Tuesday, 15 January 2013

8 questions to our Top Matric learners


.Tshepo Kobe is starting a degree in electronic engineering at UJ. He got the best matric results of all Alexandra high schools learners. He achieved 4 A and 3 B  at Realogile high school !

 His results  (in %) : Math (81), Sesotho (81), life sciences (83)and LO (81) Geo (79),physical sc (77) and English (74).   Vert impressive and a big jump from  his Grade 11 results : he had already achieved 81 % in Math, but only 63  % in English, 66 in physical sc., 52 in home lang.,45 in Life sc. and  42 in Geo. Halvar Mathiesen (who works at the Standard bank) was his “Sizanani” mentor last year
Busisiwe Mtya, from Minerva high school, will study Engineering (metallurgy) at Wits.
She got 4 A, 2 B and 1 C. Her results :  81 English, 81 Xhosa, 82 economy, 89 LO, 70 in Phys, 70 life sc, 62 math.. In Grade 11, she was already very good in English (72), Math (69), Physical sc (67) Home Language (66) but had only 53 in Economics. Koketso Moloko, who worked for an insurance company, was her “Sizanani” mentor

 Tshepo and Busi got both the full 2012 Vincent Tshabalala bursaries.
Mitchell Manamela (Minerva school) is one of our 2012 mentees who achieved good results. He is starting a diploma in electrical engineering at UJ. His matric results : Maths 78, Physics 79, Economics 73, Life Orientation 72, Home language 63, English 65. Unfortunately his life sciences mark (54%) was too short for a degree. His mentor is Arnaud Zerkovitz, who works at the French trade commission

1.How did you do to achieve such good results  ?
Tshepo :  I  studied each subject for 2 hours,  have a short break, and start another one. I did about 4 subjects per day.  Too many learners concentrate too much on a few subjects. It is no use to have 80 % in Math and 50 % in life sciences. Also, during the year, my goals kept moving upward. When you have dreams, your body responds : if I told myself I must study  8 hours today, I would do it  ! For instance, at first, I wanted to get 60 % in Life sciences. Then I realised I could get more. During the prelim, I got only 69 in Math and 65 in Life sciences.   I was so depressed  ! Then I studied very hard to see what I could achieve : I was surprised to get a distinction in Math.  You must set  yourself small goals and when you combine them, they make big goals !

 Busi : The important thing is to believe in yourself . I wanted to be like my cousin, who got straight A. He really encouraged me. For instance, I thought Physical sciences was difficult but he said, “if you are good in Chemistry, it should not be a problem as it is easier”. But my Math result is disappointing.  because I was not confident in myself.  I would say the recipe for success is hard work, focus on one thing, be sure of what your want, leave boys if you are a girl and leave girls if you are a boy. If you put your mind to reach your goal, you’ll achieve it, no matter what. If you fall, stand up and persevere. Walk the extra mile to get the best on yourself and make your parents proud. 

Mitchell :I was a little bit disappointed not to get a distinction in Math and physics. In Life sciences, I only had textbooks to study, so I was expecting a low result. In Math and physics, Economics and English, I had a lot of exam papers and it helped me a lot, especially in Economics, where I was weak.

2. You attended all the special morning and afternoon classes at your school. How did you organise the rest of your day ?
Busi. After my afternoon class,   if I had extra schoolwork, I would pass by the library, on my way home. If not , I would stay at school, with my study group and we would help each other with difficult subjects or I would go home chill for a while (more like 3 hours) and then go back to my books.

Mitchell :At 4 or 5 pm, I would go Linda Twala’s center on 16 th avenue, where I would get a lunch, if I arrived early. Students, mostly from universities, helped us to study there, from 5 to 8 pm. Back at home, where they dropped me, I would eat, finish my school work, and go to sleep from 11 pm to 5.30. About 3 days before exams, 6 boys of my class would cross night (study
the whole night) at the home of one of us. The day before the exam, I would just do a bit of revision and have a good night sleep.
Tshepo :  After the afternoon class, at 4 pm, I would have lunch at home. Then back at school to study  until 8 pm. Once or twice a week, I would  join my study group.  When the school closed at 8 pm, I would go home,  sleep until 2 am and study.  After 3 months, we had  finished the math and physical sciences syllabus, so I could get more sleep. I worked only from midnight to 2. Often I had flu, but I never stayed at home. No matter what, I kept studying.  

3. Did the study group help you  ?
Tshepo :  We used “study masters” (revision books) and discuss the subjects together. As I studied much harder than them, I would explain what they did not know or understand. It helped me a lot, because what I had learn would stick to my memory. But you have also to revise by yourself !
Busi : Yap, note you have to hang out with people with the same aspirations as you. Class competition also helped as my group wanted to be recognised as the best. Don’t be intimidated by others  in study groups, take part and help out where you can. My group has specialists for each subject.

 4.   Did you get good support from your teachers ?
Busi : Of course but they can pressurise. Our teachers made sure we achieved our best .  They even threw us the best Matric dance as motivation to pass well. Koketso, my mentor bought me “X kit” revision books for subjects I struggle with and she helped me a lot.

Tshepo :  My math and physical sciences teacher, Mr Mampholo, encouraged us to have  big ambitions. In Grade 11, he told me I had potential to get distinctions. The Saturday classes at St Mary also helped, especially in Math and Sciences. My mentor encouraged me to get a distinction in Math.
5.      How were you relationships with your classmates ?

Tshepo : I  always encouraged them to study and I helped them as well. After class, we would crack a couple of jokes and then work hard.
  Busi : I got teased a lot, called four-eyes, shortie, to a point that I got immune to the jokes. We were jealous of each other sometimes but secretly cared and support for one another.

  6. How did you relax, when  you were not studying ?

Busi :  Went  to the public pool,  watch a bit of TV (don t let it be addictive though), listen to music or read a book. I didn’t go out much.
Tshepo : Every week or every 2 weeks, I would meet friends and go to the park.  I never watched TV. My girlfriend Maria Masetla was also a member of the study group. She understood we did not have time to see each other, outside school.

7. How did your family helped you ? How did you cope with the stress ?
Tshepo : I study on a small coach next to the TV . My cousin sleeps on the other couch. If there was too much noise, I would use the earplugs that my mentor gave me. If I asked them, they switched off  the TV.  My uncle encouraged me a lot.  I did not  have too many chores at home, I only had to wash the dishes with my cousin.

Tshepo sleeps and study  on this couch, next to his grand parents’ bedroom. Tshepo’s parents live nearby in a single room. His father is a driver and his Mum is a domestic work.

  Busi :  Screaming and yelling out “words of frustration” helped me to cope with stress. My little sister can be a pain but when she was told not to make noise, when I was studying, she listened. My mom was the most supportive, even though  she would accuse me of making my studying excuse not to do my chores. We had problems at home but my mum tried to reassure me everything would be fine. It’s surprising how many shocking problems surface when you are in Matric.
8. What do you want to achieve in  your life ?

  Busi : I wana have a Phd in this broad field of Engineering. I intend on being successful, I love money and I want it but will rest assured EARN IT. I wana do the impossible. I want to have a happy family (not anytime soon though). I want everything good God and life have to offer.
Tshepo : My dream is to be successful and help kids of alex.  I would like to have A good life, to  have a family, nice things... Even if you don’t have money, you can enjoy a well organised life and help others.

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