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Matric Exams: I Didn’t Pass – Now What?

by Shirley Erasmus

If you didn’t pass your matric exams, relax – you have a number of options still. Read right to the end of this article to learn about supplementaries, re-writes and TVET study options.

South Africa’s Matrics of 2018 had a pass rate of 98.9%. So what do you do if you find out you are one of the people who didn’t pass matric examsWhat are your options? The good news is that this is, by no means, the end of the road. There are several options available to students who have not passed their matric exams – so don’t despair!

Why did you fail?

The first step is to analyse the situation before you can decide what to do next. So the question is, why exactly did you fail matric or your matric exams? Here are two common reasons:

  • It was beyond your control.

Circumstances can suck. Illness and family issues can take their toll on your year and prevent you from excelling in your matric exams in many ways.

  • You struggled.

It is possible that you simply had a lack of interest, or the academic struggles were too overwhelming. Or, perhaps you didn’t study as hard as you should have for your matric exams…

Make sure that you are aware of why you have failed so that you can decide on the next best course of action. If you failed because you did not work hard enough, you will obviously need to adjust your behaviour and try a bit harder. However, if you did not pass matric because you missed your matric exams due to unfortunate or unforeseen circumstances, there are options available for you to explore.What are your Options?

So what steps can you take if you have not passed your matric exams? The fact of the matter is that if you are determined to achieve something you will! As Nelson Mandela famously said,

So get back on your feet and get your National Senior Certificate.  Here are your options:

1. Supplementary Exams

The supplementary examination in February/March has been phased out and is not available anymore. A new examination is available during May/June where candidates can improve their results or complete outstanding results. The closing date for application is 31 January the current year.

Conditions for entry as per the regulations governing the supplementary examination

  • Candidates can only register for subjects which they were registered for in the previous November examination.
  • Candidates who opt for the multiple examinations opportunity (MEO) option, need to complete the outstanding subjects in the NSC June examination.
  • Candidates who were absent with a valid reason (medical unfit, death in the immediate family or other special reasons*) from one or more external question papers, may register for the NSC June examination.
  • Candidates who want to improve their overall achievement status, or only want to improve the achievement of a subject, may register for the NSC June examination. This includes the MEO candidates.
  • In the case where a candidate was absent for one or more papers in the November exam with a valid reason, the candidate has the choice whether to write only the outstanding papers or all the papers.
  • In a case where an irregularity is being investigated, provisional enrolment for NSC June examination may be granted to the candidate concerned, pending the outcome of the investigation.
  • Candidates who were unable to write or complete one or more of the NSC November examination question papers for reasons other than illness/injury or death in the family, may apply to write the NSC June examination, provided that a written report is submitted by the principal of the school to the Head of the assessment body.

To Note:

  • The supplementary exam will be written at the school where your November matric exams were written or at a centre designated for the supplementary exams.
  • If you feel that your exam has been unfairly marked, and you are certain that if it were re-marked you would achieve a higher result, you can apply and pay a fee towards having your exam paper or papers remarked.
  • If you are not certain that all the questions on your exam paper have been marked, you can apply to have your exam paper/ papers rechecked.
  • This means that an examiner will check that all the questions have been marked and all the marks add up to the total.
  • Remember that there is a deadline in which you need to have applied to have your papers remarked or rechecked.  The closing date is 22 January 2020.
  • You will be able to apply for a remark/recheck online.

Candidates, who do not qualify to write the June NSC examination, have the following options:

  • Re-enrol for the NSC as a full-time repeater candidate at a school without delay provided that the candidate is younger than 21 years of age.
  • Register as a part-time repeater candidate at a Public Adult Education Centre.
  • Register for the Senior Certificate (SC) examination which is a school-leaving qualification for adults and out-of-school learners, provided the validity of the candidate’s SBA has expired.
  • Alternatively, candidates that were not successful in their examinations could consider vocational education and training. There are 50 Public Further Education and Training (FET) colleges across all provinces of South Africa comprising over 300 campuses or teaching sites.

