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On the day of the exam

Here you will find some guidelines on how to prepare for your exam.


Make sure you have all the necessary stationery for your exam, i.e. pens, pencils, eraser and calculator (with new batteries). Make sure you bring your ID document and examination admission letter.

Arrive on time, at least one hour before the start of the exam.

Go to the toilet before entering the exam room. You don’t want to waste valuable time going to the toilet during the exam.

Use the 10 minutes reading time to read the instructions carefully. This helps to ‘open’ the information in your brain. All questions are compulsory, unless indicated otherwise, but you do not have to answer them in order. Start with the question you think is the easiest to get the flow going.

Break the questions down to make sure you understand what is being asked. If you don’t answer the question properly you won’t get any marks for it. Look for the key words in the question to know how to answer it.

Try all the questions. Each question has some easy marks in it so make sure that you do all the questions in the exam.

Never panic, even if the question seems difficult at first. It will be linked to something you have covered. Find the connection.

Manage your time properly. Don’t waste time on questions you are unsure of. Move on and come back if time allows.

Check weighting – how many marks have been allocated for your answer? Do not give more or less information than is required.

Write big and bold and clearly. You will get more marks if the marker can read your answer clearly.


Question words to help you answer questions

It is important to look for the question words (the words that tell you what to do) to correctly understand what the examiner is asking. Use the words in the following table as a guide when answering questions.

Question word What is required of you
Analyse Separate, examine and interpret
Classify Divide into groups or types so that things that are similar, are in the same group
Comment Write generally about
Compare Point out or show both similarities or differences
Define Give a clear meaning
Describe List the main characteristics of something
Discuss Consider all information and reach a conclusion
Evaluate Express an opinion based on your findings
Explain Make clear, interpret and spell out
Forecast Say what you think will happen in the future
Give/ provide Write down only facts
Identify Name the essential characteristics
Interpret Give the intended meaning of
List Write a list of items
Mention Refer to relevant points
Name State something – give, identify or mention
State Write down information without discussion
Suggest Offer an explanation or solution

Source: Department of Basic Education