Is It Possible To Fail A Subject And Still Pass Matric?

By Trev Gami •  Updated: 01/23/24 •  6 min read

Wondering if you can pass matric when you fail one subject? The fear of failing an exam unnerves many people, which can affect their performance. However, some fears are baseless since candidates can still achieve their goals even when they perform poorly in certain subjects. Therefore, it is essential to prepare for your exams fully knowing all the requirements to increase your chances of success. This article explains the measures you should take to pass matric. 

Is It Possible To Fail A Subject And Still Pass Matric?

Matric passes come in different levels, and candidates must obtain a minimum number of subjects to succeed in matric. If you fail three subjects in your matric exams, then you have failed the class. If you fail only one subject, you can still pass matric

Essentially, matric students must write seven subjects, and they need to pass six to get pass status. However, you are not allowed to fail your home language. This means you can fail any of the other six subjects, including Life Orientation, but home language must be compulsory. 

Another condition you should know is that you must pass your subjects with at least 40% or better. Many people mistakenly believe that 30% is the minimum pass at matric, but this is not true. 

Adult matric students must pass five subjects to qualify for a matric certificate. However, all candidates must pass their home language. Even if you fail Maths or Science, you can still get a Bachelor’s Degree pass in your matric

How Can I Get My Matric Certificate if I Failed Matric?

You can still get your Matric certificate even if you fail your exams. However, it will bear information about the subjects you have passed and failed. In other words, your certificate will have information stating that you failed your matric year. 

However, this is not an issue since you can improve your passes and get a combined certificate showing passed credits only without failure. There are different options you can consider to get your matric certificate if you fail initially, including a matric rewrite and matric upgrade.  

Full-time students are given a second chance to rewrite the matric subjects they have failed. This option is known as matric rewrite or supplementary examination. Candidates are allowed to write a maximum of two subjects in which they did not get good grades in their previous exam.   

When results are released, you need to check if you can manage to rewrite the subjects you have failed. This option is available to high school graduates and designed to help them improve their passes. If the course you want to study demands high passes, you can use a supplementary exam to address the challenge.  

You can also improve your results through a matric upgrade program. This course is meant for adult students who want to get matric certificates after improving their passes. To be eligible for this program, you must be above 21 years. 

The good thing about matric rewrite and matric upgrade is that your old and new results are combined, so you’ll remain with one certificate. The history of failure does not appear on your new matric certificate. You can use it to apply for a degree program or other courses at tertiary institutions. 

Can You Fail Math and Still Pass Matric?

Yes, you can still pass your matric after failing Maths. It is allowed to fail any one subject in matric except your home language. However, you should always know that you need to obtain good passes to be able to get a place to study at university. 

How Many Subjects Do I Need to Pass Matric?

Matric students must sit for seven subjects in their examination and are allowed to pass six. If you fail one subject which is not your home language, you will still pass. However, one can pass adult matric with five subjects since it does not include Life Orientation. The Adult Matric Course only includes six subjects, so candidates can fail one and still pass their matric.   

What Is the Minimum Pass Mark for Matric?

Many people believe that the minimum pass for matric is 30%, but this is not true. If you obtain a pass mark of 30% in all seven subjects, then you cannot get your National Senior Certificate. Candidates must get at least 40% or higher in three subjects to pass their matric.

The following are the four matric pass levels you should know to help you determine the course you want to study at university or other tertiary institutions. 

Bachelor’s Pass 

This pass allows you to go straight into university and choose to pursue a higher certificate or a diploma. You must meet the following requirements to get a bachelor’s pass.

Diploma pass

Candidates who achieve this pass can enroll in private or TVET colleges or universities of technology for their diploma course. You must meet the following requirements:

Certificate pass

This qualification allows you to study for a higher certificate.

The type of pass you get in Matric determines the course you will study at tertiary learning institutions. You will not get a place to study in any higher learning institution if you score 30% in all your subjects. However, there are other avenues you can consider when you fail matric because not every candidate should go to Higher Education institutions. 

Which Subjects Do Most Students Fail in Matric?

Commonly, most students fail Science and Mathematics in matric due to a lack of interest in them. Ironically, these two subjects are highly sought after in universities. If you have good passes in maths and Science and other subjects, your admission into college or university is guaranteed. In some cases, teachers are inexperienced, and this leads to poor performance of the students. 

Can You Fail Maths or Science and Still Pass Matric?

Yes, you can pass your matric after failing Maths or Science, but not both. You are allowed to fail only one subject, excluding your home language. Other candidates attain a Bachelor’s Degree pass level even when they have failed Science or Maths.

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