See these three crucial mid-year exam facts for matriculants to remember

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Here are three crucial mid-year facts to keep in mind. Photo: Getty Images.
Here are three crucial mid-year facts to keep in mind. Photo: Getty Images.

As Matric mid-year exams kick into high gear this week, pupils need to get an eagle's eye view of the importance of these exams.

So says an education expert, adding that this perspective of their exams' role in the greater scheme of their final year and their prospects post-Matric is crucial to their long-term success. 

"Matric students often tend to look at final NSC exams and think that is the big one they should focus all their attention on, but that is only part of the story," says Nola Payne, Senior Head of Programme at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.

Read: Sasol is looking for bursars for an all-inclusive bursary for 2023 - Apply now

"Matric mid-year exams have a unique significance in the big picture and should not be viewed as merely a trial run for final exams because it plays its medium to long term role – in various ways - in the outcomes and prospects for Grade 12," Payne says.

She says the mid-year exams will be more demanding than any exams written before in one's school career and provide a good indication of what students will expect in their finals, while also providing valuable insights into how they should approach the rest of the year.

"The mid-year exams allow students to hone their skills and identify gaps in their knowledge and understanding," says Payne.

She adds that in addition to serving as a dry-run for finals, students writing mid-year exams should also keep the following three insights in mind:

1. Your mid-year performance is important

Mid-year marks are important primarily for two reasons: firstly, they contribute to a student's year mark. Secondly, they can use these marks to get provisional acceptance when applying to a university.

This means pupils must do as well as possible in these exams to hedge their bets should they face unexpected challenges later in the year.

Pupils who did well in Grade 11 can already use those marks to apply for higher education. Still, ultimately an institution will only give final admission based on final marks, and Matric mid-year exam marks contribute to these.

Performing well in your mid-years also gives you a confidence boost as you move into the final stretch of the year. You can focus your effort where it is needed, rather than having to keep working on parts of the curricula that you should already have mastered.

Must read: University not an option? How to start a career after matric 

2. But your mid-year performance is not the final word on your prospects

Although a good mid-year performance is undoubtedly tremendously beneficial, not doing as well as you hoped does not signal the end of the road.

It should be kept in mind that after the mid-years, you still have several months to throw everything at your studies and that with focus and a concerted effort, you can substantially improve your performance towards the end of the year. In this respect, your mid-years will provide valuable insights for you to use when strategising the rest of the year.

With the help of your teachers, tutors and school support systems, you can use your performance to develop a framework for the rest of the year to ensure that you address those areas you found challenging and which impacted negatively on your performance.

It might also be that your mid-years show definitively that your plans for next year might need some additional consideration.

If, for instance, you wanted to apply for a qualification at an institution for which you are most definitely not going to qualify no matter how much time and effort you put in, you are now able to objectively consider your plans and devise a new strategy by researching your options and speaking to student support services at higher education institutions.

This will allow you to take the pressure off yourself if your vision is not aligned with reality and help you find a path better suited to your unique skills and strengths.

Also read: 'The end of the road?' How to cope with disappointing matric results

3. Your mid-year exams signals that your study application deadline is ticking

With the increased competition for tertiary study space, particularly for popular and respected institutions and qualifications, learners must apply for higher education opportunities as soon as possible.

This might not seem like a priority when studying for your exams, but if you are serious about pursuing studies after school, it must not be left for much longer.

Thousands of Matrics have already applied for higher education, and if you have not yet joined their ranks, you need to do so sooner rather than later.

As the year progresses and the final exams loom, you will be less inclined to spend time and energy investigating your study options.

Therefore, it is ideal for those who have not yet done so to use their June holidays to visit higher education institutions – whether online or in-person by appointment – to discuss various offerings and their related career paths.

When doing so, remember that it is also essential to ask institutions about their post-graduate support and work-integrated learning components in their curricula.

"This is a fascinating time in the educational journeys of students. Yes, it is challenging and the cause of much nervous excitement at times, but you are truly now putting the finishing touches on your school career as you prepare for the next part of your life and entering adulthood," says Payne.

"As the saying goes, we need to be able to walk and chew gum simultaneously, and this holds for Matrics right now."

Payne stresses, "You need to do your absolute best and focus right to the end during your mid-year exams, but at the same time, you need to review your strategy and adjust your path as necessary constantly. You also need to consider how you are now walking towards your future and put in place the building blocks to get there."


Share your stories and questions with us via email at Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Don't miss a story!

For a weekly wrap of our latest parenting news and advice sign up to our free Friday Parent24 newsletter.

Follow us, and chat, on Facebook and Twitter.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.