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Dealing with Stress During Exams

As matriculants, your final year of high school is comprised of exams, exams, and more exams. Your Matric year is a formative event: it is a year in which you are under the most academic pressure you have ever encountered. You have a higher workload and less time to master the work. During this all you are aware that the results you achieve at the end of the year may very well be a determinant for your future. So what do all of these factors cause? A whole lot of stress.

Tales of Stress

During my Matric year and my first year at University, I was under immense pressure to perform well academically. This was brought on by aspirations to be accepted into a degree that requires good academic performance. Over these two years, I tried multiple tactics to stay afloat when it came to my workload. From sleeping 3-4 hours a night for weeks on end, and spending all my waking time working, to following a rigorous schedule of work and sleep, all with varying degrees of success.

One thing all my tactics did have in common: I was burnt out, and unable to work effectively and perform optimally in my academics. My inability to work effectively led me to apply more pressure to myself. This only reinforced this cycle of stress, until I one day decided that I had had enough.

exam stress matric

The Common Denominator

Most scholars and students at all levels of education experience academic stress. This stress, in the right amounts, can increase the physiological and cognitive functioning of a student, therefore improving their work ability and performance. Chronic stress and high cortisol levels, however, can impair brain functioning and suppress the immune system. Students with chronic stress may see a drop in their academic performance.

Students experience this stress for many reasons. It can be due to parental or financial pressure to perform well, pressure from educators to achieve good marks overall, or self-induced pressure to perform well. This stress can become debilitating to students. This is especially true in a year where such a large emphasis is placed on academic performance. It is, therefore, extremely important that this stress be managed effectively in students, to ensure good emotional well-being and, subsequently, good academic performance.

How to Deal with Stress

Managing your stress is a skill-set, and stress management differs from person-to-person. The following tips, however, can guide you in finding ways to effectively manage your stress:

  • Get enough sleep: Sleeping 6-8 hours a night is essential to maintaining the physical and cognitive functioning required of a high school student.
  • Organize: Make sure that you have a good schedule for keeping up with your work, and that you know the requirements of each subject before you start studying. Plan ahead for your Matric prelims and Matric final exams, so that you don’t need to rush through the work.
  • Practice self-care: Engage in activities that are fun, that make you feel relaxed and that distract you from your work. Whether it is to spend time with family, to read or to watch a movie with friends, guilt-free time spent away from your work will energize you and leave you ready to study as efficiently as possible.
  • Exercise: Take 20 minutes to do some light exercise during stressful times. Go you’re your dogs for a walk, or do a yoga workout on YouTube. The exercise will increase the release of serotonin in your body. In turn, this will improve your mood and leave you feeling refreshed.
  • Be kind to yourself: If you performed poorly, if you didn’t stick to your studying schedule, or if you feel like you didn’t work hard enough for a test, take a moment to consider how hard you have been working and use positive emotions as motivation.
  • Ask for help: Whether it’s something small like helping with a problem from a friend, or a cup of coffee from your mom, or asking help from a professional to help manage your stress and anxiety. Make sure to do what is necessary to manage your stress and maintain your mental health in your Matric year.

What BrightSparkz suggests to help lighten the load

  • A tutor can help you understand the work you’re putting so much pressure on yourself to excel in. Our tutors have been through Matric and know what it takes to do well. Whether you need to revise the basics or practice your logarithms, our tutors can help! They’ll fit around your busy schedule. This way you don’t need to worry about time spent getting to extra lessons at inconvenient times.
  • Our Study Skills Crash Course will help you get organized, and use your precious time most effectively. Most Matrics don’t know their learning style or which study methods work best for them. This can add hours on to your studying! Spend your time studying in the best way possible. Our Study Skills Crash Course also only takes 2 hours, and can be done via Skype – so it won’t take away from your study time!

Happy studies.

Written by Inge Ungerer, BrightSparkz tutor & blog contributor

Tutor Of The Month: Christie Munro

BrightSparkz Tutor of the Month

Christie is our February 2018 Tutor of the Month!

