With matric finals loading and learners heading to exam venues in a matter of days, the bulk of reviewing should now be over, and the limited time available before and during the exams should be strategically managed, an education expert says.
“Even though the final exams are an undeniably important milestone, learners shouldn’t become overwhelmed in the face of what lies ahead, and instead enter this period with a holistic strategy to perform at their best. Essentially, now is the time to draw up your roadmap for the challenging few weeks that lie ahead,” Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest private higher education institution.
Planning and reviewing should now move from the general to the specific by doing the following:
- Get organised
Just before you enter the exam period is a good time to review your study schedule. What work do you still need to cover, and how much time will you have between papers? Draw up a new roster taking into account the realities of the next few weeks and ensure you stick to it.
- Narrow down your reviewing
Once you enter the exam period, you should have adequately covered all your material. With little time available between papers, you must now focus your attention on the sections of work that are almost certainly going to be tested and master them, rather than trying to re-read all your textbooks in their entirety.
- Breathe, and get your head in the right space
Your biggest weapon right now is the ability to remain calm and perform under pressure. Download one of the many mindfulness apps available online (Headspace is a good one), and invest 5-10 minutes in calming down your nerves before you step into the exam room. Managing your anxiety ahead of each paper will go a long way towards helping you avoid mind blanks during the exam.
- Stay healthy
Don’t start stress-eating or staying up into the early morning hours before an exam to cram. No matter how hard you worked, if your body and mind are tired and worn out, you won’t be able to accurately reflect your effort in your papers.
Take regular scheduled breaks, get plenty of water, exercise and sleep, and ensure you eat as healthy as possible.
- Don’t stress about papers already written, but don’t relax too soon either
As the exam progresses and the list of subjects you still need to write become shorter and shorter, don’t start relaxing too soon. Keeping the focus right until the end and working for each mark can mean the difference between being accepted into the institution and course of your choice, or having to look at other options.
On the other hand, if things didn’t go well in one subject, let it go and focus on what lies ahead.
- Defer your concerns, but keep the end goal in mind
What if I don’t pass as well as I need to? Have I left applying to uni too late? Don’t let questions such as these take up mental energy during the exams. Instead, keep a laser focus on the task at hand – doing as well as possible on each paper, and earning every point you possibly can.
“Matric learners have a challenging yet exciting few weeks ahead of them, and going into it with the right frame of mind and a clear-cut strategy can mean the difference between and average performance and an exceptional one, ends Ntshinga.”