Study at Unisa with Matric Exemption

Studying at UNISA after Matric is a great way to further your education through distance learning. This allows you to begin working while you further your studies at the same time. However, like any other university, you must meet the entry requirements


Some requirements may be specific subject requirements, or an APS requirement. Many people say you will need a Matric Exemption, or an Exemption pass. However, this can be confusing, as the two mean very different things. 

What Is Matric Exemption?

A Matric Exemption is a certificate of permission you can apply to get from the South African Matriculations Board. It is for if you have done a Matric qualification that is not recognised in South Africa, such as the IEB Matric. 


A Matric Exemption allows you to have your education recognised so that you can work or further your studies in South Africa. 


An Exemption pass is another name for a Bachelor’s Degree pass. This means you have passed Matric well enough to be allowed to study many Bachelor’s Degree courses. 

What Does A Matric Exemption Pass Allow You To Do?

An exemption pass is known as a Bachelor’s Degree pass. This allows you to apply to study most Bachelor’s Degree courses at universities. 


However, remember that some courses will have higher requirements or specific subject requirements. Remember to check with the university you are applying to about any additional requirements. 

Who Qualifies For Matric Exemption?

To qualify to apply for a Matric Exemption, you must meet the following requirements: 


  • You have completed Matric, but without endorsement


  • You have completed an equivalent foreign school-leaving qualification that you would like to be recognised

What About A-Levels?

Some schools in South Africa use the Cambridge system, which does not award students with a Matric Certificate once they have completed school. This means that students who studied in the Cambridge system qualify to apply for Matric Exemption once they have completed their Matric year. 

Where Do I Apply For A Matric Exemption?

You will apply for a Matric Exemption with the Matriculation Board. You will pay the application fee, after which your application can take up to eight weeks to be processed. You can check the Matriculation Board website for the forms you need to apply. 


Along with your application, you will need to submit proof of payment. You can find the banking details for the Matriculation Board on their Fees page. The fee for a Matric Exemption in 2022 is R660. Note that this fee may be subject to change at the start of 2023.

What Can I Study Without Matric Exemption?

Studying without Matric Exemption is the same as studying without a Matric. There are options available for you to study without Matric, such as: 


  • ICB courses
  • Short courses

ICB Courses

There are three ICB courses that you can study without a Matric Exemption, which are: 


  • Business Management
  • Financial Accounting
  • Office Administration


Each of these three courses goes all the way up to the Diploma level. 


The entry requirement for the ICB Business Management programme is that you have completed Grade 11. The first level of this course is a Matric Equivalent Certificate. This course has three levels. Here is how you can complete these courses:

Apply with a Grade 11 Certificate/Report

ICB National Certificate: Small Business Financial Management – NQF Level 4

This is the first level

ICB Higher Certificate: Office Administration – Business Management – NQF Level 5

This is the second level

ICB National Diploma: Financial Accounting – Business Management – NQF Level 6

This is the third level

The entry requirement for the ICB Financial Accounting programme is that you have completed Grade 10. The first level of this course is a Grade 11 equivalent. This course has four levels. 

Apply with a Grade 10 Certificate/Report

ICB National Certificate: Bookkeeping – NQF Level 3

This is the first level

ICB FET Certificate: Bookkeeping – NQF Level 4

This is the second level

ICB National Diploma: Technical Financial Accounting – NQF Level 5

This is the third level

National Diploma: Financial Accounting – NQF Level 6

This is the fourth level

The entry requirement for the ICB Office Administration programme is that you have Matric or a Matric Equivalent Certificate. The first level of this course is a Higher Certificate level. This course has three levels. 

Apply with a Matric Certificate or Matric Equivalent Certificate

ICB Certificate: Office Administration – NQF Level 5

This is the first level

ICB Higher Certificate: Office Administration – NQF Level 5

This is the second level

Diploma: Office Administration – NQF Level 6

This is the third level

You can also study the ICB Business Management or ICB Financial Accounting Matric Equivalent Certificates and use one of them to apply to study the ICB Office Administration programme. 


ICB courses are fully accredited courses, meaning they are recognised by potential employers as formal qualifications. These qualifications are accredited by ICB (the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) and QCTO (the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations). 


ICB courses are also recognised worldwide, meaning you can apply to work all over the world with an ICB qualification. 


You can study ICB courses at many reputable distance learning colleges, such as: 


Short Courses

There are also many short courses offered at four of the above colleges. 

Short Courses At Matric College

Short Courses At Skills Academy

Short Courses At Ember Academy

Short Courses At Learning Group

What If My Matric Was Endorsed But I Failed?

There are ways you can still get your Matric if you failed. Your options are: 



Matric Rewrite is for those under the age of 21 who wrote Matric but are unsatisfied with their results. Matric Rewrite used to be called the Second Chance Programme, but is now known as the supplementary exams. 


You may rewrite a maximum of four subjects. You cannot change these subjects, you must rewrite subjects you wrote for your Matric final exams. 


A Matric Upgrade is for those over the age of 21 who would like to improve their Matric marks. You may upgrade a maximum of four subjects, or you may choose to change four of your subjects. 


To ensure that you pass this time around, you can join online study groups on Together We Pass, and take advantage of our wide range of Study Notes and Exam Packs with past papers and resources for you to use in your studies. 

What If I Did Not Do Matric?

If you did not get the chance to complete your high school education and write your Matric exams, you can write an Adult Matric if you are over the age of 21. 


Once you have completed your Adult Matric, you will receive your Senior Certificate (Amended). This certificate can be used the same way as a National Senior Certificate, known as a school Matric, to apply for further studies or to apply for work. 


You can study any of these three courses through distance learning. You can study for your Matric online. This means you can continue with your work or studies while you study to improve your future prospects. 

What Have We Learned?

  • Matric Exemption is for learners who completed a foreign equivalent school-leaving qualification
  • An exemption pass is another name for a Bachelor’s Degree pass
  • You can apply for a Matric Exemption through the Matriculation Board
  • There are many courses you can study without Matric Exemption
  • There are options for you to get your Matric if you would still like to


Author: Chloe Bydawell
Editor: Razeen Dollie
Date: June 27, 2022

3 thoughts on “Study at Unisa with Matric Exemption”

  1. simphiwe Mzaifani

    i failed my grade 10 and i would like to complete my high school grade my age is 33 years and im a male

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