Cheryl Kahla
Deputy Online News Editor
3 minute read
1 Dec 2021
7:29 pm

Five ways to kick matric exam stress and study fatigue to the curb

Cheryl Kahla

Need advice on how to beat study fatigue and exam stress like a boss? You've come to the right place.

Photo: iStock

The end of these dreadful matric exams is drawing near, but it’s still so easy to lose track of your goals when study fatigue and stress has you in a death grip.

Battling with study fatigue, especially when the end is in sight, is normal. It means you are human. So don’t despair, we’ve got your back.

Here are a few life hacks for kicking study fatigue and exam stress to the curb.


Find your 2021 matric results here.


Matric exam study tips

Change of scenery

Take short breaks between study sessions, and throw in a change of scenery too. Use these breaks like fine seasoning: Not too much, but enough to make a difference.

study breaks exams
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Or visualise this: Once you’ve written the last sentence of your last paper, a new and exciting world will open up to you. Be prepared to make the best of it.

Get out your study rut by taking a walk or enjoying a special treat during your scheduled downtime. Scheduling your time is important, we’ll get to this shortly.

Think happy thoughts

Positive thoughts = a positive mindset. It sounds like a cliche, doesn’t it? Cliche or not, it’s true: Think happy, be happy – it’s that easy and that hard.

Positive thoughts and goal-setting habits (see below) could make the difference between having a range of study options available to you, or limited prospects. 

exams happy thoughts
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Negative energy will drag you down faster than a Mass Effect loading screen. If you need assistance with thought-structuring, why not consider concept maps?

Create concept maps

Concept mapping – or mind mapping – adds structure to your thoughts, which in turn allows you to take note of important issues.

It enables you to digest complex information easy, but more importantly, recall said complex information without hassle. Perfect for matric exam study, right?

While we won’t delve into the science behind mind mapping, we will say this: mind mapping enables your brain to come up with more creative ways of looking at a subject.

matric exams stress study fatigue
Photo: iStock

Plus, it’s fun! Go old school with pen or paper, or try Coggle; it’s accessible via a web browser. Use it to create up to three free mind maps.

Stormboard is my personal fave. Alternatively, try Mindly or MindMeister for iOS and Android, and for the minimalists among us, there’s always Ayoa.

ALSO READ: Matric exams: Here’s the schedule for week six

Rotate topics but stick to a schedule

A simple rotation of your study schedule could make the world’s difference as well. Moving on to a fresh topic will give you a fresh perspective and prevent boredom.

matric exams stress study fatigue
Photo: iStock

Beware though, rotating your topics too often could make you veer off your scheduled course. Ideally, spend 1.5 to two hours per topic before moving to something else.

Schedules and rosters are vital if you want to survive the stress of completing your matric exams. Don’t be tempted to take unnecessary time off if it will cut into your studying time.

Set post-matric goals

The senior head of programme at The Independent Institute of Education, Wonga Ntshinga, said visualising your plans for the coming year will remind you of your goals.

matric exams stress study fatigue
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ALSO READ: What is a matric certificate and what can you do with it?

Speaking to the Roodepoort Rekord, a division of Caxton Publishing, Ntshinga said “strategy should not be abandoned now that the jackpot is within sight”.

“It is worth taking stock now of where you are, engineering a mind shift, and getting to a space where you are able to stay strong, motivated and effective right until the end,” Ntshinga says.

goals matric.
Photo: iStock