Supplementary Exam: Everything You Need to Know

All is not lost…

If you’re a 2017 Matriculant looking to be accepted into a tertiary institution or hoping to become employed, passing Matric and receiving your certificate is one of the essentials. However, due to various circumstances, Matric exams may have been an overwhelming struggle for you, resulting in you not meeting the minimum requirements to pass Grade 12 and step into your planned future. But all is not lost – you may qualify for a supplementary exam, allowing you a second chance to pass your failed subject/s.

Supplementary exam vs Rewriting your Matric

A supplementary exam is an exam written in February/March of the year immediately after your Matric final. You can also rewrite your Matric at the end of the year (normally in November), up to 5 years after you completed Matric. If more than 5 years have gone by since you completed Matric, you need to apply for an  Amended Senior Certificate.

Do I qualify to write a supplementary exam?

According to the Department of Education you qualify for a supplementary exam:

  • If you did not pass Grade 12 but need to pass 2 subjects to obtain your NSC. You can register a maximum of 2 subjects for your supplementary exam. However, you need to have written these subjects during their final year exam.
  • If you were medically unfit or had another special reason for being absent for an exam, you may register for the supplementary examination.
  • If there is a death in your immediate family, you may register for the supplementary examination.
  • If you provide evidence that you qualify for admission to a higher education institution/occupation but do not satisfy the requirements, or if you are one requirement short in meeting the minimum admission requirements for higher certificate, diploma and bachelor degree programs, you can register for supplementary exams. However, you are only allowed to register for a maximum of 2 subjects.
  • In a case where an irregularity is being investigated, provisional enrollment for supplementary examination may be granted, pending the outcome of the investigation.
  • If you were unable to write or complete one or more of the National Senior Certificate examination question papers for reasons other than illness or injury, you may apply to write the supplementary examination, provided that a written report is submitted by the principal of the school to the Head of the assessment body.

How do I register for a supplementary exam?

  1. Contact the Department of Education, via your school.
  2. The closing date for applications is still to be released, but will be in January 2018. But avoid any further stress and register as soon as possible, after receiving your results.

The supplementary examinations usually take place in February and March, however, the 2018 dates have not yet been finalized, so keep an eye on the media releases posted on the Department of Education website, as well as updates posted via our BrightSparkzSA Twitter page and BrightSparkz Tutors Facebook page. 



04 JANUARY 2018 at Midnight


02 JANUARY 2018 at Midnight

Individual results available at schools and

05 JANUARY 2017

If you’d like to receive an instant Email or SMS as soon as your results are released, sign up via the eNCA website – the official partners of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) for 2017 Matric results.

*For answers to other frequently asked questions about supplementary exams, visit:

How do I prepare for my supplementary exam?

  • Past Exam Papers

Past exam papers are some of the best form of revision. Get access to a number of papers for various subjects via YOU Online or directly from the Department of Education’s examinations page.

  • Tutoring

This is also an excellent time to consider tutoring. Our tutors will assist you with those difficult sections of work you just can’t seem to grasp on your own, and will help ensure you cover all the material needed before your rewrite. By getting support systems in place well in advance, you will improve your chances of improving your marks and passing your failed subject/s.

Get in touch with us via our supplementary exam page and we’ll set you up with a tutor who will be there with you every step of the way. 

We want to see you succeed, and assist you in achieving the marks that you not only need, but are capable of.

What do I do if I don’t qualify to write a supplementary exam?

If you don’t meet the criteria for a supplementary exam (listed above), you have the following options:

  • Re-enrol for the NSC at a school without delay, if you are younger than 21 years old, or as a part-time candidate at a Public Adult Education Centre, if you are older than 21
  • Register for the Senior Certificate (SC) examination which is a school leaving qualification for adults and out-of school learners
  • Alternatively, if you were not successful in your examinations, you could consider vocational education and training. There are 50 Public Further Education and Training (FET) colleges across all provinces of South Africa comprising over 300 campuses or teaching sites.


Find out more information, or book a tutor for your supplementary exams now!

Still not sure if a supplementary exam is for you? Read our blog article to decide!

Matric Supplementary Exam Supplementary Exam Tutor







Written By: Ashleigh de Jager, BrightSparkz Blog Writer (containing inserts from the DoE website)