6 ways to get back on track after disappointing Matric results

Ribane Laka High School principal Martha Ngoma celebrates with her 2019 matric top achievers. Picture: Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)

Ribane Laka High School principal Martha Ngoma celebrates with her 2019 matric top achievers. Picture: Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 9, 2020


Matrics from the Class of 2019 who failed, didn’t perform optimally, or didn’t get the results they needed to pursue their chosen field of study should not despair, as there is a range of options available to them to address the situation, say education experts.

"Remember that this is not the end of the road, and that although some extra work will be required, you can rectify the situation and still pursue your professional dreams down the line, even if it is a little later than you had hoped," says Horace Mpanza, MD of ADvTECH Schools’ Abbotts College High School.

"It is better to make the time and effort now, and start from a position of strength a few months or a year down the line, than to resign yourself to forever having results that won’t do you any favours in the job market," he adds.

Mpanza says that depending on one’s performance, there are a number of paths to pursue, including to:

Redo Matric

A Grade 12 student may opt to redo their entire year so that they can improve all of their marks. This is a good option for those learners who did not perform well enough to qualify for studying towards their chosen qualification.

"Remember if your marks increase, your admission point score will also increase. If the thought of returning to your old school is too intimidating, look into the option of completing Matric through a registered and accredited private institution, but be sure to select one with a reputation for academic excellence as a result of its commitment to assisting learners with improving their results," he explains.

Redo Matric and upgrade some subjects

Grade 12 learners who only need higher marks in some of their subjects do not need to redo all of their subjects. Instead, they can enrol on a part-time basis for 1-6 subjects.

"Good institutions will assist learners with making decisions about the best course of action. For instance, they may look at the student’s results and then identify if there isn’t an extra subject that they can redo to increase their overall marks," says Mpanza.

Write supplementary papers later in the year

“This is an option, but one that should be considered carefully,” he says.

“Because you won’t be attending any formal classes to help you overcome the challenges which led to the disappointing results in the first place, you need to be extremely self-disciplined and focused to make this option work. It can be done, but be sure that you are 100% committed when going this route.”

Do a bridging course

Another option is to do a bridging course through a tertiary institution.

"Be careful to ensure that the bridging course will provide access to your preferred degree down the line, by speaking to a student advisor at the institution," Mpanza advises.

Additional options open to learners, are to complete Matric through distance learning, or pursue a vocational qualification, says Elbie Liebenberg, Managing Director of Oxbridge Academy, which serves more than 20 000 South African distance learning students every year.

"No matter what the outcome of your final exams were, there are always options, and sometimes finding the right way forward – for your specific circumstances and aspirations – just requires some research," she says.

Matric via distance learning

“The benefit of doing Matric subject rewrites or your entire Matric via distance learning, is that it is affordable and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

“However, it is imperative that you find a respected, registered and accredited institution, with a reputation for user-friendly and easy to understand learning materials, and excellent tutor support available both telephonically and online,” Liebenberg says.

Vocational training

“A vocational qualification makes you more employable, by providing the specific skills and theoretical knowledge required in fields such as, for instance, office management, childcare, small business management, and hospitality and catering services,” she says.

“All of the aforementioned qualifications can be completed without having a Matric certificate and via distance learning, which means that you can even start earning while you’re learning.”