High school learners have a lot on their plate, especially during a time where everything has gone topsy turvy. Study habits have been broken new habits have crept in, and it can be difficult to get back to the way things were or even learn new ways of doing. Where do we even begin?

Why are good study habits so important?

It’s not always about having “smarts”, but rather studying smart. Ironically, intellectual ability plays a small part and developing effective organisational skills and good study habitsgo a long way. Having the right tools and resources is a great place to startand can make sticking to those habits easier.

Paper Video is a platform that can help. High school learners from grade 8 to12 can accessresources and materials needed toget to grips with challenging subjects like Maths, Physical Science, Life Scienceand Accounting. The tutoring and video lessons, with expert teachers in each field, give learners the freedom to work through the material at their own pace with a progress tracker to help them stay on track and get into the study habit of things.

Here are a few more tricks and traits highly effective studentsuse to develop new study habits and ditch the bad ones.

What’s the secret recipe to becoming an efficient student?

“They are passionate and love school.”Yes, we can hear your eyes rolling and it couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth, in fact, passion and a love for school have no relationship with learners’ effectiveness or success.  People think, for example, you have to love math to be good at it, sure this helps, but success actually comes down to one surprising factor: Self-belief.

According to Jihyun Lee, Associate Professor at the School of Education at the University of New South Wales, an almost 4-year study concluded that direct correlations between students’ academic achievement and their attitudes toward school were near zero. The factor that sets academically able and less able students apart is self-belief. Being able to believe in their own problem-solving abilities is far more important than their perception of school itself.

8 Habits of Successful Students

So, “self-belief” is easier said than done. Doubting ourselves and our capabilities will always be an uphill battle. Along with a tutoring resource like Paper Video to really help students understand their work without any added pressure, good study habits for high school learners can slowly, but surely, build up the confidence to know “that we know” the answers.

Time Management

You don’t have to be Doctor Strange to understand and appreciate the vital element of time – so give yourself enough of it.

  • Prioritise difficult content or projects first – things you know will take longer.
  • Create a timetable, especially during exam season. Spelling out what you will be doing each day and a visual indication will help you avoid panic and fear.
  • Cramming it all in tires out your brain. Contrary to belief, and to most of our studying ways, spacing out the workload gives your brain time to digest (Yes, like a stomach, if you eat too much in one sitting… let’s just say we know you know how Biology works)
  • Set timers and scheduling, if you have an event coming up, work it into yourcalendar andcompromise: If you don’t do “X” you can’t do “Y”. Think bigger than “If I finish this chapter, I can have a cookie.” 
  • Plan when and where. Routines help build good habits, so just like your set dinner and breakfast times have times reserved for studying.

Be goal orientated

We’ve spoken about thinking bigger than giving yourself a cookie after one chapter. Think of the bigger picture, what would you like to achieve? Whether it’s an A-plus or simply making sure you stick to your timing schedule, goals help you keep track of your progress and when you feel like you’re progressing, you feel confident in your abilities. #Self-belief

Finding the best techniques

You might already have a few study techniques up your sleeve, and some might work better than others depending on whether you’re left-brained (logic) or right-brained (creative) – a theory where one side of the brain is more dominant than the other. In the book Make it Stick by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel, the authors identify a few effective and ineffective techniques:


  • Pre-test. Setting up mock tests to help you answer questions.
  • Build on something you know. Connect new information to concepts you already understand. For instance, electricity streams, like a stream of water, slows down when there is resistance i.e. a resistor.  
  • Visual diagrams. An oldie, but a goodie. Anything that generates active learning helps your brain absorb and retain information.
  • Paraphrasing and reflecting. See the content from a different perspective, even something as simple as changing sentence orders around or saying the text in your own words helps you understand the work better.


  • Re-reading can make work feel foreign and garner frustration because your brain isn’t retaining information
  • Don’t cram, space out your study time
  • If you get it right the first time, don’t assume you know it all.
  • Don’t multitask here we don’t mean distractions, although that’s vital too. Try and keep the content and information topical. If you’re doing Trigonometry stick to it until you understand it and avoid jumping to another topic.

