Let’s Get Real: Failing Matric/No Money


Failing is not the end of the road


The Matric final exams are getting closer, and Martin is really stressed out about the possibility of failing. To put his mind at ease, I decided to write about my personal experience.

I remember the excitement I felt when I wrote my last exam. I couldn’t wait to get home that day, kick off my shoes and relax. I didn’t want to open a book again, or talk about the exams – I wanted to be stress-free and to enjoy my holiday.

That lasted for about a week…

Suddenly and without warning, I started feeling anxious. I began to dread my Matric results – had I done enough? There was one particular exam I worried about because when I wrote the exam, I didn’t feel like I gave the right answers. The feelings of dread and angst began to weigh heavily on me. Have you ever felt that way? Like you wanted to hide from the world – like you wanted just to disappear so that you don’t have to deal with the possibility of failing? These thoughts kept running through my mind.

As you know, I’m in my second year of studies, which means I must’ve worked through all my fears. I did, but not before I had to face a few obstacles. You will always find these on your path, but remember they don’t indicate the end of the road! They may just be opportunities to rethink your path or decisions.

Your Options

1. Write supplementary exams

Matric students may write supplementary exams under the following circumstances.

  • They failed only two subjects.
  • They couldn’t write their exams due to illness. (Students need a medical certificate as proof)
  • They did not meet the Higher Education admission requirements. (A pass mark of 40% in three subjects, of which one must be an official language, and a pass mark of 30% in the three other subjects)
  • They experienced personal problems. (This could be something like death in the family)

Supplementary exams can either be written at your school (where you will write your November exams) or at a designated learning centre set out for Matric supplementary exams. The dates for supplementary exams usually run from 11 February to 18 March. Bear in mind that you have to officially apply for supplementary exams. Applications should be made before 20 January. There are no costs involved. Results for supplementary exams are usually released around the end of April.

2. Request a re-mark

If you suspect that your answer sheets have been unfairly marked, you could request a re-mark. A re-mark, however, is not free. You will have to pay a fee for every subject you would like checked.  

When to request a re-mark: You had no problem answering the questions and suspect not all your answers have been marked. 
Things you need to keep in mind when requesting a re-mark:
  • There is a deadline for re-mark applications. (20 January)
  • You will have to pay a fee.

3. Repeat Matric 

If you do not qualify for a supplementary exam, you may want to consider re-doing your Matric year. Repeating Matric might sound like a terrible idea, but if you are determined to obtain a Matric certificate, this is a good option. 

4. Further your studies at a FET/TVET college

If you are unable to re-do your Matric year, you have the option to study at a FET (Further Education and Training) or TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) college.

FET/TVET colleges are ideal for students who have not successfully finished Matric. The courses focus on equipping students with skills that can lead to successful careers. These colleges are affordable and offer many courses that only require you to have a Grade 10, be at least 16 years of age and able to read and write English. 

By furthering your studies at a FET/TVET college, you can gain valuable knowledge and skills that could lead to a professional career. 

College SA is a TVET college that offers quality education to students all over South Africa. If you would like to find out more about College SA’s courses, visit the courses page.

No money to further your studies?

FET/TVET colleges are a great option if you do not have the money to study further. Not only do they offer courses at affordable prices, but they also have very affordable payment options.

College SA has three payment options. Students can choose to pay the full course fee, pay it off in monthly instalments or pay per subject.

If you would like to find out more about the payment options, click here.  


Despite public opinion that Matric is necessary to succeed in life, there are alternatives available to you. Explore your options!

Don’t give up!

Desi Signature16

the Distance Learning Diva


Disclaimer:  Martin and Desi are fictional characters created by College SA for educational purposes.