Teaching and Learning Learner support
What study skills are needed for distance education?

How to Study the RRC Way: Essential Reading Before You Start Your Studies
The Zimbabwe Division of the Rapid Results College Worldwide

This is an online version of a booklet produced by the Rapid Results College in Zimbabwe to orient its students before they start studying courses via distance education. No date of publication appears on the booklet, but it was submitted to the SAIDE Global DistEdNet researchers in June 1999.

The Rapid Results College, Zimbabwe

Permission granted

How to Study the RRC Way:  Essential Reading Before You Start Your Studies


Study has been likened to a voyage of discovery and that is precisely what you will find once you begin. You will learn of principles and ideas that will challenge and inspire you - and you have the unique opportunity of doing so at your own pace in your own time.

In choosing to study through The Rapid Results College you can be completely certain, from the start, that you're using the finest teaching material available in your field. For some seventy years our success, both here and internationally, has rested on one simple premise:

What helps the student is good for RRC.

The following pages will guide you on how to use this information and the best method to employ when studying.

As well as this booklet, you will have received:-

- Details about Your Examination Entry.
- Your Programme of Studies and your Timetable.
- A book entitled "How to Pass" is sent to students doing business and professional 
- Your lecture books in the subjects you intend to tackle initially.



The moment you start as an RRC student, your aim and ours is to see you successful. This is not a casual or half-hearted affair; your future depends on it so it's worth taking seriously. We know this and will help.

Think what your success can mean:  promotion, better prospects, assured prosperity.

Success will be more rapid, and results better, if you know from the beginning how to study, by correspondence in your own time. This is a skill you can learn. This guide - based on RRC experience- will show you how.


It's a common experience for us at RRC to meet people who thought they could not study and pass exams "at their time of life". We have watched them to become motivated adults who know why they need to pass.  Does this apply to you?  If you really want the rewards which success in study will give you, you'll learn rapidly and effectively.

I like to tell the story of the man who was out walking one day when a voice said to him, "Pick up some pebbles and put them in your pocket and tomorrow you will be both sorry and glad." The man obeyed. The next morning he reached into his pocket and found diamonds and rubies and emeralds. And he was both glad an sorry. Glad that he had taken some - sorry that he hadn't taken more. AND SO IT

IS WITH EDUCATION. Please remember this whenever you feel your motivation weakening.

Assess your objectives. Why are you studying? What do you expect to gain?

Scan1.tif (186158 bytes)

There are usually five rewards:

Salary increases, or bonuses1 are given to you.
Promotion, will follow more rapidly.
Effectiveness at work improves your future.
Achievement results in a sense of accomplishment.
Recognition from those around you beings satisfaction.

There will be times when you doubt your ability or your objectives. Whenever your will to study weakens, recall that bright.

                                                 S P E A R
and how it will affect your future.


Although many students know pretty well what they ought to do, they don't do it! Most students who have worked through our How to Study and How to Pass booklets say that they found them most helpful. The crucial factor is whether or not you put into practice the advice given. There's a big difference between knowing what you should do and actually doing it! Make it your aim from now on to use the advice we give you and actively put theory into practice.

While the College does most things to ensure your success, there are some things YOU must do as well.  Let's explain this:


RRC does not conduct the examinations nor do we enter students for them.


When you enrolled, you should have received a pamphlet headed "Details about 
your Examination Entry" giving relevant information regarding the regulations and 
address of the Examining Body which concerns you. Please check that you have  received yours and read it through carefully.

It is then your responsibility to write to the Examining Body, to obtain an official 
copy of their handbook of regulations (often supplied free) and to make whatever 
arrangements are necessary to register as a student (if you have not already done 
this) and to ensure you enter for the examinations as required. The College does  NOT act for you.  Make sure that your letters to the Examining Body and 
remittances of examination fees, are posted direct to them and NOT via us.

We repeat, check the last date for forwarding examination entries and make a 
note of it where you cannot overlook it.


If you are a student of one of the professional Institutes, it's RRC's job to help 
you pass the examination. It's your job to learn about your profession or career. 

This must involve:

 - joining the activities of your Institute, for discussions, for meetings, for 
- developing the habit of reading - regularly and thoughtfully;
- learning to use those standard works of reference which will be "the tools of 
   your trade" when you qualify.  Your Institute has library lists and     may have 
   library facilities.  Your office may have copies, your local library will usually be 
   able to assist you.  Avail yourself of these!


