Four matric year facts to help your teen keep calm and study on

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Don't let the fear of failure ruin your child's focus.
Don't let the fear of failure ruin your child's focus.

Matric examinations are here, and as your child's study time increases, so will their anxiety. 

No doubt spurred on by the anticipation that they won't do very well or, even worse, fail the most important assessment in their academic life so far.

And as far as self-fulfilling prophecies go, this one can weigh quite heavily on your teen's already stressed mind. Unfortunately, this fear alone can cause them to lose focus when they can least afford to. 

"This fear of failure is often based on the incorrect perception that a weak performance in your matric final exams means the end of the road for your dreams and aspirations," explains Senior Student Advisor at Oxbridge Academy, Lovemore Masunda. 

The student advisor says that parents need to arm their teens with two truths about matric: firstly, that there are different paths to success and, secondly, that they still have enough time left to make a focused effort before the exams, which will further improve their prospects, even in the worst-case scenario.

"Make no mistake; we are not advising learners to slack now. What we are saying is that if you are so consumed with fear and anxiety that you aren't able to give your preparation your best effort, you can now put those worries out of your mind. Doing so will allow you to focus and regain a sense of control over your work."  

Lovemore urges parents to provide their teens with these final exam need-to-knows to minimise stress and maximise focus: 

Redoing matric is not the end of the world 

In the unfortunate event that you fail, or don't get a matric exemption, you can complete your matric via a TVET college. This option is affordable, and you won't have to return to the secondary school environment. 

See more here: What to do if you don't pass your matric

Rewriting specific subjects isn't a schlep

Another option is to rewrite the subjects you failed, or those in which you would like to achieve better marks. But ensuring that you do as well as possible now will pay off later.

Learn more about this option here: Disappointing matric results? Here are your options

You can still obtain a National Diploma by completing a bridging course 

Bridging courses can be completed at any accredited TVET college.

These courses allow you to progress to NQF levels N4 (the NQF level equivalent to a matric qualification), N5 (the NQF level equivalent to a higher certificate) and N6 (the NQF level equivalent to a Diploma or Advance certificate). 

After completing NQF level 6, you can apply to the Department of Higher Education and Training for a National Diploma, provided that you have gained 18 months of relevant practical experience. 

Read more about this here: An alternative to matric and varsity: your study options in SA explained 

Vocational courses can be completed without a matric certificate

A vocational course provides the specific skills and theoretical knowledge required in fields such as project management, health and safety, logistics and supply chain management, and contact centre operations.

All of these courses can be completed without having a matric certificate and via part-time learning, which means that you can even start earning while you're learning.

Read more about this option here: My child is not interested in finishing school. What now?

Lovemore's final word of advice to parents? 

"It is essential to take a load off their minds by ensuring they understand there is life after not-so-great results. Freeing up this mental energy and directing it towards exam prep will also ultimately make a world of difference to a learner's performance." 


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Get a head start on Matric exam prep

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