4 Bad Habits You Need To Unlearn For Your Finals

Exam season can be a very stressful time for many students. Lots of students make the mistake of having habits that don’t work well for them during exams. There are certain habits you need to unlearn to settle and prepare for the exams, here are some:

  1. Procrastination

While others work well under pressure, when it comes to studying, procrastination is one of the worst habits that many students have. They tend to overestimate the time they need to accomplish tasks and save studying for later, which results in studying last minute.

  1. Cramming last minute

It’s easy to feel that you have enough time and energy to study all materials the night before an exam takes place, but this isn’t always the case. This can be a risky approach which may lead to stress. Start studying ahead of time to give yourself enough time to review your study material, which helps you retain knowledge in the long run.

  1. Eating Junk food

While studying, it’s important that you fuel your body with healthy food that can give you the energy to maintain your focus and keep you motivated. To overcome this, you can pre-plan your study snacks and go for healthier choices.

  1. Being on your phone

It’s easy to get distracted by your phone. To ensure that you study and prepare well, you might want to keep your phone on silent or even switch it off to avoid unnecessary distractions.

Things you can do to prepare for your exams:

  1. Organise Your Study Space

 Wherever you choose to study, make sure it’s organised and has enough space. You will be able to work better and think clearly.

  1. Practice on Old Exam Papers

There’s no better way to prepare than practising on past papers. Make past exam papers your best friend.

  1. Drink Plenty of Water

Being hydrated helps keep your brain working better. Drink enough water throughout your study sessions as well as on the day of your exam.

Remember that when the going goes tough you can always reach out to your peers and teachers for support. Don’t go through exam challenges alone. Keep your head up high, you are going to do well.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

How To Prepare for The Next Semester

Your first semester might have been tough because you weren’t quite sure what to expect. But, being prepared for the next semester can help you keep ahead of your game.

Now, let’s look at some tips on how to prepare for next semester:

  1. Forgive yourself. You might have taken some hard knocks last semester, but it might be helpful to forgive yourself and learn from your past mistakes. You still have the rest of the year to make up for it.
  2. Make a plan and stick to it. Familiarize yourself with your course outline and plan ahead. The course outline has all the upcoming exams, assignments, and projects. Create a schedule to give yourself enough time to study and do your assignments. This will help you manage your time and workload better. Remember, it only works if you get started on your work ahead of time.
  3. Get organized. Organize your school supplies. Get new pens and notebooks if you can. This will get you a little excited for the next term and get you in the zone.
  4. Refresh your skills. It’s important to take some time to remind yourself of what you learned in the previous semester. This will help you better prepare for upcoming assessments and reduce the amount of study material you need to work through when the assessment dates approach.
  5. Connect with your lecturers. Reach out to your lecturers or tutors if you have any questions. They are there to help you.
  6. Take care of yourself: Listen to your body and take a break when you need to. Taking care of your mental and emotional health will help you become more productive and keep you motivated. Eat healthily and exercise to maintain good physical health. Also, make some time to relax and have fun to avoid burnout.
  7. School is hard enough; you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Be prepared, study enough and do your best. And don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

I Am Struggling to Study: Should You Study or Party This Exam Season?

Summer is already giving December vibes. We all wish we can call it a year and close our books for good, but there are still many things we need to accomplish so we can finish this year strong. With exam season upon us, it’s important to sacrifice the time spent on groove and friends and focus on passing that grade. I know it sounds difficult but its possible. Here’s how.

Balancing school and life

Balancing school and personal life doesn’t always come easy for everyone. But think about it like this, exams are only a month or a few weeks. There will be plenty of time to celebrate with friends, from pens down up to New Year.

It may feel very hard because there is event after event this summer, but it’s always been like that every year, so learning to discipline yourself around December vibes is critical. Remember that groove will always be there, but you only get one chance a year to pass a grade, and this is your time to shine.

Balancing school and life can be achieved by planning out how much time you will need for your schoolwork and how much time you need to spend doing activities with friends or house chores.