We believe that your success depends on close co-operation between yourself 
and the College.  Therefore it is important that you take advantage of the many 
services we offer you.  The staff at The Rapid Results College are specially trained to assist You in many ways.  We may have already helped you in choosing your field of study and we are here to assist you when you wish to study further.

We will also help you whilst you are studying.  Our function is to see that you 
 receive up to date material and ensure that your lectures reach you when you 
 require them.

Our tutorial department sees that your notes are current and that any problems 
you may experience with your studies are dealt with promptly and effectively.  
The department is also responsible for the monitoring of your tests which is an 
important link in your study chain.


Your tuition service offered by The College is of such a high standard that with
conscientious study on your part, there is no reason why you should not pass
the examination at your very first sitting. You should certainly strive to achieve 
this objective thus equipping yourself for early promotion and higher earning 
potential. We do, however, recognise that the part-time student is sometimes 
faced with pr6blems, which necessitate an adjustment to study plans and, 
possibly, preparation for a later examination sitting than originally envisaged.

We will ensure that your lectures are kept up to date up until the examination 
you chose when you enrolled. Thereafter, we will also look after your tuition   and give you updated lectures for any future exam as long as there is no material 
change to the syllabus.

During this period the College will keep your lectures up to date where necessary, 
revise your study programme when required and advise you of changes in 
examining body
regulations, providing you in turn, keep us informed of your examination plans. 
We will do this for a maximum period of four years from the date you enrolled.


Your RRC lectures are designed to teach, and the amount of material included 
 has been carefully written to meet the needs of your own examining body.

Therefore, they are not office manuals for practical guidance in your work, and 
they are not works of reference, indexed and extensive.  They are teaching papers 
frequently revised,  to  make your study easy.

Too often however students have only a hazy knowledge of, or nodding 
acquaintance with, the contents of RRC's notes.


There is no padding in RRC's notes. Your tutors distil for you, from their own 
experience and very wide reading, the essential knowledge you require. Any  
repetition is deliberate-for teaching purposes.

It is therefore important to study your notes with care, ensuring that you have a 
thorough knowledge of your subject. If you know what is in your lectures and can 
apply that knowledge  - YOU WILL PASS.

Format of Lectures

Lectures are bound into books and each book or set is coded on the top 
right-hand corner of  the page. It is essential that you check these codes against 
your Programme of Studies which we describe later in this booklet. This will 
indicate the sequence in which the books should be studied as well as indicating 
when the test at the end of the book should be sub-submitted for marking.

Whenever lectures are updated or revised the code will change to indicate this 
and changes are done as follow

(a) code consisting of letters : AA2Z will be updated to AA3Z, then AA4Z etc.
(b) code consisting of numbers : 1136A will be updated to 1136A1, then 
     1136A2 etc.

If your programme shows you should have AA4Z and you have received AA5Z, 
there is no  need to query this.

Progress questions that appear after each lecture have been specifically chosen 
to highlight important aspects.  PLEASE DO THEM.

Each set of lectures will usually contain a test at the end of the book which you 
should submit to the College for marking . Don't neglect this essential step!

RRC lectures do not usually require reference to textbooks. They are normally 
self-contained.  This does not mean that you should avoid extra reading - for 
background and for enrichment.  This is particularly true in business subjects, 
where newspapers and journals keep you up to date. In particular, the Journal 
 published by your own Institute WIST be read very carefully

Perhaps this is a good place to emphasise the question of copyright in the notes 
(which remains vested in RRC).  If you let other use your notes you are doing 
them a disservice, because they will not be registered on our computer, they will 
never receive any amendments to the notes or other vital correspondence from 
us, neither will their tests be marked by our tutors. You in turn, will be infringing the copyright laws!!


Your courses are written with care to avoid doubts and difficulties. (If and it's 
 rare! ) something is not clear to you, what do you do?

(a)  Read it again, carefully. You'll often solve the problem yourself and feel a 
       sense of  achievement.
(b)  If you still experience a problem write to us and define it: for example -

       "In set AA9, lecture 3, page 8, second paragraph it is said that ... But on page 
       6, third paragraph, of the same lecture you said that ..."

Explain your doubt or difficulty in this way with full details.

