Dear Grade 12 Student – In a few weeks’ time you are expected to sit for the National Senior Certificate examination.
I am sure every adult in your life has already told you how important this exam is, and that the results will determine not only whether you pass or fail, but whether you qualify for university studies. So I will not add to the pressure, for that is the last thing you need right now. I will, however, offer you 10 pieces of advice as you prepare for the exams.
Do not panic. The key is to remain calm and rely on what you already know and your preparation in the various school subjects since Grade 10 and even earlier. Listen to music or have a good laugh at Trevor Noah.
Do not cram. Plan your time appropriately. Do not leave everything to the last minute and get a good night’s sleep before your exam.
Keep perspective. If you do poorly in the exams, it is not the end of the world. You can retake the examination or do a bridging course to university. Whatever you do, do not harm yourself. One examination can never be a judgment on your worth as a human being and a potential scholar of the future.
Be realistic. If you are unrealistic you could set yourself up for disappointment.
Hang out with positive people. There is nothing more debilitating than to have friends at this stage who are negative and who tell you to expect the worst. Hang out with calm, positive people in the days and weeks leading to the examinations.
Be super-organised. In the week before an exam, plan how you will spend each hour. Plan when you will sleep, when you will study what subject and when you will relax with music or whatever works for you.
Block out distractions. It is important to stay away from things that upset or disturb you in these final days before you write, stay calm at all times. Find a peaceful, quiet place to study.
Study with someone who is smarter than you. You can motivate and confer with each other and boost one another when you get tired.
Ask for help. This is not the time to be embarrassed if you do not know something. Raise your hand and seek help when it is needed.
Expect to win. Be positive. Hold your head high. Believe in yourself. And remember the words of the fish in Finding Nemo: “We did not come this far to be breakfast.”
Published with permission from: Professor Jonathan Jansen, Rector of the University of the Free State.