Creating a timetable

A well-constructed timetable can give you a rhythm and routine, it allows you to organize and manage your time accordingly. Having a plan is very important as it helps you maximize and prioritize on the things that are of urgency or importance. This can be done by planning your week or day, for example a normal day would look like similar to this; wake up at 6am, get to school by 07:30am, attending all your classes, chilling with your friends during breaks and after school you concentrate on house shores and homework. Then around 19:00 you start studying until 21:00, and then go to sleep.  So, with each hour of your day, you plan it accordingly and intentionally.

Staying disciplined around this time can help you stay on top of your game. It also helps you manage your work in a planned manner, so you can be well prepared and feel less anxious for the exams.

It’s not easy to draw up new boundaries, especially when you are not used to it. However, remember that we all need to learn to sacrifice our time to achieve our goals.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).





How to start varsity/college on a high note

You’ve made it! You’ve passed matric and are ready for the next stage in your life – tertiary school! Being a student is fun and exciting, but it can be hectic if you’re not prepared for it. Here’s how to kickstart tertiary on a high note.

Attend orientation

Orientation typically begins in the weeks and sometimes months before classes start. Attending orientation will give you the best possible start, by allowing you to meet other students in your course, meet key staff in your faculty, learn about the services available to support your studies, where to attend classes and how to access your timetable. There are also lots of fun activities during orientation, so be sure not to miss out!

Find out about the latest COVID-19 protocols

Since the pandemic, institutions have been strict about COVID-19 regulations. Some institutions may require students to be vaccinated, tested, wear masks, study online, etc. Be sure to check out your Institution’s COVID-19 policies before starting the semester so you don’t fall behind.

Stay organised

Balancing the academic and social demands of tertiary education can be a challenge for even the most diligent student. But there are plenty of digital tools designed for students, and a little organization can go a long way to help you use your time wisely. Be sure to get organised, plan your tasks, attend all of your classes and actively participate in those classes.

Don’t be afraid to meet new friends

Tertiary institutions can push you to develop strong communication skills- from group projects, to communicating with professors. You can also find yourself working closely with people from different backgrounds and life experiences. Having friends in tertiary can increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost happiness, reduce your stress, and improve your confidence and self-worth.

Attending orientation week will introduce you to friends within your faculty, which can make your studies go by much easier. Having friends in the same class as you can help you stay accountable. It’ll also make studying better and you won’t feel anxious when group work and assignments come up, because you’ll likely have people you know in your group.

Tertiary studies can be a lot of fun, but with the adjustments to the new environment, it’s important not to lose track of what’s important. Remember to plan and write down the goals you want to achieve this year. All the best Choma!

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Preparing for Prelims

When it comes to preparing for your prelims, sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. As exam dates draw closer, it’s important to know how to best manage your time and prepare well. Here are a few tips to help you prepare better.

Prepare early

Start by creating a study plan and decide how much time you need to spend on each subject. Some subjects will require more work than others because of the level of difficulty, the quantity of material or the nature of the content. Also think about the best time of day for focusing on a particular subject.

Understand your learning style

Understanding your learning style can help you find your weaknesses and strengths. This can prevent wasting time by giving you a way to study smarter rather than harder. While each style of learning uses a different part of your brain, they’re all very effective- the trick is figuring out which one applies to you.

You can take the learning style quiz here.

Establish a study place

Tidy your desk so that you can work comfortably and try to eliminate distractions. If you have many family members in your household, it can be challenging setting up a study place- but, it’s not impossible. Consider using noise cancelling earphones or earplugs when studying. This can help you to work effectively in a noisy environment. You can also schedule your study time at night when everyone goes to bed, especially on weekends when you don’t have to go to school/classes the following day.

Discipline is important

Staying disciplined when preparing for prelims helps you stay on top of your game. It also helps you manage your work in a planned manner, so you can be well prepared and feel less anxious for the exams.

Consider study groups

Once you feel you’ve mastered a topic, you can practise on past exam papers. This practice will help reinforce what you know. It’ll also help you identify any gaps or weaknesses in your understanding of the topic. You may find it useful to form a small study group, where answers can be compared and discussed.


Rest is good for your brain. It’s important to get a full eight hours sleep each night and avoid studying til’ the early hours without adequate rest time. Sleep is vital for exam success.

Everyone gets nervous before an exam, and any exam season can be extremely stressful. It’s important to be on top of your game and mindful of what’s needed for you to conquer this prelim season. I wish you all the best, Choma!