(c)  Always try to advance your own explanations for the difficulty. This helps 
       your Tutor to assess the extent of your knowledge.
(d)  Post your questions, after you have put your name, address, course and 
       student number on it, to the College.
(e)  Go on to the next part of your studies, leaving a marker at the point in 
       question. You will receive a written reply to your query in due course.


  and consider what we have said up to this point.

1.  RRC is here to help you succeed in the friendliest possible way, based on 70 
     years of experience in the educational field.

2.  You can succeed if you work hard and remember the rewards at the end of it.

3.  But you must play your part. YOU MUST :-

(a)  arrange your own examination entries with the examining body;
(b)  become active in the student affairs of your institute;
(c)  advise RRC of any changes to your study plans.  When do you plan to 
      write?  Did you in fact write? What were your results?  When do you intend 
      writing again?
(d)  advise us, also, of change of address;
(e)  study everything in your RRC notes extremely carefully (there is no padding 
      - everything  is essential). Also important, to give you greater background, 
      depth and enrichment, is to read current press and journals, especially your 
      Institute's own publication.

4.  Your success depends on close co-operation. Write to us if you have any 
     study problems.----oOo----



When you enroll with the College you are sent a Personal Programme of Studies.   There are two typed which are shown on the following pages and the details are:-

A.  The Code of the Course for which you are enrolled.

B.  Your name and the address to which all your correspondence and lecture sets 
      will be sent.

C.   Your personal student number which should be used at all times.

D.   The name of the examining body for which examinations you are studying.

E.   The month in which you plan to write your examinations.

F.   The name of the subject(s) you are studying at this stage.

G.   The codes of the lecture sets which you will be studying in the sequence in 
       which you should study them, and

H.   The suggested dates by which you should have completed studying each set 
       and submitted the tests which appear in the back of most sets.

In order to use this Programme of Studies effectively you need to remember the following :-

1.  Each book of lectures (called a set) contains a number of different lectures.  
     Each set has a distinctive code on the Index Page, e.g. BA2. This code is the one use n your programme of studies to identify the subject to which it refers and    when  it should be studied.

2.  The College undertakes a continuous updating policy and thus from time to time 
     you may be sent either a completely new set to replace one in your possession 
    in  which case the code will change, e.g. from BA2 to BA3: or a supplementary 
     note which, when  studied in conjunction with an existing set which you already 
     have, brings your lectures completely up to date.

3.  Normally the lectures you need are all sent to you immediately after your 
     enrolment is accepted.

4.  The timetable dates at the foot of each of six columns (see "H") are suggested 
     dates not deadline dates. Thus if you are either in advance or       behind of your 
     schedule plans,   submit your tests whenever completed. However, if there are 
     less than three weeks to your examination date we cannot guarantee to receive a 
     test, have it marked, and returned to you in time.  This is one of the major 
     reasons why your timetable has a 3 to 4 week gap at the end. Another  
     important reason is to ensure that you have adequate time for revision before the final exam.

5.  Vital information is contained on the back of your Programme of Studies. Please 
     read that note.


This will not happen when:

(a)  we are temporarily out of stock. The Programme or a separate slip will show  
      which books will be sent to you once delivered from our printer;
(b)  you may have chosen several exam dates.  We will not send books for next 
      year's  exam dates as you don't yet need them and they could go out of 
      date; you must write and remind us that you now need those books once you
      are ready to study.


Note that your tuition period does not begin until you actually receive your 
lecture notes.  Thus, tuition for subjects for which lectures are not required at the outset will only begin when you request your notes.

We will guarantee to keep your lectures up date right up until the exam date 
you chose when you enrolled. If you don't write then or you have to rewrite, 
we will continue to keep your lectures up to date PROVIDED there is no 
major change to a syllabus. In that case, an updating/switching fee will be payable. The guarantee ceases when the subject is passed.

We will do this for four years. Let us illustrate how the system works. For 
example, if your lecture material is sent on, say, 15 January of this year then 
up to 15 January (four years later) all services offered by the College and all 
updating of lectures will be completely free of charge providing there is no
major syllabus change and you keep us informed of your exam plans.

Nothing in this four year arrangement will, however, preclude the College from 
ceasing, or suspending for a time, tuition in particular subjects. The College 
therefore reserves the right  to drop or suspend subjects from its range but will 
make all reasonable endeavours to safeguard the interests of existing students.

Read this carefully, as re-assurance.

