Your teacher sorts the exam scripts from highest to lowest before returning them to the class and you’re not happy that yours is always either in the middle or at the bottom of the bunch. So, you’re determined to become a more successful student. Here are some tips to help you make your brilliant academic career a reality!

Attend all your classes. There’s always something new to learn in class. If you skip classes, you will miss useful information that may come up in later classes or other sessions. Attending class is imperative to keeping on top of your work.

Listen attentively. Attending classes means nothing if you don’t pay attention to your teacher. Listening is a very useful tool you can develop and apply later on in your career. Importantly, listening attentively is not just hearing your teacher. When you listen attentively you concentrate on what she is saying, you try to understand and apply it in your mind, you think of ways of responding to it, and you try to remember what they are saying.

Write good notes. Take down everything that the teacher has written on the board. No piece of information the teacher gives is unimportant. But don’t only jot it down, also make sure that you understand what is written while you are writing it down.

Ask questions. It is very common to get lost when the teacher is explaining complex concepts, but asking questions each time you don’t understand will help you – and it may help others in the class too. Remember that no question is stupid.

Try to teach concepts back to yourself. See if you can explain difficult concepts so that a five-year-old child would understand them… If you can do that, then you can feel confident that you have understood your work.

Page through your notes directly after class. If you have something you need clarity on you can ask your teacher before she leaves for the day. This is very useful especially if you feel a bit uncomfortable to ask questions in class.

Do your homework. No learner really loves doing homework. We want to watch Generations and Uzalo more than having to work on brain-exhausting schoolwork. But you must be willing to sacrifice some of your time if you want to become a good student. Doing your homework familiarises you with questions that might be asked in the exam but the teacher didn’t spend much time on in class.

Join a study group. There are people who can help you understand the section you are struggling with. Some learners find it much easier to ask questions to their peers than a teacher. And, when you help others with their work you’ll find that you understand and remember it better too.

Have determination and help others. You must persevere because you won’t become a good student overnight. Offer to help students who are having difficulties with problems that you have successfully worked out.

Keep your old exam papers. Some learners throw their exam papers away once they are done writing. My advice to you is: DON’T! The exam papers are a useful source of study material for the next set of exams. Some of the problems that were in the previous exam paper may appear again in the next one.

Look for help when you need it. There’s a large number of organisations that help with tutoring across the country. Here’s a list of some public tutoring organisations that you can join:

• The Sozo Foundation – – The Sozo Educentre is a high school tutoring and mentoring programme for high school learners from the Vrygrond community, Cape Town.
• YearBeyond – – provides tutoring sessions for high school learners from grade 8 – 9 and primary school learners from grade 1 – 4. This programme runs in selected schools and only in the Cape Metro.
• Ikamva Labantwana – – is a tutoring and mentoring organisation that assists learners from grade 4 – 7. It operates in Crossroads, Cape Town.
• IkamvaYouth – – assists high school learners from grade 9 – 12. They have branches in townships in these provinces: Western Cape, KZN, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, and North West Province.

Tell Us: What makes you a successful student?