The Western Cape was the best performing province in the 2015 National Senior Certificate exams with an 84.7% pass rate.
- Matric results will be available here on Wednesday.
Gauteng was close on its heels with an 84.2% pass rate.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the results in Midrand on Tuesday night.
The Free State was the third-best performing province with an 81.6% pass rate, followed by North West with 81.5%.
Next was Mpumalanga with 78.6%, the Northern Cape with 69.4%, Limpopo with 65.9%, and KwaZulu-Natal with 60.7%.
The worst performing province was the Eastern Cape with a pass rate of 56.8%.
Motshekga said the three worst performing provinces - also the country's three biggest rural provinces - caused a 9% drop in the pass rate.
They had 53% of the country's pupils.
Basic Education Director General Mathanzima Mweli said the largest number of candidates came from KwaZulu-Natal, followed by Gauteng and Limpopo.
Motshekga said the national pass rate had dropped to 70.7%, from 75.8% in 2014