Mbombela - The Mpumalanga Department of Education has postponed the preliminary exams for Grade 12s to give them at least one more week to prepare.
The province joins Gauteng, the Northern Cape, Free State and the Eastern Cape, which have all postponed their trial exams.
The exams were scheduled for 6 to 23 September but the writing period has been shortened and they will now only start on 13 September.
"The schools will be required to write six high-enrolment subjects that are going to be provincially set from 13 to 23 September. These subjects are mathematics, mathematical literacy, English first language, accounting, physical science and life sciences. They will then use their own discretion on when to write the remaining subjects," said department spokesman Jasper Zwane.
He added that the exams would give pupils an indication of their performance strengths and weaknesses.
"Preliminary exams also assist teachers with areas that need urgent attention before the final exam is written. This exam has to be written in time to allow schools to mark, provide feedback and still be able to do remedial work prior to the start of the end-of-year exams."
A pupil from Mbombela, who is repeating Grade 12, desperately wanted striking unions to accept the government's new wage and housing allowance offer so that she could go back to school in an effort to pass this year.
"I fear that I will fail again if we don't go back to school any time soon. I am begging the unions to accept the new offer so that our lives can go back to normal.
"My parents, who are both unemployed, will be disappointed in me if I fail again. They want me to go to university so that my life can be better than theirs," said Zenzile Lukhele, 18, who is in ZB Kulele High School in KaNyamazane.
The government has made a revised offer of 7.5 percent and R800 housing allowance, but the unions want an 8.6 percent wage increase and R1 000 for housing.
Schools and hospitals are the worst affected by the public service strike.