National Senior Certificates (NSC) Exam Past Papers

In South Africa, it is necessary to obtain a National Senior Certificate (NSC) as one of the mandatory requirements for university entry. Students should prepare themselves well for these exams. And, from year to year, working on NSC exam past papers is considered one of the most effective ways to master all the material being tested.

NSC Exam Past Papers
Photo: @charlotte-may on

In fact, going through past exams is one of the most important parts of exam preparation. It is important to revise your entire syllabus quickly. Moreover, they can provide you with a general idea of the upcoming paper. Also, thanks to them, you can easily guess the important topics of a particular subject.

For that reason, we have compiled NSC exam past papers from various reliable sources to help you with your exam preparation. Below, you can download the papers for free. Also, we provide it based on the field of study and the language is spoken.

But first, let’s dig a little deeper into what NSC is.

What is a National Senior Certificate in South Africa?

According to the Northern Cape Department of Education, NSC is a high school diploma and is the school-leaving certificate in South Africa. This certificate is commonly known as the matriculation (matric) certificate, as grade 12 is the matriculation grade.

The NSC, previously known as the Further Education and Training Certificate or FETC, replaced the Senior Certificate with effect from 2008 and was phased in starting with grade 10 in 2006. In other words, the school-leaving certificate presently awarded is the National Senior Certificate.

In particular, students study at least seven subjects, including two compulsory official South African languages, either Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy, Life Orientation and three elective subjects.

To obtain an NSC, candidates must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Achieve 40% in three subjects, one of which is an official language at Home Language level and 30% in three subjects; and
  • Provide full evidence in the SBA component in the subjects offered.

Meanwhile, below are those who deserve to take the National Senior Certificate exam.

  • Current Grade 12 learners; and
  • Anyone whose School-based Assessment validity has not expired may register as a part-time candidate for the NSC examinations.

Upon obtaining the certificate, it will enable students to access a variety of post-school opportunities depending on their performance in Grade 12. Furthermore, the opportunities include entry-level employment, admission to learnerships and internships, and admission to colleges, universities and other higher education institutions.

What are NSC subjects?

Students study at least 7 subjects: 4 compulsory subjects and 3-4 optional ones. All subjects are set at one grade only and are no longer set at Higher or Standard Grade.

However, not all schools offer the full range of elective subjects as listed here. Each school may offer subjects specific to its academic orientation. For instance, agriculture schools will offer agriculture-oriented subjects. Meanwhile, technical schools will offer practical and mechanical-oriented subjects.

For group A (compulsory subjects), students must study four of the following list.

  • Two of the official languages of South Africa (at least one must be at the home language level): Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu;
  • Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, or Technical Mathematics;
  • Life Orientation.

Meanwhile, for group B (elective subjects), students must study three to four from the following list.

  • Accounting;
  • Agricultural Management Practices/Agricultural Sciences/Agricultural Technology;
  • Business Studies;
  • Civil Technology;
  • Computer Applications Technology (previously Computer Studies Standard Grade – Literacy);
  • Consumer Studies;
  • Dance Studies;
  • Design;
  • Dramatic Arts;
  • Economics;
  • Electrical Technology;
  • Engineering Graphics & Design;
  • Geography;
  • History;
  • Hospitality Studies (previously Home Economics);
  • Information Technology (previously Computer Studies Higher Grade – Programming);
  • Life Sciences (previously Biology);
  • Mechanical Technology;
  • Music;
  • Physical Science;
  • Religion Studies;
  • Second Additional Language;
  • Third Additional Language;
  • Tourism;
  • Visual Arts.

NSC Exam Past Papers

Use these previous NSC exam past papers to revise and prepare for the upcoming NSC exams. This way, you can find out what you already know and what you don’t know.

Exam Preparation Tips

With not much time left before exam weeks, these can be the most stressful of times for students. In preparing for final exams, you need to always work through as many past examination papers as you can.

Besides, below are five top tips on how you can prepare for the upcoming examinations to achieve maximum results.

1. Committing to a study routine

It’s important to set goals from the beginning of the year; one of these goals should be in developing a realistic study timetable. It is essential to commit and stick to the timetable. Don’t be caught cramming at the last minute preparing for an exam, start at least a week in advance.

2. Be a proactive participator in class and study groups

If you don’t ask, you won’t know and will remain disempowered. In order to learn new things, asking questions should be your key priority. Remember: there is no such thing as a stupid question; the stupid question is the one that remains unanswered.

Hence, you must be inquisitive and curious about your subjects, you will learn and understand so much more than what is in the textbook.

3. Use technology and social media wisely:

There are educational chat groups available on the internet, broadcast (TV and radio programmes) and on social media platforms such as WhatsApp. Yet, be careful not to use these sources simply for casual pleasure, balance your usage on these platforms and monitor the amount of time you spend on them.

4. Get enough rest

You need at least seven or eight hours of sleep a night to function. Tests and exams are designed to be thought-provoking; this will demand a high span of concentration. Hence, if you are sleep-deprived, you will battle to remember your revision notes or work.

5. Use all the resources at your disposal

Resources go beyond the library, computer labs and equipment. Your educator is an incredible resource that you need to take advantage of. Therefore, don’t be intimidated by your educator, feel free to approach them for additional support and resources.

Also, keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll realise that magazines, books, educational television programmes, and even your parents and peers, can contribute to your education outside of the classroom.

Final Note

Taking a test can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in your life. However, it will teach you a lot about success. Therefore, by preparing well for it, you will be able to get the best results.

One of the ways in which you can train yourself to be ready for exams is by studying past exams. All in all, we hope that the NSC exam past papers we shared above can help you to ace the challenge.

Related Post :
Be part of our exclusive WhatsApp Channel sharing premium job opportunities across South Africa at no cost. Join now while it’s free before subscription charges apply! Click here to join: