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Help for Learners

This guide will show you how to use Siyavula's practice service. Take note of the helpful tips and hints.

What is Siyavula's practice service?

Our practice service is an online tool for high school learners to practise maths and science, with:

  • exercises that are tailored for you, becoming more difficult as you improve;
  • immediate feedback on how you're doing;
  • step-by-step explanations of every exercise; and
  • a dashboard so you can track your progress.

All you need to use Siyavula's practice service is access to the internet, and a computer, tablet or feature phone.

Succeeding in maths and science will open the doors to your future – and there's no better place to start than regular practice. It's time to get started!

If you have a non-smart phone (feature phone) please access the mobi-specific user guide instead. On m.siyavula.com, click on Help on the blue menu bar and then select Help for learners from the list.

Setting up your account

It's easy to get started! Here's how to sign up:

You can find the Sign up form on the home page, or by clicking Sign up on the main menu.

Sign up form.

  1. Sign up: with your first name and surname, and either your email address or mobile phone number
  2. Confirm your details: enter the one-time pin (OTP) we send to your email address or mobile phone number
  3. Finish registration: choose a password, accept our terms and conditions, and you're ready to go!

Your school may sign up to use Siyavula's practice service as part of your classroom programme for revision, projects, assignments, tests or homework. If your school is a Siyavula client, we need to link you and your account to your school, class and teacher.

If you are not signed up yet, you will need to first create an account. If you already have an account, you must log in with the same details as before – you don't need to create another account to join your class – but you do need an Access Code so you can be linked to the correct school and class. This is how it's done:

  1. Log in to your account, using your email address, mobile phone number, or username (if you have one) and your password.
  2. Click on Access Code, on your main menu.
  3. Enter your Access Code, which will be given to you by your teacher or someone from the Siyavula team.
  4. Click on Submit.
  5. Once the system has confirmed that your access code is valid, you will see which school and class your account will be linked to. Check and confirm that this is correct.
  6. That's it – now you're linked to your class and your teacher will be able to see how you're progressing!

What's the difference between practising on my own or as part of my school class?

Whether you're signed up as an individual on your own or as part of your school class, you will be able to practise your maths and science and track your own learning progress on your dashboard in exactly the same way.

If you're linked to a class, your teachers will be able to see how you and the other learners in your class are doing. This gives teachers valuable information on:

  • How the class is doing, at both a class and individual learner level.
  • What learners are practising, and how many exercises they're doing.
  • What learners may be struggling with, and what concepts they have mastered.

Logging in and getting started with practice

Logging in

Log in form.

  1. Click on the Log in button on the main menu
  2. Type in the email address or mobile phone number you used when you signed up, along with your password.
  3. Click Log in.

Getting to your practice dashboard

Going to your dashboard via the main menu.

Once you've logged in, get started by:

  • clicking on Practise Maths or Practise Science button; or
  • selecting Practise from the main menu bar.

This will take you to your personal practice dashboard.

You can also read the Siyavula textbooks by clicking on Read a Textbook. The chapters in our practice service follow the order in the textbooks, so it's always easy to find the information you're looking for.

Your dashboard

What you can see on your dashboard

To master maths or science concepts, regular and consistent practice is key, and the information on your dashboard will help you keep track of how many exercises you're doing, how your skills are improving, and if you're meeting your goals.

At the top, you'll see three useful blocks:

  1. Exercises completed
  2. Atoms collected
  3. School goals and results

Under this, you will see a list of all the chapters and sections for the grade you've selected to practise arranged in a Table of Contents, exactly the same as the one in your Everything Maths and Science textbooks.

Let's look at each of those.

1. Exercises completed

Counter keeping track of how many exercises you've tried.

This is a quick overview of the effort you're putting in, showing how many exercises you have done for today, for the month, and for the whole year.

2. Atoms collected

Counter keeping track of how many atoms you've collected.

As you practise and start to master your subject, you're building up your knowledge and your brain cells! Atoms are the building blocks for matter and the world around us. So, that's why you can collect atoms for your achievements on Siyavula Practice.

You'll collect different numbers of atoms for different actions and achievements in each subject, such as:

  • Answering questions correctly (the harder the question, the more atoms you will collect)
  • Fully mastering sections and chapters
  • A bonus for completing your profile information under "My Account"
  • More to come in future!

Here's a summary of atoms you can collect per subject:

Action or achievement Atoms collected
Answering questions correctly 10-100 (depending on difficulty)
Mastering a section 1000
Mastering a chapter 4000
Completing profile under "My Account" 500

3. Set your overall school goals and record your results

Chart showing your progress towards goals the goals you've set.

