Thriving on a challenge

The Independent Examination Board (IEB) released the results of their International Secondary Certificate (ISC) on the 10th of January 2024 and along with this were the results of our learners on the esteemed Further Studies Programmes (previously Advanced Programmes). Having taken some time to digest and analyse the results of our class of 2023, we are proud to present a class that thrived on the significant challenge that is Further Studies. We also had a groundbreaking year in this domain in terms of significantly furthering access to these important programs via the Advantage Learn Foundation.

Further Studies Programmes Results Summary

Below is a table of some key metrics that we at Advantage Learn use to benchmark ourselves in continuously striving to deliver the leading Further Studies Programmes in the country. We benchmark ourselves against the overall IEB average and the IEB pass rate with a major emphasis on exceeding the average pass rate. Why? We believe that as many learners as possible should be encouraged to undertake Further Studies Programmes and be supported to complete these programmes. We firmly believe that the Further Studies Programmes are the best mechanism in the South African High School area:

1. For learners to better prepare themselves to succeed beyond High School in their tertiary studies and beyond
2. To nurture and develop critical scarce skills that are needed in the broader economy

3. For learners to earn themselves a globally relevant set of qualifications (National Senior Certificate + Further Studies certificate).

Just a pass on the Further Studies Programmes is a strong indicator that a learner has a strong work ethic and aptitude and universities both locally and abroad know this! The Further Studies Programmes are internationally benchmarked at a UK A-level which is the highest level that can be achieved in the UK Secondary Education (High School) system.

Onto our results…

Pass rates

ProgrammeAdvantage Learn class of 2023 pass rateOverall IEB pass rateDifference
Further Studies Maths Standard (Calculus and Algebra)78.26%76.04%*+2.22%
Further Studies Physics100.00%80.69%*+19.31%
Further Studies English100.00%91.90%*+8.10%

* IEB pass rates are the 2022 pass rates as the 2023 pass rates were not available at the time of writing. This will be updated as soon as the latest statistics are sourced from the IEB.

We are proud to report that our class of 2023 surpassed IEB average pass rates by significant margins validating the perspective that our Further Studies programmes have some of the highest success rates (retention rates) in South Africa. This is something that we are extremely proud of in that it speaks volumes about the excellent jobs our team of educators and coordinators are doing to support learners to see these programmes through. In a context where a mindset of growth and extension is dwindling, we are proud to continue to cultivate this important culture of challenging oneself.  

Average results

ProgrammeAdvantage Learn class of 2023 averageOverall IEB 2023 averageDifference
Further Studies Maths Standard (Calculus and Algebra)69.37%69.81%-0.44%
Further Studies Physics73.00%63.49%*+9.51%
Further Studies English68.33%59.61%+8.72%

* 2023 IEB average results for Further Studies Physics were not available at the time of writing and so Further Studies Physics is referenced against the 2022 averages. This will be updated as soon as the latest statistic is sourced. 

On average results, our class of 2023 performed brilliantly surpassing the IEB averages in both Further Studies Physics and Further Studies English and performing on par with the Further Studies Maths Standard average. What’s more, 48% of our Further Studies Maths learners had the determination and ambition to study towards a Further Studies Maths extended certificate and undertake the Paper 2 exam. The paper 2 exam is an option between 3 electives; Statistics, Finance and Modelling, and Graph Theory & Matrices and we are pleased that we are one of the few organisations that make all of the electives available to our learners. We had matrics writing across all three domains this year.


