It’s that time of year again. Across the country thousands of Matric students are preparing to write their final exams and this time, you are one of them.
Matric Exams are a six-week event that doesn’t just test what you’ve learnt and mastered over the past years; it also puts your courage and your resilience on trial.
Raydene Naidoo, Counselling Psychologist, provided some essential matric study tips on how you can prepare yourself optimally for the mental, physical and emotional rigours ahead:
4 Essential Matric Study Tips
1. Know Yourself
Before you plan and draw up your study schedule, it’s important to take the time to do some self-reflection. Remember, studying is not a one-size-fits all approach, so think about these things before you draw up your study schedule:
- Realistically how long can you sit and study for at one time?
- How much sleep do you need?
- Do you need to schedule snack breaks?
- What activities support your well-being?
Think about these, and then also make a list of your strengths and your weaknesses. This is very important because you want to devise a schedule that optimises your strengths and mitigates your weaknesses. For instance, it doesn’t help to follow a recommended study schedule that involves four-hour blocks of dedicated study time if you’re prone to get restless after an hour. You need to know yourself well, so that you’re empowered to customise an optimal study schedule that works for you. If you know that you are distracted after an hour, you can devise a schedule that gives you regular short breaks that enable you to return to your desk and effectively pick up where you left off.
2. Identify your peak times
We all have particular times of day when we are most effective, and this differs from person to person. For instance, some people are raring to go in the mornings, while others struggle to get themselves started. Some fade in the evenings and others find that they are highly productive at night when life around them is quieter and still.
Once you know your peak times, schedule your most challenging studies for times when you concentrate best, while topics and subjects that are much easier for you should be scheduled during your off-peak hours.
3. Timetable: Create, Share and Commit
Give real form to your study timetable. Map it out in a graphic form. Make sure it includes your study breaks and covers all the work you need to do. Stick it up prominently in your study space so that you can see where you are at any moment, at a glance. Think of it as your trusty guide over the next weeks – there to help ensure you don’t get any last-minute surprises or setbacks that feel like disasters.
Sharing it with your peers and family members can also help to keep you on a committed track. Remember to add a tick-off box so you can monitor and enjoy seeing your progress. Some shifts and adjustments may be necessary in practice, but you need to make sure that you have got all your topics and subjects covered according to the priorities.
4. Commit to Your Well-being
Studying for, and writing your matric exams will probably rate as one of the most stressful experiences of your life. This is normal, however it also means that there’s no better time to remember to care deeply and well about yourself.
The upside is that in being tested this way, you have the opportunity to discover new and deeper aspects of your strength and resilience. You can think of the experience as being on a ‘Hero’s Journey’ where you want to be facing challenges with all your wits about you, so that you can achieve the best possible results. For that to happen, you need to ensure your physical and emotional health.
Remember that Well-being means it’s important to:
- Eat Healthily
- Get Enough Sleep
- Be Physically Active
- Connect to people who are Supportive
- Remember to have down-time
Parents and Matric Exams
Parents can play a role in supporting a matriculate’s journey. Especially with regards to ensuring that they go into their matric exams in the best possible frame of mind. As such, Naidoo has some matric study tips aimed at parents of matriculants:
- Understand and Encourage: When facing a stressed and anxious matriculant, replace a ‘been there, done that, now you can too’ approach with ‘I understand’ and encouragement.
- Acknowledge your child’s efforts: Noticing and affirming their choices such as turning down a party to study or going for a quick run before getting back to the books can lift the spirits and instil confidence.
- Manage Your Expectations: Keep your expectations about this particular child’s matric process and outcomes realistic and make adjustments if they are not. Each child is different, and your child currently going through matric won’t be going through it like older siblings might have.
- Review Responsibilities: See where you can help by temporarily relieving your matriculant of time-consuming family responsibilities. For instance, it is likely to be appreciated if they are not expected to babysit younger siblings as they might usually do.
- Maintaining Balance: Model a healthy balance by inviting them out for walk or suggesting watching a favourite TV programme when they’ve been locked in studies for hours
Once you’ve conquered matric and completed your trial by fire, it’s time to contemplate the next stage your journey. Consider studying counselling and psychology. SACAP offers a wide range of qualifications, including and a one-of-a-kind approach to learning: academic rigour and applied skills.
For more information on how to successfully get through your matric exams, watch as our expert speakers give advice on emotional well-being, healthy eating and movement here.