What are you aiming for this year at school? Recording your goals and then your results will help you reflect throughout the year and stay on track. Clicking Set goals and results will take you to your My Goals and results page.

Editing the My goals and results page.

  1. First, what was your final result last year? In the top box, type in the percentage you achieved for maths or science in your final report for last year. Now you have an initial base to work from.
  2. Then, think about what your goal is for your final result this year for your subject. Record this percentage.
  3. Now, break it down. How are you going to get to your final goal at the end of the year? Record your goals for each term for this year.
  4. Last, record your results each term so you can track your progress over the year.
  5. Save your goals and results.
  6. Click on the My Dashboard link near the top of your page to go back to your main dashboard.

The goals you set are private, and cannot be seen by your teacher. It's for your own personal use.

The table of contents

The table of contents, expanded to show sections in a chapter.

The exercises are aligned to the South African CAPS syllabus, and follow the order of all CAPS textbooks, but you can practise the content in whatever order you'd like to. This is the information you'll see on the table of contents:

  • Heading of each chapter
  • If you click on the arrow icon next to the heading, the chapter heading will expand to show you all the sections in that chapter
  • Mastery level stars: your aim is to fill in the stars by practising! You'll know you've mastered a chapter or section when you've achieved the maximum number of stars for that chapter or section. Chapters can have up to four stars, which represent the range of difficulty for that chapter. Some chapters or sections are easier, and may have fewer stars.

Practising for mastery

We want to help you learn, understand and really master your maths and science. But, YOU need to put in effort and practise. Reading the textbook will help, but to really master your subjects, you need to practise, practise, practise! Regular effort throughout the year is key to long-term success.

When practising maths and science, it's important that you work through a range of difficulty in the exercises, starting with getting the basics right first and then moving onto more difficult exercises. As you start to get answers right consistently on Siyavula's practice service, the system will give you more difficult exercises so that we are always helping you improve. As you progress through the difficulty levels in each section, you'll see the stars light up on your dashboard. We call this your level of mastery; and the aim of our practice service is for you to master every concept.

How to choose what to practise

  1. Pick which subject you'd like to work on. You can either click on Practise Maths or Practise Science buttons on the home page. You can also select Practise from the main menu bar.
  2. Select the grade level you'd like to try. Remember, you can choose to work on content from a different grade, either;
    • by selecting that grade from your main menu; or
    • by clicking on the Choose different grade button at the top of the table of contents on your dashboard.
  3. Choose the content you'd like to practise. Click the check box on the right of each chapter and section heading.
    • If you want to practice a whole chapter, click on the check box next to the chapter heading.
    • If you would like to practise only some sections in a chapter, click on the arrow icon next to the chapter heading. This will expand to show all the sections covered in that chapter, and you can choose which sections you'd like to focus on.
    • If you would like to practise more than one chapter, select the chapters you'd like to focus on.
  4. Once you've chosen what you'd like to practise, scroll to the bottom of your dashboard and click on Start practising, and you'll see your first exercise.

Answering questions

The kind of questions you'll see

What sets us apart from other online practice programs is that you will have to answer questions in different ways to really help your learning.

Multiple choice: Some exercises will provide you with a list of possible answers, for you to choose the correct answer or complete the sentence.

  1. Click on the down arrow and select the correct answer from the list.

Example of a multiple choice question.

Complex answers: Most of our exercises will provide space for you to type in your own final answer, rather than selecting one from a list:

  1. Type in your answer. Sometimes you will need to type symbols or notation that doesn't exist on your keyboard. Check the How do I type my answer? section below for more on how to do that.
  2. You can preview your answer before submitting it.
  3. Click Check answer.

Example of a question where you need to type in your answer.

For each exercise, always do all your working out on paper or a workbook, as you would normally.

How do I type my answer?

As your computer keyboard or mobile phone won't have all the characters and symbols you will need to type some of the complex answers to maths and science exercises, we've come up with a way for you to type a computer-friendly version of your answer so that the practice service can check it for you.

Some examples:

  • Typing -> makes an arrow for chemical equations;
  • Typing ^ before a number turns it into an exponent;
  • Typing / can be used to indicate fractions; and
  • Typing oo (two small o's) is a substitute for the infinity sign.

If you're not sure how to type your answer, click on Help! How do I type my answer?, which appears below each exercise. This will bring up the information, specific to the type of question you are working on, that you might need to type your answer so the system understands it. In time you will become familiar with how to type your answers, but this link will always be there for you to refer to.

