Class of 2018, we know, it’s been rather exhausting giving your all, in everything you do, to make the most of your last year of high school, ever. We know you’re tired, we know you’re a mess of emotions, but you’re almost there. And with mocks starting soon and only a handful of weeks before finals, now is the time to really push through and test every possible study method there is to ensure you do your very best.
Wonga Ntshinga, senior head of programme at the Independent Institute of Education's ICT faculty, offers one strategy we think is well worth exploring: the PROVES method. He explains that, while it’s a great approach to follow as it helps cement the academic work in learners’ minds, it also expands understanding from different angles, all the while ensuring learners balance work, eating and sleeping to stay healthy during this stressful time. This will ultimately keep students in the right frame of mind to tackle what’s to come.
So stock up the snack cupboard, line up all your markers, get out your notepad and write this down: ‘The 6-step PROVES method is going to help me kick mocks and finals right in the butt!’. Here goes.
Practise on past papers or example questions rather than just reading from text books. Most schools should make past papers available to their learners, but it is also a good idea to get ones in addition to those provided by your school.
- We’ve got an entire section dedicated to matric learners and a page for your to download every paper from maths to dance studies. See: Download past matric exam papers here: now including the February 2018 exams
It’s also wise to get a tutor or ask a student adviser for help. They’ll be able to help you with aspects of the work you’re struggling with, and to understand and talk through some of your concerns about the exams and your post-matric options. This will further help to mitigate any anxiety you may have.
Refresh by making sure you are eating, sleeping and exercising enough. Cramming into the early hours of the morning before an exam will leave you stressed, exhausted and unable to focus. It is important now to look after your physical and mental health as well as throwing your weight behind your books.
Learners still have enough time to cover what they need to cover ahead of the exams, but then the plan needs to be put into motion right away to avoid last-minute panic and the resultant impact on their physical wellbeing. Which brings us to our next point…
Organise yourself, your time and your work.
Having a neat working environment, the relevant materials sorted and on hand, as well as a clear plan for what you need to do and study every day, will go a long way to reduce anxiety and optimise learning. So we suggest creating study timetable and tailoring it to fit your schedule.
- We’ve created one for you that you can print out and personalise accordingly: PRINT IT: Weekly study timetable
So follow the plan closely but avoid spending hours every day on the plan rather than the implementation of the plan.
Don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed, but focus on the small efforts – hour after hour, day after day – which, when compounded, will ultimately make a big impact.
- Also read: Don't cram! and other exam tips
Visualise by using colour and mind maps and other strategies rather than just words, so that you can use both the left and the right side of your brain. You’ll be surprised by the potential of your creativity and the role it can play in helping your do your best.
Explain by answering questions or telling friends or relatives about your work. It is not until you have tried to explain what you know that you can assess if you know enough to answer the questions.
6. Social media
And finally, social media isn’t just for spilling your heart out and instagramming pictures with friends. It 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 and committed peers, and using the various platforms for specific purposes. Being part of a study group helps you track your progress, can quickly help you clarify your understanding of issues or set you on the right track if you have misunderstood something, while acting as an early warning system if you are falling behind.
So the various channels and apps can be used as follows:
A dedicated WhatsApp study group enables discussion, last-minute clarifications and sharing of notes. It is best to align study breaks within the group, and put your mobile on airplane mode while you’re hitting the books. When taking a break, connect with your peers via WhatsApp to share your understanding, successes and concerns. This can, of course, also be done on Facebook and Twitter.
Of course, the internet will help you find a wealth of online resources. But here at Parent24, you’ll find everything you really need from how to manage exam stress to the official NSC matric exam past papers.
- Check out our Parent24 matric 2018 exam section for every resource you'll need over the next few months: Matric exams 2018! Here's all you need to know
We’ve also created a Parent24 Learn page on Instagram where we’ll provide you with study tips and resources throughout the exam period that you can easily access on your phone. All you have to do is follow @parent24learn and turn on "Post and story notifications" to ensure you’re informed every time we post something new.
And when it’s time to take a break from the written word, go to YouTube to find videos related to the content you are studying. Sometimes seeing something explained in video format will clarify things you just weren’t able to pin down while going through your textbooks, while also offering you even more study methods. Like our video explaining flashcards and the Leitner system.
- For a detailed explanation of the method, as well as the video, see our article: Flashcards and the Leitner system: Here's how to memorise facts for exams
- Also see: How to study with mnemonics devices
So the next few months are undoubtedly going to be challenging but we’re confident that with a little structure and discipline provided by the PROVES method, things will get a whole lot easier. It might even give you a whole new sense of empowerment going into finals, which is possibly all your really need right now. Because truth is, you've got this, and you've always had it in you. So let's just say here's to successful end of year, class of 2018! It's so close we can taste it...
Have you and the kids already started prepping for exams? Are there any study methods that have helped you and your family? Tell us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we may share your tips and tricks with our readers.
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