This week on Khetha #Week44

Radio Stations: SABC Radio Stations
Topic: Preparing for exams
Original Script Written by: Abigail Baloyi
Programme Date: 5 – 8 November 2018
Week: 44
Target Audience: The general public

Script Notes:

  • The programme is entitled: Preparing for exams
  • This script will be translated to other official languages and broadcast on 10Broadcasting Services (PBS) radio stations.
  • The programme is characterised by the radio presenter and a guest from the Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • The radio presenter is the main anchor of the programme and he/she will control the activities on the programme.

The objectives of this programme are:

  • To encourage learners to set study goals
  • To share study tips/ methods with learners
  • To help learners prepare for exam success

The entire programme runs for 30 minutes; which includes Public Services announcements (PSAs).

Opening Billboard: ‘This programme is brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training in partnership with SABC Education’

Programme Introduction

Presenter: Good day and a warm welcome to all our listeners. It is time for another exciting episode of Khetha, brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in partnership with SABC Education. The season of exams is upon us. Most of us have families and relatives who are preparing for exams or have started already. October and November possibly bring a lot of anxiety to learners at schools and students at institutions of higher learning. We all have different study approaches and learning styles, but one thing common is exam preparation. Exams do not only affect the learner or the students but everyone (parents, guardians, siblings or our support structure).

All must tune in and listen attentively as we will be discussing exam preparation tips. For learners and students we will be providing valuable information and practical exam tips and for parents and guardians, the focus will be on how to support and encourage your loved ones during the examination period.

Presenter: Why is it important to talk about exam preparation? 

Guest: One of the major reasons we are talking about exam preparation is that most learners do not succeed in their studies because they fail to plan and prepare adequately for their final examinations. Many learners also do not devote sufficient time to their studies; therefore we want to provide them with guidance on how to organize themselves in order to avoid the last minute rush before writing their examinations or during the examinations. We aim to guide and motivate learners as they prepare for their final examination because their results have a positive impact on their future careers. It does not matter whether you are still in lower grades or still in high school, the consistent excellent achievement will provide better opportunities for preparation to do well in grade 12 and beyond. Exam preparation starts when you take responsibility for own studying by knowing what will be required on the final examination and prepare to the best of your ability.

Presenter: What tips can listeners consider when preparing for exams?

Guest: It is important to note that most listeners have already started with the exams. Therefore we want to encourage you to fully prepare and be ready. One of the first things to remember before studying is to get your exam timetable in order to organise your study time. It makes no sense to study unorganised as this might lead to jamming everything up during the exam time. If you have not yet started studying or if you have done very little thus far, then you have probably been procrastinating. That means you have been putting off or delaying your studies unnecessarily. I will use the grade 12 (matric) final exam time – table as an example. The grade 12 exam time table is set well in advance to allow learners to prepare sufficiently. When you receive your final exam time- table you should:

Design your time management schedule/ Time- Table:

  • Draw up a study timetable and put it in a visible position.
  • Thoroughly Check your exam time – table
  • Note the date, exact start time and venue for all your subjects and also check if you are writing in the morning or in the afternoon.
  • Note the subjects that have more than one paper and consider the relevant content that you have to study, for example:

-       Physical Sciences, has Physical Sciences (Physics) P (paper) 1  which means that you will be writing the physics part of Physical Sciences and the Physical Sciences (Chemistry) P (Paper) 2 means that you are writing the chemistry part of Physical Sciences.

-       You should be aware of subjects that have both the theory part and the practical part such as Geography (Theory) P1 and Geography (Map work) P2 to make sure that you study and prepare for the right content

Presenter: There seems to be a high workload for learners during exam times; how can they manage the workload?

Guest: It is important to set study goals as per their study timetable and exam timetable. Learners can prioritise the subject that they find difficult or have more workload. If they are writing two subjects on the same day, they can prioritise the most difficult work first. It will make you feel better once you have completed some of the more difficult sections of your work first. For example, if you are writing isiZulu (HL) before Geography, you can start by studying Geography first.

