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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

Five tips for beating matric exam stress and fatigue

Fatigue, lack of motivation and low concentration levels are expected this time of the year. Here's how to keep your focus.

As 2022 draws to an end, pupils might experience study fatigue and matric exam stress. It’s easy to lose track of your goals when this happens. 

Remember that battling exam stress – especially when the end is in sight – is perfectly normal. You’re human, and it’s been a long year, after all. 

To make it a bit easier for all the students out there, we’ve collected a few life hacks for kicking study fatigue and exam stress to the curb.

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Beating matric exam stress

According to Dr Rufaro Mavunga at The Independent Institute of Education, signs of year-end fatigue include low energy levels, struggling to keep up, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, being unable to sleep, and low concentration levels.

Her five tips for overcoming exam stress are: 

  • Take time off;
  • Revisit your timetable;
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle; 
  • Get help if you need it; and
  • Keep your eye on the end goal. 

“It is possible and important to overcome these feelings so that you can finish strong, and that it is within your ability to do so if you act decisively right now,” Dr Mavunga said. 

There is still enough time to ensure you “get a handle on things again and get on top of your academic work,” she says.

Take time off 

Your first instinct might be to push through the feelings of uncertainty, but Dr Mavunga advises you to take a step back and take time off, even if it sounds counter-productive. 

It’s vital to stay healthy while preparing for and writing matric exams. Photo: iStock

Take a day or two to regain your focus without feeling guilty. Use these days to catch up on sleep, get out in nature and regain your balance. 

Once your mind is in the right state again, it will be easier to tackle the last study stretch with vigour. 

Manage your time efficiently 

It’s vital to continue with regular study sessions every week until the end of your exams, Dr Mavunga says. 

Don’t overlook time management! Photo: iStock

“Do not count on doing an all-nighter just before you write an assessment. You should revisit your study timetable and ensure that you have set up fixed hours for study every day.”

The best way to achieve this is to dedicate time for each module and religiously stick to your study schedule. 

ALSO READ: University ‘not the only choice’ – expert cautions against societal expectations

Maintain a healthy lifestyle 

Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve your mood and reduce stress levels. In addition, lack of proper nutrition could lead to fatigue and tiredness. So get out there and get active!

Healthy habits will go a long way. Photo: iStock

Eat healthy whenever possible and drink enough water. If you work in a decent sleep schedule and get enough rest, you’ve already won the biggest battles. 

Dr Mavunga advises to stay away from activities that will tire you out. Instead, “keep a single-minded focus on your priorities”. 

She says: “This too shall pass, and you’ll be happy you stayed true to yourself when results day comes”.

Get help if you need it

There is no shame in asking for help when you need it, especially if it feels like you are stuck in a rut with no way forward. 

Ask for help when you need it. Photo: iStock

Dr Mavunga suggests: “Consult school or campus support staff to gain different perspectives on how to ease the fatigue and to get over negative feelings you may have”. 

You could also speak to a trusted adult at home to assist you in getting the support you need. 

Keep your eye on the end goal 

Don’t lose track of your goals.

What are your goals? Photo: iStock

Focus on the path ahead by asking yourself: 

  • If I finish strong, which dreams and aspirations will be within my reach? 
  • Which avenues of study may open up for me? 
  • What possibilities and opportunities may arise?

“At this time of year, it’s easy to get lost in the fog of studying and worrying, and it’s easy to lose perspective about the bigger world out there and the fact that all of this is part of life’s journey.

“The end of this year will soon come around, and your effort will be rewarded if you know that you gave it your all on the road to making your dreams a reality,” says Dr Mavunga. 

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