South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
The competence of Science Foundation students at the Mafikeng Campus of North-West University in some basic intellectual skills was studied, over a period of three years, utilising carefully designed questions. The skills tested included language, mathematical, graphical, three-dimensional visualisation, information processing and reasoning skills. The results showed that their competence in the basic intellectual skills needed to study science effectively was far below standard. This lack of competence could be expected to be detrimental to self-confidence and may also be an important reason for the high failure rate of students in their science courses. We concluded with the suggestion that much greater emphasis should be placed on the systematic and sustained training of students in intellectual skills and strategies of various types and that such training should be integrated, throughout the courses, with the teaching of subject content.
Keywords : intellectual skills; thinking skills; problem solving; students' difficulties; effective learning.