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Improve Matric Subjects: Here’s How

by Janine Basel

Have you finished matric but your results aren’t good enough to apply for the course you want to pursue? Find out how you can improve matric subjects and get the marks you need to pursue further education.

Finishing high school is a huge step forward in your life but it also comes with a lot of pressure, decision making and disappointments. This is a dilemma many matriculants face. Remember, you are not alone and second chances do exist.

Firstly, pat yourself on the back for getting through high school. You deserve to be proud, even if you aren’t happy with your marks right now. The next step is to figure out the next move forward. Do you want to improve matric subjects? Do you need better marks to get into a specific course? If yes, it’s time to lay out your options on the table. You are at a crossroads and the options you have must be weighed up carefully.

I didn’t pass matric, now what? 

When the results come out, not everyone gets to celebrate the end of a successful high school career. Find out what other options you have.

Choose a Different Route Going Forward

Perhaps you need to take a route that requires fewer academic requirements than your initial study choice. Before deciding on this option, consider whether or not you will be satisfied with the different route.  Think about everything – from earning potential to passion and interest.

If you have doubts, my suggestion is to remember the impact this will have on your life, in the long run. Similar to the story of the tortoise and the hare, take a step back for a year so that you can secure a great future. Have a look at this article to find out which career options you have.

Supplementary Exams to Improve Matric Subjects

If you have failed matric, the first port of call is to find out whether or not you qualify to write supplementary exams. This is the quickest way to improve matric subjects.

You will be able to write supplementary exams if:

  • Your subjects were registered in the previous November examination. 
  • You have opted for the multiple examinations opportunity (MEO) option, you must complete the outstanding subjects in the NSC June examination.
  • You were absent with a valid reason such as being medically unfit, experienced a death in the immediate family, or any other special reasons (must provide proof).
  • You want to improve their overall performance or performance in a specific subject.
  • You have October/November 2019 examination results that are under investigation. You will only be able to write depending on the outcome of the investigation and on a provisional basis.
  • Make sure to provide substantial proof of documentation for any reasons you submit.

Registration for Supplementary Exams closes on 31 January 2020.

Supplementary exams can be written at no extra cost.  This is a part of the Department of Basic Education’s Second Chance Programme.


2019 NSC Supplementary Exams Breakdown

Now that the matric results are out, you may want to write the supplementary exams to improve your marks.


What to do if you Don’t Qualify

If you do not qualify to write the June NSC supplementary exams, consider the following options:

  • Register at a school as a full-time repeater for the NSC qualification. You must be younger than 21 years old. 
  • Register at a Public Education Centre as a part-time repeater.
  • Alternatively if you are an adult or out-of-school learner register for the Senior Certificate (SC) examination. 
  • Consider vocational education and training at a Public Further Education and Training (FET) college. In South Africa you will find 50 colleges. Have a look here for more information. 

Register for a Course that will Allow you to Redo Subjects

By re-doing parts of your matric, you have a second chance to improve matric subjects.  This could help you get into the course of your choice. Although this can feel like a setback, it’s a very mature approach to your adult life. Yay you!

There are many institutions who offer the option to re-do matric subjects. Few public high schools allow students to re-do the full matric year.  This is probably a relief – most people generally don’t want to go back to their old school.

Here are a few institutions which will allow you to re-do your subjects:

Intec College

How much does it cost to register for the course?
Course cost includes registration but NOT the Matric exam fee for the Department of Higher Education is around R 2 200 per subject.  

Students can only rewrite a subject not upgrade a subject

(e.g. you cannot go from Math Literacy to Pure Math).

Please note: if you wrote the exams set by the Department of Basic Education, you will need to register to rewrite the subjects for which you did not meet the minimum requirements.  You may register at your high school or at an examination centre for part-time NSC grade 12 repeat candidates.  

FYI: Online tutoring and course material provided.

Learners will still be required register for the final exam with the Department of Higher Education at the Exam Centres. Intec College can advise learners on this.

There are no classes; all correspondence.  If you are over the age of 21, different conditions apply. You may call Intec College directly for more information.

Tshwane University of Technology

How much does it cost to register for the full course?
Around R9 500 for Math and Science.  This is for Maths AND Science.

To register you will be required to provide:
2 certified copies of your matric results, 2 certified copies of your ID and R100 for the selection process

What are the entry requirements?
Please note that you will need to have a minimum of 30% for Maths and Science and a minimum of 50% for English

You will need to submit the enrolment form BEFORE 17 January 2020

FYI: The selection process will take place on 17 January 2020 from 8 am to 12 pm.  This is the only way to get into the programme.For more information contact: Mr. Leslie Raulinga on 012 382 9473 


Another option is to consider vocational training. TVET colleges allow students who have not passed Matric to receive a vocational or occupational qualification. This means that you will receive education and training towards a specific range of employment possibilitiesHere’s how:

  • A certificate from a TVET college may allow you to apply to a University of Technology.
  • This will allow you 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.

Damelin Correspondence 

How much does it cost to register for the course?
The cost depends on the subject chosen and can be worked out by the institution.

How much does it cost to do courses per subject?
R 3 500 +/- per subject (depending on which subject). 

Abbotts College

How much does it cost to register for the course?
Admin fee of R2000

How much does it cost to do courses per subject?
To redo 1 – 3 subjects, the costs are about R4808 per month for matrics.

FYI: Students will need to go in from Monday to Friday the whole year to the specific subjects they want to redo.

EduConnect 2Cents

There are multiple different avenues in which to improve your matric results and to give you a better shot of getting into that course/degree/qualification. Don’t dwell on the past, take the initiative and follow one of them. Being proactive is key to moving forward!


You may be wondering how you will be able to survive the matric year and the exam season itself. Here are some tips and advice on how to prepare to pass matric – like a boss.

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