UNISA: How to get ahead of the game



I have been studying at Unisa for the past year and a half and although I got off to a rocky start I quickly managed to find my feet with distance learning. As you may or may not know at Unisa you need a high level of self-discipline in order to keep up with the rollercoaster ride each new semester brings.  This means you are accountable to yourself for a number of things, making sure you dedicate enough study time each week, scheduling work between different modules and making sure you meet deadlines before hell month begins in other words, exams!  I have picked a few tips to get ahead of the game and help me manage my studies more efficiently which I am going to share with you:

RELATED POST: How I became a student. Again.

Study Material

As a Unisa student you soon get to know that your study material may not always make it to you on time, this my friend is no excuse. You can get cracking as soon as you hit ‘Request’ on your application.  The moment you register any modules (even if you are temporarily registered) you have access to study material.

I had no idea this facility existed but once I found it, it changed my life forever. No longer will you find me hopping around group chats begging for a tutorial letter because there is a Download Study Material Tool available. All you have to do is fill in your personal details and the tool will generate all the study material for the modules you are registered for. As simple as that, want to try it out for yourself click this link Download Study Material Tool 


I don’t know about you but I like saving a penny wherever I can and purchasing second-hand books can save you a ton of money. After you have downloaded the tutorials go through each one and make a list of the prescribed textbooks you will need for the semester.

Once you have that down, have a look at reputable booksellers such as loot.co.za to find out what the retail selling price is of each book. This helps you gauge how much you will be spending on textbooks but it also helps you avoid being ripped off if you are purchasing second-hand.  I once had someone try to sell me used textbooks for way above the RSP. If I had not known what they were selling at new, I might have thought it was a pretty good deal. Second-hand bookstores are really good to find a bargain but the easiest way I have found the books I need are through Facebook, Whatsapp, and Telegram groups. I usually post my book list in the group and ask if anyone is selling what I am looking for or I search keywords to find sellers.


Studying through Unisa can feel kind of lonely. Unlike a physical university, there are no classes (in my experience) so you miss the interaction with peers. Groups bridges this divide by bringing people together to discuss the work and make it easier to cope with Uni life. You can ask the questions about things you are not sure of or access study material. I have also met some of the most amazing people in these groups and made lifelong friendships in my study buddies. The first type of groups I would like to point out is Facebook groups. One, in particular, is the Unisa Students group which is for all students but there are specific groups dedicated to a course like the BA Communications group and even groups for single modules like ENG1501. All you need to do is search keywords such as your course name or a module and filter it out to find any available groups.

When I started at Unisa Whatsapp groups were the standard but currently, Whatsapp is being phased out in favor of Telegram. Telegram is similar to WhatsApp but new members can access any documents and messages that have been sent before a user has entered a group. This means 1 document can be sent instead of it having to be resent over and over. You can find Telegram groups by going to this link Unisa Groups, search your module and join.


Read through the assignments for the semester as soon as you get your tutorials. This trick allows me to have a general idea of how much time each one needs. If it’s a multiple-choice question assignment – I know it will take a lot less time to complete than a written assignment. I also jot down the due dates on my calendar so I know when each one is due and I can plan accordingly. I generally do the easier assignments first so that it is out of the way and then I move on to the tougher ones.

If you have the time, reading any novels, textbooks and study guides ahead of time will help you in the long run. If you acquire your study material and books early put in the work as soon as possible even if you commit to reading just a chapter a day during the holiday. I have started reading one of my prescribed books already even though the semester ‘technically’ starts in August I have taken time out of each day to do a little bit before the madness begins.


Thanks for reading

XX Cass

Do you have any tips or questions about studying through correspondence University like UNISA? Let me know in the comment section below and best of luck for the next semester!

One last thing before I go… Please like my Facebook Page  Cassricorn Blog to keep up with my posts. I will be posting more on my studies and sharing other fun posts soon.

How I became a student. Again.


Studying for THL Exam

At 27 it is kind of weird to be a student, especially when one of your closest friends that you met through studying just turned 21. I have always been studious and way back when, when I was in high-school I had dreams of becoming a lawyer (clearly this dream has not come true.) I got into University and as my friends say, I knew everything but forgot it all, the minute I wrote a test. My brain is the most outstanding organ. It works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from the day I was born… until I have to take a test or remember a name at a party – in one ear and out the other usually. I quit after 6 months. Family life, stress, anxiety and possibly depression as well the thought of wasting my parent’s money all lead me to dropping out.


Me, My 21 year old friend Cake (on her birthday) & Tazz a new friend through UNISA



The years in between my studying is a blur of life pushing me in all sorts of directions with weird bosses and experiences that I might share later on but for now, I am going just stick to my journey with studying. In 2011 just under 2 years after my first rodeo with University, I went back, with a bursary to back me up.  I thought I had made it but it was one of the toughest years I have ever had. The bursary fell through, I was only notified at the end of the year. Literally 9 months after it became obsolete. I was devastated and this is where I gave up and for the next 5 years I lived in a fog of depression. I had convinced myself that my desire to study and get a degree was not something that was going happen for me, I was getting too old and unfortunately, not everyone’s dreams come true and I was one of those unlucky ones.

It was in 2016 when the idea resurfaced. I was living in Johannesburg with my boyfriend while my best friend back in Port Elizabeth was talking about studying through Unisa. She wanted to pursue a career and the best way for her to do that was to get credentials but she also started planting the seed with me. I was, at the time, doing nothing really substantial with my life. I had not worked in two years because of the decision we made about my eye disease. I have Keratoconus and when we moved to JHB we decided that I would not go out to work. We found the best doctors and surgeons to diagnose and treat my incurable disease. I went for an operation, got fitted with hard contacts lens and truly saw for the very first time (before everything was a blur.) And it was around about the time where I needed to get back on track.

As the seed that my friend planted grew I started entertaining the idea. I still thought I was too old to study and fulfil a dream at this stage in my life and what about the cost? I had a lot of doubt about going back to studying but the desire outweighed the doubt and I looked into this crazy notion even more. I had the talk with G (le boyfriend) and asked what he thought, he thought it was a brilliant idea and was all for it and without skipping a beat offered to pay for the whole thing. I also spoke to friends and family and made sure that this was the right thing for me. Before I filled out the application we came to the decision (so many decisions) that this would benefit us in the long run, I’d be working towards a career I wanted to be in and when the time came the possibility of getting a better salary with a degree in my pocket sounded logical. So, I filled it out, sent it in and 5 months later I was a first-year Communication Science student.

Something I never thought would happen ever again. I am now currently full-fledged, full-time student with all the problems that come with it. I hate it most days and ask myself WHY? But to be honest this is where I want to be. I love learning, I love the idea that at this end of this I will achieve something I wanted for as long as I could remember. You may be wondering how I jumped from Law to Communications? Well, law will always have my heart but I believe am a writer. I have no clue at all what I want to do with this skill but I know it would be awesome to get paid for it or at least be in some part of the Media doing something creative and Communication Science will help me get there. I still do not know what exactly it is I want to do, and people keep telling me that, that is okay because not everyone does so I am just chilling, (at the time I wrote this) in second year hoping that I figure this out by the time I graduate. And even if  I don’t what I have learnt is, it never the end of the world and you are never too old to do what you love.

Thanks for reading

XX Cass

Hi readers, have you ever thought you were too old for something like I did? Leave me a comment and let me know, also if you have any questions about studying go ahead and ask, I know a thing or two and might be able to help or satisfy a burning question you have about me.