The “science of learning”. In the previous edition of the Mossview, Prof Gous highlighted the first 5 of 10 basic principles of learning….
Attitude and Interest
Time Management
Concentration and Attention


acquiring the knowledge, and reasoning.
Assimilation of study material means more than just learning. It involves identifying, understanding and applying the principles of the subject. Before the exams every student should be able to make a list of all the principles in a course. If this is not possible you should scan the study material immediately, review all applications, examples, problems, typical questions and previous exam papers if possible. Also check to ascertain whether they illustrate in any way the principles. The latter is particularly valuable in subjects which can be defined as problem solving disciples eg. Maths and Science. It is much better to learning or acquiring knowledge that involves comprehension through the active reorganization of the material than to memorize merely for the exams. Students, who have analysed and evaluated the content of the study material for making useful summaries – a condensed form as a single source of study.


recognizing and relating important information.
Very few students pay sufficient attention to headings, sub-headings and summaries in their study material. They often memorise details without knowing how and where these facts fit into the structure of the course. It is advisable to establish a thorough understanding of the outline of the course, by memorizing headings and sub-headings when studying. This outline serves as a frame of reference within which details can be organized as reading and studying proceed. When reading you should always be aware of the development of the theme from paragraph to paragraph. A paragraph is usually built around one major idea. This idea is often stated in a sentence at the beginning, the middle or the end of the paragraph. It is also helpful to identify the key word(s) in a paragraph. They appear in topic or key sentences of paragraphs.

Use of SUPPORT TECHNIQUES and MATERIALS. Underlining and the making of summaries are useful when revising the study materials. Make drawings and sketches, simple charts, diagrams and tables to enable one to clarify and better understand the content. Visualisation and picturing can make the study material more concrete, definite and comprehensible. To visualize is to think with the mind’s eye; to conjure up pictures or images which may clarify abstract concepts. Compare notes with those of friends and participate in study groups.

SELFTESTING and REVIEWING – the latter the most important single element in an effective study system. The best time to review is immediately after completing a section of the study material. Reviewing involves testing oneself immediately after the reading. It compels one to interact with the study material and guarantees better comprehension and retention. Plodding through the material passively and focusing on underlined highlights is ineffective. In half an hour of hard work a student can achieve more than in a whole evening of lazy drudgery. Be actively involved during the process of reviewing. Create questions that might be included when preparing for the exams. Try to identify potential questions when reviewing study materials. And always test yourself to be sure you know the material you have been studying. Self-testing is an essential element in determining just how much is enough. It is important to be able to successfully recall material twice during testing and re-testing.

PREPARING and EXAMINATION STRATEGIES. Only a short period of time is available. Therefore time management must be well structured and materials accordingly organized e.g. Summaries of summaries – the keys to all the information. It is important to consolidate the knowledge that one has built up over the past few months. Attend carefully to the instructions before starting on an examination by reading instructions and questions. The outlines serve as memory aids and are extended by adding details recalled during the course of the examination. All writing should be done in the answer books. Answer the questions which you feel most confident about first, if no specific order for answering questions is required. Identify each answer clearly with the appropriate question number.

Prof Hendrik Gous –
044 695 0841/081 270 4227 •

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