Please note that the guarantee does not apply to certain isolated courses, e.g.    
Taxation   subjects. In some literature subjects RRC provides prescribed 
booklets for an additional fee.   If study of these subjects is delayed and the 
books have changed, a charge will be made to replace them.

In view of the above, it is VITAL that you KEEP IN TOUCH with the College.

Why is it so vitally important to keep in touch?

-    Syllabuses may change as may laws, practices and procedures. RRC has a 
      policy of  monitoring all such changes and of revising your notes on a regular 
      basis. If you don't tell us of your changed study plans, you won't receive the 

-    Most examining bodies adhere to a "6 month rule" whereby they undertake 
      not to examine changes which occur within 6 months before a particular 
      exam session. RRC will give you the relevant changes depending of course, 
      on when you are writing. If you don't advise us of your study plans, you 
      won't receive this information.

It's important, also, to advise the College whenever you permanently change your address. AND NOW

                                          A WORD ABOUT MONEY

When you enroll you are given an option of paying the full amount for the course or subject immediately, or paying a deposit and the balance in monthly installments.

In order to ensure that your payment reaches us safely and is credited to the correct account, please note the following:

1.   Do not send payments of any kind with test scripts, returned lectures or queries. 
      Send your payment in a separate envelope by REGISTERED     POST to The 
      Accountant, P 0 Box 2523, Harare or P 0 Box 1164 Bulawayo. In Zambia, use P. Bag E673, Lusaka.

2.   All cheques, postal orders and money orders MUST BE CROSSED and made 
      payable to the  College.


4.   Retain your counterfoils and postal slips for future reference.

5.   ALWAYS return the detachable portion of your statement or quote your 
      Student Reference Number.

6.   If your circumstances change and you find it difficult to pay your full installment 
      regularly please write to our Credit Controller. You will find that the College is 
      very understanding and will suggest a way to help you. NEVER just ignore your 
      debts as if we don't know that you have a problem, the debt could be handed 
      over for legal collection.




Virtually every student can pass the examination.  Students who fail do not fail because of lack of ability. They fail because of one or a combination of the following three reasons:

1.   They don't know how to study and revise.  (Ineffective study methods).
2.   They don't know how to write examinations. (Defective examination technique).
3.   They don't do enough work.  (Laziness, lack of motivation, lack of effort).


 Each student must make a personal decision about the amount of time he or she 
 will devote to studying.


It is largely a question of self-discipline.

Whoever you are a full time student studying at home or a part time student 
 tired after a full day's work - it is essential that you discipline yourself to study 
 regularly and consistently.

This point cannot be overemphasised.  If you have not already resolved to make 
your studies your first priority, do so now! Remember a lot depends on it!

The only effective way to achieve self-discipline is to develop habits that assist 
your studying.  Your task is to make the best use of your time.

Concentrate on using it more efficiently, rather than finding more to use. What 
counts is not the time, but what you do with it! Here are our suggestions.

1.    Be Consistent

Don't let anything unimportant force you to put off studying when you have 
planned to.  Always start a study session at a fixed time. If you persevere, it will 
soon become a habit.

2.    Be Practical

It is said that efficient business people always start the day with a list of things 
and objectives to be achieved. Take a leaf from their book and be as specific as 
possible in what you plan to have achieved at the end of study sessions. Definite  goals, in conjunction  with your timetable, should give study sessions 
organisation and purpose.

After the sessions, compare what you have actually learned with the learning 
objectives set. Knowledge of results and continuous feedback are important 
principles of effective learning. Monitoring your progress will ensure that you are 
meeting the targets of your plan.  So go back and study areas you don't really 
know. This will ensure that you will not "jump ahead" without knowing the 
material you are currently studying. Most subjects are structured on a building 
block basis, so premature jumping ahead will lead to confusion.

Each study session should be of about one hour's duration. Begin each study 
session with a five minute review of your previous night's work. Finish with a five 
minute review of the session's work.

Use the last five minutes of each study session for a break.  Get up, stretch 
yourself and walk about.  A good idea would be to do a few physical exercises 
to keep your blood flowing, such as sit ups, touching your toes and so on. This 
will keep your body supple and your mind alert. You can't work for long hours 
without breaks.

