Gareth Cotterell
Digital News Editor
2 minute read
3 Dec 2021
12:43 pm

What to do if you fail your matric exams

Gareth Cotterell

Pupils that do not pass their exams have options available to them.

Picture: Citizen.co.za/Tracy Lee Stark

With Covid-19, some pupils have found their matric year to be more difficult than expected.

The pandemic has led to some pupils struggling during their most important school year because they didn’t have the usual face-to-face teaching, there was a lack of resources or they couldn’t access the internet to study online.

But failing matric is not the end of the road. Pupils that do not pass their exams have options available to them.

The last matric exam is set to be written on 7 December and the results are expected to be released by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on 20 January 2022.

ALSO READ: When will be the matric exams results be released?

If your results are not what you had hoped for, there are steps you can take to get a second chance.

Exam re-marking

If you fail some subjects, and you suspect a mistake was made, you can apply for your exams to be re-marked.

To do this, you need to ask your school or the provincial education department for the relevant forms to apply for your exam papers to be checked again. There is, however, a fee that needs to be paid for each exam paper that you want re-marked.


Find your 2021 matric results here.


This is the best option if you failed by a narrow margin and only need a few extra marks to pass.

You need to apply for a re-mark within 21 days of the matric results being released.

Supplementary exams

If you only failed one or two subjects there is an option to write a new exam and try improve your results. These are usually written in May and June.

Supplementary exams can also be written if a pupil wasn’t able to write an exam because they were sick or were absent due to a death in the family.

Applications to write supplementary exams also need to be made within 21 days of the results being released.

Repeat the school year

If you failed three or more subjects, or you think that repeating the school year could benefit you, redoing matric is a possibility.

This requires you to be at school for another whole year and could also be costly as an extra year of school fees will have to be paid.

Some pupils, however, prefer to take this route as they see it as the best way to improve their overall Grade 12 results.

There are also some private schools that allow pupils to repeat the matric year for certain subjects.

Study without matric

If the above options aren’t suitable, students can continue studying without a matric certificate.

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges allow students to get a diploma in a specific field. These course prepare students for jobs in a particular sector.

TVET colleges cover many fields, including agriculture, arts, business, hospitality, management, education, engineering, manufacturing, construction and security.

NOW READ: What is a matric certificate and what can you do with it?