Learning to focus and minimising distractions

Distractions; social media, web browsing, game playing, texting. Make sure you create an airtight imaginary bubble to help you focus and cultivate those good study habits.
Think PSP.No not in gaming: Prep, Setting and Pre-empt.

  • Prep: Eat, drink, use your bathroom break and get all your materials ready, nothing breaks your focus like getting started and finding out you need a new pen.
  • Setting the scene: a picture of your beach holiday or random titbits that can cause your mind to wander – remove them and declutter your desk.
  • Pre-empt: Let friends know when you’re studying so they don’t text you and think of other factors that might creep up; noisy neighbours, mom’s Zumba time. Put boundaries in place to prevent these.

Use your available resources

Whether it’s summary notes from teachers, reading materials, exercises or past exam papers, resources are there to make life easier.

Paper Video is designed to help high school learners prepare for exams. It’s not just a portal to past papers, but a platform that features tutorial videos that work through each question to help learners understand the work and questions better.  High school learners can improve and prepare for Maths, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Accounting exams and assignments with the help of expert teachers.

Start with the hard stuff first

Master the art of knowing what you’re good at and topics you still need to master, then prioritise the tough stuff first. Know when you’re most productive and use that time for problem-solving. Not only will your brain be alert and absorb information better, but once you’ve reached your goal, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and THIS starts a series of reactions.

Accomplishment = releases serotonin (the happy hormone) = relieves stress = retain information better.


All the prepping and learning only gets studying so far, and that’s not even close if learners neglect to take care of themselves. The work is only 30%, getting into the habit of good self-care habits a full-blown 70%. It can make or break everything learners work so hard for.

  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat healthily and look into superfoods(brain foods) like nuts, berries and fresh produce.
  • Exercise and fresh air help the brain and body balance out.
  • Know when to stop, learners shouldn’t strain themselves – stress and anxiety is a terrible cycle that can make things worse. If it gets too much, ask for help or advice from teachers, parents or even peers.


Collaboration is no foreign concept and, dread it as we may, more than one brain solves the math problem. Just look at all of history’s major discoveries; an entire team launched a rocket into space. Working in a study group or with a partner helps:

  • See the problem from a different perspective
  • Ask for help when you are struggling
  • Teaching others helps you understand the content better
  • Creates a sense of accountability  

That being said, study groups need to be structured well else they become unproductive and unhelpful. Learners need to collaborate and pull their weight.

Improving and developing good study habits and avoiding the bad ones.

Like with learning most things, it takes time to break old habits and start new ones, stick to it and build your habits into your daily routine. Author and entrepreneur James Clear’s Atomic Habits highlights a few ways in which we can all build good habits.

1. Habit stacking

Everyone has strong pre-existing habits, for instance, your brain knows that you need to take a shower in the morning. Habit stacking is where you pair a new habit with a current one rather than a specific time or location.

2. Make negative habits undesirable

If you become aware of a bad habit, replace it with a new one, preferably one that makes you feel better or put boundaries in place that make it difficult – like hiding your phone or putting it on plane mode when you start studying.

3.Don’t skip your habits

Your brain builds a strong network of neurons to support your current behaviours. The more you do something, the stronger and more efficient the connection becomes. Follow the two-day rule and never skip a habit for more than one day.

4.Set rewards for completing a habit

We know what you’re thinking, not the cookie analogy again. It’s a phycological term called “dangling” and helpful when self-motivation is difficult. It can be as simple as telling your family members about breaking the habit so they can celebrate with you or giving yourself a 20-minute social media break for hiding your phone for an hour.

Good study habits not only help learners become efficient but build the self-belief that helps tackle any problem high school might throw at them. Start with healthy lifestyle choices and great resources to help get you there.  

Sign up for a Free Paper Video Account to get you started.
Visit www.papervideo.co.zaor contact Paper Video on 061 357 2304 for more information.

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