Christie matriculated from Rhenish Girls’ High in 2015 with fantastic results – 7 distinctions! She is currently completing her BSc majoring in Ocean and Atmosphere Science and Marine Biology at UCT, and has also studied Mandarin for 4 years. She is also a volunteer for the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. Christie has been tutoring for BrightSparkz since the middle of 2016, and has taken on several clients for us, tutoring everything from Maths and Life Science to EMS! Our team loves Christie because of her quick, cheerful responses and her willingness to take on any client. Her clients love her for her positivity and the amazing effect she has on her learners. She is a sweet, engaging tutor with a real passion for helping others, and we’re so happy to have her as part of our team. 

What some of Christie’s clients have to say about her: 

“ I wish to advise that Christie did a really great job helping Nicola – she has now written both her Matric Maths exams and both seemed to go reasonably well.  I wish you to pass on to Christie our many thanks for her dedication and attention to detail as well as her excellent teaching systems – they all made a huge difference to Nicola.”

Thank you for your dedication and effort as a BrightSparkz Tutor , Christie!

To get your amazing tutor, click here

Tutor Of The Month: Tayla Booyse

Tayla Booyse Tutor of the Month

Tayla is our January 2018 Tutor of the Month!

Tayla matriculated from Brescia House in 2013 with outstanding results, including 4 distinctions. She is currently in her 4th year at Wits University, studying Speech Pathology and Audiology and will be doing her community service this year. Tayla has been tutoring for BrightSparkz since 2014 and is one of our trained Afrikaans Boot Camp tutors. She is a reliable, kind, patient and hard-working tutor who has a passion for helping others. She is always willing to help and enjoys going the extra mile for her learners and clients. Over the past year, she has worked with over ten clients (Afrikaans Boot Camp and tutoring clients) and has always received amazing and positive feedback for all her lessons. She is an exceptional tutor and we are so proud and thankful for having her as part of our team.

What some of Tayla’s clients have to say about her: “My son was positive after the session. Tayla seemed very patient with Cameron.”

Thank you for your passion and effort as a BrightSparkz Tutor and Afrikaans Boot Camp trainer, Tayla!

To get your amazing tutor, click here. To find out more about our Afrikaans Boot Camp, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Rosha Naidoo

Tutor of the Month

Rosha is our December 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Rosha has been a tutor with us since September 2016. She was one of our first Readers & Scribes, and has assisted 6 learners through multiple sets of tests and exams since March this year, and has also tutored two learners. She has completed her Bachelor of Social Science, and two Honors degrees in Social Science, all at UKZN. She is currently completing her Masters degree. She volunteers at various children’s homes and charity events, and enjoys cooking, gardening and writing. Rosha is always willing to help, she is reliable and dedicated. The learners she assists during their exams and tests say she makes them feel comfortable and at ease. She always calls before exams to introduce herself and to check in with the learners she has been assisting. Rosha reads at a steady pace and makes sure the learner doesn’t fall behind.

Thank you for your hard work and the excellent example you’ve set as a concessions facilitator this year, Rosha!

To get your own incredible Reader or Scribe, click here. For your own amazing tutor, click here.

Is It Worth Writing Matric Supplementary Exams?

Should you write supplementary exams?

If you have written your Matric examinations and your results were disappointing, you have an option to improve your results.  Perhaps you passed Grade 12 but failed to get the good results you need for university entrance for a specific course? Maybe you failed Matric and don’t qualify to get a Matric certificate, and you are concerned about not being able to get a job without one?  

Matric rewrite supplementary exam

Whatever your reasons may be, writing supplementary Matric exams is an option to consider. There are major benefits to do so, even though the thought of putting your life back a year is daunting. Yes, your friends may be moving on to greater things like tertiary study, working, or taking a gap year while you are stuck doing Matric work again! Yes, you can’t bear the thought of doing the same schoolwork again when you could not wait to put it behind you. Yes, you are disappointed at this roadblock in your life which right now feels like a devastating blow!

You have taken a serious knock to your self-confidence and you’re not sure which direction to follow. If you passed overall, should you give up your dreams of getting a university entrance or studying a specific field because your marks were not good enough? Should you settle for something else? If you failed your Matric exams, is it worth it to rewrite and get a Matric certificate? Should you suffer through the pain of trying to improve your Maths and Science marks? Will it really make a difference? Perhaps you were not planning to study further anyway, so why bother?

