Preparation is paramount for pupils’ success
PRACTISE, practise, practise is the advice from local teachers for Grade 12 pupils preparing for the National Senior Certificate exams which begin tomorrow.
Lorraine Bovey, the head of department ( HOD) for Mathematics at Westville Girls’ High School said pupils should work through as many past examination papers as they can in preparation for the exams.
“Reading through their work is not enough, they need to be working through as many examples and practising the mathematics skills they have acquired over the years.”
She said pupils should also look at their trial examination papers, working through areas they had difficulties in.
“Pupils need to work through every section consistently. It is important not to leave out any section as they are all interlinked. I would also advise against cramming the night before.”
Bovey said the education department had provided schools with examples, which are structured similarly to the final exam, for pupils to work through.
“Ultimately the more effort you put in the more reward you will get out. So I advise pupils to work hard and they will get the results they want,” she said.
Milly Reddy, HOD for the Languages and English Department at Westville Girls’ High School, said many pupils overlook English and focus on other subjects which is a mistake.
“All subjects are important. However, once students have mastered the languages it will help in other subjects as you use English in all subjects.”
As a moderator of Grade 12 exam papers, Reddy advised against regurgitating from English study aids.
“As a moderator you look for pupils’ own interpretation of the works and their level of understanding and not just what appears in the study aids that they crammed the night before.”
Reddy said while the controversial Outcomes Based Education (OBE) system had shortfalls, it has also been beneficial to pupils.
“OBE has allowed the girls to think critically and develop the ability to have their own thoughts. There has also been much more emphasis on working in groups. It is not all bad as people like to believe.”
Principal of Westville Boys’ High Trevor Hall said excelling academically requires a combined effort from pupils and teachers.
“Students need to be motivated to learn and do well but you also need dedicated teachers willing to put in the extra time and effort to equip pupils.”
Hall said he expects good results this year and dismissed claims about the failure of the OBE system.
“OBE has been misunderstood which is why it is seen as a convenient excuse for the failure rate. It is actually a good curriculum which teaches the students necessary skills and values. However you need dedicated teachers to plan and deliver the curriculum effectively.”
Wendy Walter, HOD of Science at Durban Girls’ High School, said a lot of hard work is required for students to excel in the exams especially in Science.
“There are no short cuts to do well, just hard work. You must be committed and work hard to see good results.”
Walter emphasised the importance of practising by going through old papers.
“Going through past year papers and tests is important. You can’t learn science without a pen and paper, you need to do something each day to keep the work fresh in your mind.”
She said OBE has made pupils think more as the syllabus requires critical thinking.