Failing matric can be devastating – what can be done?

It can be devastating to fail matric especially if you don’t know what to do next.

See this as a temporary set-back! Use this set-back as an opportunity to improve your marks! Don’t lose sight of the big picture! Remember, your career journey is a life-long path and there will be set-backs along the way. If you have the right attitude will bounce back and succeed despite the odds.

So what are your options from here? First, reflect on where you are and what you would like to do with your life. Perhaps start by getting some direction, for example, do an interest questionnaire, The consider your immediate options.

What are my options?

There are five options available to you, if at all possible please find a way of completing matric the reason being a matric will improve your chances of getting a job!

  • You can apply for a recheck / remark
  • You can apply for a rewrite of specific subjects
  • You can repeat the year
  • Do an NCV matric equivalent
  • Get a job (or start a business)

Apply for a re-check or a re-mark

If you failed or did not do as well as expected in a subject you wrote then possibly consider applying for a re-check or a re-mark. A re-check will ensure that all questions were marked and that the final mark was calculated correctly. A re-mark will be done to ensure that the paper you wrote was marked correctly.  Registration for a remark this must be done via the Department of Basic Education. Contact number, 012 357 3000, or Apply now before it’s too late!

Do a supplementary exam

Another option is to repeat only the subjects that you failed by doing a supplementary exam. There is a reason why you failed this subject in the first place! If you choose this option then make sure that you have academic support –  subjects such as math’s and science are particularly challenging subjects and may be difficult to grasp at first. If possible, make use of subject specialists for extra lessons or personal tuition. If you failed one or two subjects then you qualify to apply for a rewrite of the subject or subjects that you failed. Registration for a rewrite must be done via the Department of Basic Education. Contact number, 012 357 3000, or Apply now before it’s too late!

Repeat your matric

To repeat matric approach your nearest high school and talk to the principal to find out what to do. Visit the following website to find out about the Second Chance Programme, You can also register for an ABET (Adult Basic Education and Training) course ABET courses give you a Matric equivalent qualification.

Study an NCV at a TVET College

There are other alternative options to a matric which provide an equivalent qualification. TVET College, for instance, offer various vocational options. TVET Colleges provide and equivalent programme that is vocationally orientated, called a National Certificate Vocational (NCV) which is the equivalent of the current National Senior Certificate (NSC). The minimum entry requirement for a TVET College is a grade 9 certificate and it takes three years to complete.

Get a Job

For some young people failure in matric may mean the decision to take the next step in search of employment. Networking with family members is a good way to start building contacts in order to start the search for a job. Get your CV ready and then actively looking for employment in newspapers, on the internet, and through direct contact wth employers. Do part-time voluntary work to develop the skills and confidence to take the next step.


Nobody plans to fail matric but it happens to many young people. Fortunately, there are options available. If you are a parent then reassure your child through actions and words they are fully accepted, that this is a temporary set-back which you will overcome the set-back together.

Failure is not the end it is only part of the process. You can lose the battle and still win the war. Examples of this are shown time and time again. Richard Branson never had the opportunity to finish the 8th grade let alone study further. If Bill Gates had not dropped out of Harvard then Microsoft may never have been born. Despite the set-back, repeating a year gives you the opportunity to improve your marks and to do the course you want to.  Take the advice of Henry Ford: Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, only more intelligently (Henry Ford).