Master your mock exams with the PROVES study method

Matrics from the Class of 2018 should now be deep into preparing for their upcoming mock exams – which are only a few weeks away – and ultimately the final exams of their school careers in two months’ time.

With only a handful of weeks left to revise, they now need to up the ante to ensure they get the best marks possible on their prelims. Doing so will enable them firstly to see which areas need more work before they write their finals, and will also ensure that they get the very best marks to allow them access to the higher education institution and qualification of their choice.

Learners now need to go beyond reading and re-reading their textbooks and notes, and employ a more holistic strategy which will position them to bring their very best to the exam room,” says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education institution.

Ntshinga says that at this stage of the game, the PROVES method is a great approach to follow, as it helps to cement the academic work in the learner’s mind, while expanding understanding from different angles. Additionally, it gets learners in the right frame of mind, to withstand the anxiety and stress which can negatively impact performance.

The PROVES method can be broken down as follows:

PRACTISE by writing past papers or example questions rather than just reading. Most schools should make past papers available to their learners, but it is also a good idea to get ones in addition to those provided by your school.

Good higher education institutions also help matric learners by providing past papers, so go visit a registered and accredited one in your area, and ask a student advisor to assist.

As a bonus, the student advisor might even be able to talk through some of your concerns about the exams and your post-matric options, which will further help to mitigate any anxiety you may have.

REFRESH by making sure you are eating, sleeping and exercising enough. Cramming into the early hours of the morning before an exam will leave you stressed, exhausted and unable to focus. It is important now to look after your physical and mental health as well as throwing your weight behind your books. Learners still have enough time to cover what they need to cover ahead of the exams, but then the plan needs to be put into motion right away, to avoid last-minute panic and the resultant impact on their physical wellbeing.

ORGANISE yourself, your time and your work. Having a neat working environment and a clear plan for what you need to do and study every day, as well as having the relevant materials sorted and on hand, will go a long way to reduce anxiety and optimise learning.

Follow the plan closely but avoid spending hours every day on the plan rather than the implementation of the plan. Don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed, but focus on the small efforts – hour after hour, day after day – which, when compounded, will ultimately make a big impact.

VISUALISE by using colour and mind maps and other strategies rather than just words, so that you can use more of your brain.

EXPLAIN by answering questions or telling friends or relatives about your work. It is not until you have tried to explain what you know that you can assess if you know enough to answer the questions.