What to do if you failed your 2018 matric exams

While South Africa’s matriculants wait for their final marks, many will be battling with the fear of failure.

A number of services are available to students for counselling purposes and students have been encouraged to reach out for assistance if they are battling to cope with the stress.

However, 2018’s crop of matriculants should also be able to breathe a little easier after a number of changes were made by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to the supplementary exam format in 2018.

Under the previous system, any student who failed a matric paper – or would like an opportunity to do better in one – could register to rewrite a maximum of two supplementary exams, sitting for an extra-curricular set of papers sometime in February or March.

However, the DBE has introduced a new system in 2019 called the Second Chance Matric Support Programme, which scraps supplementary exams and replaces it with a second national exam.

The department confirmed that these exams will take place in June, and will allow matrics to rewrite as many subjects as they want.

The primary reason for writing in June is because of the number of learners who failed to write the exams in the March period, the department said.

“We have noted that on average around 40,000 learners who enrol for supplementary examinations every year do not turn up to write the examinations. This results in massive wasteful expenditure,” it said.

The department added that this new system will also give learners enough time for revision.

“By having these examinations in June, there will adequate time for revision and learners can make use of the comprehensive support material provided through the Second Chance matric support programme.

The new system has already been in place for adults who want to obtain a National Senior Certificate, and it has been named the Amended Senior Certificate. These exams will now be expanded to absorb the new supplementary structure.

Who qualifies – and what can you write?

The June exams are not an open pass for learners to skip the November exams. Candidates are only allowed to rewrite subjects they had previously registered for in the October/November 2018 examination.

If learners want to improve their results from the October/November 2018 examination in either a particular subject or their overall aggregate they can also register.

For learners who were absent or missed their exams with a valid reason (for instance due to a medical condition, the death of an immediate family member, or other special circumstances), they can also register. These candidates will be able to choose between writing just the unwritten exams or all exams.

The June exams are also open to learners who could not write one or more of the November 2018 exams for reasons not listed above.

In this case, a written statement from the applicant’s principal will be required by the assessment body.

Candidates whose October/November 2018 examination results are under investigation will be allowed to enrol for the NSC June 2019 examination on a provisional basis. Whether these candidates will be allowed to write will depend on the results of the investigation.

How to register

Matrics who failed their 2018 exams, or who would like the chance to improve their marks have until January 31st to register for the June exams. Part-time students have until 15 March.

Candidates may register at any provincial education office (which includes the provincial head office, the district office or a circuit office) or register online on www.eservices.gov.za.

You will need:

  • State of your results.
  • A valid ID number
  • A valid email address
  • A valid cellphone number
  • Supporting documents (copy of certified Identity Document, principal statement if needed, special needs certification etc).

If a candidate does not meet any of the requirements for the June exams, there are still other options. They can re-enroll as a full-time candidate for the NSC; complete the NSC at an adult education centre; register for the adult Amended National Certificate; or pursue vocational training at a Further Education and Training college.


Read: IEB matrics achieve 98.92% pass rate

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What to do if you failed your 2018 matric exams