'Set up your own mock exams': Expert tips for matriculants on how to make up for lost time

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"Many Grade 12s would have lost as much as 60% of teaching time this year, on top of the fact that they didn't finish last year's curriculum". (Getty Images)
"Many Grade 12s would have lost as much as 60% of teaching time this year, on top of the fact that they didn't finish last year's curriculum". (Getty Images)

As per a recent News24 report, Matric mid-year exams have been called off by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, who made the announcement this past Wednesday.

"We want to make up for the loss of time and for them to cover the curriculum. They did not go on holiday in March, and most of the schools are giving extra classes. The [usual] June period of exams will be used to cover the curriculum," she said.

Nola Payne, Head of Faculty at the Independent Institute of Education, says that while it is unfortunate that mid-year exams have been scrapped for a second year running, much time has indeed been lost. 

"As pointed out by Minister Angie Motshekga, many Grade 12s would have lost as much as 60% of teaching time this year, on top of the fact that they didn't finish last year's curriculum. Additionally, they also had to sacrifice holiday time to make up for lost teaching days. All things considered, it is clear that this year's Matrics are again under a lot of strain, and being called upon to perform to the best of their ability under rather difficult circumstances," Payne says.

To help matriculants make the most of this opportunity, Payne has provided Parent24 with a step by step approach pupils can use to "get a little creative in the process".

Check out her guidelines and tips below:

Step one: Make the best of teaching time

Get as much as possible from your contact classes, and be sure to do all you can to grasp key concepts. If you don't understand something, keep asking for assistance and clarification until you do.

If you are studying at home and find something you don't understand, keep a list of questions to ask your teachers when you are back in class again. Don't just move on to the next thing and think you will come back to challenging work later – steadfastly build on your knowledge so that you can continue with confidence.

Also read: Educational psychology expert offers exam tips for students and teachers

Step two: Take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing

Matric is a tough year, even under normal circumstances. This year's Matrics didn't only have to face the unprecedented challenges of last year but have had to contend with an environment filled with uncertainty, unusual requirements such as masking and interrupted teaching time, and fear of the future. 

The has left a mark on the psyches of all. 

So, if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, recognise and acknowledge this fact, and reach out to a trusted adult for support and assistance. Try to look after your physical wellbeing as much as possible by getting enough sleep, fresh air, and exercise if you are up to it. When things get too much, take a timeout, practise deep breathing, and return to the task at hand when you are feeling better.

Step 3: Get creative with your learning

Even though most Matrics in South Africa won't be writing their mid-year exams, anyone can still set up their own mock exams – alone or with friends.

Make a fun activity of it by getting past exam papers from your school library, your teacher or online, and simulate an exam environment. Sit down with your clock and all the supplies necessary, and pretend you are writing an exam within the allotted time.

This will give you a good framework from which to proceed with your learning because you'll see whether you need to work faster, get a feel for the different formats of questions, and insight into which work requires additional attention.

After completing the paper, you and your study partners can go over the questions together. 

Also see: Five quick tips for maintaining a stress-free matric exam routine

Step 4: Find and use additional resources

Last year, and continuing this year, the national and provincial education departments ensured that they loaded a host of additional resources on their websites – from exam and study tips to past papers and other resources.

Additionally, the public broadcaster regularly schedules lectures that can be viewed for free.

Look further than just your own province's website and see whether you can find additional resources on the websites of education departments in other provinces.

Many videos on YouTube can assist with those subjects or concepts in which you need additional help.

Step 5: Keep the end goal in mind

Things are tough right now, and the circumstances not ideal for performing at your best. However, by keeping the future in mind and connecting that to your daily efforts, you'll be able to keep the momentum while building on the small victories of each day.

Always remember what you are working towards. By doing your best every day, you'll be able to finish your year to the best of your ability, which will open up opportunities for the future.

Start considering your options for next year, and remember that universities and private higher education institutions are aware of the continuing difficulties facing this year's Matrics.

If you need help with your future vision or even motivation to complete the year with a bang, don't hesitate to visit a respected campus near you for help, support and guidance.


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