Not knowing when and how their prelims will take place is unsettling enough, but what many matriculants also worry about is the possibility that they won't be able to submit results in time as required by tertiary institutions where they intend furthering their studies after matric, says Natalie Rabson of Boston City Campus and Business College. Given that students and pupils perform less well when suffering from anxiety, Rabson urges matriculants and their parents not to allow the strike crisis to dampen their spirits.
"Exam time is traditionally a trying time for pupils, parents and teachers," she says. Now the turmoil caused by the current civil servants strike has added to this anxiety and especially matriculants, who were suppose to write prelims in the coming few weeks, are left feeling uncertain and stressed out. Pointing out that it's no use worrying about things over which one has no control, she advises matriculants to use the time to study as much as possible. They should also not put aside their plans for further studies next year. Ensure your applications are submitted in time and don't fret about results as tertiary institutions are likely to be accommodating, seeing the strike is a crisis of national importance, she says. Those who have not yet made a decision about their futures beyond matric can use the time to investigate career options - a good idea is to go to your nearest Boston City Campus and Business College for this. Boston offers pupils free career guidance with no obligation.
"To ensure students don't waste time and money on studying in the wrong field, we had the Career Compass programme designed to assess student's aptitude and provide information on careers," she explains. After arranging a appointment, a pupil can spend time researching career options on Career Compass at any of Boston's branches countrywide, which have not been affected by the strike as Boston is a private college. The user-friendly computer programme provides information about careers as well as requirements in terms of qualifications, skills and personal traits. The personal component of Career Compass entails making an appointment to meet one of the in-house career counsellors at Boston. And this maybe a good time to reconsider the whole approach to exams: Rahm Emmanuel, chief of staff for President Obama, is known for living the belief of 'Never allow a crisis to go to waste'. Maybe educators and other stakeholders can put heads together to innovate the exam system.
Boston has already come up with a system that lessens exam stress: the courses are modular so the syllabus is completed step-by-step and students proceed - or pass -to the next level with minimum fuss. "Every subject is divided into sections that we call modules, Rabson explains. When a student completes a module, he or she writes a test on work completed. If the student passes the test day, he or she continues to the next module and so the process is repeated until all the work has been covered. "Every Friday is test day", she says. Our students know that the reason they write tests is for us to assess how much they have learnt and if they can apply what they have learnt. Fear and anxiety don't come into equation that much. Students that fail a test or battle with studies can go to the lectures or training advisors who then help them with the work.. Once they have mastered the work, they re-write the relevant tests. We are not out to 'catch' anyone but rather to make sure that they gain the knowledge and skills needed to get their qualification and find employment in the long-term. Students who enroll for Unisa studies via Boston - the college is a Unisa licensee - write the same exams -at the same time as all other Unisa students. Unisa students receive extra lessons, fast track revision courses and mock exams to make sure they understand and know their work. Boston also offers a short course called Study-Wise that teaches students examination techniques, time management skills, effective listening, and how to set goals and remain motivated. The course is open to all current students, Unisa students and matriculants and can be done at any time during the academic year.
For more information contact Boston at 011 551 2000, e-mail or visit www.boston.co.za.