Make sure you understand as you go along.  This is an extremely important rule. If 
you do not understand something or think you roughly know what's going on but 
are still hazy about it, find someone to explain to you as soon as possible. Don't 
delay. Most courses are cumulative, which means that undertaking one concept is 
crucial to the understanding of the next. If you delay seeking assistance you will 
soon find yourself in a state of utter confusion.  Many students in this position drop 
out of the course in despair.

Live a balanced life. The study schedule you impose on yourself must take into 
account your needs as a social being.  You must achieve a balance between study 
and leisure activities such as entertainment, sport and hobbies. Obviously the 
closer you get to exams, the less time you should spend on leisure activities.

The figure below gives you a good example of how to divide up your week in 
order to create the necessary balance.


3.   Be Planned

Would you build a house without a plan?  Of course not! It's just as essential to 
plan your studies - studies that will affect your career and future. 

Check your Programme of Studies to see when your RRC tests have to be 

Write down the number of weeks to the examination. Deduct for revision, 
 holidays or other commitments. You're left with effective study weeks.

Base on these facts, prepare a plan to see how much time you can devote to 
each set of  lectures and when your tests should be submitted. Each week plan 
a timetable based on your Plan and your assessment of progress. This weekly 
timetable will enable you to set yourself immediate and realistic targets.

We all work better if we can see immediately targets - this week instead of next 
month. And one lecture is easy to master where five would be alarming.

But more important of all is the feeling of achievement as you mark off each 
week DONE.

4.   Getting Started

Getting started is often a problem.  Remember the saying that procrastination is 
the thief of time. So start actively studying straight away. The momentum will 
focus your mind on study and thus improve your concentration. Always 
remember to spend the first five minutes of each study session reviewing what 
you last studied on the subject.

When beginning to study for the first time you might find it useful to practice 
studying for short periods until you adapt and develop a rhythm of studying.  In 
any event take a break of five minutes duration each hour. This will refresh the 
mind and body and help to consolidate your learning.

5.   A Place To Think

We work best, and think most effectively, when we're at ease in familiar 
surroundings.  Plan for this: find your own regular study place, where your 
lectures will not be disturbed. Make a rule that, when at home, you'll always study there. Very soon, the habit of returning to it will "switch on" your mind to receptiveness.

Organise your study material, your papers and your pens. See that the lighting is 
effective, the chair correct, the surroundings quiet and comfortable.  Never study 
on your bed or on an easy chair - this is conducive only to sleep!


Let nothing come between your mind and its work.

A sound mind in a sound body is still a sound maxim! Therefore keep as fit as 
possible; if you find you are not concentrating, stop.  Remember the short breaks between study periods which will give you a chance to refresh yourself! Above all, avoid a physical slump as this discourages an alert mind!

WORK ELSEWHERE, TOO. Your thinking times will be best done in your 
study place, but you'll also want:

revising times   when you're recalling what you've learnt. Do this anywhere - 
by learning to shut the outside world out of your mind for even a few minutes;

and testing time when you're answering questions.  Since your examination will 
be limited to three hours usually, get used to sustained concentration for that 
period of time.


Grant Loudon, RRC's Principal from 1948 to 1983,had a hobby; taking part in 
quizzes.   He was often referred to lightheartedly, as  "one of the     Three Wise 
Men". People said he had "a  photographic mind". What did he say about 

"A photographic mind is extremely rare and I certainly don't have one. I recall 
things because I'm interested or because they are linked to other things, or (quite 
often) because I've practised the art of recall. I don't believe we every really 
forget anything: the problem is to find a way of 'getting it out of storage'.   That is 
the art of recall."

Think how effortlessly a golfer recalls past rounds, or a footballer old scores. 
Watch how a mother remembers events ... "It was early in January nine years 
ago because it was after Farai 's birthday ..."

Remember, we learn about things

            by seeing
            by hearing
            by speaking about them
            by writing about them

and, of course, by using other senses like taste, touch and smell. These are our 
"input" methods and the more of them we can use in our study, the faster we 
shall learn, and the more readily we shall recall.

We also will usually remember something we have fully understood as a 
connected whole (like a theory) where we might easily forget a collection of 
separate statements.

1.   Methods of Recall

How can we use these factors?  Many of us have developed our own methods 
of recall, with varying degrees of success.

Here are a few techniques that may help you:

(a)   To remember a group of facts, make a word or sentence which represents 
        them all and then remember that word.  (This is called a  Mnemonic). You 
        have already encountered this method earlier. SPEAR helps to remind you 
        of your original objectives.