Good questions! However, you need to look beyond the here and now for your answers. Why give up your dreams if it is possible to still reach for them (even though it may be a little inconvenient now?). What happens if you settle for something else and you regret it later, or decide after a few years of working that you would like to study again but you don’t have a Matric certificate?

Having a Matric certificate gives you more options in life in terms of job opportunities, and who doesn’t like having options? You will find it difficult to find employment without Matric and even then, the most menial type of work possible. It may seem unimportant to you now as it is exciting to earn money, especially if you’re not used to having any, but it wears thin quickly if your earning potential never increases and you have to settle for anything you can get.

Although it seems like a big sacrifice to put your life on hold while you write supplementary exams, it is a small price to pay for all the years of a better future which lie ahead. It is worth doing merely to improve your options in life. (Particularly, improving on your Maths and Science marks if you have those as subjects, will allow you almost unlimited options in your study choices).

Matric rewrite supplementary exam

How to succeed in your supplementary exam

You will need to do things differently to ensure a better outcome than the first time you wrote your Grade 12 exams. You will need to be disciplined, to manage your time well, and to set some realistic study goals. Remember that a failed exam does not define you! The power is in your hands. If you feel like you don’t know how to study correctly, and you suspect that this has adversely affected your marks, try a Study Skills Crash Course. If you did not understand some aspects of the work, you will need to get some help – either enroll at a college which offers matric rewrites, or do it yourself with the help of past papers and a tutor. A highly qualified tutor will be able to offer you academic and emotional support. Your tutor has walked the path ahead of you and knows what it takes to get the Matric results you want!

Give yourself every opportunity for a bright future and consider writing supplementary Matric examinations! Book a tutor to help you now!

Supplementary Exam Infographic  Supplementary Exam Tutor

 

 

 

Written by: Natalie Wilke, BrightSparkz Staff and Blog Writer

Tutor Of The Month: Marc Kasongo

Marc Kasongo

Marc is our November 2017 Tutor of the Month!

We are proud to announce that Marc Kasongo is our Tutor of the Month for November! Marc is one of our newer tutors who has proven himself as an incredible asset to our team very quickly. He receives excellent feedback from all the clients he works with, and is currently in his 3rd year of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree at the University of Johannesburg. Marc is one of our tutors who are able to tutor Maths and the Sciences to Grade 8 – 12 level learners, as these are his specialty subjects. Thank you Marc for your dedication and commitment to our team and to your learners who look up to you!

Marc has the following to say about tutoring:

“I was a scholar at an IEB school where I managed to achieve 72% for Mathematics in Matric, and I would like to help high school learners achieve the same or even higher! I have over 100 hours of tutoring experience and in that time I have learnt to be patient, calm and reliable… The only vision I have for my students is success!”

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Bassie Nkhereanye

 Bassie Nkhereanye

Bassie is our October 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Bassie has completed his B.Ed Degree at the University of Johannesburg, specializing in Senior and FET phase education, and majoring in the subjects of Mathematical and Life Sciences. He matriculated from Grosvenor Boys’ High School with distinctions for all of his subjects, including 85% for Maths, and was also the top student in his Maths courses at university. Bassie has quite a bit of experience working with learners, either as a teacher in a classroom or tutoring one on one. He has worked at schools, as well as having tutored Maths, Life Science and Accounting to learners from Grade 7 to second year university students. He is always incredibly well prepared for lessons, he is always responsible and reliable, as well as willing to help out. He has only been with BrightSparkz for a few months, and all his clients love him. He is able to make his learners excited about Maths. Bassie has the following to say about his style of teaching and who he is:

“I’m an upbeat and positive person who really values education and the opportunities it provides access to. I believe that learning can be fun and to that end, always try and make lessons as fun, interactive, lighthearted and relaxed as possible. I’m driven and determined person who is creative and adaptable to any challenges I encounter and always try to solve them as best as I can.”

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Joshua Boucher

 Joshua Boucher

Joshua is our September 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Joshua matriculated from Hyde Park High School in 2015 with great results all-round. He is currently in his 2nd year of a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Law at the University of Johannesburg, and hopes to become a Lawyer or work in the industry once he qualifies. Joshua joined BrightSparkz last year, and has worked with seven of our clients at BrightSparkz Tutors, and has received amazing feedback! He also has previous tutoring experience, having assisted a learner with Maths at Grade 7 level, and has been actively involved in mentoring and managing large groups of youth during his high school career. Joshua received his half colours in academics throughout high school, and has also received colours for multiple sports that he was involved in during his school years.

