Turn exam panic into finals advantage with these easy tips

Matric learners who feel despondent after a disappointing or distressing experience with their prelim exams should not feel that all is lost, says education expert, Dr Gillian Mooney.

Prelims are often pitched at a slightly more difficult level to serve as a wake-up call, and that if learners actively take control of their preparations now, and put in place a careful strategy, they can change things around in time for their final exams.

The following steps can turn a poor performance into a good one, and a mediocre one into a great one:

  1. REVIEW YOUR FINALS STUDY ROSTER

Your prelims will have given you a good indication of how much time you require to master your various subjects, which in turn will help you with drawing up an accurate and effective study roster.

See where you can save or create time, and where you can put in an extra hour or two every day. Every little bit helps, and the time you took to do a mock paper could mean the difference between being accepted into your course or institution of choice next year or not.

Very importantly, stick to your roster and don’t fall victim to procrastination and constant re-arranging of said roster. Right now, you DO still have enough time to get through and master all your work.

At the end of the month, that picture would have changed quite substantially.

  2. FIND ALTERNATIVE STUDY METHODS AND GET EXCITED ABOUT YOUR SUBJECT

If you’ve left room for a movie on a Friday night, why not make that movie one which covers your set work? You’ll be approaching the subject from a different angle (and use even your downtime efficiently), which deepens your understanding of it.

For other subjects, you can find TED talks about topics you find particularly challenging, for instance. These will not only help you to better understand something, but are quite likely to also increase your enthusiasm and inject some much-needed inspiration into the study process.

  3. GET A TUTOR.

It is not too late to get someone to help you master your most frustrating subjects. There might be a retired teacher or recent graduate in your community who can help, or you can enquire at your school whether such assistance is available. Getting the insight and assistance of someone who is not your regular subject teacher can provide fresh perspective and approaches you may not have been aware of before.

 4. GET RESOURCES FROM YOUR FUTURE HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION.

Whether you are going to study at a public university or a private higher education institution, any good institution will be able to provide guidance and resources to their future students. Student counsellors will be able to provide insights into how current performance matches future options, and what is required in terms of intervention to ensure you can access your choice of qualification. Additionally, good institutions will be able to provide you with practical resources, such as papers from previous years.

 

  AUTHOR
Bombi Mavundza
Journalist

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