Education expert recommends study plan in the five-month countdown to matric exams



Published May 24, 2024


Matric exams are crucial because they often determine a pupil’s future opportunities. Good grades can open doors to universities and technical colleges, leading to a wide range of career options.

On the other hand, poor performance can limit the opportunities, making the exams a pivotal point in a pupil’s life.

Starting to study early in the year can reduce stress and improve understanding. When pupil spread their studying over several months, they have more time to absorb and understand the material.

The approach leads to better retention of information and a deeper comprehension of subjects.

Although time is tight for pupils who haven’t planned their study strategy, there is hope to build a strong foundation, says an education expert.

“Five months might seem like plenty of time, but if you don't have a good study routine based on a revision plan, time will slip away from you,” warned Peter Kriel, the general manager at The Independent Institute of Education, one of South Africa’s top private higher education providers.

Pupils on school grounds. Picture:Kelvin Diri /Pexels

“Matric exams are crucial as they often determine your overall academic performance and can significantly impact your future educational and career opportunities.

“These exams not only test your knowledge and understanding of the subjects studied throughout the year but, directly or indirectly, also develop important skills such as critical thinking, time management and problem-solving.”

Kriel said that starting exam preparation right away was crucial. The approach would boost pupils’ confidence, reduce their stress and help them perform their best to secure the grades needed for their future academic and career goals.

He advised pupils to implement a five-month study plan immediately. The plan would help them organise their study routines and stay on track, ensuring they were ready and confident when final exams arrived.

Below is Kriel’s study plan for pupils:

June: Organise and plan

With five months to go, you have time to set clear goals and understand your objectives. You should use this time to identify the grades you want to achieve and the subjects you need to focus on.

Create a study schedule to ensure that you plan your time effectively, and develop a realistic study schedule that covers all subjects, balancing schoolwork and personal time.

“The most important approach however is to stick to the schedule as at this stage consistency is crucial. You should also use this time to gather resources and materials.

“This may include all necessary textbooks, notes and any additional resources such as past papers. It is also crucial that you seek help now if there are topics you find particularly challenging.”

July: Build a strong foundation

With only four months to go, keep your focus on active learning techniques such as writing down key concepts and points in your own words to reinforce learning.

You can also consider study groups since studying with peers can provide new insights and make learning more enjoyable.

“Regularity, consistency and sticking to your plan are key. It is also now a good time to complete past papers or sample questions to get familiar with the exam format and timing and to help you focus on aspects that you have not yet mastered.”

August: Deepen understanding

With three months to go, and if you met your deliverables in the previous month, you would now have a good idea as to where the gaps are.

“The time is now to focus on weak areas to regularly assess your progress and keep identifying areas where you struggle. Spend extra time on these weak areas and use a variety of study methods like flashcards, mind maps and educational videos to keep things interesting and deepen your understanding.”

September: Intensive review

With exams just two months away, it’s time to ramp up your study efforts.

As September starts, focus intensely on your review. Take full-length practice exams under timed conditions to build stamina and improve time management.

“Critically review your answers to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Identify areas for improvement and focus on those now.”

October: Final preparation

This month you must focus on reviewing the most critical concepts and information in each of your subjects. However, avoid overloading yourself. Short, focused review sessions are more effective at this stage.

“As your first paper approaches, you need to sort out the actual exam logistics as well. Get a good idea of your exam schedule and plan your exam days to avoid last-minute stress.

“Ensure that you have all necessary supplies such as pens, pencils, calculators and your ID.

“If you put in the work over the past five months as outlined above, you can be confident that you have prepared to the best of your ability, so aim to keep a positive mindset and belief in yourself.”