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Matric: Don't let fear of failure ruin your focus

Many of South Africa’s Matric learners are approaching their looming final examinations filled with dread and anxiety, in anticipation that they won’t do very well or, even worse, fail the most important assessment in their academic life so far.

Many of South Africa’s Matric learners are approaching their looming final examinations filled with dread and anxiety, in anticipation that they won’t do very well or, even worse, fail the most important assessment in their academic life so far.

Unfortunately, this fear alone can cause them to lose focus when they can least afford it, an education expert says.

“This fear of failure is often based on the incorrect perception that a weak performance in your Matric final exams means the end of the road for your dreams and aspirations, and any chance you had of studying or finding work in the future,” says Lovemore Masunda, Senior Student Advisor at Oxbridge Academy.

“However, that perception is not based on reality, because the fact is that there are many options available to learners who aren’t successful the first time,” he says.

Masunda says that it is important that these learners understand two things: firstly, that there are different paths to success and, secondly, that they still have enough time left to make a focused effort before the exams, which will further improve their prospects, even in the worst case scenario.

“Make no mistake; we are not advising learners to slack now. We urge them to do their utmost best. What we are saying, is that if you are so consumed with fear and anxiety that you aren’t able to give your preparation your best effort, you can now put those worries out of your mind. Doing so will allow you to focus and regain a sense of control over your work.

“This can mean the difference between having to redo Matric completely, or only having to rewrite some subjects. Or it could mean the difference between rewriting several subjects as opposed to only one or two. At the end of the day, you should throw everything behind preparing as best as possible now, rather than feeling helpless and hopeless over what you may think is a done deal in terms of your results.”

Masunda says deciding on a remedial route after receiving the results is best done by approaching a student advisor at a high-quality institution. Since there are so many options, it is best to speak to an expert to determine what is best for each individual. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

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