(b)   Don't just sit and read but rather write your own summaries. Studies have 
        shown that writing it down helps the memory! You might find that 
        summaries also helps. This is called "the funnel and trigger" method.

        The trigger "releases" the detail for expansion. You need only recall the 
        trigger because, like the first link in a chain, it will "pull" the other ideas out 
        of the memory store.  The trigger can be a mnemonic or sentence or even 
        a logical arrangement of  words or phrases.

(c)    A technique which is quite effective for understanding and recall is to read 
        out loud any notes you don't understand or which you are trying to commit 
        to memory. If you have the use of a tape recorder it is especially useful for 

Try this experiment:

(i)   Write down your Summary.
(ii)   Read it on to tape.
(iii)  Tear up the Summary.
(iv)  Listen back to the tape.
(v)   Rewrite the Summary from memory.
(vi)  Replay the tape and check the Summary.
(vii) Tear up the Summary.

You'll have used the "inputs" of seeing, hearing, speaking and writing and 
 you will have said to your mind:

 "I am confident that I know it now"

A tape recorder can also be used to good effect for getting off formulae, rules, 
definitions and case law. Repeat a definition onto a tape for about 15 minutes 
(i.e. this means that the definition is on the tape several times). Now in a quiet 
moment sit down and listen to the definition. This little technique gets the mind 
conditioned and if the tape is played often enough the definitions will work their 
way into your subconscious and long term memory.  This is the technique that 
radio and TV advertisers use with their jingles.

Record topical past examination questions and answers onto cassettes for 
reference and replay. Certain subjects such as law, economics, business  management and so on, are ideally suited to this method of revision. While 
listening to the recording you should jot down the main requirements of the 
question and the main points of the answers. Stop the cassette at intervals 
of ten minutes for recall and review.  Use a portable cassette recorder 
to review subjects during spare moments of the day such as at lunchtime.


Reading of course is the key to any correspondence course. It's your way of 
discovering what your Tutor is saying. Surprisingly, many students don't stop 
to think about this. here are three ideas:

1.    Think While You Read

Have you ever watched a copy-typist?  She can read and type pages of writing 
getting all the words right, and not understand it at all. You must work over the 
material in your mind as you read, so that you do understand.

2.    Read In The Right Gear

Not all reading needs, or should, be at the same speed. Your purpose will tell  you whether it should be in:

(i)  Top Gear                Fast, skimming along,
                                      getting the general idea.

(ii)  Third Gear             Scanning a little more
                                      slowly, looking for points
                                      and facts.

(iii) Second Gear           Moving more slowly,
                                       following a narrative.

(iv) Low Gear                Slowly; critically,
                                       powerfully analysing

If you are naturally a slow reader avoid looking at single words and missing the 
meaning of sentences. As you read the words, build them together like bricks in 
a wall so that when you come to the full stop you can see the whole meaning and 

3.   Learn Again How to Read!

How much study time could you save if you read twice as fast? YOU 
All you need is deliberate practice: every time you read, no matter what it is,
try to go a  little  faster - without losing the meaning.


You should be reading this Guide in low gear!


Concentration is the ability to devote your thoughts and attention to one subject for a  limited time. The student who says that he really cannot concentrate has never really tried! Yes, we mean that! It is quite possible to TRAIN YOURSELF to concentrate! If I ask you to run AND WIN a Marathon Race tomorrow, would 
you be able to do it - even if you are fit?   Ask any runner and he'll tell you its impossible without practice. But given sufficient time and drive, we all could do it!

It's the same with concentration.  The more you read and the more you study, the easier it becomes.  The more you train your mind to concentrate, the better you do until, eventually, you are up with the leaders.  You will be able to digest even the most complicated things quickly and with little effort.

There are three steps to take every time you sit down to study:

1.  Recall your reasons

Remind yourself of your motives for study - and the rewards at the end. You 
have promised your family you are studying.  You have promised yourself you 
will finish this work now.  Keep your word.

Stop daydreaming the moment it starts.  The first law of success is concentration 
and involves learning how to cope with distractions. Eliminate irrelevant thoughts, 
daydreams, emotions and negative feelings.  Prepare yourself for the study task at 
hand by say to yourself "Come on now stop wasting time and get down to 
business".   This little technique will talk yourself back into concentration. Also, 
before actually studying, picture yourself  effectively studying. This positive mental imagery helps create the right study good and  focuses your attention to the study tasks.

