How to Get A’s in Matric & Get Accepted Into Your First Choice Course

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9 ways to get A's in high school (matric)

A lot of high school kids think that they are average students and only the "naturally smart" kids can get many distinctions at the end of the year, so they do no put effort throughout the year and care more about what their friends are doing, gossiping, talking about sports and video games all day, talking about their crushes and planning matric dances etc. you get the idea. The world is an unforgiving place to slackers, you end up studying course’s you don’t want to study because you were too lazy to work hard enough to get the results to qualify for the types of courses you actually wanted to do, this will lead to you getting a job you hate, the point is it’s an endless cycling but you can change that right now.

The truth of the matter is not everyone is naturally smart and picks things up fast but those are not the only people who can get good marks. Not being naturally smart just means you have to work twice as hard just to get the same results but it’s possible, you just have to think about the kind of future that you want.

It’s the beginning of the school year now, so now is the right time to start changing the way you do things, you have to work smart to identify your weaknesses so that you can work on yourself to attain your goals. Below I will share steps that will help you to formulate a plan for you to be a better student.

how to get A's at South African high schoolsHow to get top marks in matric

Step 1- Set goals for yourself. Firstly by asking yourself what you want to do with your life after high school? How will you get there? What do you need? What do you have to do to get there? So let’s say you want to be a an accountant, a chartered accountant if you want to earn more money, so you will start by researching what are the entrance criteria’s of the different universities for people who want to study a bcom (CA stream). That will tell you how many points you need to get and what kind of marks you will need to qualify for that course.

Step 2 – Now that you have a goal you have to see where you are in terms of your latest marks, this will tell you how much work you need to do, to achieve your goal. So if you are currently getting 50’s and 60’s and you want to get 80’ and 90’s so that you can even get bursaries and entrance scholarships, you will know you need to increase your marks by another 30%. You should not worry as it’s still early in the year, you have time to make an action plan.

Step 3 - Now that you know what is needed from you, you must start changing your ways, firstly by never getting left behind in class. This means not chatting to your friends in class while you are supposed to be paying attention. If you sit with a bunch of your friends in class, move away from them as they are a distraction, go and sit at the front of the class so that you pay attention and can hear everything clearly. If a teacher explains a concept you do not understand, pick up your hand and ask the teacher to clarify or simplify things for you or talk to the teacher after class or during break if you are shy to ask questions in class. Remember there is no stupid question, others probably have the same concerns as you they just did not have the courage to voice their concerns.

Step 4 – every day at home go over everything that you have learnt that day and highlight things that you did not understand so that you can ask your teacher/s the following day. Teachers will be glad that you are showing interest and be more willing to help you as they can see that you are putting in effort.

Step 5 – Find out what type of a learner you are, are you a visual learner? Are you an audio learner? Do you learn better in class or at home when you go over the work yourself? When you figure out what type of leaner you are use it to your advantage, e.g if you are an audio learner you recall things better when they are spoken so paying attention in class will help you remember better, and writing down notes and then reading them back to yourself out loud when you are home can help you remember better.

Step 6 – actually study for your tests, you already know that you are not naturally smart so do not do as the naturally smart kids do(cramming the night before), remember you have to work 2 times harder so try and understand the work instead of cramming so that you can answer which ever question your teacher gives you. Also if you pay attention in class teachers give hints of stuff that will be tested, so you don’t have to read all your notes/text books. If you have been doing the previous steps then you should be doing well in your tests. Also studying for your tests and being up to date means less studying when it comes to exams, just refreshing your memories. You will get a lot of opportunities to refresh your memory as teachers often have revision sessions close to exams.

Step 7 – always find a quiet and comfortable place to study, whether it’s your room, the local library or a nearby park, studying in a peaceful environment where you are comfortable makes the studying process easier.

Step 8 – After your first test results are back you will be able to tell if what you have been doing is working or not. If it’s working continue doing it consistently, if it did not work you have to identify why. Some people get test stress and do badly in tests even when they know the content being tested. In that case you need to work on decreasing your pre-test stress (but being up to date on work should help to lessen your stress). Also you may need additional help outside of school hours in the form of private tutors who will dedicate time to explaining concepts to just you instead of an entire class. In some schools teachers offer private tutoring but you may need to find someone else, some people know their work but they are not good teachers, it’s up to you to try different tutors and see which one explains or teachers best for you.

Step 9 – There are various resources online which offer past papers for every subject (or for maths purchase that green book with past papers and memos), so download past papers for the past 2-3 years and practice answering them. Some come with solutions so you can check for yourself if you are getting things right but others you will need to go to your teacher or tutor so that they can check your work. By the time you are done following all these steps consistently your marks should be up to where you need them to be and by June or September in time for university application deadlines, you can apply for your first choice course and actually get provisional acceptance instead of being wait-listed or being outright rejected. By the time you write the November exam you will be so familiar with the content that the exam will seem easy and you will pass matric with your best marks ever (if you are consistent in using this method). It does not even take a lot of time when you are up to date you spend less time studying towards tests and exams.

Also as a bonus developing a study technique like this will help you even through university, most naturally smart people have difficulty in university as they found high school easy and therefore did not develop study techniques that they will need for university. I believe hard workers with good systems fare better in university than lazy "naturally smart"" people.

I hope this post was helpful to you, please share this with others via your favourite social media channel and subscribe to Sa Varsity Student via email.


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