Matriculation in South Africa
In South Africa, matriculation (or matric) is a term commonly used to refer to the final year of high school and the qualification received on graduating from high school, although strictly speaking, it refers to the minimum university entrance requirements. The first formal examination was conducted in South Africa under the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1858. In general usage, the school-leaving exams, which are government-administered, are known as the "matric exams"; by extension, students in the final year of high school (grade 12) are known as "matriculants". (For example, "Only matriculants can be prefects, not students in grade 11.") Once the Matric year has been passed, students are said to have "matriculated". (For example, "Mark matriculated with 3 distinctions.")
Officially, the qualification obtained at the end of secondary schooling is the National Senior Certificate, and the school-leaving examinations are the "Senior Certificate Examinations". Students who fulfill certain requirements (an achievement rating of 3 (Moderate Achievement, 40% - 49%) or better in four (4) designated subjects) in their Senior Certificate results receive a Matriculation Endorsement/Bachelor's Pass on their certificates; this endorsement is the legal minimum requirement for admission to a bachelor's degree at any South African university. Students applying to a South African university with foreign school qualifications can obtain a "Matriculation Exemption" to show that they meet the same standards.
This multiple meaning can lead to confusion; for example, the statement that a person "passed matric" or "has their matric" may mean either that they received a Senior Certificate (i.e. they finished high school) or specifically that they received a Senior Certificate with Matriculation Endorsement (i.e. they are eligible to enter university).
South African universities do not set their own entrance examinations, although many use standardized entrance tests of linguistic, numerical and mathematical ability, called the National Benchmark Tests, split into the AQL Test (Academic and Quantitative Literacy) and the Mathematics Test.
Before the 1990s, the standard Matric Certificate with Endorsement was worded as "Examination result - Passed with full exemption". This wording meant that the candidate passed their NSC exams with exemption from entrance exams when applying for University entrance. As of 2005, the new passing standards are Certificate, Diploma, and Bachelor.