language) - 87%
Core Mathematics- 77%
isiZulu(Compulsory Additional African Language) - 85%
Life Orientation - 97%
History - 80%
Science(including Physical science and Chemistry) - 85%
Dramatic Arts - 96%
AP English - 84%
AP Mathematics - 75%
I would really appreciate it just to know my standing as an international student. Thanks


Hi Taru,

Thanks for your question - it is a good one because there isn’t a lot of information out there. For that reason it is difficult to answer. First, congratulations, you have strong marks across the board and it is good to see you getting almost entirely A’s. It’s also interesting that your AP and Core Mathematics grades are similar.

In my experience, South Africans that get into the top 10 or so US universities have aggregates in their top 8 subjects of about 92-95% (these are generally the top students in the country). The most useful measure is this: “US universities want the top South African students, so they will choose those that perform highest amongst their high schools and regions, because they will be able to judge you based on your performance amongst peers that have similar access to resources to you”. So there is a subjective and an objective element to your IEB grades, the latter is namely that the best students generally have averages of above 90%.

I think your marks are strong and there’s no doubt you can get into good US universities. It’s difficult to say which ones exactly without further information, but comparing yourself to your peers is one useful measure.