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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions about anything on the site, start by having a look through this list to see if we've got an answer for you, ready and waiting.

If you don't find what you're looking for and the user guide doesn't help either, send us an email :)

Frequently asked questions about:

General stuff

How do I get more questions to practise?

Siyavula's online textbooks work together with our practice service. Using this service, you can practice exam-style questions for all the chapters in the books. Your personalised dashboard allows you to track your progress and improvements.

If you're new to our practice service remember that you can come back every day and practise more questions. All you need to do is remember your login details. The more questions you practise, the more your mastery will improve! If you'd like to have a look at our Learner's User Guide for detailed instructions on how to get started you can view it here.

I think I'm really bad at Maths/Science. Will this help?

Yes! Doing well at Maths and Science is not a talent that only some people have while the rest of us haven't got a hope. It's a skill and - like with any other skill - the more you practise, the better you get. Using this service will make practising Maths and Science a breeze. No more searching for extra questions for you to work from - we've got a massive range right here. Plus, you'll also be able to easily keep track of how you're doing, what you still need to practise more and what you've got down.

Can I use this with my school?

Absolutely. There are already lots of schools using the practice service. Signing up a whole class, grade or department from your school not only means a discounted rate for each learner, but also getting added benefits like access to a Teacher's Dashboard for all your educators. Use the practice service for anything from revision to projects, assignments, tests and homework. To find out more please contact us by emailing info@siyavula.com or calling 021 4694771.

How do I start practising Maths/Science?

To practise a huge range of Maths and Science questions, you need to have an account on Everything Maths & Science. Once you're signed up, all you have to do is click on Practise on the main menu and choose the subject and grade you want to get started with. Click here to jump to instructions on how to sign up.

Where can I download the textbook?

Choose the subject and grade you are interested in under Read a textbook on the main menu. On the page that appears you'll see the table of contents for the live web verison of the book on the left-hand side of your screen. On the right-hand side, below the book sponsor section, you'll see links to download PDF versions of the textbooks and teacher's guides, in both English and Afrikaans. Simply click on them to start the download.

I want help with my Maths or Science studies. Can I ask someone at Siyavula for help?

Unfortunately, Siyavula does not provide a question and answer service, and we don't handle individual requests for help. Instead, we provide textbooks and a practice service, so that you can learn, revise and practise on your own. If you still feel you need extra help, you should ask your teacher or a professional tutor.

Is the practice service available in Afrikaans?

Unfortunately, the practice service is only available in English at present. We would love to expand it to include other languages, but translation is a huge project and is something that will not be possible any time soon. In the meantime, we hope that you will find the system useful as it is.

How do I give feedback?

If you have found a mistake, would like to suggest an improvement, or simply share your thoughts on our educational resources, we would love to hear from you.

If you think you've spotted an error in a question on the practice service specifically, you need to report it to us while the question is still on your screen. How? It's simple. Just click the Report an error button and add a description of exactly what you think is wrong and how you think it should be corrected. The more information you give us about a problem, the more likely it is that we can solve it.

If you have any other, more general feedback you can send it to info@siyavula.com or fill out our contact form here.

Technical problems

Which is the best browser to use?

There isn't a best browser but using an up to date browser makes a big difference. We use mostly use Firefox or Google Chrome, which are both free to download.

Can I access my one account from multiple devices (e.g. on my cellphone and my desktop at home)?

Yes! To practise either maths or science or both, you just need one account and that account can be used on multiple different devices. That is, you can log in with your login name and chosen password on any device. Your login name may be your email address, mobile phone number and/or username, whichever you registered on our system when you created your account. For example, if you signed up on your cellphone originally and used your mobile phone number as your login name, you can also use that same mobile phone number (along with your password) to log in on a desktop or tablet, at home or school.

I cannot find videos, simulations and assessment items. Why?

Siyavula is continuously searching for the best rich-media content to be integrated into our textbooks. We find content that is relevant to the South African curriculum, openly licensed and of a high quality and then we embed it in our books. Unfortunately we have no control over that piece of media - we simply link to it. So, for example, if we link to a video hosted on YouTube, which is then removed from YouTube for some reason, the link in our book will be broken. As a result, you may find some short-codes in your books lead you to an error message. Please be patient with us as we are looking for replacement material.

Why can't I play the simulations?

You will need to download Java. Don't worry it is free and only take 3 minutes to install! Please go to http://www.java.com/en/ and download from here. You will be asked to follow a few basic steps in order to install it. Java will not only help your Siyavula online reading experience, but improve all rich media viewing on the internet.

Why are the images and equations not displaying well?

