The 2019 Main and First examination sessions spanned between the 18th March, with the start of oral examinations, to the 13th June with the last practical examination. Results were posted on the date and sent by sms on the 15th July 2019. A total of 39 examination centres, 27 head of centres and 797 invigilation staff were used for the 49310 registrations for subject examinations at SEC, IM, and AM levels. Examinations were also held in four other locations besides Malta: Brussels, Spain, Montenegro and Corsica.
This year there were 5478 candidates who registered for SEC examinations, 3672 of which were born in 2003. This means that approximately 94.1% of the 2003 cohort applied for SEC examinations. This percentage is the highest in the history of SEC examinations. Following the Main Session, 1742 candidates who were born in 2003 gained the entry requirements for Form VI. This means that 44.6% of the 16-year-old population has entry requirements for Form VI following the Main Session, an increase of 1.1% (135 candidates) over 2018.
Some gender differences are well spelt in SEC examinations. Female candidates are more likely to register for SEC examination (98.6% as compared to 89.7% of the 16-year old cohort) and obtain the entry requirements for Form VI (47.9% as compared to 41.4% of the 16-year old cohort). Female candidates are also more likely to opt for the three science subjects (16.7% as opposed to 11.5% of the 16-year old cohort) and to sit for one, two, or three foreign language examinations. Male candidates, on the other hand, are more likely to register for vocational subjects, although this gender difference is much smaller in 2019 than in previous years (20% more males than females in 2019 as compared to 70% in 2018).
The 2019 Main Session was the First Session where examination registration fees were completely subsidised by the Maltese government. This means that candidates who applied for examinations during the normal registration periods incurred no fees. The number of registrations has increased in virtually all SEC subjects and, in total, 333 more candidates registered in 2019 than in 2018. An increase in the percentage of candidates registering for Paper IIB was also noted, following a steady decrease in this percentage along the years.
The percentage of absent candidates has increased in virtually all subjects at SEC level. The percentage of absent candidates in the six SEC subjects with highest number of registrations was least noticeable in Mathematics, as it increased from 5.3% to 8.6%. In the other subjects (English Language, Maltese, Physics, and English Literature) the percentage of absent candidates has more than doubled in 2019 when compared to 2018.
The sharp increase in the percentage of absent candidates and the larger ratio of Paper IIB candidates in virtually all subjects makes it difficult to compare the results of 2019 with those of previous years. This is especially so given that candidates who are not absent for all components of a subject are awarded a grade, probably U, rather than ‘abs’. This may make the percentage of unclassified grades in the various subjects larger than those previous years.
There were a total of 895 results for SEC vocational subjects in 2019, a sharp increase from the 543 of 2018 and the 92 of 2017. Of these, 76.3% were awarded Grades 1-5 while 84.0% were awarded Grades 1-7. These percentages are similar to those of last year. A considerable number of the candidates who remained unclassified were candidates who, for some reason, dropped the subject.
A total of 3857 candidates registered for matriculation examinations in 2019, of which 1788 were born in 2001. Of the total number of candidates, 765 registered for at least two subjects at AM level and four subjects at IM level, which is the number of subjects required to be awarded the Matriculation Certificate in one session. Thus, although there were 53 more registrations in 2019 than in 2018, both the number of 18 year-olds and that of candidates sitting for enough subjects to be awarded the Matriculation Certificate have decreased.
Following the First Session for 2019, 1207 candidates were awarded the Matriculation Certificate, of which 965 were born in 2001. More candidates were awarded the Matriculation Certificate in 2019 than in 2018. This increase, however, is due to a larger number of 19 year-olds being awarded the Matriculation Certificate, as that of 18 year-olds has decreased.