How to get your matric as an adult in 2020

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The Department of Basic Education has amended and changed the requirements for the Senior Certificate qualifications for adults.

Adults who want to complete their matric have to study subjects listed by the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. If you didn't manage to pass your 2021 matric exams, are 21 and older and wish to complete your matric or apply for university, you will need to write the Amended Senior Certificate. Here's everything you need to know to get you started.


Also see: An alternative to matric and varsity: your study options in SA explained

When do I write the exams?

The ASC exams take place in June/July 2021 each. Registration for the exams must be done at any education district office or online. Registration for 2021 opened last year (03 November 2020) and will close this year on 31 March 2021. 

Who can write the Amended Senior Certificate?

Those who qualify to register for a Senior Certificate are adults over the ages of 21 with one of the following:   

  • a General Education and Training Certificate (GETC), or    
  • a Grade 9 or Standard 7 report stating they passed the year, or    
  • a recognised equivalent obtained at NQF level 1 which requires two official languages.

You can also register if:

  • you have an incomplete Senior Certificate, or
  • your School-Based Assessment (SBA) has expired.

Only in special cases will candidates between the ages of 18 and 20 be allowed to write the Amended Senior Certificate exams. This will be done at the discretion of the Head of Education in their province. Prospective students must also have one of the following before applying to the head:

  • a GETC for Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET),
  • a Grade 9 or Standard 7 report stating they passed,
  • a recognised equivalent qualification obtained at NQF level 1, which required two official languages. 

How do I register for the exams?

If a candidate is self-studying, they can register online on their province's education department website. Those who are affiliated with an Adult Learning Centre will register at the institution.

What do I need to register for the exams?

South African candidates:

  • a certified copy of your previous results (see above for entry requirements)
  • a certified copy of your ID
  • proof of residence

Foreign candidates:

  • a copy of your previous results or highest qualifications (please make sure these have been assessed by the South African Qualifications Associations)
  • a copy of your valid passport, visa or study permit
  • proof of residence

    Where can I study?

    You can study on your own or at an adult learning centre. The Adult Basic Education and Training website has a list of institutions where candidates can study and apply for Amended Senior Certificates.

    What textbooks do I need?

    You can download a list of suggested textbooks for the ASC on your province's education department website (details below). You will only be required to buy one textbook for each subject that you are registered to write.

    Also read: Matric pass: Are expectations too low?

    What are the pass requirements?

    If you are entering the ASC without credits, you must:

    1. Register for a minimum of 6 subjects:

    • two must be official languages,
    • one of the languages must be taken at a Home Language Level, and the other as a First Additional Language.

    2. Pass at least 5 subjects:

    • you must obtain at least 40% in three subjects, one of them being a Home Language,
    • 30% in two other subjects, one of which must be an official language at First Additional of Home Language level, and
    • obtain a sub-minimum of 20% in the final exams.

    Also read: Multilingualism in education must be celebrated as a resource, not a problem

    Will my previous credits count?

    Senior Certificate subject credits that learners may have passed previously and prior to June 2015, at Higher and Standard Grade levels, will be recognised. With the exception of Business English N3, Second Language, and/or Sakeafrikaans N3, Second Language, no other N3 subjects will be recognised.

    Candidates must note:

    • you must have at least obtained 40% to qualify for a higher grade pass in that subject.
    • you must have at least obtained 33.3% for a second language higher grade.
    • you must have obtained at least 33.3% to qualify for a standard grade pass in that subject.
    • no lower grade credits will be recognised.
    • you must have obtained at least 40% in Sake Afrikaans or Business English at first or second level.

    These candidates must look at the subjects now offered for the ASC and select the remaining required subjects. Remember, subject selection must include two official languages, one at home language level and the other must at least at first additional language level. 

    Can I combine results from my previous matric and the ASC?

    National Senior Certificate candidates who are older than 21 with expired school-based assessments will be able to combine their new ASC subjects with the NSC subjects they passed. 

    You may combine any number of previous credits from the Senior Certificate, National Senior Certificate or N3 languages. The best six subjects will be considered and you must pass at least five subjects in the combination.

    You can offer a minimum of one Senior Certificate subject and it should have been passed with a minimum of 30%. You cannot combine the same subjects from different qualifications, eg Life Sciences and Biology (see new subject names below). 

    If you have further questions about the Amended Senior Certificate, call you local education department or visit the Department of Basic Education for more information. 

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