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Preparation for matric exams

The weeks surrounding the final Matric exams can be the most daunting time of year for some pupils.

16 September 2011

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As Grade 12 pupils across the country prepare for their final exams in a few weeks, parents and guardians should lend a helping hand to ensure their children are confident and can perform to the best of their abilities.

The weeks surrounding the final Matric exams can be the most daunting time of year for some pupils.

In order for parental assistance and guidance to be appreciated by and helpful to young people, it is useful for parents to understand and then acknowledge their child’s studying technique.

For instance, some children need less monitoring or assistance than others, and therefore, parents need to adjust their level of supervision accordingly.

"Parents will find it very helpful to take special regard of their child’s individual personalities and learning style. Some young people cope better than others when experiencing pressure – and one reason for stress to mount is when an ‘incompatible’ study technique is forced on a young person during this period," says the CEO of Girls and Boys Town Lee Loynes.

Study techniques vary, where a pupil may prefer to study in a group, another in a public library and yet others in their personal space. 

Many parents have even come to understand and accept that their children study best while listening to music.  Whatever the arrangements, it is essential to ensure that young pupils:

•  do not skip meals

•   do not opt for quick or unhealthy fast foods while studying

•  do not consume large doses of caffeine, which enhances tension and anxiety

Maintaining healthy eating habits during exam time is beneficial, as it balances pupil’s energy levels and allows them to perform at their optimal mental ability.

"Parents should keep a watchful eye out for their children all the time and monitor behaviours such as forgetfulness, irritability and mood swings.  These are all signals indicating that children may be under too much stress," says Loynes.

Putting many hours into studying and revision is necessary in order for pupils to be prepared for exams, but a good balance between work and "time away from studies" is essential.  

Leaving children to enjoy some of their favourite activities such as listening to music or going out for a meal periodically helps to re-charge body, mind and soul – and manage stress.
Girls and Boys Town has for over 53 years helped pupils, parents and educators.

Training workshops and direct mentoring has helped build stronger relationships between adults and pupils, where many pupil successes were achieved through supportive systems and positive reinforcement from parents and educators.

The organisation has also recently launched the second of four advanced Learning Support Centres. These centres are equipped with computer-based software interventions that evaluate, enhance and accelerate pupils’ educational barriers in two critical areas – literacy and mathematics. These are  two learning areas identified to be core challenges facing South African pupils.

Parents or teachers seeking assistance in helping their children and pupils manage learning challenges are welcome to contact Girls and Boys Town via the National Hotline (0861 58 58 58) or access information on

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