“Work consistently as opposed to hard”
Hirsch Lyons student Simcha Schneider struggled to maintain a work ethic throughout high school and encountered a few curveballs along the way, so he could have found himself without anything to celebrate in his matric year.
However, this aspiring computer engineer took matters into his own hands by crafting a diligent approach to studying, and managed to achieve his goal of putting in the work and feeling satisfied with the effort irrespective of his final marks.
“Upon completing matric, I have finally managed to establish a work ethic which will hopefully make the transition into tertiary education easier. That’s definitely my greatest matric achievement,” he says.
In Grade 11, he wasn’t happy about his marks in science, maths, and Afrikaans. To make matters worse, he encountered unforeseen obstacles in two of those subjects.
“My science teacher in Grade 11 was unable to teach me properly because there was a substantial language barrier, and I was consistently getting 60s,” recalls Schneider. “I knew that if it continued, I wouldn’t do well in matric science, and spent hours teaching myself the work and watching videos explaining certain concepts. By matric, I had improved my science marks upwards of 25%.”
Also in Grade 11, the departure of his class’s maths teacher halfway through the year resulted in, he says, “a rather difficult adjustment period with our new teacher, and we ended up not finishing the syllabus entirely, which came back to bite us in matric as we started the section we left out for the first time only weeks before prelims”.
In addition, he didn’t care about Afrikaans, and started off Grade 11 getting 20% and ending up with a 40% on his term-one report card. “Like science, I knew I needed to improve, and spent hours reading Afrikaans books, short stories, and watching kids shows until I improved my vocabulary enough to be getting consistently more than 75%.”
A further hurdle was the challenge of balancing matric and social life during the pandemic. “The pandemic definitely increased my anxiety. And the transition between remote learning and physical learning, which happened about three times last year, really disrupted the flow of learning.”
Schneider believes the key to a successful matric year is to work consistently as opposed to hard. “Small amounts of work every day will prevent you from falling behind, making preparations for exams and tests a lot easier. Make sure you have a healthy outlet such as a sport, musical instrument, or exercise to prevent burnout.”