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What is energy?

What is energy?
Energy is one concepts that is difficult to define. Everyone knows that they have energy or do not have energy. Certainly everyone knows that energy has many forms such as heat, light and electricity. Here are some definition of energy:

The dictionary defines energy as a potential forces; capacity for action. In the study of physics, energy is defined as the capacity to do work and overcome resistance. Energy is a measure of the ability to do work. Energy talks about the ability to do work , but not only work it also gives us the ability to play. In fact we could just say that energy is the ability to do. It is the "stuff that makes things go."

Forms of Energy
Energy  exist in different forms such as electricity, light, sound, heat. gravitational. chemical and nuclear energy.  This energy can exist in either a stored form or it maybe moving from one point to another.  Energy in a stored form can also be referred to as potential energy.

Different energy forms are classified into seven groups as follows:
  • Mechanical Energy
It can be either energy of a force moving over a distance.
Examples: a torque applied to a rotating object or a kinetic energy (the energy of a moving body) or potential energy (e.g. compressed spring). Sound is also a form of mechanical energy.
  •  Electrical Energy
Energy associated with the flow or accumulation of electrons e.g. flow of electric current in a light globe produces light. Electrical energy can be stored in a capacitor
  •  Electromagnetic Energy
Energy associated with electromagnetic radiation. Television and radio broadcasters use this type of energy to transmit a signal to our television or radios. The energy in light is also electromagnetic energy, but of a much higher frequency. This includes radiant solar energy.
  • Chemical Energy
Energy involved in the bonding of atoms to form chemical molecules. When released as a result of chemical reactions, it appears as electrical or heat energy. This is the energy stored in fossil fuels. Batteries are another common way many of us use this type of energy. Wood stoves and fires also make use of chemical energy to produce heat.
  • Nuclear Energy
The energy associated with bonding of sub-atomic particles within the nucleus of atoms.
  • Thermal Energy
Energy commonly called heat. It is the energy associated with atomic and molecular vibration. It is a basic form into which all other forms can be completely converted. The use of heat for cooking or to heat our living space is fundamental to human civilisation.
  • Gravitational Energy
Energy stored in a body by virtue of its height above some other point. This is often called gravitational potential energy. Note that the force of gravity is not the same as gravitational energy. The energy is only released when the body is free to move.



Research Strategy Secrets

Are you doing a research for an assignment or school project? Research is the most difficult part to start with, but there are a few basic steps  that you can follow to help you develop your research skills.


Identify the main concepts or keywords in the question
  • Exactly what I have been asked to do?
  • What is the purpose of my research? Is it to inform?
  • Is it to argue a point of view?
  • Is it to test an unfounded assumption?
  • What do I already know? Write down as much as you can about the subject.  Begin with what you know and  "brainstorm" the topic for further ideas.
  • What do I need to find out?
  • What do I have to do with the information?

  • Where do I begin?
  • What sort of information do I want?
  • Where can I find the information?


  • What do these resources tell me about what I want to know?
  • Does it really answer my question?
  • How relevant  or credible is the information?
  • What information do I really need to use?
  • What information can I leave out?
  • How will I record the information I need?
  • Is the date of publication appropriate?
  • What are the author's qualification? (educational background, past writings, experience?)
  • Are the author's conclusions or facts supported by evidence?

  • How can I put the information together to answer the question to support my argument?
  • How can I best use the information?
  • Do I have enough information?
  • Have I cited what I've found?

  • What will I do with this information
  • How can I best present this information
  • Have I included all important information? (check what I have been asked to do)
  • Do I present it as an essay? A report? A talk? A debate?
  • Do I need a diagram? maps? graphs/ illustrations? audio visual materials?
  • Have I included a Bibliography of resources?
  • Is my presentation original (in my own words) concise and accurate?