Learners need to ensure that they follow and stick to their study timetable. The important thing is making the work manageable and then giving the work enough time.

Your timetable schedule should reflect a balance between study time, revision time and other important activities, for example, you can take some time out to relax with friends and family. However, you should not lose focus. Your studies always come first!

Presenter: Does it really matter where one studies? Is the study location important?

Guest: Yes it matters where you study; the space that you study in will determine your length of concentration and the ability to focus on your work. The following tips can be useful:

  • Organise a quiet place to study.
  • If you study better alone, ask your family and friends not to disturb you while you are studying. Make them aware of your study timetable.
    • Do not study in front of the television or any other electronic distraction, you can also switch your cell phone off to avoid any WhatsApp messages or social media updates keeping you from your focus.
    • Make sure you have the necessary study material pens, calculator etc., (you can ask for assistance from your family).
    • Sit at a desk/table/ flat surface while studying. Studying while lying on the bed is not only a lazy way of studying, it is also ineffective.

Presenter: How important it is to know one’s learning style when studying?

Guest: You are a unique learner. No one else learns in exactly the same way as you do. If you recognize your preferred style of learning, you can take the necessary steps on improving your study skills and prepare best for your exam by considering the following:

  • Your studying should not be boring. Make it fun by using a variety of methods, which include writing, drawing, summarising, memorizing, listening (videos, recordings, radio lessons), etc.
  • If you study better in a group, choose partners who are committed and are hard workers. Studying in groups can make revising easier, as your friends might understand a concept that you could be struggling with or vice versa.
  • Communicate to your teachers and peers about the sections of work that you are unclear about. Importantly, try to get assistance.
  • Identify the learning style that works best for you: Visual learners have a preference for looking and learning (seeing - think in pictures; visual aids such as overhead slides, diagrams, handouts, etc.).  Auditory learners, best learn through listening (lectures, discussions, tapes, etc.) Tactile/kinesthetic learners prefer to learn via experience (moving, touching, and doing, i.e. actively exploring the world - e.g. science projects; experiments, etc.)
  • Make sure that you have all available resources close at hand (textbooks, notes, study guides, calculators, dictionaries, thesaurus, stationery, etc.).

Presenter: What other study tips that you can share with listeners as you have mentioned that some listeners have already started with their examinations?

Guest: Being able to recall and apply the information studied is important because not only does it benefits you when you are writing exams but is crucial in today’s world. The following tips on how you can do this effectively:

  • Visualize what you have to remember- close your eyes like you are watching a movie in your mind
  • Write ideas and facts onto flashcards to use as ‘prompts’.
  • Write key facts/notes out and display these around the house where you will see them
  • Make use of mind maps. This will help you remember the flow of the material you are studying.
  • Use repetition and Rhyming - If you can convert the information you want to remember into a rhyme, it will be more meaningful and therefore easier to remember.
  • Use codes and clues and words associations to assist your memory
  • Use mnemonics i.e. using the first letters of words to remember facts e.g. colours of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet- ROYGBIV. This makes it easier for some people to remember facts)
  • Think and talk about what you read - This will improve the quality of your interaction with the material.
  • Record yourself reading notes to listen to.
  • Revise often- You will soon become aware of the many things you can remember

and this, in turn, will boost your confidence and your interest.

  • Always try to make summaries in your own words. This makes it easier for you to remember. It also saves time.
  • Never end a study session without reviewing the main points of what you have just studied. This is one of the most important tips for remembering any material.
  • Avoid last minute cramming.

Don't skip around between different subjects, instead, spend sufficient time with one subject, then study the others in separate study sessions.

Presenter: What other support can listeners use for exam preparation?

Guest: Old exam papers and memos are a great way to give yourself a head-start before sitting down and writing your exam. The papers also help learners to get used to the format and the type of questions that could be asked in the upcoming exams. Using study guides and extra materials found in newspapers, magazines or relevant websites will benefit listeners to fully prepare for exams. These papers can be downloaded from the relevant websites for free.  Enquire and find out about the support that your school, department or institution is offering such as subject teachers/specialists and tutors who offer support with studies.

