With the start of the National Senior Certificate Examinations on Monday, Grade 12 learners across the country face the most difficult period of their schooling career. The first paper written was Computer Application Technology (CAT) which did not consist of much theoretical work as it was based on practical performance. Some learners were content with the efforts they put in ahead of the exams.
“It was quite easy. It’s odd how easy it was. It was a practical so there was no need for studying but studying helped a lot,” said Queens Park High School (QPHS) matriculant Anwar Diedericks.
Many learners VOC News spoke to said the paper left them feeling confident about the rest of the exams as they found the exam “easier” than expected.
“The paper went well,” said matriculant Ebrahim Jumat.
Comparing it to previous exams such as mock examinations in September, they found that these exams were “simpler” to grasp.
“The first paper went good and wasn’t what we thought. You always imagine the exams to be rocket science so in that way it stimulates you to study hard but it went well and wasn’t that hard,” added Pistis Samgalo.
Most are expecting averages from 60% and higher for these exams. Many of the learners said they had set aside all social activity and would “put everything” into these exams.
“I am aiming for 60% and above as I don’t want to aim for 50 because I could get under 50. So if I aim for 60 I might get a 50,” said Jumat.
“I think I’ll do well because I’m putting and will continue to put 100% into these exams,” said fellow learner Tiesor Kalala.
Their exam preparation consisted of all methods that would simplify the content and cover as much as possible. They are equipping themselves well for the exams with intense and diligent preparation.
“With my next papers I intent to write, my study methods are very simple including mind maps, summarizing and just summarizing the work to a simpler point. Hopefully my methods gets me through the exams easily,” says Jumat.
The most popular study methods consisted of rewriting the content, summarizing and rewriting these summaries.
“The revision is not going bad. I normally study everyday and I find studying with friends helps,” added Samgalo.
According to one education expert, learners should condition themselves not to stress and panic. Normal levels of stress can help you think faster and more effectively, but if anxiety becomes overwhelming it can have the opposite effect.
Today it’s proven that alternating study locations improves retention. This happens because of the way the brain makes associations between what it is studying and the background sensations that are occurring. Forcing the brain to make many associations with the same material provides the support needed to improve memory.
Research shows that it’s better to study different but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing. This will help leave a deeper impression on the brain. Writing more, including making class and textbook reading notes and creating review sheets, and of course mind-maps, helps imprint information and will improve retention.
Avoid cramming- rather space your studies in a way that helps you take in information. This improves memory and doesn’t require more effort.
Do use the Internet when you need to, whether you seek more advice on how best to study for exams or if you need greater explanation on a subject. Continuously test yourself. It will help you store the information better and make it more accessible.
Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and remind yourself of those times when you were successful, and what you did to be successful. Stay calm, stay positive, and prior to your matric exam, just focus. Try and set the challenges of the year that follows aside. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)