National Senior Certificate: Everything You Need To Know


Are you a student who is looking forward to joining an institution of higher learning? If that is the case, being updated on the latest amendments that were made regarding obtaining the National Senior Certificate will come in handy. Not only will you be informed on the key areas that you will be expected to fulfil but also ensure that you meet the updated set of requirements for the award of the certificate.

The Department of Basic Education, through the minister of education, has made a couple of changes in the qualifications of the National Senior Certificate applicants. These changes have been made to ensure that it increases the chances of applicants applying. This, therefore, makes it necessary for prospectus applicants to stay updated on the list of requirements. 

2020 Senior Certificate Examination

These are some of the crucial details that you ought to update yourself on.

Registration for 2020 Senior Certificate Examination

The Department of Education has made it easier for interested parties to apply for the exam by doing it online. Alternatively, one can do so by visiting the education district offices. The process started in October 2019 and is expected to close on 31st January 2020. An applicant is, therefore, advised to be time cautious.

Who qualifies to sit the National Senior Certificate examination?

This is one of the areas that have gone through a series of amendments hence the need for clarity. As of date, these are the stipulated requirements that allow one to sit the examination:

  • The candidate should be 21 years or older and be a holder of a General Education and Training Certificate. If they are not holders of the General Education and Training Certificate, they should at least be holders of a Grade 9 school report which states that they have passed standard 7 or Grade 9. Alternatively, they could be holders of an equivalent NQF qualification which requires two languages.
  • An adult learner who is 21 years or older, and has the stipulated Senior Certificate qualification even if it is incomplete.
  • A learner who is 21 years or older, and has the Senior Certificate qualification that is incomplete and a School-Based Assessment which validity has expired.
  • Anyone between the age of 18 and 21, who could not complete his education because of reasons that are beyond their control. These cases have to be verified by the Head of Department in the Provincial Education Department.
  • A learner who is 21 years or above and could not complete his National Senior Certificate, and their School-Based Assessment has not expired.

Anyone who meets any of the aforementioned requirements can proceed to register for the National Senior Certificate examination that has been scheduled for 2020.


Preparation for the Senior Certificate Examination

The Department of Basic Education has gone a step further to provide details that will help learners to prepare for the task ahead of them adequately. It has done so by providing an Examination Guideline which provides learners with the structure of the examination. It has also made the examination past papers accessible for learners.

DBE past papers

If you are a prospective applicant and would like to access the past question papers, you could do so by clicking here. Not only will you be provided with the structure of the examination papers but also the examinable subjects. The past papers are available for the following subjects:

Home languages

For this category, the examination is provided for the following languages:

  • English
  • Afrikaans
  • isiZulu
  • Setswana 
  • Sepedi 
  • Xitsonga

Other subjects

Apart from the home languages, the other subjects that one will be examined in include:

  • Engineering Graphic and Design
  • Civil technology
  • Design
  • Economics
  • Business Studies
  • Accounting
  • Agricultural Technology
  • Life sciences
  • History
  • Mathematical Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Geography
  • Physical Sciences

Grade 12 past exam papers and memos

In each one of the provided subjects, the National Department of Basic Education has provided past question papers as well as memos in English and Afrikaans. The memos provide learners with guidelines on how to answer the questions. The past papers provide one with sample questions. This is necessary as it enlightens one on how the questions are structured and what is expected of them.

Marking exam papers

If one experiences cases where they are not satisfied with the results of the exams, they can always opt for requesting for a remark. This process can, however, be successful if one fulfils requirements for remarking. You can go through the requirements by clicking here. 

Department of Education website

Both learners and parents should keep on checking the Department of Education website for an official communication on matters regarding the National Senior Certificate examination. The website not only provides learners with the NSC past papers but also details on the results of the examinations and how the results could be accessed. One can access the website by searching on a browser.

The National Senior Certificate is one of the critical requirements that determine the level that one qualifies to pursue in their higher learning. It, therefore, is prudent for a learner to equip themselves with the necessary information regarding the examination and what is expected of them.