He is a confident and patient young man, and has proven himself as an experienced and dedicated tutor at BrightSparkz, having assisted the following learners: Two Grade 8 learners with Physical Science, a Grade 9 learner with Physical Science, a Grade 12 learner with Physical Science and a Grade 12 learner with Life Science, all with incredible feedback from both client and learner. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing and watching sport, as well as socializing with his friends.

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Jade van Biljon

 Jade van Biljon - IT Tutor - Maths Tutor

Jade is our August 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Jade is currently studying a BSc. in Information Technology at the Pearson Institute for Higher Education, and last year she completed a Higher Certificate in Systems Engineering at the same institution. She achieved 5 distinctions for Matric, graduating Cum Laude. Jade has been an IT and Maths tutor to our learners since the start of 2016, and we’ve had excellent feedback from her clients. Jade is always friendly and helpful, and willing to assist her clients. She is a bubbly person, with a real passion for working as a tutor.

Her advice for students? “Develop a passion for learning – when you do, it will never cease to grow!”

Erin’s clients have the following to say about her: 

“Unaisah loved working with Jade, she is amazing.”
 
“Lisa has done very well in her IT – 94%, and we are very thankful to Jade.”

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

On Set with BrightSparkz Tutors

Lights, camera, action!

BrightSparkz Location Tutors

In the year that BrightSparkz Tutors has been providing film production companies with on-set (location) tutors and childminders, our tutors have travelled all over South Africa, from Mpumalanga and the Drakensberg, to the Cederberg and all over Cape Town. No day is ever the same, with stunts taking place, weather being made, crazy costumes and crazier make up, and incredible sets being built overnight. One thing stays the same – this is a film set, not a school, and children partaking as lead actors or extra’s need to be kept occupied, safe, and ready to head to set at a moment’s notice.

Any minor working on a filmset must legally be accompanied by a childminder. This role frequently extends to tutoring, as the school-ages actors and extras are often out of school for days or weeks at a time while filming, and someone needs to ensure their daily schooling requirements are met!

Schooling starts when the children sign in, and location tutors check up on their schooling needs and homework, which subjects they need help with today and what their schedule will be like. BrightSparkz ensures that there is a tutor on set that can handle questions from any major subject (Maths, Science, English and Afrikaans, and others if necessary – this sometimes includes other countries’ curricula!). Once on set, and in-between takes, the books come out. BrightSparkz’ childminders and tutors help the children through any tough course work, helping them through any school-related problems they may be having, as well as supervising homework and studying. It’s important for the children to stay up to date with their school work, and do something productive with all the time spent waiting around!

Location tutors and child minders also act as a go-between for staff and school-aged actors/extras, shuttling them to set when needed, collecting them for meals and scenes, and ensuring that all children are where they should be, when they should be there! (Our tutors sometimes need eyes at the back of our heads, and on the sides!). A major concern on set is safety. Any set always has a great deal of heavy equipment, cables, cameras – and this just the smaller things. Stunts and explosions, fire or snakes and scorpions are just some of the things that threaten the children’s safety. It is also these things that amaze the children as they watch a stunt or listen to a snake wrangler explain the way the snakes’ poison works (a lesson they will never forget – no books or tests required!).

BrightSparkz’ location tutors and childminders have another important job – being an advocate and voice for school-ages actors/kids in an adult-dominated environment, making sure they have someone to turn to, to ask for advice, or even to speak up if the time between bathroom breaks becomes too long!

BrightSparkz ensures that tutors and childminders are suitably qualified, with university and teaching degrees or well on their way to obtaining them, as well as experience tutoring the subjects they are on set to tutor. They are also passionate about children and education, and aim to make the exciting experience of working on a filmset both fun and productive!

The BrightSparkz team also provide regular updates and report-backs to the production team on academic matters, as well as personally liaise with schools and parents regarding examinations and assignments. We currently supply location tutors and child minders in Cape Town and Johannesburg, but tutors in other locations can also be arranged. Get in touch with us if you are interested in booking a location tutor, or becoming a location tutor!