2.  Clear the Line

Have near you a blank sheet headed "Afterwards".   If you remember anything 
you should do, jot it down and forget it. If something irritates you, write a note 
about it for later action-and forget it now.

3.  Be active in interest

Don't ever just sit and read.  Write notes.  Re-plan. Mark points. Comment. 
Summarise.  This activity keeps your interest alive.  Knowing you have an 
examination in the morning helps concentrate the mind.  So imagine you are 
going to be examined on the content of the study session the following day.  
Alternatively, imagine you will be called on to give a lecture on the topic to a 
group of important business people.


Imagine you are faced with a new lecture.  What do you do?

1.  SURVEY it. Read rapidly over the material. Get an outline of what you will be 
     studying. Your mind begins to focus.

2.  UNDERSTAND it. Read it again noting main points, questioning the train of 
     thought, marking your lectures with lines for emphasis; make charts, lists or your 
     own diagrams.

3.  NOTICE it. What do we mean? Just this - now is the time to look for your 
     personal significance in linking together facts and arguments. Notice what 
     methods help you to understand.

4.  SUMMARISE it. You can now reduce the material to very brief notes, 
     because each word  you write reminds you of all the thought links you have 

5.  EXERCISE it. Now make use of what you have mastered. Tackle some 
     progress questions.  Rewrite parts of your summary, from memory. Check 
     back to see how close you were.  Revise (mentally) in the bus or at work.  
     Check back later.

6.  TEST it. After a few days, do the Test on the material, or tackle again a 
     Progress Question, fully and in writing.

This Mnemonic                             SUNSET

will assist you in remembering these vital steps.


As the weeks of study pass, what do you need most:  more time? more 
reading?   more determination?  NO! You need to know - that you ARE 
learning; that you CAN answer questions. Only this can give you the confidence 
you need as the basis for further study.

each book.

There are other good reasons too. You probably need both -


 -   of  TIME, planning to get the Tests done by the due date and so mark off 
      progress on  your Timetable.

 -   of  TUTORS, who will review your work, guide and criticise your approach, 
      point out  where further study is needed.



-   of  RECALL, where the mind has practice in producing the ideas and the facts
     it  has mastered.

-    in READING the questions, analysing them and deciding what is required of 

-    in RESPONDING correctly to questions, planning your answers, assessing the 
     time you can spend on each, and reviewing it when you are finished.

Many of the students who "give up" have sent in no tests at all. They have never given themselves a chance of building the confidence that practical, constructive assessment can bring.

Successful students have found the marking of tests a great help.

In short, your tests are the most important part of your studies.

1.   Treat them seriously! You are teaching your mind to recall; please therefore    
      don't copy from the lectures. Also time yourself.  Your Tutors allocate time 
      periods for each test. If you find initially that you cannot set aside a full two or 
      three hour period at a single sitting then try one question at a time. When you 
      have completed the test, indicate the time taken. Later in your studies you 
      should, of course, practise sitting the full 2 or 3 hours at a single session in 
      preparation for the final exam.

2.   When answering questions preferably use A4 line paper (not bound books) and 
      number answer sheets in sequence.

      Leave a margin on your script for your Tutor's comments.

3.   Fill in your name, address, student number, your course, (e.g. C.I.S.) course 
      code (e.g. Z026  - this course code is indicated on your programme of 
      studies), as well as any other information required on the test return slip 
      provided with every test.  Attach this slip to your test, before submitting it to the 

4.   Your corrected script and a guide to the answers will be returned to you. 

Examine your Tutor's comments; compare your work with the model solutions.
Use your tests also for the purpose of revision.


We have given you pointers in this guide on HOW TO STUDY and this book is your foundation. Keep it on your desk at all times and refer to it frequently. "How to Pass" will become vitally important to you as you get closer to the examinations.

Based on examiners' comments, DON'T be one of the:-

"Candidates who were unsuccessful in the examination failed because they had done little or no preparation."

BUT RATHER be one of the

"Successful candidates showed evidence of careful preparation."

We know that your will to succeed can spur you to achieve distinction.

You have made a start on a path to future security for yourself and your family.
On you go - and every success


Study SkillsLearner SupportTeaching and LearningReturn HomeZimbabwe