Francois Bernard, a Woodhill College learner, says his academic journey had its ups and downs, but putting his best foot forward from the start, had paid off academically.
Bernard added that because he was aware of how difficult the upcoming years would be, he had also made an effort to pursue his other interests and spend time with friends and family.
“The year started off well. I started working hard since day one to ensure that I did not fall behind on projects and studying. This paid off, and I fulfilled my academic goals. I also prioritized subjects such as mathematics and physical science, as I knew those required dedication and a complete understanding. At the end of the first term, the rugby season started, and I knew this was the last year where I could play this wonderful sport at school level.
“Through successful time management, I was able to squeeze in time for rugby training, matches, and the gym without negatively impacting my academics. My June and preliminary exams went extremely well, and I managed to pull off a couple of distinctions. The hard work throughout the entire year certainly helped and took stress off me, as I already had a great understanding of all my subjects before I started formally studying for these exams. I’m still awaiting my November exam results; however, I am confident that I did well.”
Bernard said he was pleased with his preliminary exam results since it had laid a solid basis for the final exam, but he had to devote more time and effort to language to improve his grades in the finals.
“Over my entire school career, I have developed an academic plan that I have found extremely successful. Going into a test or exam, I always set goals for each subject, and I would aim for a particular percentage. These goals were realistic; however, I would need to put in genuine effort to achieve them, as they were typically higher than my goals for the previous test or exam.
“Then I would design and print out a study plan and try my best to stick to it. I would dedicate more time to subjects such as maths, physical science, and accounting, as I knew these were difficult and required additional effort. Leading into the preliminary and November exams, I dedicated around 20 hours to difficult subjects and around 10 to the easier ones, said Bernard.
Asked if he had a study plan that helped him attain academic success, he said he was very dependent on past papers.
“I would work through a past paper until I understood every single question and answer, and if I needed help, I would contact a friend or a teacher. However, before I started doing past papers, I made sure that I understood all the theories, as these formed the basis of all questions.”
His most memorable achievements were receiving full academic honours and a mathematics award during his matric.
Bernard’s ambition is to make a reputation for himself in the technology world.
“My dream is to start my own business in the tech industry. I want my business to make a positive impact on the world as a whole and provide opportunities to others. I will be studying Electronic Engineering at the University of Pretoria next year, and this degree will give me the knowledge to become successful and pursue my dreams.
“I have many role models in the tech industry, such as Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, who took their knowledge and established successful companies that fuelled technological advancement and provided countless opportunities to people.”