Mental preparation is key to acing final matric exams

Learners need to keep calm, get enough sleep and stay focused, and must also remember not to compare themselves to other students.

With just a few weeks before the matric class of 2019 start their final exams, the level of anxiety and fear is mounting, which could leave pupils distracted if they don’t know how to deal with pressure. But it is not too late to use working strategies in place and ensure that the remaining days before exams are used productively.

Head of the Faculty of Humanities at The Independent Institute of Education, Sfiso Mnisi, shared tips on how to deal with fear and regain focus.

Mnisi indicated three typical instances when fear and panic may hit pupils during their preparations for final exams and studying.

“In the weeks and days before exams, as time to revise runs out, during exams when it can be hard to determine where attention should be focused [in studying] and in the actual exam room,” Mnisi said.

Mnisi indicated that all the preparation in the world would matter little for a matric pupil who was in a state of mental disarray, even if they have studied consistently throughout the year.

Mnisi advised pupils to always keep calm, and use the remaining time to revise and most importantly, to get enough sleep.

“Don’t let your fear turn into procrastination, because you can’t face the mountain of work you still have to get through. Use your time productively, ensure you get enough exercise and sleep, and push all other thoughts aside,” he said.

Mnisi said worries between papers could distract pupil’s focus during an exam and advised them to stay the course and stick to what had worked for them in the past.

“Don’t get distracted by your friends swotting up on a certain subject in a certain way. You know where more attention is needed, and what method of study works best for you. Equally, don’t let a good performance on one paper make you sit back and relax. Work for each point,” Mnisi said.

Mnisi said final exams were not only a test of knowledge, but also good practice of performing under pressure and keeping calm.

“If you feel yourself starting to breathe rapidly, become light-headed or like you are out of your depth and can’t do this, recognise what is going on and take back control. Understand that you are panicking, and regain your focus,” Mnisi said.

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