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Can you get a matric exemption with Cambridge A-levels?

Cambridge learners are well prepared for South African universities. But they need to apply for a matric exemption to qualify. Here’s how.
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Local may be lekker, but that doesn’t mean your family can’t consider international curriculums for your child’s schooling. 

While the Cambridge International curriculum has international appeal – and is a popular option for families looking to emigrate or send their children to study abroad – it’s an equally strong qualification for local families who’re already happy where they are.

Empathy, innovation and critical thinking: These are cornerstones of the Cambridge approach  and attributes that South African universities value in their students. Paired with the independence and research focus that Cambridge learners are already practised in, these skills set your child up for success in the university environment, and beyond. 

But to qualify for acceptance for their first degree, your child will need to apply for a South African matric exemption. So, there are a few prerequisites you’ll need to keep in mind. 

Requirements for matric exemption for Cambridge learners

Cambridge qualifications are well regarded in South Africa, but you still need to apply for a certificate of exemption issued by Universities South Africa (USAf). This is the membership organisation that represents South Africa’s public universities, and vets, benchmarks and endorses high school qualifications on their behalf.

An AS Level qualification is equivalent to Grade 12, and is a school-leaving qualification in South Africa. That means your child can submit for their matric exemption at this stage in their learning journey. Alternatively, they can submit after finishing their full A Levels. 

While not currently offered by UCT Online High School, Cambridge candidates can also apply for exemption after completing their Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) Diploma. 

For all of these qualifications, learners need to meet the minimum qualification combinations and the subject group requirements. More on this below.

Subject requirements

Your child will need to complete certain subjects to qualify for their matric exemption. First and foremost, they’ll need two languages, one home language and a second language. At UCT Online High School, your child will need to complete: 

  1. English First Language, to at least the AS Level
  2. Afrikaans Second Language, at IGCSE level.

There are different matric exemption requirements for learners who’ve completed AS and A Levels, and a number of different IGCSE, AS and A Level subject combinations can be submitted. Here’s an overview of the possibilities.

For a full breakdown of the various subject combinations that your child can choose, check out this guide by Cambridge International. For insights on the subject combinations on offer at our school, visit the Cambridge International academic handbook

We strongly advise that you and your child check any subject requirements for your chosen degree or institution before making subject choices for IGCSE and AS and A Levels. This is particularly important if your child is looking to study in the sciences and health sciences, which commonly require subjects like Maths, Physics, Biology and Chemistry. 

Next up, we’ll work through what you need to do to apply for your child’s matric exemption, step by step.

How to apply for matric exemption

Apply online 

  1. Pay the fee via EFT.
  2. Navigate to the online application form, here.
  3. Upload proof of payment.
  4. Upload certified supporting documents.
  5. Submit the application.
  6. Post or courier copies of all the above to: 

Universities SA (Matriculation Board)
PO Box 3854
South Africa

Apply offline 

  1. Pay fee via EFT.
  2. Download application form, here.
  3. Download proof of payment.
  4. Email the completed form, proof of payment and certified supporting documents to:
  5. Post or courier copies of all the above to:

Universities SA (Matriculation Board)
PO Box 3854
South Africa

Ready to make the switch?

Now that you understand the matric exemption subject requirements for Cambridge learners, and have followed along with the application process, you’re ready to make a call. 

If you feel your child would benefit from the rigour, flexibility and skills-based learning of Cambridge International schooling, get in touch with a friendly Admissions Consultant and discuss your options. 

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