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Cape Town - With final matric exams looming, it’s all systems go for the class of 2019.

While pupils are being encouraged to study hard and perform at their best, experts suggest that parents and guardians need to play a crucial role in ensuring that this high-stress time is managed smoothly.

Last year’s overall matric pass rate stood at 78.2%, while the Western Cape registered an 81.5% pass.

According to Dr Gillian Mooney, Dean of Academic Development and Support at the Independent Institute of Education, parents and guardians play a significant role in ensuring children perform optimally when exam stress and anxiety can be overwhelming.

“By tackling this challenge together with your child, you could support, rather than hand out further challenges leading up to the exam,” she said.

Mooney added that parents also play a role in increasing these stresses among already stressed-out pupils.

“Parents are often not aware of all the options available to their children. It’s helpful to consider what options are open to successful and not-so-successful matriculants,” explained Mooney, adding that parents should also prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for successes and failures.

“If a pupil does not achieve a Bachelor’s pass, repeating their matric year is not the only option. They could enrol for a Higher Certificate that could help them pursue a degree course without having to repeat matric.” Lack of sleep, anxiety, fear about the future and concerns about how well-prepared a child is are factors that could also impact on the emotional state of parents.

Mooney advised parents to try and avoid arguments with their children by discussing issues that surface and managing their own emotions, while remembering that an over-the-top reaction may make an unnecessary but long-term impact.

She said parents should help pupils to work through past exam papers to help them better prepare.

“Rather encourage your child to get friends together and hold a mock exam, imitating the exam conditions with set times and no peeking in textbooks. Sit down with your child two or three times a week to assess how far they have progressed, and advise them on additional ways in which they can prepare optimally, for instance by completing past papers,” she said.

Parents should also support each other, said Mooney.

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