Updated 2.18pm - Free SEC revision sessions

Roughly two out of every three youths sitting for their MATSEC exams this year failed to make the grade for access into University at the first time of asking, with just 34% getting their Matriculation Certificate.

Data published by the MATSEC board today shows that of the 4,107 students who sat for exams this May, a total of 1,399 were awarded the certificate. That figure tallies with last year's numbers, when 1,391 had obtained the certificate at this stage.

The Matriculation Certificate, required for entry into the University of Malta, is made up for two Advanced level subjects, three Intermediate subjects and the compulsory Systems of Knowledge. Students must obtain passing grades in at least three subject groups and obtain at least 44 points according to a MATSEC rating scale. 

Students who did not manage to get the certificate and wish to do so will now pin their hope on resit sessions scheduled for September.

While not all students wrapping up their sixth form studies have aspirations to further their studies at University level and a proportion may have opted to sit for MATSEC exams while still halfway through their Sixth Form studies, the figures confirm Malta's difficulty in ensuring an ever-increasing proportion of youths has a university degree.

The country currently has the EU's third-lowest proportion of university-educated 30 to 34-year-olds, with barely one in four locals in that age bracket having a university degree.

Official figures released as part of this year's Labour Force Survey also show that more than half the population aged over 15 - 56.7 per cent - has a low level of education, classified as having passed fewer than five SEC exams.

Practically all students who sat for examinations in May - 99.3 per cent - received their results by SMS today. Candidates will also receive official result slips in the post over the coming days. 

Statistics published today also indicate that youths sitting for their Advanced Level exams performed far worse in English than in Maltese.  

Roughly, one-third more students sat for an English A Level exam than for a Maltese one – 867 versus 594 – and the data shows that there was a far lower proportion of high achievers among the former than the latter.

While 57.1% of the 594 Maltese exam candidates got a grade between A and C, just 42.3% of English exam candidates did so – a difference of 14.8 percentage points. A higher proportion of candidates also failed to get a passing grade in their English A Level – 16% – than in Maltese, where the figure sat at 12.5%.  

Overall, just under half of all candidates sitting for their Advanced level exams (48.8%) managed an A, B or C grade in language subjects. That figure was slightly higher for sciences and mathematics (52.7%) and lower for humanities and business subjects (45.8%).

At intermediate level, candidates tended to do far better at languages, where roughly half of candidates got a passing grade, than at science or mathematic subjects, where 71.9% did.

SEC exams

Educators disheartened by students’ poor showing in English Advanced level examinations can take heart at the fact that younger students sitting for their SEC exam in the subject did better than last year’s cohort.

69.9% of candidates got a grade between 1 and 5 in English, compared to 65.6% last year. Students also did better in Maltese this time round, with 68% getting anything between a 1 and 5 compared to 65.3% last year.


Roughly one in every four students who sat for the exams failed to get a passing grade.

Performance in mathematics was similar to that of last year’s cohort, with 54.5% getting a grade between 1 and 5 and 21.1% getting a 6 or 7.

Students sitting for their physics SEC did slightly worse than last year’s batch, with 67.2% getting between a 1 and 5 (68.6% last year). Two in every 10 students (20.2%) did not manage a passing grade. Last year, 16.3% did not make it.

SEC candidates who plan on sitting for exams for biology, English, Maltese, maths or physics during resit sessions in September can avail themselves of free revision classes offered by the Education Ministry. 

Students can choose to take revision classes in up to three subjects. Only one of the subjects can be a science subject. 

"This is an intensive class which will demand the students’ full attention, especially those who are resitting more than one subject," the ministry said in a statement. 

To apply for revision sessions, visit youthguarantee.edu.mt/revision. Students must still apply for resit examinations separately. 

This year's examinations – by numbers

  • 114,633 exam papers printed
  • 47,487 subject registrations
  • 808 supervisors and 771 examiners
  • 693 candidates given access arrangements
  • 432 had fees waived
  • 390 exam sessions at 15 venues
  • 51 suspected cheaters caught
  • 12 emergency cases