In South Africa, high school begins at grade 8. Students study for five years, at the end of which they write a Matriculation examination.
As of 2008, students sit the National Senior Certificate examinations, which replaced the Senior Certificate and Further Education and Training Certificate. To progress on to university, students must attain a pass in their Home Language, an Additional Language, Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy, and Life Orientation, as well as at least three electives; see further under National Senior Certificate. (The system previously allowed for an examination at the Higher or Standard grade for each subject. Since 2008, this has been discontinued. Relatedly, some components of the previous mathematics syllabus are now examined as electives.)
An alternative Matric examination is offered by the Independent Examinations Board (IEB), a body representing various of the private schools in South Africa. The IEB exams are considered by many teachers, parents, students and universities, both within South Africa and abroad, as more challenging than the state equivalent.