Presenter: Exams can come with a lot of pressure or stress, how can listeners deal with exam stress?

Guest: Final exams are a major event in one’s life, so it's only natural to feel anxious and stressed. Not only do you have to deal with your own expectations and fears, but also the expectations of your family, friends, and teachers. The problem is that these feelings, if not controlled, can have a detrimental effect on your preparation for and performance during the exams. Check your exam time-table regularly, study and prepare for the right exam. If you follow the advice we will offer you today, it will not be hard to get control of your emotions before or during the exams:

  • Take a break - Listen to your favourite music, go for a walk or let out a scream. Give your brain a rest. (E.g. Take a 5-minute break every 40 to 60 minutes of study).
  • Avoid Comparisons - Stress is often caused when learners compare their own exam preparation/performance with that of their classmates. Use your own performances (e.g. in the June exam or trial exams) as a standard against which to set goals. Comparing yourself to others may lead to you setting your expectations either too high or too low.
  • Have realistic expectations – It is important to set your goals high and work hard towards getting there. It is just as important to keep everything in the proper perspective. Know and accept your limits. Your life will not be worthless if you don't get every question right in this exam. Block out the unrealistic expectations from family and teachers.
  • Positive Self –Talk - Replace your negative thoughts with strong, positive self-talk like: "I may not have succeeded last time, but this time I am better prepared!" Reward yourself whenever you succeed. Be positive about what you do know, not negative about what you don't. Congratulate yourself each day that you know more now than the previous day.
  • Eat Right - Some foods like milk and bananas are more calming than others. Avoid junk foods, caffeine, and other stimulants. Try to have a good breakfast every day because your body needs nourishment to function properly.
  •  Exercise regularly - Apart from calming you down, exercising also increases the rate of blood flow around your body, and to the brain as well. Take a brisk walk or do some stretching.
  • Avoid intellectual exhaustion - Get enough sleep. Most people need 7 to 8 hours sleep each day.

Exam stress can be a barrier or an aid to success depending on how you view or control it. The object is not to get rid of all stress during exam time because it is useful and necessary for you to perform at your optimum level. Control it! Do not panic. Be cool, calm and relaxed.

Presenter: How important it is for listeners to know and understand the examination writing process because in some instances we hear of students who arrive late or do not complete writing.

Guest: It is very important for our listeners to know what to do when the exam is near, the following exam writing strategies will assist them, the learner needs to consider the following, the night before the exam:

  • Finish your revision early enough to give you some time to do something different and to relax.
  • Have more than one device to wake you up, e.g. alarm, clock, parent, or friend so that you are assured of not oversleeping.
  • Ensure that you collect everything you will need during the examination e.g. your time-table, examination number, ID book, student card, writing equipment, calculator, etc.
  • Go to bed fairly early. Going to bed too late may cause you to feel exhausted the following morning.
  • Make sure you know the venue and the time of the exam.

Presenter: How can listeners prepare on the exam day?

Guest: This is a big day that you have been preparing for, on the day of the exam, it is advisable for listeners to:

  • Wake up early to prevent having to rush.
  • Have a good nutritious breakfast and lots of water.
  • Arrive at the exam centre early (at least 40 minutes before the start of the examination) and take a minute to relax. Instead of trying to cram during the last minutes before the exam, use the time to get into the proper mindset.

Presenter: What advice can you give to listeners specifically for the exam room?

Guest: Here are some important examination-writing strategies that are aimed at helping you to cope better when you are in the examination room:

  • Familiarise yourself with the question paper by scanning through it (know the duration of the paper, e.g. is it a 2 Hour or 3 Hour paper?)
  • Mentally plan how you will spend your time answering the examination question paper
  • Listening: Listen carefully to any examination instructions that are read out to you.
  • Reading: Carefully read through the written instructions on the question paper at least twice before starting to write the examination. Ensure that you do not misinterpret any instructions and questions.
  • Write down key facts/ points that you feel you might forget on the rough work paper provided with the question paper. This information can be a convenient reference during

the course of writing of the examination.

