The School Certificate Examination was usually taken at age 16 with performance in each subject being graded as; Fail, Pass, Credit or Distinction. Students were required to gain six passes including English and mathematics in order to obtain a certificate and in order to obtain a 'matriculation exemption' it was necessary to obtain credits in five subjects including English, mathematics, science or a language. Those who failed could retake the examination.
Some students who passed then stayed on at school to take the Higher School Certificate at age 18. The School Certificate was abolished in 1951 following the introduction of GCEO-Level examinations. The School Certificate also existed in a number of Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Singapore at various times.