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)

Preparing for mid-year exams

Preparing for mid-term or final exams can be very overwhelming. However, there are ways to get us through exam season with less stress and anxiety. Here’s how you can be better prepared for exam season.

Review class notes daily

It’s important to keep up with readings and take notes in class- this makes preparation much easier, rather than cramming everything a few days before your exam. A good approach is to review your class notes every day. Creating summaries, mind maps, graphs, and charts can also help. This will also allow you to ask questions on topics/subjects you need extra help with, in advance. Dedicating between 30-90 minutes every day, reviewing what you learned in class and making notes, will ensure you’re better prepared when it comes to exams.

Know the structure of the test

It’s also a good idea to know the structure and academic weight of your upcoming exam/s, and you should not hesitate to ask your teacher/tutor about this in advance. Depending on whether it’s multiple choice, short answer, essay format or a mixture of all three, it will help determine how you should go about preparing you for the exam. This will allow you to schedule your time wisely, so you know which sections to direct your focus towards.

Take a practice test

A good way to test if you understand the work is to do practice tests. This can involve doing past papers or activity sections from your textbook. Testing your knowledge as part of exam preparation, will allow you to identify your strong and weak areas, which you can improve on. Remember to consult with your teacher/tutor on anything you don’t understand.

Create a study group

A group study session is also a great way to review and compare notes, ask each other questions, explain ideas and discuss the coming exam. Studying with friends can also help keep you on track. Setting a specific day and time for study sessions can help with time-management. Although you can be easily distracted when studying with friends, try to keep the focus on studying.

Rest is important

Although cramming the night before sounds like a good idea, it’s actually bad for your health and can lead to a burnout or blank out during the exam. It’s important to rest and get proper sleep before any exam. While resting, you’re allowing your brain to process all the information you’ve learnt. Getting enough sleep will also ensure you don’t feel tired during your exam.

It’s also important to take frequent breaks while studying. Take a 5–15-minute break for every hour of studying. Taking study breaks will help you retain the information and can improve overall focus and attention.

Preparing for exam season doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful, it just involves putting in a little extra time and effort each day. Following the tips I’ve mentioned above, will ensure you go into your next exam with confidence.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Here’s what you can do if you were not accepted into varsity

Not being accepted into varsity can be really disappointing. It can feel like your dreams are shattered, but the truth is, you can get through this and there are options. Here’s my advice.


If your marks weren’t good enough for you to study your desired course, you can upgrade your results this year. Rewriting the subjects that you didn’t do so well in can help improve your marks so that you can reapply for the course you want next year or in the second semester.

Do a short course

Doing a short course in the field of study you want to pursue can help you get an entry-level job in that field. This way, you can work your way up or study part-time while working to attain the level of education and position you desire in the near future. You can have a look at UNISA’s short course offering for your options.

Apply for learnerships

A learnership provides on-the-job training with a certification at the end. Learnerships also pay learners a stipend that helps them cover some of their expenses during the course. What I like about these is the fact that you gain practical workplace experience while learning and the possibility of being hired immediately after the learnership is high. You can apply for SETA Learnerships or search for a variety of companies that offer learnerships, like the Umuzi Academy.

Go to a college

Some colleges offer bridging courses that can help you qualify for your desired course. There are also several certificates you might qualify for, that are in the same field of study you’re interested in. Before choosing a college, you need to make sure that it’s registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training by checking the full list of registered colleges. You can also visit the TVET Colleges website for a list of all public colleges, where you can apply for NSFAS funding if you can’t afford to pay your fees.

A university rejection letter shouldn’t discourage you from following your dreams. The options above can help you get to where you want to be. Don’t stop searching for opportunities and make sure that you take full advantage of them.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

5 ways to keep busy during lockdown

The 21 day national lockdown is an emergency protocol that requires South Africans to stay at home to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I’m sure you’re worried that you’ll be cooped up at home, away from your friends with nothing to do. Don’t worry, I’ve thought of a few things that you can do to keep busy during this time.


The first quarter of the year has come and gone, which means it’s time to check in with some of the goals or new year resolutions that you’ve set for yourself. Have you gotten closer to reaching any of your goals? If not, that’s okay. You can go back to the drawing board and plan how you can meet or adjust them.


