Nowadays, the 5 Ps may seem trite but they remain true.
Prior preparation prevents poor performance – a truth to which many learners who performed as well as they’d hoped for their matric exams will attest.
It may seem like it’s too soon to start talking about exams, with inland schools having just opened for the new year on 11 January. But the academic year is short and before you know it, it will be time for mid-year exams.
Everything you do between now and then is preparation.
“Learners now need to go beyond reading and re-reading their textbooks and notes and employ a more holistic strateg,” says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education.
Wonga advises that you adopt the PROVES method to help you study effectively and to help curb exam anxiety and stress.
The PROVES method can be broken down as follows:
• PRACTISE by writing past papers or example questions rather than just reading.
• REFRESH by making sure you are eating, sleeping and exercising enough. Cramming before an exam will leave you stressed and unable to focus.
• ORGANISE yourself, your time and your work. Having a neat working environment and a clear plan for what you need to do and study every day will reduce anxiety and optimise learning.
• VISUALISE by using colour, mind maps and other strategies rather than just words, so that you can use more of your brain.
• EXPLAIN by answering questions or telling friends or relatives about your work.
• SOCIAL MEDIA can be used as an academic tool to expand your understanding and grasp of your work. This can best be done by getting together a study group of equally dedicated committed peers and using the various platforms for specific purposes.
For instance, Google can be used to gather additional information on a range of subjects, while a study WhatsApp group can help with sharing of notes and Facebook groups are a wonderful way to share study materials and resources.
Lianne Williams, marketing director of VumaTel offers the following top tips for pupils going back to school full-time or on a hybrid schedule:
1) Dedicate space
Create a homework or hybrid-learning space that provides the optimal environment for your comfort and focus. It’s always better to face a window, so when you look up every now and then, it’s to see a less tempting view than the couch or bed, possibly even a soothing garden view.
2) Watch your back
Make sure you have a comfortable chair that gives you proper lumbar support to prevent slouching. Sitting for long periods of time can be harmful to your lower back, and without adequate lumbar support, the soft tissues in the spine may become stressed. Don’t skip breaks
Get up for refreshments occasionally, do breathing exercises and remember to stretch. Breathwork is calming and allows your body to reduce stress and anxiety. Stretching minimises tension on soft tissue and joint pain.
Getting enough sleep is undeniably critical to your brain function. Make sure to get between 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Getting in at least 15 to 30 minutes of exercise a day is also important for your mind, body and general well-being.
5) Get creative
Did you know that sensory prompters such as sounds, smells and colours can promote recall in the brain? Many scientific studies have proved this to be true, and you can use this to your advantage by assigning each subject its own colour and essence.
For example, always use a green marker when studying mathematics and place a drop of mint essence on a tissue close by; or else use a pink pen when studying history and always couple your time on this subject with the smell of berries.
Come exam, test, or assignment time, bring out the associated colour and smell and see the power of the mind to associate these colours and scents with what you spent time learning, and promote better recall of the information you need to crush the task.