uSasazo High School Matric students writing their first English Exam. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA Pics

South African Grade 12s are gearing up for their end of year exams. For many teenagers it’s the promise of a long summer holiday that will get them through, but for driven students, a lot could be at stake. 

These are the marks that will determine whether they get into their university of choice.

“Year-end results in Grades 11 and 12 are the benchmarks that universities use to pick candidates. Consistent strong performance stands out and can land an early acceptance,” says Rebecca Pretorius, country manager for Crimson Education. 

The global education company assists young people to gain entry to top-ranked universities in the United States and United Kingdom with tutoring strategies that produce acceptance rates five times higher than the average at the likes of Harvard and Stanford.

“Top-ranked universities want well-rounded, responsible and driven students who will make the most of the opportunities they offer. While it is not the only part of a successful application, academic performance is a key component,” says Pretorius.

When it comes to preparing for school exams, Pretorius offers students the following tips, straight from Crimson Education’s top tutors:

Find your motivation

Dream big about tertiary education. Googling your career interests, leading campuses and the many opportunities for learning and independence available at university can be a great motivation to get through the slog of studying.

Establish a routine

Mark out periods of time for concentrated study, regular breaks, meals and relaxation during the study period. Avoid late nights and sleep-ins that mess with your routine.

Set objectives 

Look at the amount of work you need to review and set daily and weekly objectives for covering it – then celebrate your progress.

Unplug

Cellphones and social media channels are the enemy of concentration. If you are easily distracted by them, make unplugging a part of your routine.

Manage stress

Academic pressure can put a lot of stress on teenagers, especially those for whom high marks don’t come easy. Remember to set aside time for out-of-school activities and your passions - they matter to universities too.

For parents, Pretorius recommends taking an interest not only in a learners’ current curricula but also their plans for further education; “Financing university education is a big pill to swallow – but with an inspired student come opportunities to tap into financial aid. Investing in tutoring and careers-focussed mentoring pays off in the long run, as a degree from a top university taps into better job opportunities and powerful alumni networks.”