On the day of the exam
Be ready!

Do the right thing in preparation for exams!

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  • Work out a study programme
  • Study hard
  • Make good notes
  • Get enough sleep
  • Review work
  • Eat well and healthily
  • Check your timetable every day
  • Bring your admission letter to the examination room every day
  • Have all necessary stationery (pen, pencil, eraser, extra pen, non-programmable calculator, ruler, specialist subject equipment where required)
  • Be early at the examination venue (at least 40 minutes before the start of the examination)
  • Listen to the instructions of the principal, chief invigilator and invigilators
  • Take drugs or any medication to keep you awake
  • Leave studying to the night before the examination
  • Try to find out what will be in the examination paper in advance
  • Bring notes, memoranda or any other material that could be used to assist you unfairly into the examination room.
  • Copy from another candidate
  • Communicate with another candidate
  • Pose as someone else in an examination
  • Behave in an unruly manner in the examination room
  • Disobey the instructions of the chief invigilator
  • Remove your script or any answer sheet from the examination venue


If you are found guilty of copying, your result in the subject will be declared null and void. You will also be barred from writing NSC examinations for the next three years.

Top Tips for exam day

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.

Tackle each question systematically. Read each question carefully, underlining key words, especially the verbs that tell you what to do.

Break the questions down to make sure you understand what is being asked. Is it a one-part or a two-part question? What are you being asked to do? Identify what you have and what you need. 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. Write down something for every question. Each question has some easy marks in it so make sure that you do all the questions in the exam.

Set out your answers clearly. Write legibly so the marker can read it easily. Leave spaces between questions and always start a new section on a new page. Make sure you number your answers correctly according to the numbering on the question paper.

Never panic, even if the question seems difficult at first. It will be linked to something you have covered. Find the connection. Avoid negative self-talk. Focus on the task instead of yourself.

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.

Review and make corrections. Take time to go over your answers. Do not change anything unless you are quite sure it is wrong. Check mathematical answers by performing reverse calculations. Look at the processes you used. Make sure you have written down everything that was asked for.

Stay until the end. Don’t leave the exam before the time elapses. Sometimes, it takes a little more time for the information in your memory to “surface”. So use all the time you are given. Check that you have answered all the required questions. Read your answers over again and again.