‘Matrics not unduly stressed for exams’

2010-10-19 00:00

THINGS are on track for more than 640 000 matriculants countrywide preparing to sit for the third instalment of the National Senior Certificate exams.

This matric class, like their predecessors, are preparing for a nervous Christmas and New Year as they wait for their results. They will know their fate early next year.

There are exactly six days to go before the class of 2010 gets to write the first exam.

Granville Whittle, national spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, confirmed that the results will be released on January 6.

He told The Witness that about 642 000 candidates are registered to write the National Senior Certificate examinations at about 8 000 writing centres nation-wide.

About 30 000 markers will work from December 4 until December 16.

Despite the disruptions caused by the 2010 football World Cup and strikes by teachers, schools contacted by The Witness said their counselling load has not increased dramatically and their matriculants are not unduly stressed ahead of the exams.

Linda Nel, school counsellor at Carter High, said the levels of stress are no different this year to previous years. What has increased this term, how­ever, is career counselling, which she said has led to two or three more weekly appointments than usual.

“Learners approach various subject teachers for last-minute advice in that particular subject.

“But students are also under pressure to make a career decision before varsity applications close. They worry they will not meet the requirements for their chosen fields or they will not be accepted into the university of their choice due to huge amounts of applicants and limited space,” said Nel.

Renee Wulfsohn, school counsellor at Maritzburg College, said her workload, which includes motivating and counselling in study skills, has been balanced throughout the year.

She said she has found that “personal issues” can create stress and lead to “academic issues” more than the impending exams do. However, she does believe that matrics are particularly stressed.

“A lot rests on their results … But boys in other grades also feel the pressure. A lot of them are upping their game to ensure decent end-of-year results.”

Memory failure, reading questions incorrectly and not having enough time to answer questions are the most common concerns raised in the consultations.

Both counsellors said many the matriculants are on vitamins to boost their immune systems and stave off fatigue.

Their advice to pupils? Get enough rest, break up studying sessions with exercise or gym, and keep to a balanced diet.

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