The magnitude of Matric exams

Matric exams signify the culmination of one journey and the kick-off off another.

On Tuesday 22 October, the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams kicked off, when the majority of matriculants wrote English Paper 1. According to the Department of Basic Education (DBE), a grand total of 796 542 students will be taking part in the 2018 NSC examinations, and will be writing almost 150 set Grade 12 papers.

Matric exams are the culmination of 12 years of schooling and can put immense pressure on learners.

Monash South Africa (MSA), a private tertiary education institution, soon to be celebrating their 18th birthday alongside many Matrics, understands this stressful time for learners.

While wishing students luck with this period in their lives, MSA also gives some advice to learners (and their parents!) for coping with the stress during exams as well as the upcoming seemingly never-ending wait for results.

While this is a key time in the development of your career and shaping your future, it isn’t the be all and end all of your future, remain focussed and clear headed during this time, avoiding panic and excessive emotional stress.

Be sure to give yourself breaks where possible, whereby you breathe, engage in some exercise or a walk and take time-out to ensure you remain calm should you feel panicked.

Be prepared - while much of your study prep has been completed, be sure to be organised with extra pens and stationery, check calculators are working, bring along some tissues and have your breakfast pre-planned the night before so your morning routine is as calm and organised as possible.

Leave early for school and rather get to the exam venue with plenty of time to spare so traffic delays don’t add to your stress.

Lastly, if you do not receive the results you had hoped for, or if you feel like you ‘messed up’ an exam, don’t beat yourself up too much, there are ways and means to ensure you are not hampered by a bad result. Your final results include a full overview of your Matric work. If need be, you could also potentially retake exams at a later stage, or even consider registering for a Foundation Programme prior to enrolling for a degree. This will ensure you are already entering a university environment next year, even if your results aren’t quite strong enough to enrol for your degree yet. You can then potentially begin your degree in 2020.

For parents, this is also an immensely stressful time, so help your child remain focussed, but remember to remain calm and supportive of your child to avoid adding additional worry and pressure.

On behalf of MSA, I would like to wish like to all matriculants writing exams well,” said Professor Alwyn Louw, President of MSA. “As learners’ 12-year journey through primary and secondary education reaches its conclusion, these learners stand at the precipice of the next phase in their academic journey, namely tertiary or Higher Education,” he adds.

Prof Louw said echoing the sentiments of Minister Motshekga, South African Minister of Basic Education, the exams are the “the gateway to the future” for matriculants. “We believe that during the exciting phase of Higher Education, learners will gain the skills and knowledge that will make them workplace ready, along with the competencies and the capacity to lead the change, shape it and become the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors, who will be required to create a better and more prosperous tomorrow.”

“However, for now, focus on studying and preparing for the NSC exam papers. I know all your hard work, dedication and determination to succeed will bear fruit,” he concluded.

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