Did you leave school without passing matric? In South Africa, it is very common for people, especially older people, to have had to leave school without formally finishing their studies. Possibly you flunked your final matric examinations. Or possibly you had to leave school early and attend to family needs or enter the workforce to support your loved ones. Luckily, even if the days of Grade 12 are just a memory for you, you can still achieve this educational goal and further your employment and educational prospects with an adult matric
What is Adult Matric?
Adult matric is a catch-all term for a matric option offered to learners over the age of 21 years. Adult matrics are used both for people who never had the opportunity to take (or pass) their matric exam to gain the qualification, as well as for people to upgrade the results they received for a better pass type.
How to register for Adult Matric – Senior Certificate (Amended)
You can directly register for the Adult Matric (Senior Certificate (Amended)) exams with the Department of Basic Education, both through their offices and online. This will entitle you to a seat in the examination hall for your adult matric, in the session you register for.
However, it is uncommon for people to be able to simply walk into the exam hall and write the paper. You will either need to assemble up-to-date textbooks and past papers to learn entirely independently, take advantage of the ‘Second Chance’ classes offered in some locations by the Department of Education, or find an adult matric learning program at an educational facility.
These will offer a course-like structure, learning material, and possibly online or in-person classes to help guide you back into the study mindset. If you are not confident doing all the work entirely by yourself, this is a great way to set yourself up for success. You will need to find an institution offering adult matric in your area (or online) and enroll according to the guidelines they give.
Who Qualifies for an Adult Matric in 2023?
Most people who wish to obtain or improve their existing matric results qualify for an adult matric. The key requirement is that you are over 21 years of age. This doesn’t mean younger learners who fail cannot retake or improve their matric, simply that they still qualify for the supplementary matric sessions (‘matric rewrite’) offered by the Department of Basic Education until they reach this age.
Typically, you are required to have basic schooling to NQF 1 (Grade 9). Most people will have this, as this is the minimum school-leaving point for anyone after 1996, or an equivalent certificate.
If you are an older adult learner who did not achieve up to Grade 9, possibly leaving after primary school, there may still be options for you, but you will have to approach institutions and explain your circumstances.
You will need to be fluent in either Afrikaans or English. You can take both together, or use one as your first language and another language you speak as your compulsory second language.
Difference Between An Adult Matric / Senior Certificate (Amended) And A School Matric Certificate (NSC)
Functionally, there is very little difference between an ‘adult matric’ and a standard school matric (NSC) certificate. They are both NQF 4 qualifications that entitle you to pursue higher academic learning.
However, they differ in how they are achieved. The only way to get an NSC/school matric certificate is by sitting the end-of-year Grade 12 exams and passing them, or passing them through supplementary exams after your initial examination sitting. Results are determined 75% through the final exam, and 25% by your coursework during your final year.
For learners over the age of 21, you will instead receive the senior certificate (amended). This is a self-paced study course through accredited facilities. The final examination counts for 100% of your marks.
Despite these differences, the end certificate performs exactly the same role, just with a different name.
How Much Does an Adult Matric Certificate Cost?
If you are confident enough to enroll by yourself through the Department of Education’s ‘Second Chance’ matric program, it is 100% free. However, remember that you will need to provide your own textbooks and study material, so there will be some costs involved.
If you opt for a learning program, which is the better idea for most adult students, you need to plan for anything from R5,000 to R21,000 for the adult matric course. This depends on where you register, how intense the program is, how long you take to complete it, and how many subjects you choose.
Where Can You Register for an Adult Matric in 2023?
If you prefer to self-manage your studies for your adult matric, you only need to register for the right exam session with the Department of Basic Education, which can be done online or at an office. You can also attend a limited number of classes through their ‘Second Chance’ program, although access to these classes will depend on local interest and where you live.
If you want to attend a structured learning program for adult matric, they are typically offered by colleges and TVET colleges/vocational schools. They are also offered online through some institutions and even UNISA.
How To Prepare For The Adult Matric Exams
You will prepare for your adult matric the same way you would any higher learning opportunity. You need to plan the length of your studies realistically around your free time. Choose a learning institution that fits these needs. For example, night classes, weekend classes, or distance learning. Then plan to work methodically through the study material- again, be realistic about other responsibilities you have and what you can do. When you are ready to sit the final exam session, consult your timetable carefully, plan out your final studies, and be prepared for the exam on the day.
Achieving your matric as an adult is a great educational goal- good luck!
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