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Five Tactics To Ease Matric Exam Pressure

  • 3 min read

High school students have experienced unparalleled disruptions during the last two years of schooling. When it comes to securing a job, or a place at a tertiary institution post-matric, they will face enormous competition. Now that the class of 2021 have officially entered the end of year final exam period, the need for effective stress management tactics is critical to achieving good results.

“Studying is not the only factor to consider when aiming for top marks. To avoid burnout, it’s crucial for students to remain mentally and physically healthy during the exam period,” says Rebecca Pretorius, Country Manager at global mentorship company Crimson Education. The EdTech company focuses on building the candidacy of high school students wanting to study at top-ranked universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Europe, and Australia. “With an unprecedented number of applicants from across the world, university admissions at top schools are increasingly competitive.”

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, 65% of young people have reported a mental health issue, according to UNICEF. Pretorius encourages learners to be look after themselves and stay focused over these last few weeks; “Being mindful of the bigger picture, using your time effectively and maintaining a balanced lifestyle, will improve your concentration and thinking, as well as your odds of reaching your goals.”

Crimson Education’s team of educational experts recommend the following tactics to help students stay calm and ace their final exams:

  1. Practice makes perfect: Knowing what to expect will give you the confidence boost that you may need. Use past papers to practice for upcoming exams. This will also help you to identify where you are struggling most, giving you an opportunity to put extra time into understanding these sections. Many past papers are available for free download on The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) ePortal and the Telematic Schools Programme, hosted by the WCED and Stellenbosch University.
  2. Manage your time: Researchhas shown that effective time management helps reduce stress. Plan a schedule of balanced activities, which includes planning enough time for each subject. Avoid leaving your studying till the end of the day, and study as soon after class or your previous exam as possible. Time-management apps installed on your phone can also help.
  3. Healthy body, healthy mind: Eat healthy food to nourish the mind and body. Schedule time to be active and get outdoors; time in nature is good for your mental health and physical activity increases blood flow to your brain and the rest of the body. Exercise also releases ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins. These apps can help inspire and motivate you to stick to an activity schedule, even when you are juggling more pressing priorities like exams.
  4. Picture your goal: Setting goals has been shown to improve performance. If your dream is to study overseas after school, put pictures of where you want to be above your desk or as your screensaver. You can investigate how to make the dream a reality by chatting to the team at Crimson Education. In 2021, more than 800 Crimson students received offers to the top 10 UK universities, with more than 2 000 receiving offers to the top 50 US universities, including Harvard, Oxford, Princeton, Cambridge and MIT.
  5. Ask for help: If you aren’t feeling confident about a particular subject, reach out for help from teachers at your school or an online tutor.  Personal one-on-one tutoring can improve academic performance and provide reassurance when it is needed most.

Through a team mentorship model, Crimson connects learners with admission strategists and tutors to assist them with the complex application process for overseas universities. For more information, visit or download their free e-book Mental Health during College Applications.