/ 10 September 2010

Tackle matric successfully

With just a few weeks to go before the 2010 matric examinations, learners should be hard at work preparing for the challenge.

Shereen Dindar, Demartini life coach for the Centre for Lifelong Learning and Skills Training, who is a former English matric teacher, advises matriculants to “keep calm, eat healthily and exercise during this time to keep stress levels down”.

“The key is to work consistently and constantly, pacing yourself with a scheduled timetable according to papers,” she said.

The Western Cape education department has compiled a booklet, Tips for Success, which provides advice on how to prepare for the final exams. The booklet advises learners to start studying as early as possible on a daily basis so as to manage time effectively; attend school regularly; practise reading and writing skills, which will improve with time; ensure that you have all your textbooks and work systematically through them; eat healthily and exercise throughout the year; surround yourself with positive, happy people who will support you throughout this time; plan and work hard; make sure you have handed in all your practical assessment tasks or you will receive a “999” rating, which means incomplete. Such a mark will prevent you from matriculating.

The Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy, an NGO that helps people improve their literacy skills, advises learners to make use of the five top preparation tips for exam success: read, review, revise, relax and plan. According to the chief executive of Molteno, Masennya Dikotla, learners should keep the following in mind. First, read carefully through your work. The key is to summarise the content in your own words so that, when the time for revision comes, you should be steering away from textbooks and revising your own notes.

Use helpful study techniques such as mind-mapping. This entails using diagrams to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. These symbols can help with memory recall by remembering picture cues. Whatever you’re drawing, the key is to use pictures and words to help you recall concepts easily.

Work with study partners. Team up with someone who has different strengths from your own so that you’re able to help each other. Before the exam, take time to relax. Spend no more than an hour reviewing key concepts as taxing the brain at this late stage can cause you to panic.

Time management is crucial to exam success. Spend the first 10 minutes simply reading through the paper and allotting time to answering each section of the paper according to how many marks have been allocated.

Tips for Success advises learners that, on the day of the exam, they should arrive early; take time to read and understand the instructions; preview the question paper and allocate writing time appropriately; tackle each question systematically; write down something for each question; and set out your answers clearly. If you feel you are unable to answer a question, don’t panic; and stay in the exam until the end.