An inside look at baccalaureate prep in Tunisia
By Mona Yahia for Magharebia in Tunis – 02/06/09
On Wednesday (June 3rd), more than 139,000 Tunisian students will take the baccalaureate exams. For most bac hopefuls, test day comes after months of intensive study. Mohamed Aoun, a student in the economics and management department at the Khazendar institute, tells Magharebia how he prepared for the test.
Magharebia: Tell us how you spend your time preparing.
Aoun: I get up each morning between 6:00 and 7:00. I spend the first few hours reviewing courses that need memorisation such as history and geography, which require a fresh mind. Then from 10:00 to 4:00 I receive intensive private lessons in mathematics and management and economics. In the evening, I prefer to study with my friends, since by then I am too tired to study on my own.
Magharebia: How do you feel during the last days before exams?
Aoun: During the last three or four days, the pace picks up, or let's say it is on full speed. However, I decided to rest today, June 2nd, the night before the exams so I can wake up early and avoid exhaustion. I can only review lessons for one hour at most.
Magharebia: Do you have a certain diet or sleep pattern during the final revision?
Aoun: I follow a regular diet. Some go for vitamins. Vitamins, however, make me drowsy. We need to manage time according to an accurate schedule. That is the most important thing.
Magharebia: Do you pay particular attention to some courses compared to others?
Aoun: Certainly. There were courses I neglected last year, and which I sought to devote more time to this year. There is a good chance they might be included in this year's finals. I do not depend on luck. Only hard work can lead one to success.
Magharebia: How much of a help can your family be?
Aoun: My family are doing their best to reassure me. They say: "Don't over think it. Don't exhaust yourself. If you make it, that's great. If you don't, it won't be the end of the world." At the moment, I am trying not to worry about it, and I go out and have fun normally. My family are also a great help providing me with a quiet, comfortable ambience. Three days ago, they asked me to stop studying and have some rest.
Magharebia: Does that mean you are nervous and are trying to hide it?
Aoun: Having this fear is only natural, because I am required to review the courses of an entire academic year. No matter how hard I study and get prepared, I always feel there is something I am still missing.
Magharebia: Have you started thinking about university?
Aoun: I wish to pursue my studies in management because I am good at it.
Maghrebia: How did you gather information about your university of choice?
Aoun: From friends who had previously applied there, or from the internet. Besides, the institution held an orientation class about the universities students were interested in, attended by relevant professors.
Magharebia: Did your parents promise you anything if you pass the bac?
Aoun: My father promised me a car, and mom said she would send me on a trip abroad, which is an added motive for success. However, at the end of the day, I only wish to succeed to make my family happy, which is the most important thing of all.
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