The countdown is on as matric pupils hunker down and start preparing for their final exams. And with less than 100 days to go, many will be experiencing those first pangs of exam anxiety.
“Your June exams would have given you a good idea of where you did well, and where you need extra focus,” said Wonga Ntshinga, senior head of programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education. “It is particularly those subjects in which you struggled, or in which you could have performed better, which can benefit from the completion of past exam papers.”
In saying this, Ntshinga mentions that there is one study hack all pupils could do with – and that’s to complete as many past papers as possible. “Writing past exam papers helps your preparation on several levels."
“In addition to covering the material you studied in a practical way, you also get a deeper understanding of how you need to pace yourself to ensure you complete a paper within the required time.
“So you get used to the stress of being faced with problems and questions in different formats and the way papers are structured, as well as deep practise applying your knowledge. You also get more thorough insight into your work, which you can’t duplicate by simply reading and re-reading your textbooks until the day of the exam,” he said.
To help get you in the study state of mind, the folks at IDEA Digital Education have devised a five-pronged plan for acing your matric exams.
Plan your attack
Prepare through planning. Having a plan of attack as you revise for exams is very important as it can help you prioritise, be more productive, and keep track of the topics you have covered and still need to cover.
Don’t hesitate to have a discussion with your teacher or instructor around which topics and learning outcomes are going to be examined. This way you will be able to ensure you prepare and revise strategically.
Create a study timetable and ensure that when it’s time to study, you focus and avoid distractions such as television and social media. With that being said, balance is key: In your timetable, also remember to include breaks for meditation, sport and a little bit of fun and laughter.
Pool your tools
Now that you know what topics you need to study for, take some time to gather the notes you took throughout the term. In addition to your own notes and the textbook, it can also help to look for other resources to help you in your revision. The Internet and study applications like IDEA (www.ideaonline.com) offer additional resources and research information for you to learn more about your study topics, including videos, animations, interactive exercises and topic tests.
Get a study buddy
When you have your plan and study resources, studying on your own can be very effective. However, having a partner to revise with from time to time can be even more beneficial because study buddies can motivate each other, provide feedback and ensure that everyone is on the right track.
Practise makes perfect
It’s very important to make sure that you find and complete past exam papers and study guides. School libraries and the Department of Basic Education’s website are excellent places to start looking.
Going through past exam papers will ensure you understand the format and structure of past exam papers, focusing on the skills required to answer the exam questions successfully. Read, re-read and pull apart each question so you understand the language.
Eat, sleep, laugh, study, repeat
Finally, take studying in your stride. Make it part of your routine and get into the swing of it. The more you apply yourself to the process, the more relaxed and prepared you will be when exam day comes around.