Put your best foot forward

2019-09-12 06:00

It is crunch-time for matrics! Twelve years of schooling and seemingly endless learning experiences have all led to this moment, the last few weeks before the final exams.

“It will be rare to find a matric learner who is not feeling some pressure, anxiety or stress at this time and, of course, this is quite natural. Matric finals are a big deal,” says Cindy Glass, owner and co-founder of Step Up Education Centres.

“There is a lot of work required and each learner’s future is resting on the outcome. Matric learners who have worked consistently and conscientiously throughout the year will find they may be adding unnecessary pressure on themselves, while learners who have not been quite as diligent will be a little afraid, or even terrified that they may not make the grade!”

The good news is that, in both scenarios, it is not too late to put some excellent strategies in place to ensure that these last few weeks are used productively, reducing stress and anxiety, and even making the experience a more pleasurable one.

Glass gives seven strategies to ensure favourable matric results:

. You cannot eat an elephant in one sitting. You will need to break the task ahead of you into bite-sized manageable pieces. When you focus on smaller tasks at a time, it becomes a lot more doable and you will not feel completely overwhelmed!

. Get cracking. Get hold of a calendar and start planning your strategy, today! When do you write each subject? Once you have filled in this information, begin by looking at what you will be writing first. Use your calendar to decide what you will need to focus on and when.

. Make a commitment to yourself. It is your responsibility to ensure that you achieve the best possible results during these exams. You cannot blame anyone else for any negative choices that you may make. You know what to do and when – so do it! No excuses!

. Source past exam papers with memoranda. Use this time to work through past exam papers. Questions are often repeated – what a bonus! Working through past exam papers will also alleviate some of your anxiety, because you will already be familiar with how the exams will be set.

. Always start with the easy-mark questions first. Once you know how to tackle these questions, move forward. Leave the toughest work for last. You will need to take the same approach while writing your final exams. Working through the easy-mark questions first will increase your confidence, and you will be able to complete your papers.

. Take care of yourself. Self-care is essential. Set strong boundaries with family and friends. This is your time to shine. Say no to expectations that will infringe on your learning. Say yes to activities that will add value to your health and well-being at this time. Exercise, eating healthily and drinking lots of water are absolutely essential. Look after yourself!

. Know you can do this. Do not allow fear and negative thoughts to hold you back. You have an incredible human brain. Trust yourself. Plan effectively and do not think it is too late.

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