Curriculum » Senior Certificate

Senior Certificate

The last Senior Certificate examination based on the policy document, A Resume of instructional programmes in schools (Report 550), which allowed learners with incomplete Senior Certificate credits, as well as adult learners of 21 years and older, was conducted in June 2014.

However, based on the need for a qualification for adults that is equivalent to the current National Senior Certificate (NSC), the Minister of Basic Education has approved the revision of the current Senior Certificate qualification such that it can be offered by learners who will have no alternative route to follow post June 2014. The Senior Certificate, retains its qualification structure but will utilise the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) subjects to support the qualification. This implies that the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) subjects will be offered as part of the Senior Certificate. The first examination based on the Senior Certificate (as amended) was written in May/June 2015. All Senior Certificate subjects that were passed prior to June 2015, at Higher Grade and Standard Grade levels, excluding Lower Grade conversions, will be recognized.

The Senior Certificate also allows candidates to obtain University endorsement. As in the case of the NSC exam, they can also qualify for admission to Bachelor, Diploma or Higher Certificate programmes at Higher Education institutions. See the Notice issued by the Minister of Higher Education and Training.


Admission to the Senior Certificate

The following learners will qualify for admission to the Senior Certificate:

  • Adult learners who are 21 years and older who have:
    • a General Education and Training Certificate (GETC); or
    • a Grade 9 school report (or the old standard seven). stating that they have passed Grade 9 or Standard 7; or
    • a recognised equivalent qualification obtained at NQF Level which requires two official languages.
  • Adult learners who are 21 years and older with an incomplete Senior Certificate qualification.
  • Adult learners who are 21 years and older with an incomplete National Senior Certificate
  • Only in exceptional cases, out of school youth, who are 18-21 years old and who could not complete their school education due to circumstances beyond their control, as verified by the Head of Department in the Provincial Education Department.
  • Adult candidates who are 21 years and older with an incomplete NSC may choose to complete the NSC as part-time candidates, or convert to the Senior Certificate.  Should the candidate choose to convert to the Senior Certificate, they may not revert to the NSC and attempt to complete the NSC qualification.
  • Adult candidates who have already obtained a qualification but wish to improve their results/status.


Subjects to be offered

The subjects listed below which are part of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement of the National Senior Certificate, will be offered as part of the amended Senior Certificate. The subjects will in essence be the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements of the National Senior Certificate, excluding the School-Based Assessment (SBA) component.

Each candidate must offer six subjects in order to qualify for the Senior Certificate (as amended). Adults who have approved Senior Certificate subject credits, but do not comply with the required six-subject package, must select the remaining required subjects from the following list of 34 adapted National Senior Certificate subjects:

Table A: Official languages at Home and First Additional level



Afrikaans Home language


Afrikaans First Additional Language


English Home Language


English First Additional Language


IsiNdebele Home Language


IsiNdebele First Additional Language


IsiXhosa Home Language


IsiXhosa First Additional Language


IsiZulu Home Language


IsiZulu First Additional Language


Sepedi Home Language


Sepedi First Additional Language


Sesotho Home Language


Sesotho First Additional Language


Setswana Home Language


Setswana First Additional Language


SiSwati Home Language


SiSwati First Additional Language


Tshivenda Home Language


Tshivenda First Additional Language


Xitsonga Home Language


Xitsonga First Additional Language



Table B1: Agriculture



Agricultural Sciences



Table B2: Business, Commerce and Management Studies





Business Studies





Table B3: Human and Social Studies







Religion Studies



Table B4: Physical, Mathematical, Computer and Life Sciences



Computer Applications Technology


Information Technology


Life Sciences


Mathematical Literacy




Physical Sciences



The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements for the above-listed Senior Certificate subjects are available here.


Subjects to be recognized

Senior Certificate subjects credits that were passed prior to June 2015, at Higher Grade and Standard Grade levels, excluding Lower Grade conversions, will be recognized.

With the exception of Business English N3, Second Language, and/or Sakeafrikaans N3, Second Language, no N3 subjects will be recognised.

In the case of learners, who have attempted the National Senior Certificate examination, but were unable to complete all the subject requirements, such candidates will have all their previous credits recognised.


The Senior Certificate examination is written in May/June of each year. Candidates writing the Senior Certificate will be exempt from School Based Assessment(SBA), and this implies that the examination in the subject will constitute 100% of the final mark.

Examinations will be administered at designated examination centres determined by the Provincial Education Department. The examination may also be offered by the independent assessment bodies accredited by Umalusi.


Promotion requirements 

A Senior Certificate will be achieved by an adult candidate who satisfies the following requirements in these examinations:

  1. Pass three subjects at 40%, one of which must be an official language at Home Language level.
  2. Pass two subjects at 30%, one of which must be an official language at First Additional or Home Language level.
  3. Obtain a subminimum of 20% in the sixth subject.


Registration for the 2024 Senior Certificate Examination

Registration for the 2024 exams may be done online ( or at any education district office. Both online registration and manual registration will close on 8 February 2024.

Preparation for the Senior Certificate Examination

Learners that intend to write the Senior Certificate examination must commence with preparations for the examinations immediately, given that the curriculum is a year programme. Learners may obtain the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) for the relevant subject from the DBE website or the nearest provincial education office. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has made available an Examination Guideline, which provides a framework on the structure and format of the examination.

Exemplar question papers based on CAPS are also available on the DBE website.

FAQs on Senior Certificate 
  1. Question: I wrote my matric in 2013 but did not gain university exemption. I would like to rewrite some of the subjects that I failed so as to gain entry into university. Will writing the SC help me?

    Answer: Yes, the SC exam certificate does offer the opportunity to enter any higher education institution.

  2. Question: I failed 2 subjects when I wrote my matric in 1999. If I write the SC examinations will I be able to combine my 1999 SC results with the SC results?

    Answer: Yes you can, but keep in mind that only selected subjects are available and you have to comply with the subject choice requirements.

  3. Question: I wrote 3 subjects in the 2018 SC exams and wrote 3 more in the 2019 SC exams but on my statement of results it is written ‘incomplete’. Must I write more subjects?

    Answer: Not necessarily. You have to apply for a combination of results and you have to comply with the subject choice and pass requirements.

  4. Question: I want a matric certificate but the subjects I want to offer are not on the SC Subject list. What options do I have?

    Answer: Unfortunately, subjects with a practical component cannot be made available, because candidates are not receiving full time tuition.

Contacts for enquiries

Eastern Cape

Ms N Mbeleki - 040 602 7028/94 |

Free State

Mr TK Basjan: 051 404 8397 |


Certification: Nomthandazo Malinga: 
Exams: Cleopatra Zwane: 


Mr RC Penniston: 031 332 5173


Ms V Tshetlo: 015 290 9439


Mr CS Manyabeane - 013 766 0006 |

North West

Mr RD Moroeng - 018 388 0849 | 

Northern Cape

Mr S Maketlo: 053 839 6301/2 or

Western Cape

Mrs. L Bredenkamp - 021 4672945/6 | 

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