Grade 10, 11 and 12: The FET Phase

Grade 10

Grade 10 is in interesting year.  Many learners report ‘falling off the wagon’ academically in Grade 10. Some learners never recover in time to achieve the Grade 11 results that are required for entry into the higher education institution of their choice.  Somehow being neither the juniors nor the seniors at school tends to lull Grade 10s into a state of complacency where there is no sense of urgency.   However, it is hard to move from a lethargic attitude of doing ‘just enough to get by’ in Grade 10 to the academic rigors and importance of achieving strong year-end results needed by the end of Grade 11.

Grade 10 is a great time for learners to find their identities, to extend themselves and to develop new skills, without the academic pressure of Grade 11.  If a learner wants to be on a student council, running a society or in a specific sports team in matric, the process needs to start in Grade 10.  Nobody is impressed by a candidate who only emerges from the woodwork in Grade 11!

Grade 11

Crunch time!

The transition from Grade 10 to Grade 11 is very demanding.  There is the pressure of the awareness that achieving one’s career dreams can be severely affected by an adverse Grade 11 result.  Learners who have not yet developed a good work ethic, study methods and time management skills, have to increase their pace dramatically or be left behind.  The pressure of deadlines increases along with the complexity of the learning material.  Coupled with psycho-social factors, learners are also competing for leadership roles, organisation of the matric dance and engaging tentatively in exploring study and career options through work shadow experiences and attending career exhibitions.

Lynn offers a Career Development Assessment to learners in Grade 11 (optimally it can be done from mid Grade 11 as well as in matric).  This assessment involves developing a 360 degree picture of the learner (personality, aptitude, values, and interests) through a combination of psychometric testing and an in-depth career interview.  The written report and feedback session portrays a holistic picture of the learner and offers insights into the sort of career the picture indicates. Information is also provided regarding study courses and educational institutions.

So, Grade 11s, our message to you is that while you cannot apply for a study course when in your Grade 11 year, you can:

  • Work very hard to ensure that you achieve the required results at the end of Grade 11
  • Develop the sort of work ethic and time management skills that will enable you to cope in matric
  • Start evaluating your extra-mural, social media usage and social calendar. Some culling might be required at this stage.  Decide which activities you want to pursue in your matric year and which will simply put too much strain on your time.
  • If you plan to take a gap year, devise a workable plan. Apply for “stooging” or exchange programs, get your SA passport and apply for an ancestral visa (if applicable), look into volunteering opportunities, start training to work on yachts. Make sure the friends who say they will join you are totally committed and you are not dumped at the last minute.
  • Investigate bursaries and finance now.  In most cases, you will need to apply early in your Grade 12 year.
  • If you feel that you might be moving towards a study course that will require a portfolio (e.g., architecture, visual arts, design), start thinking about it now.  Matric is too busy for you to only start the process in Grade 12.
  • If you start a vacation job like waitering in your end-of-year holidays, be careful of becoming so committed to the idea of earning your own money that you decide to continue with it at weekends during your matric year.  Many matriculants who have done this, have ended the year with extra money for Plett Rage but with a matric result that opens no doors!

Grade 12

This should be a totally awesome year!

Although you will work fiendishly hard all the time, the friendships with fellow-learners and staff will reach a depth that will sustain you through your matric year and in the years that follow.

Through handling pressure, learning to prioritise, public speaking, taking on leadership roles, engaging in future planning, the execution of these plans and applying to high education institutions, together with the tensions that these activities often bring, can only help a learner to develop their life skills. Learners are encouraged to do as much of the application process as possible, so that they engage with the requirements, content of the various courses and develop an insight into the institutions. Many universities expect the learners themselves to phone with questions rather than leaving it to their parents.

If they plan to attend a university, it is important that learners remember they need to book and complete the National Benchmark Tests ( This may also be required by some of the other educational institutions.   We usually recommend that it is done mid-year, although some learners choose to write it earlier in the year to enable them to rewrite if necessary. Some but not all universities will consider a second attempt and may take the better result of the two.

Important Points to Consider:

  • If you need funding via a bursary, NSFAS or bank loan, make enquiries in the first term.
  • Check the closing dates for applications.
  • Do not presume or listen to other learners… check!
  • Some courses need additional features like a motivational letter or portfolio, so start the process in the March/April holidays.
  • Do not apply to only one place or for only one course. Always have a good Plan B in place.

If learners are unsure whether they want to study or want to take a gap year, apply anyway.  This will provide a backup if the gap year plans do not come to fruition.  It will also give an indication of whether the learner would have gained a place or not.  If the learner decides to defer their application and take a gap year, they need to notify the educational institution.  A university that has offered a learner a place will not roll over an offer to the next year. Some universities will require a new application, while others are willing to include the application in the batch for the following year.  But there is no guarantee that an offer will be made again if the entry criteria have risen or there is a particularly strong cohort of applicants.

If the matric learner is battling to make plans and decisions regarding their future and they have not engaged in any formal career assessment, it can still be done but as early in the year as possible.  Bookings can be made through