Natasha Madhav of the Independent Institute of Education.
Grade 11s who are serious about bringing their best game to their matric finals next year should, like performance athletes, start their preparation now so that they enter the home straight in pole position when 2020 arrives, an education expert said.
“The temptation will be there to put off thinking about grade 12 until next year, but grade 11s have the most powerful weapon in their arsenal right now – that of time,” said Natasha Madhav of the Independent Institute of Education.
“You have to train, prepare and lay the groundwork now, so that you can build on your performance next year, rather than try and get the basics in place while the clock is ticking,” she recommended.
Madhav said pupils must also approach each assessment this year as if it is going to be the deciding one, and learn from and correct their approach when problems are identified.
“Doing well now could also pay off pre-emptively, as many higher education institutions will allow provisional placement based on your grade 11 marks, which will dramatically lift the pressure next year,” she says.
Draft a two-year planning overview:
Senior pupils should look at their last two years of school holistically, rather than as two distinct years.
“Take some time to draft a two-year global overview of key dates that will arise this year and next,” she advised, adding that this calendar will include actual or estimated dates for all assignments, tests and exams.
Use any ‘downtime’ wisely to make life easier down the line:
While there won’t be much free time going around in the run-up to matric, grade 11s should use any time they do have on their hands wisely.
Madhav said pupils can use the time they have to watch YouTube videos of cool study hacks, different ways of learning and revising, learning to touch type or even doing some volunteer or internship work.
Understand your subject choices and their impact on post-school options:
She advises grade 11s to take some time to look closely at what they intend to do after school, and particularly to investigate their options broadly and thoroughly, and then ensure that the subjects will allow them to pursue their chosen path.
“There are a number of reasons why you should consider where you are now compared to where you were when you first decided on your current subjects, as well as where you are going to go in future,” said Madhav.
But apart from ensuring you are on the right path, the exercise of considering how your subjects support further study has the added benefit of reminding you of how your subjects will enable you to realise your dreams after school.
“This is likely to provide you with fresh motivation to tackle even those ones you’ve been finding dreary or challenging,” she further explained.
Madhav said that next year, when pupils enter their final year of school, it will no longer only be about the amount of time they spend in front of their books, but also about the quality of that time.
“You are in a position right now to influence the quality of that time, and effectively the trajectory of your post-school education and career. So use this time wisely to get in the right frame of mind so that you will be able to perform to the very best of your ability next year and beyond,” she concluded.