And, just like that, the 2019 matrics are on the brink of writing your final exam. How can you best manage your emotions and high stress levels during this time?
As a diligent student, you’d be well-prepared for this important milestone in your life. After all, it is the culmination of 12 years of learning that has brought you to the brink of adulthood. But it always pays to go into battle with a strategy.
Being prepared is half the victory
Try not to allow stress or anxiety get the better of you. Take a deep breath and approach it as a positive, even exciting, step on your journey into adulthood.
Four tips to help you along the way
1. Draw up a study roster
Consult your exam timetable and draw up a schedule with specific times set aside to study each subject. You could do this by hand or on an Excel spreadsheet. A simple Google search will throw up online templates.
Divide the day into as many sessions as you need, depending on how much ground you have to cover in each subject, then allocate a specific section of a subject to each session. Make sure you allow for short breaks in-between sessions, and longer breaks for mealtimes.
2. Take care of your health
Nothing can play more havoc on your well-being than stress. And the matric exams are known to be a particularly bad stressor; so manage it with care.
Make sure you eat well, sleep enough and get regular exercise. This will help you focus and help keep panic at bay.
Arrange your study space and materials neatly and make sure you have everything you need, from the necessary stationery to a jug of water. This will also help you stay calm and hone your mind to concentrate on the work at hand.
3. Work through past papers
Many schools hand out past papers, but you can supplement these by downloading more from the internet. Questions change year by year, but the structure of matric papers generally stays the same. The more papers you work through, the more comfortable you will be during the exams. It will also give you an edge when it comes to managing your time during the actual exam. Do a few open-book practice runs before diving in properly.
4. Let social media do some heavy lifting
Use social media to your advantage. Create study groups on Facebook or WhatsApp to keep track of progress and to clarify areas of uncertainty. This will also give you a quick heads up if you fall behind.
Facebook groups for specific subjects allow members to share visuals and podcasts. Such a group can provide a great platform for discussion, while WhatsApp offers the opportunity to share insights and notes. And whatever it is you’re studying, YouTube is sure to have videos connected to the content. Look out for TED talks in particular.
A word of caution
Only communicate on social media during breaks or at set times to keep your focus on your books.
It’s a known fact that people retain more information if they use more than one of their senses to learn stuff. Read important parts of your work into a recording app, then play it back while you go about your business during the day. For a visual boost, watch videos on YouTube to reinforce the knowledge.
Remember, it may seem like a high mountain to climb, but in the end, these are a few weeks of your life. When it’s over, you’ll have your whole life to look forward to.
By Linda Cilliers