With less than 50 days left before the Matric class of 2019 write their final exams, learners are recapping to ensure that they get the best results. 

With year having blown by quickly, Grade 12’s have less than 7 weeks to start preparing, and most of them are probably starting to feel the pressure and should now be strategising how to best use the time they have left.   

Nola Payne the Head of Faculty for Information and Communications Technology at the Independent Institute of Education said, “Your approach to studying shouldn’t be random or haphazard at this stage, but should leverage the learnings from your prelim exams, to build on your strengths and to identify and address weaknesses.”


“Prelims play an important role in finals preparation, beyond generating marks which contribute to your overall year-mark,” she added. 

There are a number of tips that Payne shared that will help learners make the most of their preliminary exams and the 7 weeks left before the exams: 

Reviewing prelim exam papers 

Determining where you did well and where you went wrong during your trials can be a great confidence booster. Focusing on and mastering those sections of work which proved problematic during the  preliminary exams means that you are concentrating on material that is very likely to arise during the final exams, and for which you will now be well prepared when it does.

Completing past exam papers 

It should by now be common knowledge for most Matrics that completing past exam papers is one of the best and most efficient ways to prepare for exams. 

The reason for this is because you apply what you have learned, you replicate the time constraints you’ll encounter during the actual exams, you get used to different formats of questions, and ultimately gain a more thorough insight into your work than what you would have achieved through simple reading and re-reading of textbooks.

Although all schools should be providing learners with past papers during this final revision time, learners should go one further and gather additional papers, which can be found on various sites online, as well as at good institutions of higher learning. 


Learners attending upcoming open days at universities or private institutions can make use of the opportunity while there, to speak to student counsellors about accessing past papers available at the institution.

Map the questions asked to the work covered in class and textbooks 

When revising – whether by reviewing classwork, textbooks, completing past papers or looking at prelim exam papers – take note of which questions are asked time and time again. There is an excellent chance these questions will be making their appearance in your own final exams, albeit potentially in a different format, so ensure that you pay extra attention to them. 

Highlight sections and questions that were problematic or challenging 

If you constantly find yourself struggling with specific questions or sections of work, and if these consistently arose in previous papers, it is time to do the hard work and face down the challenge. 


Compile a document for each subject, summarizing the hardest to conquer sections, and keep this close by at all times. Go back to it over and over, and in 2 months’ time you will be much more confident when faced with previously problematic work. 

Create a document summarising the sections with which you feel comfortable 

While work with which you feel more comfortable requires less of your focus, it is good to have a document summarizing these sections as well, to reference in coming weeks. 

Focusing only on the hard stuff, without occasionally going back to the easier stuff, could lead to an out-of-sight, out-of-mind situation. You need to maintain a good balance of hard work on the challenging material, with deep consolidation of the work which you have already mastered.

“Eight weeks is still a sufficient amount of time to get some decent revision and preparation done,” said Payne.

“Using this time optimally and strategically can bring about a substantial improvement in your results. But the key is to get going, and get going right now. While two months may feel like a long time, procrastinating for a day or two can have a snowball effect, and you may find yourself left with little time to do more than cramming,” she added.