I Failed Matric – Now What?

ve your exams remarked completely, where they will check every answer to see what you got right and wrong. This costs R80 per paper. Thirdly you can apply to rewrite certain exams, this is when you did not do well in certain matric exams and you can rewrite the exams during February and March. The application to rewrite your exams expires in January so the decision needs to be made soon.  If you want to know more about your options you can find that out here.


Matric Rewrite Exam Timetable

If you want to know how the supplementary exams work and what the schedule of exams are and when you are writing each specific certificate that can be found here.

Can I study without having matric?

Absolutely! There are numerous  accredited distance learning colleges in South Africa. You can study a variety of different courses, including Occupational Health and Safety Courses, as well as accredited ICB Courses. which cover most popular career paths. The ICB offers valuable courses in many different streams of business via distance learning, which is a great choice for people who have to work during the day. you can start a course with as little as grade 10, such as the ICB Junior Bookkeeping course.

Here is a list of 6 Distance Learning colleges in South Africa, who don’t require you to have matric:


If you would like to find out more about distance learning or the ICB courses that Skills Academy offers then you can read the ICB Distance Learning Courses page.

Alternative study options


Home Study

Home study is when you don’t attend any physical classes but rather complete everything at home. Home study is a great option for people who live far out of the city and who struggles getting to class. All your study material usually gets sent right to you via courier. You can work at your own pace and time. You get to enjoy studying in the comfort of your own home. You can even study fully accredited courses via home study such as the ICB Business Management course offered at TWP Academy.


Short Courses

What are short courses? Short courses is a great way to acquire new skills or to enhance (or refresh) your existing skills. The course material is designed is such a way as to incorporate the theory behind the skill and the reasons why you need the skill. Courses are presented in such a way that students are easily able to relate to the content. The course content also contains numerous examples of how to apply the relevant skills in a practical environment. You also have the option of studying accredited short courses such as the ICB courses. You can read more on the ICB Business Management courses here.



An internship is when you work for an employer of company,  but they either pay you a really small salary or sometimes nothing. By doing an internship you can quickly find a job and gain valuable work experience. After your internship period is over you will often get offered a permanent position in the company.



Writing Matric exams is one thing. Actually passing Matric is another. When the results come out, not everyone necessarily gets to celebrate the end of a successful high school career. Read further to find out what other options you have.

In 2015, South Africa achieved a pass rate of 70.8%. Right now you may be writing your final exams and will then be waiting impatiently for the 2016 matric results to be released on the 5th of January 2017. So what do you do if you find out that you are one of the 29.2% who did not pass matric?

What are your options if you did not pass your exams? 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 matric 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? 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 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…

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 behavior and try a bit harder. However, if you did not pass Matric because you missed your 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 matric and you are committed to achieving your National Senior Certificate? The fact of the matter is that if you are determined to achieve something you will! As Nelson Mandela famously said, “it always seems impossible, until it’s done”. So get back onto your feet and have a look at what your options are.

Supplementary Exams

You may have failed matric, but don’t pack away your stationary and lucky shoes, you still have the option of writing a supplementary exam under the following circumstances:

1) If you have failed a maximum of two subjects.

2)  If you were medically unfit to write your exams in October/November (make sure that you have evidence of this in the form of a doctor’s note).

3) If you did not meet the Higher Education admission requirements:

(The Higher Education Admission requirements are a pass of 40% in three subjects, one of which must be an official language at Home Language level, and a pass of 30% in three other subjects.)

4) If you had personal problems such as a death in your family during the time you should have written your October/ November exams.

To Note:

– The supplementary exam will be written at the school where your November exams were written or at acenter designated for the supplementary exams.

– The supplementary exams are written from 11 February to 18 March 2017 (need to apply to write supplementary exams by 20 January 2017) at no additional cost.

– Supplementary examination results will be released on towards the end of April 2017.

Re-marking or Re-checking

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 re-marked.

  • 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 deadline is the 20th January and results are released by the 8th of Feb 2017).
  • The fees are R80 for re-marking, R18 for re-checking and R160 for viewing a re-checked or re-marked examination script.

This is an option for students who may be certain that their 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 re-marked or re-checked.

Re-do Matric

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 Skills Academy which allow you to do matric equivalent courses.


OR try one of these courses that do not need a Matric certificate:


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 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. 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. For more information you can read the ICB prospectus page. 

Last Updated: March 29, 2019