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Here are a few tips on how to deal with the emotions of getting your matric results

Failing matric, though it may be disappointing, should not leave pupils feeling like they can’t explore other alternatives including upgrading their results or repeating the class, said clinical psychologist Chris Kemp

20 January 2022 - 08:00
It's that time of year again when matric results are announced and clinical psychologist Chris Kempton says pupils should prioritise their mental wellness.
It's that time of year again when matric results are announced and clinical psychologist Chris Kempton says pupils should prioritise their mental wellness.
Image: Darren Stewart

Clinical psychologist Chris Kemp says discussing possible outcomes and expectations between parents and pupils ahead of the announcement of the 2021 matric results may help relieve stress and anxiety.

The department of basic education will on Friday release the exam results of what it says was its biggest class of matrics ever.

For pupils: talk to your parents and prioritise mental wellness

Kemp told TimesLIVE while it should be expected the results will not be favourable for everyone, arming pupils with the right tools to ensure their mental wellness during this time should be a priority. 

“Children should talk to their parents in advance about what they are expecting, especially if you are worried and feel like your exams didn’t go well. This can be helpful in making the child realise that if the results aren’t good, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world or that your parents will be angry with you.” .

For parents: Allow your child to be disappointed, but offer support

Failing matric, though it may be disappointing, should not leave pupils feeling like they are without alternative options to explore, including upgrading their results or repeating the class, said Kemp.

“If your child is disappointed, allow them to feel that way and assure them of your support. Also communicate that you understand how they feel, especially if they worked hard.”

Communicate that you understand how they feel, especially if they worked hard
Clinical psychologist Chris Kemp

SA has, over the years, witnessed incidents of suicide after the release of results.

Kemp said parents need to be aware of the signs which may help them prevent similar incidents from happening. 

“Teenagers can get wrapped up in their peers and what others think about them and how they are perceived. They care more about what other people think of them and this reality, in a teenager’s mind can feel like a big deal.”  

A suicidal person may show signs of being more reserved, they may isolate and sleep more, said Kemp.

A matric pupil from Hammarsdale, Durban, who asked to remain anonymous, said she found the physical sciences and mathematics examinations most challenging. Her other subjects included agricultural sciences, life sciences and languages.

She, among hundreds of thousands across the country, suffered a double whammy because of the pandemic — at the start of it in 2020 when she was in grade 11, and again in 2021 as a matriculant.

“Living during a pandemic was strange but it didn’t affect my studies much because we never missed school, had study groups and also had classes on weekends,” she said. 

She said the final exam was not as challenging as she expected.

“I found trial exams to be way more challenging than final exams, except for maths and physics,” she said.

Expectations? “I am expecting a Bachelor Pass, I worked hard. I applied for marine biology and agricultural farming,” she said. 

The department of basic education said on Tuesday more than 800,000 pupils wrote their matric exams in November in 67 subjects, while over 13,000 wrote their exams at Independent Examinations Board schools in 65 subjects. 


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