Seven simple steps for final exam success
Sound advice for Grade 12 students facing the last hurdles.
Dear Grade 12 students
In exactly 40 days from now most of you will be sitting down to start writing the final school examinations of your life. I am sure you are excited and nervous all at the same time.
After 12 years of schooling, this is it. Both teachers and parents must have told you that you make or break your future depending on how well you do in this final test of your knowledge and ability before you leave school forever. I wanted to give you some advice as you approach this final hurdle in your school life.
First up, do not panic, for one simple reason - it will not help you. Stay calm. Panicking unnecessarily will only make the situation worse. You will forget things you know and you might freeze in the examination room.
Do not take pills to stay calm. Some pills are downright dangerous, and not all bodies respond to medication in the same way. Use the normal remedies, like a long jog the night before the exam, or listen to the kind of music that calms you whenever you feel a bit of stress coming on.
Two, it is not true that your life is over-dependent on how you fare in the final Grade 12 examinations. You have many options. You can rewrite one or other subject at a future date; this is not the end.
Since when does a single examination determine your worth and potential as a human being? That is simply nonsense. Of course you want to do well, and if you studied hard and consistently over the past few months, you certainly have nothing to fear. But you are worth much, much more than the results on a mathematics or English or history test. Remember that. Keep perspective.
Three, this is the time to hang out with calm and positive people. Do not spend time in the last six weeks with negative students who left everything to the last minute. They will cause you to panic. Hang out with positive students who are steady and competent learners, and who can help you master those difficult sections of a subject you struggle with. This is where study groups can be really helpful to you, but do not choose groups where the eating breaks are longer than the study periods.
Four, whatever you do, try not to outguess the examiners. It is common for students to try and predict what might be in the final exam and then leave out large chunks of study material. "This was in last year so it will not be in again this year." Big mistake.
Study everything or there is a good chance you will show up in the exam venue and see there are questions worth 12 or 20 marks that you have to ignore because you did not cover those sections in your studies. Do not take such chances.
Five, especially in these final days, find a place to study that is calm and quiet, and where nobody can disturb you. I realise not all of you have options in this regard, but remember the next few weeks are crucial in terms of your future, so even if you must move in with your cousin or friend, do it if this allows you to break away from a constantly rowdy family set-up or a nagging parent.
Six, use every minute between now and October 28 productively.
You will have friends, in school and out of school, who come to drag you away to a party or lure you to unproductive activities. You know what I mean. This is the time to focus and do nothing else but plan every single minute in such a way that you can concentrate on covering the study plan for every subject. Make sure you have a daily study routine, and nothing should cause you to deviate from that plan.
Seven, every now and again, as part of your study routine, plan something that gives you a genuine break of mind from the intensity of study. Go watch a comedy at the movies or a Blue Bulls game (anything else would be disastrous) just to get your mind off things. As soon as this is done, go right back to your work location to resume studies. You will be amazed how refreshing it can be to take a break for a couple of hours and do something completely unrelated to your studies.
Other than that, good luck, enjoy the final examinations and believe in yourself.