A preview of your answer

As you start typing your answer, you will see a preview box appear below the answer field. This will show you what the answer would look like if you were to write it out on paper, rather than with the computer-friendly notation our system needs. You can use this to check that the answer you're about to submit looks the way it should!

If the answer you start typing in the answer field doesn't show in the way you want to submit it, check the guidelines under Help! How do I type my answer? and edit what you have typed until it looks right in the preview.

The answer and a model solution

When you click the Check answer button the system will mark your answer and tell you whether it's correct or not. You'll also see a fully worked solution, with explanations of each step of the working involved.

Fully worked solution, with an explanation for each step.

If you got the answer wrong, go through the solution and identify where exactly you went wrong. What mistakes did you make? What must you do next time? Taking the time to do this while practising is how you will really learn and start to master your subjects!

If you don't want to see the full solution, you can click on Hide full solution.

Doing another exercise

If you want to do another exercise, you can click on one of these two buttons, which appear below the solution:

  1. Try an exercise like this again: you will see the same kind of exercise again, testing the same concepts, but with different numbers, images and variables.
  2. Go to next exercise: the system will continue to mix up the kinds of questions that you see to make sure you are progressing.

What do I do if I am starting to see the same type of exercise repeating a lot?

Even if you are clicking Go to next exercise you may find that the same sort of exercises start to repeat. Go to your dashboard and check your mastery for the section you are working on.

  • If you've got all the available stars (or are very close) you've mastered that section and can move on to practising something else.
  • If you haven't yet got all the stars for that section then try slowing down, checking your working against the solutions carefully and focus on getting a string of questions correct in a row to raise your mastery level. Once you've earned another star you'll start to see new, more difficult exercises and not just repeat the same ones.

Helpful tips on answering questions

Why can't I see the images in the question (at all)?

First, try refreshing your page. Images can be slow to load if your internet connection is not strong.

If the images aren't displaying in any of the questions you try, check your internet browser is set to show images.

The images are so small I can't see what's going on. What do I do?

We shrink the images to fit your screen size. If you are using a phone to practise, they might be so small you can't read them. Click, or tap on the image to see a bigger version of it.

Why does the spelling of my answer matter?

Your answer is checked by a computer program, so it will only recognise your answer as right if your spelling is correct. Checking your spelling is a good habit to get into, and will help you in tests and exams.

How many decimal points should I round to?

Always read the question, which will give you specific instructions about how many decimal points to round to. When answering physics and chemistry questions, be sure to check whether you're being asked to use standard or scientific notation.

If my answer has many calculation steps, should I round each one, or only the final answer?

When a question has several calculation steps, make sure you don't round off too soon. Only round off your final answer. Also, be sure to read the question carefully for rounding instructions – make sure you don't round down when you should round up, and vice versa!

If I need the answer of one question to do calculations in a later question, should I use the rounded or unrounded answer?

If you need to use the answer from one question in another, you should use the unrounded answer from the earlier question, unless you're told otherwise.

A financial maths question is an exception to this rule: if an actual monetary value is required, R33,6092 has no real world value, but R33,61 does.

Does it matter if I type spaces in my answer?

It depends on the type of question you are answering. If you're typing something like an equation, it doesn't matter and the computer will ignore the spaces. If you are typing words, spaces do matter and the computer will check for them.

I gave the answer as it was displayed on my calculator. Why was it marked wrong?

Check that your calculator is on the correct setting, especially when doing calculations involving angles. For example, if the question asks for an answer in degrees (or gives you an angle in degrees), your calculator needs to be set to DEG (degrees) and not GRAD/RAD (gradians/radians).

I used the periodic table my teacher gave me. Why have you marked my answer wrong?

We use physical constants, formulas and the periodic table as defined in the South African CAPS statement. All our solutions are calculated using only these, and you should refer to them too to make sure your working matches ours.

You can find them online here:

What you should do if you see any errors

On the site in general

If you experience an error that is not related to a specific exercise, but some other aspect of the site then please send an email to [email protected] with as much information as you can give us.

In a specific exercise

It's important for us to know if there is anything wrong or not working properly in a particular exercise, so we can fix it. If you think the model solution displayed is incorrect, or the image in an exercise isn't displaying properly, or any other part of the exercise isn't working in the way you'd expect, please let us know. Click on the Report an error button, which appears on every question page. It's very important that you report an error for the exercise you currently have on screen. Don't wait till you're on the next exercise. Type the details of the problem in the text box that appears. Please be as clear as you can and provide us with any details you can think of. This will help us solve the problem.

Please make sure you check you're working against the model solution carefully before reporting a suspected error.

Managing your account

Updating your personal details

My account page.