Here are some of our highlights for the year:

  • 22 of our learners went on to achieve a Further Studies Maths extended certificate where they also passed one of the elective papers of either Statistics, Finance and Modelling or Graph Theory and Matrices. With the Further Studies Programmes benchmarked internationally at a UK A-level, the extended certificate arguably takes our learners’ Maths education beyond any secondary education system in the world! 
  • Further Studies English with Advantage Learn and LEARN TO LINK is currently boasting a 100% pass rate.
  • Further Studies Physics is also boasting a 100% pass rate.
  • 4 of our learners achieved an A in the exceptionally demanding Further Studies Physics programme.
  • 18 of our learners achieved an A on the Further Studies Maths Standard Certificate.
  • 9 of our learners achieved an A on the Further Studies Maths Extended Certificate.
  • This year we also had multiple learners undertaking more than one Further Studies Programme which was also incredibly encouraging to see.
  • Via the Advantage Learn Foundation, we were able to further access to the Further Studies Programmes to 30 high-potential learners who would not normally have access to these extension certificates

We are so proud of the learners who persisted with these demanding programmes. We know that undertaking Further Studies Programmes is one of the most impactful things that a South African High School learner can do to set themselves up for success at university and beyond.

Here is a special mention of our learners who achieved distinctions on the Further Studies Programmes (in no particular order), an admirable achievement:

Jaskaran RajaruthnamFurther Studies Maths
Reuben MareFurther Studies Maths
Diya DatharamFurther Studies Maths
Diyajal DassFurther Studies Maths
Eugenie BurgerFurther Studies Maths
Humzah MahomedFurther Studies Maths
Jethro RolfeFurther Studies Maths
Kausha PillayFurther Studies Maths
Liam VercueilFurther Studies Maths
Marco StormFurther Studies Maths
Mohammed Yaseen Ahmed KhanFurther Studies Maths
Nicole BooyensFurther Studies Maths
Sthembiso NkosiFurther Studies Maths
Conrad HolmFurther Studies Maths
Devon SmitFurther Studies Maths
Luan ReynekeFurther Studies Maths
Ruan LamprechtFurther Studies Maths
Ruth BinderFurther Studies Maths
Shaun PieterseFurther Studies Maths
Carlisle HartmanFurther Studies Physics
Joseph CarmodyFurther Studies Physics
Melissa MartensFurther Studies Physics
Sean SimonFurther Studies Physics

Learner and parent feedback

Here are some of my favourite responses in our Further Studies survey where learners and parents share what they enjoy most about our Further Studies programmes…I battled to only choose a few…

“I find the content fascinating, the 1h45m FS maths lesson feels shorter than a 50m core maths one.”

“The academic advantage that it gives me in Core Mathematics at school is unparalleled.”

“Unlike core physics, we are learning physics in detail and I am actually really getting challenged. I like the fact that it also requires critical thinking instead of being easy and straightforward.

“How inclusive and interactive the lessons are. It makes it easier to understand and interpret the work.”

“The mental challenge and it helps build grit and determination.”

“The abundant resources available other than the lessons and recordings. I also believe the textbook/workbook makes learning very easy and hassle-free.”

“The poetry! Always fun to interact with real-life poets and have hands-on discussions on their works.”

“The accessibility. The ability of my child to carry on in her own time. She is an athlete and this program gives her the opportunity for which we are so grateful”

“The videos are never boring!”

“My daughter has learned to appreciate good literature and has become an avid reader because of the teaching. The skills that she has learned have benefitted not only her English grades but also her History essays.”

We are always so motivated by the opportunity that we have to extend and enrich our learners who join us in our Further Studies Programmes. As you may have heard me say many times by now, the benefits of these programmes really can’t be understated and go far beyond the marks and the additional qualifications that our FS learners work to achieve.

We are proud to continue as the leading distance education provider of the Further Studies Programmes with us continually working to maintain our programmes as the best available to learners in South Africa and now beyond our borders. 

Thank you to our team, our school partners and our foundation partners for making this all possible.

If you or someone you know is also interested in taking Further Studies Programmes, click here for more information.

This article was originally published on 02 Feb 2024

About the author
Crispian Lees

Cris is our Head of Education at Advantage Learn. A chemical engineer by qualification, he is passionate about Maths and Science education and is a proud South African and Durbanite.

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