If you are getting an error message or your content and equations are not displaying properly, it may be because you are using an old version of Internet Explorer to browse the web. Now would be a good time to change browsers for an overall better internet experience. One of our favourites is Chrome, which is free and you can download here: https://www.google.com/chrome. After downloading Chrome you can choose to set it as your default browser, which will make your internet surfing faster and easier.

Why don't the equations show up properly? I get funny text like sqrt{x}.

First refresh (reload) the page. If that doesn't work, you may need to enable JavaScript in your browser. To find out how to do this in your specific browser, do a Google search for 'How to enable JavaScript' and it should return browser-specific instructions. Please note, some old versions of ceratin browsers, like Internet Explorer, do not support JavaScript. Please make sure you have latest possible version of your internet browser installed.

Why isn't the page loading?

If you can't load the webpage, try refreshing the page by pressing 'Ctrl F5' (on a Mac press 'Command R' instead). This may take a little time. Please wait for the page to finish loading. If you are repeatedly having trouble loading a page and you are sure this is not the result of a weak internet connection, please let us know.

Using the practice service on a phone

How much data does the practice service use if I use it from my cellphone?

We can't tell you exactly because we don't know how much you are going to use it :) We estimate that you could do hundreds of questions for only a few megabytes per month. We've got good news though - if you're a Vodacom subscriber in South Africa then the data is free (zero-rated). You can use the sites as much as you like and it will cost you R0.00 in airtime! All you have to worry about is the subscription cost.

Why are the images so small on my phone?

We've made small images clickable. This means, if you see a small image you can click on it to view a larger version, which will be much clearer. This will work for any image on the mobile version of the site.

Why can I not play the videos on my phone?

The rich media such as videos, simulations and presentations will only display on your mobile phone if your phone supports this and you have a good internet connection. Some phones can only support certain kinds of rich media and not others. Simulations will most likely not work on any mobile phones, but videos will work for most.

My account, logging in and access codes

My school has just bought Intelligent Practice. How do I get started?

Your class will get an Access Code from your teacher. With your Access Code ready, sign up to create your very own account on our system and link that account to your teacher's. In less than 5 minutes you'll be ready to practise. Here's a video to walk you through signing up and joining your class.

I do not have an email address or a cellphone number. Can I still sign up?

Only if your school is subscribed to the service. That way, we know that if anything goes wrong (like you forget your password and can't get in to practice), we'll be able to help you through your teacher. If your teacher isn't signed up, we have to insist on your account being linked to verifiable contact details, so that we know we can support you when you need it.

I'm having trouble logging in. What do I do?

First and foremost, check your typing. Make absolutely certain that you haven't made a mistake in capturing your details.

Then, make sure you are using the right identifier. Click here to jump to more information on identifiers.

If you feel sure that the identifier you are using is correct and you haven't made a mistake typing it, then the problem probably lies with your password. We suggest you go through the password reset process, just in case. Click here to jump to more instructions on how to do this.

If you are still having trouble, email us at info@siyavula.com.

I've forgotten my username or identifier. What do I do?

There are three pieces of information you can potentially use to identify yourself on the site and access your account:

  • your email address;
  • your mobile/cell phone number; or
  • a username.

You are only required to provide one of these when you sign up, but then you also need to remember which one you used when you want to log in again. If you're not sure whether you used your phone number or email address, try each one in turn.

If your school is subscribed to the practice service, you can ask your teacher to help you retrieve your details from their Teacher Dashboard.

Otherwise contact us by emailing info@siyavula.com and provide your full name and the email address or phone number you used when you signed up.

I've lost my password. What do I do?

Under each place on the site that you are asked to enter your password you will see a link that reads Help! I forgot my password. Clicking on it will start the password reset process. All you need to do is follow the instructions. For this process to work you need to have previously saved a valid email address or phone number with your account. If you don't have valid contact details saved with your account and need help you can ask you teacher (if your school is subscribed to the service), or contact us by emailing info@siyavula.com and giving us your full name and username.

I haven't received my One-Time-Pin (OTP). What do I do?

There may be a couple of reasons why you haven't received your One-Time-Pin. The first thing to do is to check your spam or junk mail folder to make sure the OTP email has not been sent there. Alternatively, it may be that the spelling of the email address you submitted, or the number of the mobile phone you submitted, was incorrect. Please go back and check the details of the email address or mobile phone number you submitted. Also remember that OTPs don't always come through immediately. Wait a minute or two and refresh your inbox. Lastly, you can try clicking the 'Resend OTP' button. If you still don't receive your OTP after taking these steps, please ask your teacher to contact their school liaison or account manager, or contact us at info@siyavula.com.

I have a new mobile number. How do I update my account to reflect that?

