It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

This article has been updated.

It's that time of the year again where school-leavers weigh up their academic choices for the future after receiving their matric results.

Those who are not entirely happy with the outcome are not out of options and have several avenues to consider.

Wits University's Prof. Ruksana Osman, says it is important for unsatisfied pupils to make the necessary attitudinal changes within themselves first and then seek the support of a parent or guardian when making future decisions.

Listen to the detailed advice:

There are different options to help improve one’s results, whether to increase the respective subject marks or upgrade to a higher pass level.

Below are several things for school-leavers to consider very carefully.

1. Rewrite the matric exams:

High schools are meant to release matric results with an advisory slip that will tell you whether or not you qualify for supplementary exams. It will also advise you which education district office to register at.

Pupils planning to write supplementary matric exams have to register in time and arrive with the correct documentation. Candidates will be required to register at their education district office with their identity document, exam results and exam number.

  • This option is available for pupils who have failed 2 matric subjects or less.
  • Pupils needs to apply before deadlines.
  • It is a more immediate option, as deadlines typically close at the end of January.
  • Pupils can enroll in the education department's Second Chance Programme.

2. Consider bridging courses:

Various universities and universities of technology offer bridging courses to assist students who do not quite meet the requirements for a recognized degree or qualification.

These options have various names, depending on the institution or faculty. These bridging courses create a pre-degree or pre-diploma foundation.

  • This option often involves a combination of matric syllabi such as Maths, Science and English along with university coursework, like critical studies.
  • Other bridging courses may focus purely on the on matric syllabus, depending on the institution

3. Look at TVET (formerly FET) colleges:

Technical and Vocational Education and Training or TVETs (formerly known as FETs) colleges are institutions of training that offer matric subjects and can supplement high school results.

  • This option provides an opportunity for developing one’s technical skills of interest.
  • TVET produce qualified artisans.
  • When looking for a course which is a Matric equivalent, look for something which provides a NQ (National Qualification) Level 4 qualification.
  • Ensure that the college you go to is a registered TVET college so that the qualification you receive is valid.

4. Re-enrol for your full matric:

If you have failed three or more matric subjects, this is the route to go. Pupils are required to write the full matric exams again. This allows them the opportunity to be better prepared and achieve improved results.

  • This is a solid route for those who are really wanting to go to a university, particularly considering the varying Admission Point Score (APS) systems for different institutions or faculties. - Pupils can either:
  • Return to their high school, as a private student/candidate. This option means they do not attend classes with the rest of the student body. School-leavers will have to study independent of teachers. - Or;
  • Private post-school institutions are available and offer the option for adults (only those under 21 may re-enrol full-time) and pupils who prefer not to return to their high school.
  • It is suggested that for both options school-leavers establish a schedule for study revision and prepare substantially, making use of all notes and materials at their disposal.

5. Confirm that the institution is legitimate:

Often school-leavers are desperate to associate themselves with any institution of higher learning, particularly when their results are not as impressive as they’d hoped.

However, Osman cautions that matriculants should be critical of all establishments claiming to offer tertiary education.

  • Check that they have a website.
  • Look for accreditation by the Council of Higher Education.
  • Ask for an accreditation Certificate at the physical location of the institution.
  • Confirm their status via the Institutions directory on Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) site.
  • Search for testimonials from alumnae resources.
  • Speak to peers and others pupils pursuing the same options.

When you take up any opportunities make sure that the institution is an accredited institution and not a fly-by-night institution

Prof. Ruksana Osman, Dean of Humanities at Wits

6. Always keep in mind the benefits of improving matric results:

Osman advises that improving matric results is to a pupils benefit, despite what some may feel. She says there is growing evidence that matriculants who elect to improve their results go on to enjoy an enriched qualification thereafter.

Neil in Bedfordview said his son rewrote his matric, even though he had a bachelor’s pass.

He went back to school, redid a complete year, got into medicine and is now a specialist psycho-geriatrician.

Neil in Bedfordview

Tracy in Rondebosch, having passed with a bachelor’s pass, rewrote her matric because she felt that her results didn’t reflect her full potential. She says, "It was the best thing that ever happened to me."


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