What Is Matric Exemption?

By Tevait Feanle •  Updated: 01/23/24 •  5 min read

While we often think of passing your matric as the only way into tertiary education in South Africa, that’s far from the reality. Many students obtain matric-equivalent qualifications from different education boards or even countries and want to further their studies at a university in South Africa. Alternatively, many students (especially older students) may leave with a matric that doesn’t qualify them for university entrance but subsequently obtain certificates or diplomas that ‘upgrade’ their school-leaving certificate to something in line with university requirements. 

The matric exemption system exists to help these candidates ‘convert’ the academic qualifications they have to something that will allow them to attend higher tertiary education. Today, we are unpacking everything you need to know about the matric exemption process.

What Is Matric Exemption?

A matric exemption is given to learners who have achieved non-standard matric with Bachelor’s Pass-equivalent academic certifications. As we mentioned above, this typically means one of the following circumstances:

What Are The Different Types Of Matric Exemption Certificates?

There are two main types of matric exemption certificates: conditional, and complete.

If you receive a complete matric exemption, this means that the Matriculation Board of South Africa have examined the educational and vocational qualifications you presented (and in some circumstances, also medical exemptions and other matters) and has decided that you are a fit candidate to continue into tertiary education in South Africa. These certificates do not expire.

Conditional exemption certificates are broken down into further categories:

Conditional certificates can often be converted to complete certificates once their specific benchmarks have been achieved.

What Is The Difference Between Matric Exemption And Matric Not Exempt?

Matric exemption means you have achieved the benchmarks needed to study at a university in South Africa, even if you have non-standard circumstances or academic qualifications. It means you have a ‘Bachelor’s Pass’ matric equivalent.

Matric Not Exempt means you do not qualify to attend a South African University but have qualifications or circumstances equivalent to other matric categories.

How Do I Convert My Matric Certificate To Exemption?

You will convert your matric certificate and other academic, situational, and vocational qualifications you have to an exemption certificate by applying to the Matriculation Board of South Africa for a matric exemption certificate. Most universities in South Africa will be able to apply on your behalf if you wish. 

You will have to fill in the relevant M30 form and pay for the exemption process. You will, of course, need to provide correctly certified documents proving the qualifications you do hold, as well as other life circumstances (medical/age-related) that could apply. The board will then examine your case and decide if your matric certificate can be converted to an exemption.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Exemption Certificate?

It typically takes between 6 and 8 weeks to hear back from the Matriculation Board of South Africa about your exemption certificate. It is possible to get a ‘soft’ acceptance in the form of a letter which you can present to your university of choice to enable you to continue with the application much faster than this, however. 

What Is The Age Exemption For A Matric Certificate?

If you are over the age of 23 and have relevant NQF level 4 and 5 certificates or a matric certificate on the higher grade/standard grade system used until 2008, you can apply for an age exemption on your matric certificate. There are certain subject pass requirements you must meet for this exemption, which you can find on the Matriculation Board’s website. Alternatively, candidates over 45 may be able to apply for a mature age exception regardless of their school-leaving performance based on maturity and life/vocational experience.

The matric exemption is a necessary step to being accepted to university for your first-degree course in South Africa, so be sure to stay on top of your application. 

Keep Reading

Is ABET Level 4 a Matric?

Is ABET Level 4 a Matric?

Is ABET Level 4 a Matric? Today we will explore the ABET levels, their exact relationship to the better-known Matric qualification

How Long Does It Take To Upgrade Matric Results?

How Long Does It Take To Upgrade Matric Results?

This article explains everything you want to know about upgrading your matric results.      

What Is A Matric Distinction?

What Is A Matric Distinction?

What Is A Matric Distinction. This article explains everything you should know about matric distinction.  

What is Adult Matric?

What is Adult Matric?

What is Adult Matric? We'll highlight the program's benefits, the eligibility criteria they implement, how to go through the registration process

Can You Write Matric Twice?

Can You Write Matric Twice?

In this blog post, we will take you through the possibility of doing the matric twice, how you can re-do the matric and more

Matric Results: Things to Do If You Do Not Pass

Matric Results: Things to Do If You Do Not Pass

If you have failed your matric, these are some things you should consider to find a new way forward.

What Are the Requirements For A Matric Bachelors Pass?

What Are the Requirements For A Matric Bachelors Pass?

What Are the Requirements For A Matric Bachelors Pass? Read on to learn everything you want to know about a matric bachelor’s pass level. 

Schools With the Highest Matric Pass Rate in Johannesburg

Schools With the Highest Matric Pass Rate in Johannesburg

Which Schools Have the Highest Pass Rate in Johannesburg. If you’re looking for the best school for your child, this post is for you. 

How to Replace Original Matric Certificate

How to Replace Original Matric Certificate

How to Replace Original Matric Certificate. Luckily, if you have lost your original matric certificate, Here’s how to do so.

What Is the Difference Between Matric Remark And Recheck?

What Is the Difference Between Matric Remark And Recheck?

Difference Between Matric remark And Recheck? The process of rechecking and remarking is important because it gives students, their parents.

What Is The Difference Between Matric Rewrite and Matric Upgrade?

What Is The Difference Between Matric Rewrite and Matric Upgrade?

What Is The Difference Between Matric Rewrite and Matric Upgrade? Here’s everything you need to know about both.

Who Qualifies For Matric Exemption?

Who Qualifies For Matric Exemption?

What Is IEB Matric Results

What Is IEB Matric Results

Our insightful blog will highlight IEB matric results, the qualification criteria for IEB matric, and other frequently asked questions. 

How To Access Your Matric Results Online

How To Access Your Matric Results Online

How To Access Your Matric Results Online. Looking to write matric exams? Are you prepared for matric results - then keep reading to find out more. 

How to Register For Matric Rewrite At the Department Of Education

How to Register For Matric Rewrite At the Department Of Education

In this blog post, we will dive into matric registration at the Department of Education, how to register for a matric rewrite, and many more.