Excitement, anxieties and pressure abounds as the matrics of 2017 have started their final exams in earnest with the first English paper kicking off the tension on 23 October.

Erin Andrews, Drew Weldon and Juwairigyah Steyn from Durban North College Matric after their tourism exam

A total of 193 768 pupils in KwaZulu-Natal, 153 624 full-time candidates and 40 318 part-time ones, sat down for the exams at 1 688 public school exam centres and 69 independent school exam venues.
KZN Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane said before the commencement of the exams, that for 2017 they are hoping to achieve a pass rate of 76 percent.
Last year, the province achieved an overall pass rate of 69.5 percent which was an improvement from 2015’s 60.7 percent.
“We are not proud of the 2016 results, but at least they showed a change on the graph. Our minimum target for this year is 76%. We will double our effort to ensure we succeed and reach the target we have set,” said Dlungwane.
Last week, the Durban North News visited schools around the area to ask learners their feelings about the exams.
Speaking after their tourism paper, Durban North College learners described the paper as ‘not hard’ and that they were ‘prepared for it’.
“It was very good, I have been preparing for two weeks and it worked in my favour. I believe my name will also appear in the paper in January,” said Erin Andrews, referring to the results.

Drew Weldon said the final exam was better than the trial exam in terms of difficulty. “I feel like people often put lot of unnecessary pressure on us as matric learners. I have realised that all we need is support and a helping hand. There are better ways that can be used to support learners rather than depressing them with pressure that might bring them down,” said Weldon.
Said Juwairigyah Steyn: “To my fellow matriculants I would say let us keep on pushing and study hard and I know it takes a lot of sleepless nights but it will be worth it in the end.”
The common goal around the schools in the North of Durban was the desire shown by the educators who have put extra time on the table to make sure their learners outshine in the exams.
Natasja Pretorius of Durban North College says they have had extra classes that were open to all the learners free of charge to assist in preparations for the exams. “The educators have been really supportive towards the learners. During the extra classes previous matric papers were revised. From the schools side we are hoping to get that one hundred percent pass this year.”
Northlands Girls High School’s marketing and communications manager Lize van Rensburg said that this was a very busy time of the year for every school and she wished the matriculants all the best in their exams.
The exams culminate on 28 November and results will be released on 5 January. Here are some of the tips for the exams:
• Have all your materials ready before you begin studying – pencils, pens, highlighters and paper, among other items.• Be positive. Make sure your brain holds onto the information you are learning by reminding yourself how important it is to remember the work and get the marks.• Take a walk outside. A change of scenery will stimulate your learning. You will be surprised at how much more you take in after being outside in the fresh air.• Break up your learning sections into manageable parts. Trying to learn too much at one time will only result in a tired, unfocused and anxious brain.• Keep your study sessions short but effective and reward yourself with short, constructive breaks.