Rewriting Matric: What You Need To Know


If you find yourself in the position where your child has failed his/her Matric exams, fear not: there are many ways and resources to help them progress academically, be it a rewrite, or a positive step towards another goal. The most important thing to do is to act quickly and have the right information when deciding what to do next. Here is some important information to help you move forward.

Supplementary Exams

Supplementary Matric exams are written by students who have failed less than three subjects. Along with the final marks, these students will receive an advisory slip which will tell you whether the student qualifies to write supplementary exams. It will also tell you where you can register for them: usually at the place they were written initially or at your local Education District Office. You need to bring proper identification, the exam results and the exam number. It is vital that the registration is done ASAP and before the end date which is stipulated on your slip. A current  supplementary exam timetable can be downloaded from

Re-enrolment at School

If your child is under 21 years of age and has failed more than three subjects, he/she will have to re-enrol at a school to repeat the year. Some schools actually provide post-matric classes to these students to help them improve their marks. It is wise to contact your child's school to make an appointment and work out what's best for your child by consulting with teachers and the headmaster; they will be able to tell you where your child's strengths and weaknesses lie. Statistically, most students who repeat their final year are very successful the second time around. Registering should be done straight away to secure a place for your child.

If the student is over 21 years of age and has not qualified for supplementary exams, they have the option of part-time study at Adult Education Centres, where they provide free programmes to facilitate in obtaining the Grade 12 NSC. Each province has differing facilities and programs available and it's best to enquire at your local provincial education centre.

Other Options

There are over 300 public Further Education and Training (FET) colleges in South Africa. They offer training and courses at many levels of study. Instead of repeating a year at the school, you can enroll your child in such a college to re-write exams. A student can also enroll here to upgrade their marks.

You might find other interests that may spark your child's talent instead. The South African education system looks favorably at students who study and do practical work part time in a chosen artisanal field. At FET colleges, these are called NATED or 'N' Courses at the end of which the student is then qualified to work in the chosen field.

It is very important that you check whether the FET college you enroll your child in is registered with the Department of Education. You can do that by visiting or at There are fly-by-night schools offering bogus courses which will not qualify your child in the end.

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