How to study for matric exams

Get Ready for Grade 12 Final Exams

Written by Kayleen Olivier

I know what you’re thinking as you read that heading: “Preparing for finals now! Are you mad?” No, I’m not, even though you may think I’ve just upped the ante on your anxiety for this critical year in your child’s educational journey. In fact, the opposite is true – this guide can help you lessen the stress levels as those Grade 12 Final Exams approach.

It Goes Faster Than You Think

I finished Matric in 1997, and have a clear-as-day memory of my first day of the last year of my schooling. Sitting in my registration classroom, our teacher implored us to start studying as soon as we could, and I giggled to myself at the absurdity of it. By June of that year, I could see the sense in her approach and wished I’d followed it. Don’t underestimate how quickly this year will go – the Matric school year is shorter than every other year, due to the barrage of exams, study periods and other demands, including the Matric farewell dance and other events. Being prepared for the demands of this year early on makes all the difference when it’s exam-crunching time.

Weekly Revision

Work with your child to set aside study and revision times on a weekly schedule. Working carefully through their homework, test and project demands, you should be able to carve out an extra hour or two each week to dedicate to revision. Make use of mind maps, reading for revision and note taking tools to go through the week’s classroom work and ensure your child has adequately grasped all the important concepts learnt. Grade 12 is a year where much of the learning work carries on from where Grade 10 and 11 left off so feel free to refer back to the notes from previous years during this time. If your child is able to revise every week throughout the school year, then studying for the final exams becomes a lot less daunting and way less hard work.

Study for Trials, Revise for Finals

Our education system in South Africa makes provision for both trial examinations and then final examinations, held later in the Matric year. Both are important to study for, but your child will be equipped to conquer both of them when adopting the “study for trials, revise for finals” approach. Take the trials examinations seriously, and the final examinations will be much easier to bear.

Past Papers Are Perfect Revision Tools

While you should most definitely be using WorksheetCloud to help your child revise their work, there’s another great tool for revision that’s easily accessible online – past papers. You’ll find a great catalogue of National Senior Certificate (NSC) past papers here on the Department of Education website. Not only are these great for revision purposes, but using them also helps those final examination questionnaires not feel so scary after all.

The Author - Kayleen Olivier

Through numerous years of study and working in both school and non-school environments, I have a developed deep passion for the education of our youth. Constantly increasing my knowledge about new and innovative teaching techniques and tools, I enjoy sharing what I have learned with others, not to mention learning through the experiences of other dedicated people in education.

WorksheetCloud is the most exciting way to study for exams and tests!

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  1. Lindo

    Thanks for help I really appreciate it

    • Kayleen Olivier

      Hi Lindo

      Thanks for your message.

      We are glad to hear that you found our blog post helpful.

      Pleases let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with, or if there are any specific topics you’d like us to cover in our blogs, and we’ll be happy to help.

      Kayleen 🙂

  2. Agner

    my final exams are around the corner it is hard for me to read I sometimes panic
    can u help mw

    • Kayleen Olivier

      Hi Agner

      Thanks for your message.

      Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam. However, when anxiety affects exam performance it can become a problem. One of the best ways to help calm your nerves and perform in a test situation, is through preparation. Also the more prepared you are, the more familiar you will be with the content and material in the exam. This in turn will make your understanding of the questions a lot better. The more prepared and confident you feel about your ability to perform in that test or exam, the more likely you are to tackle the questions effectively and successfully.

      Here are some tips on how to reduce ‘test anxiety’:


      – Set up your study goals and take one step at a time to not overwhelm yourself.
      – Allow yourself plenty of time to accomplish all the things you have to do before the test.
      – Build up confidence by reviewing the material frequently, in small blocks of time each day for several days before a test.
      – If you are feeling anxiety building, try one of the following stress buster exercises.
      – Do some practice questions from previous exam papers. Look carefully at how they word the questions and what they are asking. Practice reading the question carefully and critically.

      Stress Busters:

      – Engage in deep breathing for 2-5 minutes. Close your eyes and concentrate on the air going in and out of your lungs. Take long, deep breaths, fill your lungs and abdomen, hold your breath, and then exhale.
      – Tense and relax different muscle groups. For example, if your shoulders are tense pull them back and hold them for a few seconds, then relax. This will help you to be aware of the relaxation of muscles and help you to relax more.
      – Engage in guided imagery for a few minutes. Pick a scene that you find peaceful, beautiful, and natural. Think about what you see, what you hear, what you feel and what you smell while in this scene.
      – Aerobic exercise will help you to release anxiety and excess energy and, as a result, reduce body tension.
      – Engage in positive self-talk. This means instead of saying “I’m going to fail this test” say “I have the ability to do this, I just need to get some help.”


      – Arrive early so you can sit where you are most comfortable, and avoid people who are anxious and might cause you to doubt your knowledge.
      – When you receive the test look it over, read the directions twice, and then organize you time efficiently.
      – Don’t rush through the test, but work at a comfortable pace and don’t worry about how far along your classmates are on the test.


      – Move onto easier questions if you feel stumped by one; you can go back to it if you have time.
      – Ask the invigilator a question if you are not clear about the wording of a question.
      – Think about post-exam rewards for a minute as a way to motivate yourself.
      – Utilize positive self talk. Come up with positive statements which help to keep you calm, such as “This is only one test,” “I am familiar with this material.”
      – Always re-read the question before answering. Make sure that you have correctly understood what they are asking and how they want you to present your answer.
      – Always re-read and check your answers. Make sure you have answered the question they have asked and that you have answered it in the format that they have instructed (for example if they question says list something, don’t write a paragraph but rather a list).

      You may also want to take a look at some of our other exam and study related blog posts, which provide added tips and advice on writing and preparing fro exams. You can find them here:

      I hope this helps. If you would like some more information on how to improve your reading skills or more exam tips, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help.

      We wish you all the best with your final exams!

      Kayleen 🙂


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