As Matrics from the Class of 2019 get stuck into their mid-year exams, an education expert has warned that they need to remain disciplined and focused right to the end, and not under-estimate the importance of this round of assessments.
“Grade 12s will have noticed that the ante has been upped in these exams, and it will be their first real encounter with the high expectations they will need to meet this year,” says Peter Kriel, general manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest private higher education institution.
“Once the going gets tough, as is bound to happen, the temptation might be there to take a step back and dismiss these exams as no big deal in the greater scheme of things, in the mistaken belief that the real challenge lies ahead when the finals arrive.
"But that would be the wrong approach, as the mid-year exams play a crucial role not only in the Matriculant’s preparation for the final exams, but also on their prospects after school. These marks really do count, and learners must do everything they can to perform as well as possible,” he says.
With the increased competition for tertiary study space, particularly for popular and respected institutions and qualifications, it is important that learners apply for higher education opportunities as soon as possible.
“Learners can already use their Grade 11 marks to apply to an institution of their choice,” notes Kriel.
“And for those learners in Grade 12 who have not yet done so, or whose Grade 11 marks didn’t quite cut it, mid-year exams are extremely significant. At this stage, there is still enough time left to make a concerted effort to improve your performance, and doing so will put you in a much better position for the rest of the year and beyond,” he says.
Kriel says it is imperative that Matric learners who have not yet applied for post-school study do so without delay, as they will likely miss out on valuable opportunities if they leave it too late.
“So resolve right now to double down, do the work, and give it your absolute best effort, so that you can get the higher education application process off your to-do-list before you start preparing for your final exams,” he says.
Kriel says that in addition to providing the proof of performance required for higher education applications, Matric mid-year exams also provide learners with a valuable arsenal of insight into where they need to focus their attention and efforts in coming months, to ensure they perform optimally during the final exams of their school careers later this year.
“It will provide information and insights about your ability to handle the extreme pressure of the exam room, the efficiency of your study methods, your ability to focus on and handle large amounts of academic material, as well as your grit and resilience,” he says.
“In addition, it will provide early warning if you need to get additional help on certain subjects. So the mid-year exams must be viewed as part of the bigger journey, not just towards the final exams but also in preparation for the demands that higher education will bring.
"If you do your absolute best now, you will be in a much better position to handle the demands of the last half of the year. And you will be able to pinpoint and address those areas that still need attention before you sit down for your last ever school exams.”