  • How did I go
  • Did I fulfill my purpose?
  • Did I find all the relevant information?
  • Am I satisfied with the end results?
  • Am I satisfied with the way I got there?
  • What went well and what went badly in the research process?
  • Do I need more skills to make it easier next time? If so, which ones/
  • What new skills did I develop?
  • Which skills do I need to improve?
  • How can I improve them?


Setting SMARTer goals

'Goals are "wants" - targets that we want to achieve.

For something to be a goal, it has to:

  • be important to you, personally.
  • be clearly defined.
  • be within your power to make it happen through your own actions.
  • be something you have a reasonable chance of achieving.
  • have a specific plan of action.

When setting goals, make sure that your goals are:

Your goal is right to the point.
Know exactly what you want, what you'd like to see happen, what you are striving for. The more specific the goal, the easier it will be to get it.

You will know when you have reached your goal.
You can keep track of your progress and see if you are moving toward your goal. Ask: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?

Only you know what you want.  It follows then that only you can write your goals. Your goal is something you know you will achieve. It should not be so challenging as to be impossible to achieve, nor should it be so basic that it can be achieved with little or no effort. Can you see yourself there?

Your goal is something you know you will achieve and it won't be impossible to reach. It is not beyond your ability.  It can be accomplished. You have the knowledge, skills and competency to reach it.

Your goal has a clear "start" and "end" date. There is a time frame. The amount of time you have to reach your goal is reasonable - not too short, not too long. 



Getting motivated


Have you ever found yourself submitting assignments late because you either left it until the last minute or because you thought it was not good enough to hand in?  What about the night before an important test? Were you huddled over your books cramming?

Why do we put things off? 

  • FEAR of failure or rejection or embarrassment or any negative emotions. Amazingly, we can sometimes even be afraid of our own success.
  • Our inability to say "no".  You know you have a pressing assignment but you can't say "no" to going out with your friends.Our lack of interest
  • Our lack of preparedness.
  • You can probably name 10 more reasons if you put your mind to it.

10 Point Plan to Overcome Procrastination and Motivate Yourself  Into Action    

  • Use your Planner. Work in progress should systematically appear on your Priority List week by week until you complete it.  
  • Make a Plan and stick to it.  List all the things you need to get it done.
  • Break that overwhelming assignment you've been putting off into smaller, more manageable parts.  Allocate a deadline for the whole project.  Plan to work on it a little bit every day, starting NOW!
  • Arrange these parts into 3 categories:  Imperative, Important and Not Very Important.  Give yourself deadlines for each category.  Tackle the imperative list first.  Do not move on to "Important"  category until it's all done.  Then start on the important tasks and don't stop until these are all done. By the time you get around to the "Not Very Important" tasks, you will probably find the project needs nothing more than a few finishing touches.
  • It's easy to procrastinate if you're feeling sorry for yourself.  Use some positive self-talk.  Remind yourself you've got to get this done and you have to start it it or finish it now.  
  • Use more of the self-talk to praise yourself.  Award yourself rewards for good behavior.  Learn to reward yourself at milestones, not just at the completion of a project.  Start now. right after you have completed your "Imperative" task list.
  • Finding yourself blocked and unable to start a task is common.  Ask yourself "Is there anything, no matter how small that I am willing to do?" When you find that small thing, you are no longer procrastinating. You've started.
  • Try the Ten Minute Procrastinator's Plan: this involves working on the dreaded task for 10 minutes, then deciding  whether to go on or stop.  You might find you get so involved in what you're doing, you actually begin to enjoy the task and pretty soon, those 10 minutes magically turn into 60 or more. 
  • Any task can be more easily tackled if you visualize it completed.  Use your imagination. Completing that project, see yourself handling in that assignment; hear the teacher's words of praise and admiration; visualize with every sense you have!  Touch it. Smell it. Taste it.  You'll soon be longing for the real thing. 
  • Take responsibility for yourself-don't let your fear of failure get to you.  You've got this far at school, now JUST DO IT and you'll feel better. Much better.