You can update your personal details on the My Account page. If you change your contact details, we will send you an OTP (one time pin). You will have to enter this to confirm the changes you've made.

  1. Once logged in, select My Account from the main menu bar (if you're using a tablet or phone), or click on your name in the top right-hand corner of your screen and then My Account (if you're on a desktop computer).
  2. Update your details and then click Save Changes.

You can also add other information to your personal details on the My Account page, including your birth date, which school you go to, and so on.

It's important to keep your contact details up to date. Why?

  1. You might have the same name as someone else, but your email address or mobile phone number is unique. With a unique email address or mobile phone number, we can make sure that only you can access your account.
  2. If you forget your password and can't access your account, we need valid contact details so we can help you reset it.
  3. If you find something in one of the questions that you think might be a mistake, you can report it to us by clicking on the Report an error button. We need your contact details so we can reply to you and tell you when it is fixed.

We may also send you an occasional support email. If decide you don't want to receive these you can simply unsubscribe or opt out at any time.

If you want to find out more about our Privacy Policy and how we promise to protect your personal information, please click here.

Checking when your practice subscription will expire

To see how long you still have to practise on your current subscription, go to the My Account page and scroll to the bottom. Under My subscriptions you can check when your access to the practice service will run out for each subject.

Extending your access to the practice service

If your subscription to the service expires, you'll be asked whether you'd like to:

  1. Buy access. Here's how; or
  2. Redeem an Access Code from your teacher (if your school has signed up to use our practice service). Here's how.

How to buy access to the practice service

When you first sign up you're able to try out the practice service for free, but once your access has expired you will have to buy a subscription to keep practising.

You can sign up for a whole year and pay via an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or with a credit card. Once you've selected the option that suits your needs and completed the payment process, you can use the service as much you like until your access expires. There's no limit on the number of exercises you can do.

For up to date pricing information click here.

To buy individual access:

  1. Select Buy on the main menu and then click on For Learners and Parents.
  2. Select the payment method you prefer.
  3. Select whether you would like to purchase access to practise maths or science, or both.
  4. Click on the Buy button and follow the instructions carefully to pay.

Our credit card payments are handled by Virtual Card Services and you will be linked to their site during the transaction if you choose to pay by card.

Should you choose to pay by EFT, make sure you email your proof of payment to [email protected], so that we can extend your access manually.

How to redeem an Access Code from your teacher

Please read the instructions in the How to link your account to your school section of this guide.

Why you should keep the same account

Your unique account is how the system remembers and stores the questions you've tried, which questions you should see next, and your level of mastery. Your account details (the email address or phone number you used when you signed up and your password) allow the system to identify and match you with your own personal account. If you lose your account details or can't log in, don't try to create another account! If you do, the system will think you're a different person, and start you at the beginning again.

If you lose your account details, or can't log in, speak to your teacher or contact us at [email protected], and we'll help you sort it out.

What to do if you forget your password

If you forget your password, click on the link that reads Help! I forgot my password, and this will start the password reset process. All you need to do is follow the instructions. We'll send you an OTP via SMS or email to make sure it's really you before we update your password, so make sure you have your mobile phone with you, or your email inbox open.

For this process to work you need to have previously saved a valid email address or phone number with your account and remember what it was! If you don't have valid contact details saved with your account and need help you can ask your teacher (if your school is subscribed to the service), or contact us by emailing [email protected] and giving us your full name and username.

Changing your password

If you remember your password and can log in, but would like to change it, you can do so. Here's how:

  1. Go to My Account.
  2. Enter your new password into the Change Password field.
  3. Confirm it by typing it again in the second field.
  4. Click Save.


Special Competitions

Siyavula runs regular competitions such as #1MillionMaths, for learners and schools. We use our national leaderboards to rank learners, so you are able to check your position against other learners. There are separate leaderboards for each subject and grade.

Learner Leaderboards

To take part in any Siyavula competition, you will need to opt in to our learner leaderboards. You can also opt out of leaderboard participation on the My Account page.

The most important thing to note here is that agreeing to take part in the leaderboards means that Siyavula can display your name and school in leaderboards that are publicly accessible. We value your privacy and want you to be completely cool with this before we use your name in the leaderboards. You can opt-in here.


We want to reward your hard work in mastering Maths and Science by placing you in a league representing how much of your grade's work you have mastered. This table shows our different leagues, based on how much of the curriculum you have mastered:

League Mastery
Platinum 75–100%
Gold 50–74%
Silver 25–49%
Bronze 0–24%

Within each league, your ranking will depend on your overall mastery (stars earned), then atoms earned and lastly on questions answered.