Log into your account using your old details. If you're using a desktop computer, hover over your name in the top right-hand corner and click on My Account on the menu that appears. If you are using your phone or tablet, select My Account from the main menu. Once on the My Account page, update your details and click the Save changes button. We'll send an OTP via sms to confirm your new number, so make sure you have your phone with you. This video will walk you through the process for a desktop user.

I have a new email address. How do I update my account to reflect that?

Log into your account using your old details. If you're using a desktop computer, hover over your name in the top right-hand corner and click on My Account on the menu that appears. If you are using your phone or tablet, select My Account from the main menu. Once on the My Account page, update your details and click the Save changes button. We'll send an OTP via email to confirm your new address, so make sure you're logged into your new email account. This video will walk you through the process for a desktop user.

I had access to Intelligent Practice, but now I'm seeing an 'Oh snap' message. What do I do?

If you see an 'Oh snap' message when you try to practise this means your access to Intelligent Practice has expired. If you have just been trying it out, your free 1 month trial is now over and to continue using ther sevrice you must buy a subscription. If you are using Intelligent Practice through your school, then you need to get a new Access Code from your teacher and redeem it. The video below will explain how.

Can I use the same account for both maths and science?

Yes! To practise either maths or science or both, you only need one Intelligent Practice account. From that one account you can subscribe to maths and science separately. For a video explaining how to go about signing up for the first time if you're part of a school, click here. If you've already got an account but want to link to another class, click here.

Why is it important to keep the same account details rather than create a new one?

Your account details are how the practice service recognises you as you :) It's how it remembers and stores not just your name, but which questions you've tried, how you did on them, which questions you should see next and so on. All the information that appears on your Learner Dashboard, like how many stars you have so far, is linked to your unique account. If you suddenly log in on a separate set of details, the system will think you're new and start you at the beginning all over again.

If you have lost your account details or are having trouble logging in, speak to your teacher, or contact us (info@siyavula.com) and we'll help you sort it. Don't try and create another account!

I have created two accounts by mistake. What do I do now?

Contact us by emailing info@siyavula.com or asking your teacher to contact their school liaison or account manager. We'll help you sort it out so that you have only one account to use from now on and that the right account is linked to your teacher's class and your work will be reflected on their Teacher's Dashboard.

What is an 'Access Code' and what does it do?

All learners signed up through their school will be given an Access Code they have to redeem on Everything Maths & Science.

This Access Code will do two things:

  • Firstly, it links your account to your teacher's account. This is very important. Without it, you could be practising day and night, but on your Teacher's Dashboard it would look like you're doing nothing.
  • Secondly, your Access Code tells the system what subject you are subscribed to and how long you should have access to practice.

If you are an individual who has signed up to use the practice service on your own, you won't have received an Access Code. All you have to do to carry on practising after your trial period is up is purchase a subscription.

My teacher has given me an Access code. What do I do with it?

If you are about to use Intelligent Practice for the first time you can redeem the Access Code your teacher has given you as part of the registration process. Click here to find out about signing up and redeeming your code.

If you're currently using Intelligent Practice, or have used it before and need to link up to a new class on the system you don't have to create a new account. You can link up to multiple classes, all from the same account. Log in with the same details as before and simply click on 'Access Code' on the main menu and follow the instructions to redeem your new code. The video below will demonstrate this.

My Access Code does not work. What should I do?

Please check your spelling of the Access Code first, being sure to include the dashes and make sure there are no spaces in between, or at the end. If you are certain you haven't made a mistake entering the code the next thing to check is that you have not redeemed that Access Code already. That is, you can only redeem an Access Code once. If, after taking these steps, your access code still does not work, please make a note of any error message you might see on screen and speak to your teacher, or contact us directly by emailing us at info@siyavula.com. We'll track down the problem and make sure you get access ASAP.

What can my teacher see about my practice efforts?

If your school is using the practice service your account will be linked to your teacher's. On their Teacher's Dashboard the can see information about you and your fellow classmates' activity on the practice service. They can see who has been practising and how much, how they've been doing, which questions they're struggling with and so on.

My mastery level

What is mastery?

When practising Maths and Science, it is not enough to just do lots of exercises and hope it'll all work out in the end. You have to make sure you're working through a range of difficulty levels too. On the practice service we call the extent to which you are able to understand and correctly answer difficult questions your level of mastery.

The computer program behind the practice service measures the difficulty of each exercise and the probability of you being able to answer it accurately. Your mastery will vary between sections and will depend on how much you've practised that section as well as how many answers you got right.

How do I improve my level of mastery?