Presenter: How important is it to understand your question paper?

Guest: It is crucial to have an understanding of what is required of you when responding to questions; you can consider the following tips:

Previewing of the question paper:

  • Carefully scan through the entire question paper in the allocated reading time.

                Wisely plan your total allocated examination-writing time.

  • Do not spend too much time on questions that count few marks towards your total score.
  • Do not waste too much time on questions that you cannot answer immediately. Come back to those questions after the completion of the rest of the examination paper.
  • Ensure that you keep to the time allocated for each question.


Multiple choice questions:

  • Learners often forget that multiple choice questions contribute significantly to their total score.
  • Study hard and rely on your knowledge of the subject to do well in multiple choice questions.
  •  Read each possible choice carefully before choosing an answer.
  • Note, some choices may appear correct at first, but turn out to be wrong when looked at more closely.

Data response/ application questions:

  • Carefully study data/texts/graphs/tables etc. before you attempt to answer any questions.
  • Do not copy the text verbatim from the question paper, but rather ensure that you use your own words to answer each question. Do not provide too many facts for questions that count a few marks.
  • Use your knowledge to respond to application-type questions.

                Ensure that you use the data sheets provided with the question paper effectively.


Essay type questions:

  • Underline/ circle keywords/ terms that appear in the question.
  • Circle the commanding verbs such as analyse, compare, contrast, discuss, evaluate, list, summarize, etc. and respond accordingly. These verbs will direct you to the form that your essay should take, as well as the content which should be included.
  • Spend a few minutes for the proper planning of your essays. By organising your thoughts/ facts logically, and structuring your essay carefully, the examiner/ marker is better able to credit you with the marks that you deserve.
  • Ensure that you do not deviate from the facts that are required by the question.

Make sure you write legibly/ neatly so that the marker can read your answers clearly.

Presenter: What tips can listeners consider before putting the pen down?

Guest: It is important to consider the following when you are about to finish the examination:

  • If you run out of time, complete those sections of the question paper which will reward you with the most marks.
  • If you finish before time, read through your answers.
  • Make sure that you have numbered each question correctly, especially if you have answered them in a different order.
  • Never cancel anything unless you have redone a new solution to a question.
  • Check if you have correctly completed your personal details, e.g. your name, student number or exam number and the school name etc.

Presenter: What are the benefits of preparing for exams early?

Guest: There are many benefits to proper exam preparation because it prevents poor or low performance. Proper preparation enables you to achieve high marks and can help you get into your ideal institution of higher learning (College, University of Technology or University). Obtaining high marks or good results can also enable you to obtain financial assistance such as bursaries and scholarships that in most cases require academic excellence, for example, some occupations in high demand we spoke about a few weeks back requires you to have good results. You need to start early; the time to prepare for final examination begins on the first day of school. In terms of studying for exams, it is crucial to be consistent and this can be achieved when you start in the lower grades. To the grade 11 learners, your final exam report is crucial in enabling you obtaining possible admission at institutions of higher learning in your matric year (grade 12) next year when you apply. Whether you are still in primary, high school or at an institution of higher learning, the way you study is an important attitude to develop for future career success.

Presenter: Any last words inclosure for our listeners?

Guest: We want all listeners to do well in the examination. Remember there is no better time than now, defeat the anxiety and the pressure by starting to prepare right now. You can do it!

Presenter: Thank you. So how can one get in touch with you if they need further information?

Guest: For more information, our listeners can reach us through:

  1. SMS with your question or send a “please call me” to 072 204 5056, or
  2. Call 086 999 0123, which is a call share line, from Monday to Friday between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm,
  3. Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
  4. Visit our offices at 123 Francis Baard, Pretoria
  5. Facebook at or,
  6. Twitter at

To listen to Khetha podcasts, visit SABC Education platform at HTTP://

Closing Billboard “This programme was brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training”.