For pursuing mechanical engineering studies in South Africa, high school students should focus on the following key subjects:

  1. Mathematics (up to Grade 12)
  2. Physical Sciences (covering Physics and Chemistry)
  3. Information Technology (recommended for developing computer skills)
  4. Engineering Graphics and Design (EGD) (recommended for understanding technical drawing and design principles)

These subjects are essential for meeting university admissions requirements and preparing for the challenges of a mechanical engineering program.

When planning a career in mechanical engineering, it’s crucial to select the right subjects during your high school years. These subjects not only provide the foundational knowledge necessary for higher education in engineering but also satisfy admission requirements for various universities. Here, we’ll explore the essential high school subjects you should focus on if you aim to pursue a career in mechanical engineering.

Mathematics and Physical Sciences: The Core Subjects Required

Mathematics and Physical Sciences are the cornerstone subjects for any aspiring mechanical engineer. These subjects are critical because they form the basis of the complex problem-solving and analytical skills required in engineering.

  • Mathematics: It’s vital to take Mathematics up to Grade 12, aiming for high proficiency. Mathematics in high school covers algebra, calculus, and trigonometry, which are directly applicable in engineering tasks such as design, system modeling, and analysis.
  • Physical Sciences: This subject integrates physics and chemistry, providing a comprehensive understanding of the materials, forces, and energy you will frequently work with as a mechanical engineer. Topics such as mechanics, thermodynamics, and electricity are particularly relevant.


Additional Recommended Subjects

Besides the core subjects, there are additional subjects that can strengthen your preparation for a mechanical engineering degree:

  • Information Technology: Gaining skills in IT, especially programming and computer applications, is highly beneficial. Mechanical engineering increasingly relies on computer-aided design (CAD) tools and simulations.
  • Engineering Graphics and Design (EGD): This subject is highly recommended for its focus on technical drawing and design principles. EGD equips students with the ability to visualize and design complex systems and components, a crucial skill in engineering.
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Language Proficiency

Proficiency in English or your language of instruction at the tertiary level is essential. Engineers must be adept in communication skills, as they need to articulate complex concepts clearly and effectively to various stakeholders.

Importance of Subject Choice for University Admissions

Your subject choices in high school directly impact your eligibility and preparedness for mechanical engineering programs at universities. Most universities in South Africa and internationally require Mathematics and Physical Sciences as prerequisites. Additionally, your Admission Point Score (APS) is calculated based on the grades obtained in these subjects, among others. A higher APS can enhance your chances of admission to competitive programs.