Remember that the school year’s not over and the lockdown period isn’t really a holiday. So, I encourage you to study.  Create a study time-table and get your reading materials out. It’s likely that all your modules will be a little bit rushed when you do go back to school, so why not work ahead and be prepared?

If you need extra resources, go online and search for study tools that can help you. Creating a study WhatsApp group with your school mates can also help keep all of you motivated.

Do the things that interest you

During the lockdown, you may want to read that book you said you didn’t have time for or even take up a creative writing hobby. It’s also important that you find new and exciting ways to entertain yourself other than social media.

Connect with friends and family

You’re probably going to be around your family for a while, so take time to connect and learn more about the important people in your life. This also includes your friends. Just because you can’t physically be with them doesn’t mean you have to neglect those relationships. Check in on your friends on WhatsApp and if you can afford to, video call them from time to time. I’m also here to chat anytime.

Take time out for self-care

This is also a period for you to focus on your personal needs. Prioritise “me” time. Remember that self-care’s as important as breathing. Keep a journal, re-read your favourite book, or tend to your garden. Whatever it is that you do for self-care, practice it during the lock down.

The lockdown’s new for everyone, including your parents. While it may be challenging to stay in, use these guidelines to help you keep busy and productive. Remember to regularly wash your hands with soap or clean them using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Stay indoors as much as possible and if you need any updates, visit sacoronavirus.co.za.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

The value of homework 

After a long day at school, homework isn’t always a fun thing you’d want to get home to. But the truth is, there is so much value of doing your homework. You might not see the benefits right away, but you’ll definitely feel it in the long run. If you’re still struggling to see how homework could possibly be valuable to you, here are a few ways:


Whenever your teachers tell you that “practice makes perfect” when it comes to subjects like Maths, they’re not lying. Doing your homework is basically practising what was done during the lesson, which will help you keep track of your knowledge and understanding of certain subjects.  

Enhances your understanding of the work

Doing your homework helps you understand your work better. For example, sometimes you might think you understand something in class but when you get home, you realise that you don’t actually know what’s going on. Doing you homework helps you identify issues like this so that you can ask your teacher to explain it better – ensuring that you won’t have to struggle during exams. 


Homework is like a form of revision that prepares you and reduces exam stress if it’s done properly. And like I said, it gives you a chance to identify your strengths and your weaknesses so that you know what to work on a lot more when you start preparing for your exams.

Better marks

Practising, understanding and revising your work will help you pass and improve your grades. What more would you like than being a top student at your school and knowing that your good grades will get you into a university of your choice to study towards making your dreams a reality?

Catching up with friends and your social life is essential for your growth, but you have to remember that your dreams and goals are yours to work towards achieving. So, with everything that you do, don’t forget to have your priorities in order. There will always be enough time to relax and have fun- right after doing your homework!

Remember, if you need someone to talk to, you can speak to me for advice or help here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Online resources to use during exams

It’s almost exam time, again. If you’re feeling nervous about it, don’t worry, that’s completely normal. Preparing for your exams can go a long way in helping you to get over the anxiety and nerves, not to mention that it will also help you get top marks. Besides your textbooks and teacher’s notes, there are other resources that are available online to help you with getting through this stressful time much easier. Here are just a few:


CellCgirl  is an online platform that offers you all of the necessary tipa, advice and resources that you need in order to make school a lot more easier for you. You’ll find a lot of helpful exam time articles to help you prepare for the final term.

What’s also cool about this platform is that you get free access to use it if you’re a Cell C user.


This online platform also covers the CAPS syllabus, but what’s cooler about it is that they cater for anyone from grade R – grade 12. You can get mock up exam papers, video tutorials, study guides as well as previous question papers and memorandums.

Mindset Learn

Mindset Learn offers interactive revision tutorials for all subjects. These videos can be found on YouTube or the website.

Paper video

Imagine if you could have instant access to an extra teacher at any time and place.? Yup! That’s paper video for you.

So, if you’re struggling with any concept or question in Maths, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Natural Sciences or accounting, you can get access by watching one of the many videos that they have.

Having enough study resources from different platforms is better than relying only on your textbooks and notes. With these resources, you might learn new study hacks that will make exams easier for you.

If you need more information on what you need when you prepare for your exams, read this article.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).