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“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

 With exams fast approaching for many students, it is important to stay level-headed and relaxed during this time while preparing for these assessments. IIE MSA, a brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), shares some important do’s and don’ts for preparation in the lead up to your exams.

  • Do start early – Don’t leave everything until the last minute

It is important to start preparing and revising your work well in advance.

  • Don’t leave your studying for the week before these kicks off, as doing so will result in higher levels of stress that can easily be avoided.


  • Do create your own study schedule – Don’t just wing it

This is a great way to help you stay organised. Check your exam timetable and then draw up a study schedule that will afford you enough time to get through all of your work before the exams officially start.

  • Don’t wake up every day and pick a random subject to study on the day. You are setting yourself up for failure this way.


  • Do ask questions in class – Don’t be scared of your own voice

Before your exams start, try to go through all your notes and sections of your work that doesn’t make sense to you or that you still need clarity on. Take these questions with you to class and make sure you make time to talk to your teacher about the specific things you need better understanding on.

  • Don’t keep quiet in class because you are shy or worried about sounding silly.


  • Do take breaks – Don’t take 3-hour breaks

It is important to keep your brain focused on your work, when you are studying and the best way to do that is by taking breaks. Use this time productively, by not watching television, playing games or being on social media. Rather, take a walk around the garden, do some light stretches or play with your pet.

  • Don’t take advantage of your break and make it a long and drawn out break that leaves you reluctant to finish studying.


  • Do stay well rested – Don’t stay up late

Exams are only for a short period during the year and even though we all enjoy staying up late, make sure you get plenty of rest before and during your exams. This will make you more alert for when you need to put pen to paper.

  • Don’t stay up all night cramming. Don’t go out socializing or attend parties during this time, that will distract and drain you. There will time to celebrate when you receive your results!

Lastly – Do reward yourself

Do something fun on days or weekends when you don’t have to study. Go to a movie or to the park and spend some quiet quality time with family and friends. It is important to reward yourself, so it is easier to get through the dedicated study times that you have ahead of you, leading up to exams.

“We encourage our students to make time to sit with their teachers if there is information they are uncertain about regarding the programme material and to ask as many questions as possible during classes. Exams can be stressful times for students and it is imperative to allow yourself enough time in order to be well prepared. Students need to keep in mind that by doing their best during this time, they are shaping a better future for themselves,” says Prof Alwyn Louw, President and Academic President of IIE MSA.

Visit https://www.iiemsa.co.za/ to find out more about our programmes and our next open day.