supplementary exams

Matric is one of the most important years in a student’s educational career. This is because a student’s matric results will determine what opportunities they are able to pursue. Whether this is tertiary education or employment opportunities will depend on their matric results. This can put a great deal of pressure on students, which may adversely affect their performance in exams.

Fortunately, Examination Bodies lik ethe Department of Basic Education (DBE), SACAI and the IEB, offer supplementary exams, though not everyone is aware of this. That is why we decided to write this article to take a look at this fantastic second chance. We will look at what supplementary exams are, and their requirements for admission. We will also look at some of the resources available to assist students in preparing for these exams. We hope this will help matric students who weren’t quite able to pass their National Senior Certificate (NSC) to utilise this second chance. Allowing them to pursue their dreams to the best of their ability.

What are supplementary exams?

Supplementary exams are an additional exam opportunity for matric students who failed to meet the requirements of the NSC or just want to have a second opportunity to improve their Examination mark. This may be necessary because you missed an exam or did not achieve the required results some subjects. Supplementary exams give students a chance to rewrite their final exams to try and improve their results or complete outstanding results to obtain their NSC. The NSC supplementary examinations take place in the May/June exam period. These exams can only be written for subjects that the students took in their original matric year. The pass mark for these supplementary exams is the same as the original exam of the subject.

Who qualifies for supplementary exams?

While supplementary exams provide a wonderful opportunity, not all students qualify to write them. To qualify for a supplementary exa,m students must meet the following conditions:

  • Candidates who were absent from one or more external question papers, with a valid reason (medically unfit, death in the immediate family, or other). These candidates may register provided they have valid external paper marks or marks from non-exam assessments throughout the year.
  • Any NSC candidate who wrote exams from November 2008 onwards wanting to improve their overall results, or only wants to improve the results of a subject may register for the June NSC examination.
  • In cases where an irregularity is being investigated, the candidates concerned may be granted provisional enrolment for the NSC June examination, pending the outcome of the investigation.
  • Candidates who didn’t write or complete one or more of the NSC November exam papers for reasons other than illness/injury or death in the family. These candidates may also apply to write the NSC June examination provided they have valid external paper marks.

In cases where a candidate was absent from one or more papers in the NSC November exam, with a valid reason. The candidate will have to write all the question papers for the registered subject(s) in the supplementary exams.

Registering for supplementary exams

If you meet the above criteria to write supplementary exams, you may be wondering how to register for them. In order to register candidates will need to register for these exams directly with the Examination body through which they did their NSC, The Department of Education, IEB or SACAI.

The closing date for the applications for the 2022 supplementary exams is 

  • Department of Education: 8th of February 2023.
  • IEB: 8th of February 2023.
  • SACAI: 24th February 2023.

 To register you will need the following documentation:

  • The statement of your results
  • A certified copy of your ID or passport (for foreign nationals)
  • If applicable, a written statement describing the reasons for being absent from the NSC November 2022 examination, along with supporting documents.

Second chance matric programme

If you get a supplementary exam you may be wondering how best to prepare for this second chance. Fortunately, the DBE has implemented the second chance matric programme for precisely this. This programme is intended to provide resources to support students as they prepare for their supplementary exams. These resources include the following:

  • Online materials: There are a number of online study resources for a variety of subjects. These are available on the DBE’s website here and include study guides, video tutorials, audio lessons, and past exam papers. All of which can be utilised to help students prepare for their exams.
  • Internet access: The DBE, through a partnership with Vodacom, also provides internet access to students. This allows them to access online resources even if they do not have internet access at home. This internet access is provided at a number of Vodacom centres across the country, to find one close to you consult the list on the DBE’s website here.
  • Lessons: The DBE also provides in-person lessons for students at a number of centres. You can download the full list of these centres here to find your nearest one.

All of the resources provided by the second chance matric programme are completely free of charge. As they are intended to help students succeed no matter their socio-economic background.


As we have seen supplementary exams provide a second chance for students to obtain or improve their matric qualification or NSC. This can be of great help to students who missed an exam due to circumstances beyond their control, or who were just short of the NSC requirements. We hope this article has helped to show these students that there is a second chance available to them, and how they can utilise it. We hope it allows them to achieve their goals and build the life they’ve always wanted.

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1 thought on “supplementary exams”

  1. Hi what is the cost to rewrite a subject failed? Due date for SACAI is 24 February and when is it written? In June?

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