To apply for a remark/recheck:

  • Register on the e-Gov portal to create a personal account.
  • You will need to register using your ID number and personal information.
  • Enter the One Time Pin (OTP) that will be sent to you.
  • Login using your username and password that you created.
  • Select e-remark/recheck from the available services.
  • You will be able to select which subjects you would like to remark/recheck.
  • Accept the declaration and then you will be able to receive communication on the status of your request through e-mail.

This is an option for students who may be certain that their matric exams went well and felt confident about the paper. If you discover that the results do not add up or a question was left unmarked, you can apply to have the paper remarked or rechecked.

2. Re-do Matric Exams

If you do not qualify for a supplementary exam you may need to consider re-doing the Matric year. This is a daunting option to many, since this requires you to re-do the entire year and continue to pay school fees. However, if you are determined to pass Grade 12 and get that certificate, know that at least this may be a possible option!

For students who are unable or unwilling to return to the same school, you should consider private colleges such as Damelin or Abbotts College which allow you to do your Matric through correspondence or to attend classes every day.

Another option to consider is the Second Chance Programme. In January 2015, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, launched the Second Chance Matric Support programme. This programme aims to provide support to learners who are rewriting matric subjects in February and March as well as progressed learners (those who wrote 3 or more subjects in November and plan to write the rest in June).

The Second Chance Programme offers 4 main support options:

  1. Face to face tuition for those writing in June and November
    • This is offered in all provinces, mainly in rural and semi-rural areas
  1. Support via Broadcasting
    • HD Open View Television Broadcasts: Channel 201 at 36 venues, nationally or privately (500 000 households connected).
    • DStv Channel 319, MindsetTelevision Broadcasts (4.5 Million households connected).
    • SABC Education Geleza Nathi broadcasts weekdays on SABC 1 from 5am to 6am with repeats at 11pm.
    • SABC Education Geleza Nathi YouTube videos.
  1. Printed resources
  1. Internet resources
    • Learners will be able to access the internet at teacher centres, community centres, Vodacom Centres, libraries and free Wi-Fi hotspots.
    • Online course to support learners (available throughout the year).
    • Available offline via the CAP at libraries, community centres, and so on (Mzanzi Online Libraries Project).
    • Can be accessed on personal computers or at the 74 Vodacom centres, libraries, community centres, etc.
    • No data costs for Vodacom subscribers utilising the Vodacom e-learning site.

Support is offered in the following subjects:

Accounting, Agricultural Sciences, Business Studies, Economics, English First Additional Language, Geography, History, Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences

For more information, check out the Department of Basic Education’s website to find out more about the Second Chance Programme.

3. Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

Another option available to you is to consider vocational training. TVET colleges allow students who have not passed matric exams to receive a vocational or occupational qualification. What this means is that you will receive education and training towards a specific range of jobs or employment possibilities.

  • A certificate from a TVET college may allow you to apply to a University of Technology in order to continue your studies at a higher level in the same field of study as you are studying at the TVET College.
  • There are so many TVET colleges to choose from. Click here to see a list of all the available TVET Colleges in South Africa.

There are steps you can take towards achieving your National Senior Certificate, even if you do not achieve it the first time round! Make sure that you speak to your teachers and parents who will be able to guide you in the right direction, especially if you are not sure how to proceed. Or if you are having problems at home, make sure that your teachers are aware of this so that you don’t suffer when your results arrive. If you don’t understand your work, get together with your friends and figure it out before heading into the exam room.

EduConnect 2Cents

If you have failed matric, it is certainly not the end of the world. Remember that determination and commitment go a long way to helping you to achieve your goals.

Vince Lombardi says,

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or whether we lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.

However, although having a Matric is considered beneficial to you and to our society, it is certainly not always necessary. There is nothing stopping you from starting your own business or heading into the working world with the skills you have. There are so many entrepreneurial options, from making your own designer clothes, starting an exercise club to social media management which are things you can do without a National Senior Certificate, in fact, the sky is the limit!

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