How to study Maths and Sciences

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Change your mindset
Change your mindset

Inadequate preparation, a lack of study know-how and ye olde procrastination are the main contributors to the inevitable stress that comes with end-of-year exams.

That's according to Step Up Education Centre owner and co-founder Cindy Glass. 

Further exasperating the challenges of writing exams, she says, is that so many learners are taught a one-size-fits-all methodology to all subjects. 

"Most learners stick to a one-size-fits-all approach without understanding that different subjects require different approaches to studying," says Cindy. 

According to the educator, Mathematics and Sciences, in particular, require a more practical approach. Here she lists her six helpful study tips for mastering these subjects. 

Visit the Parent24 school exams hub for free practice papers, study guides, exam advice and more. 

Use a calendar

To help you plan what needs to be covered and by when, break up the task into bite-sized, manageable pieces.

This will ensure that you cover everything and do not become overwhelmed by the enormity of it.

Make sure that you have a designated study area

Have a comfortable chair, a desk, good lighting and the stationery that you will need.

Stay away from the parrot-fashion approach 

You cannot study Maths or Science by reading and trying to memorise the work. These subjects require pencil to paper!

You will need to practice, practice and practice some more! Do not just do one example of a skill and feel that it is enough. Keep going until you know that you will not forget how to do it

Note: Try using a pencil instead of a pen. It is a non-threatening tool as it can be rubbed out. It also makes your work look neater. 

Start with easy-mark skills and questions first

Make sure that you know these well. This will give you the confidence to keep going.

Work through past exam papers

Familiarise yourself with the layout of the paper as well as the types of questions that are likely to be asked. Again, do not feel like you are ready after completing just one paper.

Keep at it – you will feel your confidence increase as you practice.

Ask for help if you need it

Identify questions that you are not 'getting' and ask for clarification from someone who can help – your teacher, a friend, your parents or a tutor.

Find old math and science exam papers here

But what about handling exam stress and anxiety? 

"The trouble with exams is that the task of preparing effectively seems an almost insurmountable one – most especially for learners who may have made some negative choices for themselves throughout the year," Cindy explains. 

To avoid seeing exams as an "insurmountable" undertaking, Cindy says a shift in mentality is necessary, sharing her top 4 tips for keeping an even keel while getting ready for finals. 

Change your mindset

How badly do you WANT to achieve success? What are you WILLING to do to get where you want to go? If you are eager to put in what it will take to achieve your goals, you will reap the rewards.

Believe that you are capable

No matter what your learning experiences have been to date, you CAN turn it around. You are in control of your learning. You are responsible for your success. Believe that you can!

Start now

Remember, you are doing this for yourself, and there is no better time to get going than right now.

Commit to healthy boundaries with others

It is up to you to ensure that your cell phone is switched off during study time and that your friends and family respect your boundaries.

This is your life to live - do not allow others to distract your purpose! You can and must do this by being respectfully assertive.

"Remember that you are allowed to make mistakes, but you are not allowed to give up! Start preparing today."

Compiled for Parent24 by Lesley-Anne Johannes. 


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