To improve your mastery on the practice service, you need to keep trying questions until you are able to get them right consistently. That means you need to get a bunch of questions right in a row before the system will move you up a level. Just repeating the same question over and over because you know you can get it right won't help your mastery level. The system needs to see you getting a range of questions right. So, once you are sure you understand a particular type of exercise and can consistently answer it correctly (using the Try an exercise like this again button) you need to click the Go to next exercise button if you want to progress through the section and improve your mastery.

Why can't I see more difficult questions?

To see more difficult questions on the practice service you need to show the system you have mastered the easier stuff first. Once you're getting questions on the lower levels right most of the time, your Mastery level will go up and the system will know to start showing you more difficult questions. You can't skip the basics - you have to work through them. Remember to click the Go to next exercise button once you feel that you have mastered a particular type of question.

How many questions do I have to do to go up a level?

There isn't a set number of questions you need to work through on the service in order to go up a mastery level. What you need to aim for is not just doing loads of questions as quickly as you can, but rather getting as many right in a row as possible. Only when you are getting questions consistently right without making too many mistakes, will you go up a level. The Try an exercise like this again button is there for you to practise the same type of question again, in order to fully understand the question and be able to answer it correctly. But remember to click the Go to next exercise button when you feel that you have mastered that type of question and you want to progress.

I keep getting everything right. Why isn't my mastery improving?

Make sure you are clicking on the Go to next exercise button and not just the Try an exercise like this again button. Trying a question a couple of times until you are sure you understand and can get it right is great, but you have to prove to the system that you can handle a range of questions and not just one kind before your mastery can improve. The system will ensure that you are practising at a level where you can get the majority of the questions it gives you right consistently. Only if you are getting most of them right all the time, will it move you up to the next level.

I made a silly mistake and now my mastery has dropped! Why?

Don't panic :) You can get it back up again. The system behind the practice service estimates your ability based on how many questions you can get right in a row. If you make a mistake, you break your good streak, so it may drop you down again for a little while until it is sure you are ready to move up again. All you need to do is keep showing it you can get the questions consistently correct and your mastery will climb up.

Can I really get full mastery?

Yes, of course you can, but it is tough. To get full mastery in a section you need to get most of the difficult questions you try right and make only a few mistakes.

Why do the points in a chapter not add up?

The points in the sections of a chapter do not always add up to the total number of points in the chapter.

This is because there are some exercises in the chapter that do not belong in any of the sections. These exercises are typically summary exercises that use concepts from across more than one section. For these exercises, the points are added to the chapter total, but not to the totals of any individual sections. The total that you see for the chapter is for the exercises in the visible sections, plus the summary exercises.

How much should I practise?

Practising is something you should do regularly and there is no such thing as doing too much! If you build it into your routine, revising for exams will be so much easier and you'll do so much better. On our practice service you should try questions until you have mastered each section. This will mean that you are able to get a range of questions, some easy and some hard, right consistently. Once you have filled up the available stars in a section, you can move on to practising a different one.

How often should I revise?

Research shows that when you first learn something new, you are likely to forget it very quickly. If, however, you revise that topic after a few days, the rate at which you forget it is much slower. The more often you revise and reinforce what you have learned, the better it sticks in your memory. If your recap and practise your work regularly throughout the year, when it comes to exams it will be much easier for you to recall what you have learned.

Ebbinghaus forgetting curve

Answering questions

How do I write my answers for online practice?

Your computer keyboards and mobile phones don't have all the characters and symbols you will need to type a complex answer to Maths and Science exercises. We've therefore had to come up with a way for learners to type a computer friendly version of their answer so that the practice service can check it for them.

So, for example, typing -> makes an arrow for chemical equations; ^ before a number (or variable) turns it into an exponent; you can use / for fractions; and typing oo (two small o's) is our substitute for an infinity sign.

If you are unsure of how to write your final answer it may be useful to click on the Help! How should I type my answer? button below the questions in the practice service. This will display help text specific to that type of question.

If you are working on a computer, tablet, or smart phone, you will also be able to see a live preview of the answer you have typed appear below the answer field. This shows you what the answer you are about to submit would look like if written out by hand. If it doesn't look like what you intended then you can edit it before submitting it for checking.

Why does the spelling of my answer matter?

Remember, on the practice service your answer is checked by a computer program and not a person. It will only recognise your answer if it is exactly right. It is good to get into the habit of checking your spelling before you submit your answer. This will help you in tests and exams too!

How many decimal points should I round to?

Always read the question. You will be given specific instructions about how many decimal points to round to. When answering Physics and Chemistry questions, be sure to check whether you are 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 that you don't round off too soon - only round 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 the unrounded answer?