Study Skills: 12 Tips on Test Taking

To be able to get good results on your exam, you need to study, but no matter how hard you study if you don't know how to go about taking a test, whether multiple choice or essay, you won't score the highest possible mark. 
Here are some tips on how to ace that test.
1. Arrive early or at least on time. Get a friend to exchange wake up calls just in case.
2. Expect and accept that you are going to experience a bit of stress.
3. Take time to read the questions thoroughly and follow instructions. Be clear on what is being asked. Highlight key words in the instructions. Listen to any last minute instructions.
4. Be aware of time restrictions and budget your time. Start with the easiest questions first.
5. Spend more time on the questions that have the highest marks value. For example: If an essay question is worth half the test value, plan to spend at least half the allotted test time on that portion.
6. Don't spend too much time on questions you don't know the answers. Leave them and return to them later. If you still can't answer, have a guess ( remember, there are no penalties for guessing.)
7. Pace yourself. Work quickly, but not hastily.
8. Don't panic, if you have a memory lapse. It is normal.
9. Don't worry if others finish before you do.
10. Make sure you answer every question on the test and do not change your answer without a good reason.
11. Use all your allocated time. If you finish early, read over your work. Double check you have answered all questions. Check spelling and grammar. It's easy to make silly mistakes.
12. Make sure you label and correctly identify all your work before turning in your test. Don't forget to write you name.



How to study effectively - Understand What You Are Learning

Study Tips  for any student who would like to stick to a good study regime. You don't have to be the Top Brain to do that-anybody can do it by following these simple rules and tips. 

    Understand What You Are Learning

    Understanding in the classroom involves listening to instructions, being attentive, involving yourself in discussions and asking questions.
    Take an active role in your learning. This will improve your understanding of the subject and will help you recall too.
    • Summarise things in your own words. When you are summarising, it should be short and to the point, capture key elements. Use diagrams, drawings, and flowcharts.
    • When you don't understand something, don't be shy or afraid to ask your teacher for help.

    Revise ! Revise ! Revise!

    It is normal for your brain to forget things, but this doesn't mean your not smart.
    You should revise work very soon after you have learned it, once or every two or three study sessions, simply review older materials that you still need to remember.
    Doing this regularly will save you having to re-study a topic in detail. Make sure your homework/study timetable includes plenty of revision time. The summaries and class notes you have made can be a great help in revision.



    How to study effectively- Read and make notes

    Study Tips  for any student who would like to stick to a good study regime. You don't have to be the Top Brain to do that-anybody can do it by following these simple rules and tips. 

    Read and Make Notes

    • By using the notes from your subject or topic files, read and make notes - write comments, make brief summaries.
    • Practice the writing of key ideas and facts from memory, you will learn better by doing this.
    • Highlight important information, it makes it easy to relocate. It also allows you to create an outline of the material as you are reading. (Use highlighter that are not too bright, they have a tendency to be distracting)
    • Write notes as neatly and as legibly as possible. If you compose neat notes, or at least legible ones, you can save valuable time by not having to rewrite them.
      Note taking is probably one of the foremost components to being successful in acquiring productive study skills


      • Don't daydream! Keep your mind on what you are doing.
      • Remember to have a 10 minute hourly break, this will help you concentrate. The best way to do it is to stand up and face away from your books, don't sit at your desk starring at your book- the physical act of standing up will help your thinking back to the job.


      How to study effectively - Set a target

      Study Tips  for any student who would like to stick to a good study regime. You don't have to be the Top Brain to do that-anybody can do it by following these simple rules and tips. 

      Set a Target
      • Carefully check your timetable, make sure you have allowed a reasonable time for what you want to achieve. e.g. "Complete Math exercises 3 and 4 or start writing a draft for English essay." You need to clearly identify exactly what you have to do.
      • Set yourself realistic targets. When you get them done, you will feel good about yourself. Each small achievement helps to build up your confidence.
      Congratulate yourself each time you reach your target.

      Identify exactly what it is you need to learn in some subjects. You might have to memorise a poem or a speech. In other subject you might have to write an extended response.

