10 Habits for a successful learning journey

Stay focused on your studies by removing distractions from your study space.

Stay focused on your studies by removing distractions from your study space.

Published Apr 4, 2023


With tests and exams on the horizon, you want to be as prepared as possible, and cultivating good study habits is an essential part of any learner’s learning journey.

To help you build good study habits, we asked Impaq’s top achievers of 2022 to share their study tips. Here’s what they had to say:

Tip 1: Set up a timetable

Setting a timetable was at the top of our top achievers to-do list when discussing their success. This tried-and-tested tip helped Ester Bieseman to stay on top of her schedule. “There are going to be down days, but you should have a plan of action ready for them,” says Bieseman.

Just like athletes have an exercise programme to know what, when, and how long they need to practice, you also need a study schedule to help you stay on track. The 10 Habits of Successful Learners course includes a sample timetable to help you plan your study sessions. This online course is the perfect tool to help you get better marks on tests and exams.

Tip 2: Have a dedicated study space

“Try to separate your work and study spaces from leisure and rest spaces as much as possible. The distinction will help you stay focused and maintain balance,” Danika Chetty advises. Stay focused in your dedicated space by removing distractions from your study space, such as your cell phone, toys, or any unnecessary clutter.

Tip 3: Take care of your health

While all your focus might be on the upcoming assessments, it is still essential to look after yourself. Danika Chetty gives the following advice: “Always prioritise your wellbeing, mental and physical health – above your results. This will put you in a space to achieve better results.” Aliyah Ayob adds: “Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember to take care of your health, and mental health.”

Create a timetable and make sure you stick to it to avoid falling behind.

There are a few things you can do to take care of yourself, such as:

Getting enough sleep. Studies have shown that the process of memory consolidation continues while we sleep. Ensuring you get a good night’s sleep will help you remember what you have learned.

Eating healthily. Eating brain-boosting meals and snacks will boost your concentration and aid learning.

Staying hydrated. Keep a water bottle on your desk in your study space where you can see it.

Making time for physical activities. Exercise is crucial for your physical and mental health. Walk around the block or find a fitness video on YouTube.

Tip 4: Work hard

“If you want amazing results; you have to work hard,” says Talulah Jones. Caralee Coopsammy reiterates Jones' conviction in the fruits of one’s labour: “Work hard to reach your goals, believe in yourself even if others don't and never give up. With persistence and balance, everything will work out just fine.”

Tip 5: Don’t procrastinate

“Don't procrastinate,” Ester Bieseman says. “You have to make decisions, and none of them are allowed to include putting work off for another day. Sometimes I just tell myself that it's okay, I will get through the work even if it takes more time, a cat, and a lot of coffee.” She explains that if you procrastinate and fall behind, it can be challenging to gain enough courage to get back on track. That’s why it is essential to stick to your study schedule.

Tip 6: Cultivate a mindset for success

Your mindset is arguably the most important factor in determining your success. Aliyah Ayob says that the following quote brought some changes to her perspective during her matric year.

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it,” – Michelangelo.

So, with the next test and exam period fast approaching, replace negative sentences such as “I can’t” with positive ones such as “I can”. If you are in Grade 12 and want to cultivate a mindset for success, you can find all the tools you need with the online Mindset for Success course on the Optimi Plus store.

Tip 7: Find additional resources to help you with difficult subjects

“Don’t underestimate the work, and use external sources to help you,” Chantelle Visser advises. Maths and physics seem to be on the list of subjects that learners struggle with most, but with the help of some additional resources, these subjects often become the subjects in which learners perform the best.

Aliyah Ayob says she watched Kevinmathscience on YouTube to help her with her maths and physics. If you’re looking for some additional help, also consider these resources:

  • Cami Maths is a fun and interactive educational software system that provides on-the-spot explanations of exercises with step-by-step solutions.
  • The Quanta series is an excellent resource for exam preparation in Grades 10 to 12. The books contain bite-sized physics and chemistry explanations that are easy to understand.
Take time to do extra research on topics that you are particularly fascinated by.

Tip 8: Make learning fun

Ester Bieseman says that learners should make their studies as fun as possible. “Take time to do extra research on topics that you are particularly fascinated by. There will always be topics that you are just better at than others and you should use that to score as many marks as possible,” she adds.

While focusing on the topics you are interested in isn’t always possible, you can make any subject fun with these tips:

  • Find a study buddy and quiz one another or take turns teaching each other the material.
  • Take learning outside and study in the fresh air. Spending time outdoors can boost memory, improve focus, and lower stress and anxiety.
  • Reward yourself for finishing a study task, such as learning all the facts on a page or finishing a chapter. Have a study break, eat a healthy snack, or do something else you enjoy.
  • Listen to calming music. While classical music helps many learners focus, others find video game music with a fun beat more enjoyable to listen to while studying.
  • Get inspired with new stationery. Fill your desk with rainbow-coloured highlighters or colourful sticky notes.

Tip 9: Know yourself

Ester Bieseman says there are innumerable tips for doing well in tests and exams, but her best advice is for you to know yourself. Caralee Coopsammy agrees and says you need to learn more about yourself and find out what you want.

If you work towards a long-term goal and future career, you will be more motivated to focus on your studies. Career Compass for Grade 8 to 12 learners can help you choose the right career path. Complete the online questionnaire, and you will be matched with various professions that suit your personality. The career guidance questionnaire can also be helpful if you are struggling to choose your elective subjects in Grades 10 or 11.

Tip 10: Find what works for you

While our top achievers can offer advice on what worked for them, you will have to see which of these tips work for you. Caralee Coopsammy explains: “Striving for success is like cooking a good curry - there are many different recipes, but it always involves love and passion.”

We hope you find a love for learning this assessment season and that these tips provide the guidance you need as you prepare for the upcoming tests and exams.

We wish you all the best.