If you need to use the answer from one question in another question you should use the unrounded answer from the earlier question unless otherwise specified.

One exception to this rule is Financial Maths because if an actual monetary value is required R 33,6092 has no real world value, but R 33,61 does.

Does it matter if I type spaces in my answer?

It depends on what sort of question you are answering. If you're typing something like an equation, then no it doesn't matter - the computer will ignore the spaces. If you are typing words then spaces do matter and the computer will check for them.

I gave the answer as it was displayed on my calculator. Why is 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). Also be careful that you round according to the instructions given.

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

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

You can find them online here:

The Teacher Dashboard and managing my class

What is the best way to use the practice service with my class?

Our Instructional Designer has recently developed some best practice guidelines for implementing Intelligent Practice both in, or outside of the classroom, which you can download here. These guidelines have been designed to offer you a springboard into incorporating Intelligent Practice into your teaching, by providing some step-by-step instructions on using Intelligent Practice in a variety of different ways.

For example:

  • for regular, goal-directed practice;
  • active learning during class;
  • continued revision for accumulated benefits;
  • revision during class;
  • collaborative and peer-to-peer learning; and
  • for monitoring and reporting.

However, you may also find other ways of using Intelligent Practice and we would welcome the opportunity to hear about your experiences too. To start a discussion about using Intelligent Practice or if you want to find out more about our recommendations, please contact your school liaison or account manager.

How do I prevent my learners from copying each others' work?

The practice service generates many different versions of the same question. What that question is testing doesn't often change, but all specifics (like numbers) do. This means that correct answer will also be different each time. Therefore, the only thing your learners can really copy from each other is method. We reckon learners discussing method isn't a bad thing :)

I know a particular learner has practised, but I can't see their info on my Teacher's Dashboard. What do I do?

If a learner's name is not appearing on your Teacher's Dashboard at all, this means that their account has not been properly linked to yours. On the practice service a learner links their account to one or more teachers by redeeming a class Access Code. Give the learner the Access Code specific to their class and ask them to redeem it by following the instructions you can find in the Learner's User Guide here. If you don't have Access Codes for your class, or are still having trouble please contact us.

If a learner's name is appearing on your Teacher's Dashboard, but there is no practice activity visible for them, please adjust your data filters. You can find out more about how to do this in the Teacher's Guide here.

The work my class did previously has disappeared from my Teacher's Dashboard. Is it really gone?

Nope. All the work your class's has ever done is still there. The trick here is that the information on your dashboard is filtered to make it easier for you to interpret. If you feel like there is information missing, you should adjust your filters to be broader and cover more time, or content, or both. For more information about using your Teacher Dashboard, and understanding the filters in particular, you can watch this video, which takes you through changing the filters and gives a brief introduction to the rest of the Teacher Dashboard.

Can I add or remove a learner from my class?

Yes! To have a learner added to or removed from your class, you simply need to get in touch with your school account manager. Ideally, the learner should have already registered an account for themselves on the system first, then all you have to do is let your account manager know the full name or username of the learner concerned as well as the name of the relevant class and we will do the rest.

A learner appears twice on my Teacher's Dashboard. Can I delete one of them?

This means that learner has created two accounts on the system (probably because they forgot their login details for the first one) and has also redeemed their class Access Code on both accounts. Contact your Siyavula school liaison or account manager and we'll sort it out for you.

A learner says the Access Code I gave him/her doesn't work. What do I do?

A class Access Code can only be redeemed once through a learner's account. If a learner tries to redeem the same code twice, they'll see a message telling them they've already used that particular code and it is no longer valid. If this is the case, his or her name should already appear on your Teacher's Dashboard for that class, so this is easy for you to verify.

Each Access Code is issued for a specific class and can also only be used a limited number of times. If some learners in your class create multiple accounts and redeem the access code they've been given on all of those accounts there may be no more redemptions left for that code for other learners in the same class. If all the redemptions on your class's access code have been used up, or it doesn't work when you think it should, please contact your school liaison or account manager to arrange for a replacement code.

A learner has forgotten their password and or username. Can I help them myself?

Yes. From your Teacher's Dashboard, click on Manage usernames and passwords to view a list of your class's login details. Their passwords will not displayed here (or anywhere else!), but you are able to help them reset a forgotten password from this page so that they can re-access their account. The video below will take you through the process.

I am a Teacher and I have forgotten my details! What now?

Contact us! Your school liaison or account manager will happily help retrieve your login details and get you back into your account.


If you have a question that is not answered on this page, send us an email at and we'll do our best to answer it speedily.

If you have a query about how to use the practice service, try checking our learner's user guide first to see if you can find the information you're looking for there.

Learners' user guide