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Tips for Success


The brain is made up of two hemispheres, left and right, which work differently. The left brain is more logical and is used for reasoning, understanding language and calculations. The right brain is more creative and looks at shapes, patterns, colours and sounds etc. Therefore, to get the most out of your brain, use study methods that engage both sides of the brain by using different senses (sight and sound) and different reminders (shapes, colours, images). Below are a few study tips that could help you get started: 


Attending your lectures regularly, indicates a level of astuteness and commitment, this may count in your favor at some point. Get to know your Lecturer. Establish their areas of research, specialization or articles/books that they have written.  There is often a direct relationship between what happens in lectures and what comes up in the exam. The last lecture of every course usually covers a summary of sections of the syllabus that need special attention or that could be excluded and possible information about the format of the exams. Pay attention in lectures for subtle exam clues - Watch for the following:

  1. Repetition: When a lecturer repeats a phrase or idea, this implies importance. Take note. 
  2. Written notes: If the lecturer takes time to write something down on the board or projector; consider this, a sign that the material is important.
  3. Interest level: When the lecturer seems "excited" about something, make a note, as it is may imply important content.
  4. Highlighted exam clues: Often lecturers point out specific information that is likely to appear in the exam - make a note of this - don't rely on memory.
  5. Talk to your lecturer: Ask for suggestions on how to study, what material will be covered in the test, and test format - will it be essay or multiple choice?
  6. Listen for introductory, concluding and transition words and phrases. For example:
    • "The following three factors"
    • "In conclusion"
    • "The most important consideration"
    • "In addition to"


Before you begin the studying process, you need to consolidate the notes you have made in lectures:

  • Underline headings and subheadings.
  • Rewrite any illegible portions.
  • Underline important sentences and paragraphs.
  • Fill in any gaps in your notes.
  • Ensure that you understand all the concepts.
  • Finally, you need to consolidate and pull together all the information from lecture notes, additional study notes, textbooks, recommended books and articles in one place. 


  • Timetables are useful. Draw this up, indicating important activities, reading/study time, chores, break/relaxation/me time and sleep time; and put this in a visible place in your study area.  
  • Stick to your schedule - however, also be flexibility and adapt your schedule accordingly.
  • Balance your studying time with rest and fun activities.
  • Break regularly during studying to remain focused.
  • Clean up work study area - avoid clutter.
  • Keep all your stationery close by. 
  • Notes and textbooks should be within reach. 


Many students have effective studying techniques, but find it difficult to actually get down and do the work. 

  • You need to stop negative thoughts like, "I'll never be able to make it" or, "I'll never grasp that concept." These thoughts become self-fulfilling prophecies.
  • Use self- affirmation techniques, to reinforce your strengths.
  • Remind yourself of your successes, no matter how small.
  • Positive ideas and thoughts breed a positive attitude, if you think success, you will become it. 
  • Connect and associate with people with positive attitudes.
  • A motivational picture/statement pinned up within your visual range could be useful.
  • Find a short YouTube motivational video clip that resonates with you - view it when you feel that you have to.
  • reward yourself for the positive strides that you make. 


  • Be realistic about the amount of work you can do in a given time.
  • If you have half an hour to spare, use it to do small tasks i.e. reading.
  • Use existing study habits that you know work well for you.
  • It is always a good idea to plan to spend more time on your weaker subjects. Tackle your difficult subjects when you are feeling fresh and focused.
  • Reduce interference - turn off your music, TV, social media. Switch off the Wifi on your devices.
  • Combine memory techniques - use what works for you.