      So in order not to waste time, IDENTIFY the kind of learning or task that you need to do and work accordingly.


      Study Skills: Notetaking secrets

      Note taking is a skill in its own right and in the senior years of secondary school, keeping accurate, detailed notes is critical for success in exams and assignments.  

      You may find keeping adequate notes harder than when you were a junior student.

      1. You are likely to be less spoon feed and directed by the teacher.  Lots more information is covered in a period than for younger students.
      2. Information tends to be more detailed and complex.
      3. teachers vary in the way they use the board for note taking and covering key points.
      By having a few strategies 'up your sleeve', note taking is manageable and helps you develop organized thinking skills. Try some of these strategies:
      • Always keep your notes for each subject separate by using individual folders or color-coded dividers.  Make sure you have adequate spare lined and unlined paper in each folder.
      • Rule up each page with a wide margin to the left of each page.  This margin allows you to add recall and revision comments.  To save time, prepare margins ahead of time.
      • Write on only one side of each page.  The other side can be used for revision notes or to glue in handouts or supplementary materials.
      • Get prepared ahead of time by becoming familiar with material that will be covered in class.
      • Reviewing notes from previous classes is a useful way of connecting new material with what was covered earlier, getting a sense of the "big picture".
      • Listen for cues of what's important.  Be alert for words or signals that teachers use to tell you that information is important.  This could be when the teacher shows excitement about the material, repeats ideas with emphasis or says "This is important". 
      • As a rule of thumb, when a teacher writes information on the board, it is very important.  Write down all board notes.
      • When taking notes from teacher and class discussion, concentrate on separating key ideas from examples.  Write down just the key points and examples only if time allows.  Developing this skill will be incredibly useful for dissecting information quickly in an exam situation.  Writing down every word is unnecessary and stops you from becoming an effective listener and 'digester' of information.
      • Use key heading and subheadings or diagrams to organize information.  Your teacher may indicate the key areas to be covered at the beginning of the period, jot down these as your headings.  Students learn in different ways.  For some, information makes more sense through a flow chart or diagram. Others prefer headings, sub-headings and paragraphs.  Use a style that suits you.
      • Use abbreviations where possible.
      • Write heading and titles using a different colored pen.
      • Underline important points and words while taking notes.
      • Leave space after each section.  This area is useful for adding examples or any information you missed.
      • For each class, add the date and period on the first page and number your pages.  This will help keep your notes in the right order and keep track of any lessons you miss.
      • Keep at least half a page spare at the end of each class session. 

      Each night read through the notes you have taken for that class.  This could be the most useful 5-minute homework tasks you complete.  After reading use your half page at the end of your notes to write down:
      1. A list of key words and phrases.
      2. A very short paragraph summary of the main significance of the material.
      3. Questions to ask your teacher about any ideas you do not understand.


      How to study effectively- Be Organised

      Study Tips  for any student who would like to stick to a good study regime. You don't have to be the Top Brain to do that-anybody can do it by following these simple rules and tips. 

      Be Organised
      • Make a homework / study timetable. Work on the important or urgent task first. Give equal time to your least liked subject. Leave until last the things you enjoy most and things that are least urgent. Highlight all the important task to be done.
      • Vary your study. Spending too much time on one task will give you less time for something else which might be just as important.
      • Use your study diary. Keep it handy all the time. It's a valuable tool to keep you organise yourself.
      Organize your study timetables so that the most important stuff is given TOP attention time!! (e.g. PRIORITY - Top - Medium - Low)

      File Your Notes
      Create an individual subject files at home. This could be a two ring binder. Preferably use one at each subject.
      Place the subject name clearly on the outside. When you get home from school each day transfer all the notes and handouts you received that day into each of your subject folder.
      Before filing, read through, make notes and organise what it is you need to study from them.

      • Your subject file can be further divided into topics. This will make it easier to locate a particular topic when you need to study it later on.


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