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How To Stay Motivated While Studying For Exams? Creative Tips and Tricks
August 20, 2012 - Updated 1732 PKT
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Exams are around the corner, and it feels like there is just so much work that needs to be done! Where do you even begin? To make things worse, you probably had a semester full of essays and projects... the thought of staying up to study later nights is just plain painful. One of the challenges of studying for exams is sustaining the stamina and energy till the last paper. Indeed studying for long periods of time can really turn into a chore, and feel meaningless when we are swept far out by the exam current. In this hub, I offer a little bit of advice to keep to ignite your engine each time you feel like you have run out of fuel.

1. Find a Crazy Way to Jolt Yourself Back into Studying

If you are having problems concentrating, you might want to try something more radical to force yourself to study. For example, you could set the alarm at random of the day that you are studying. When it rings, you will suddenly be reminded to get back to work. Or you could put random post it notes on different pages on your notes, so that you are motivated to read your notes to find a random ‘surprise’. You could do this with a friend, and write a little sweet/ encouraging/ motivational / silly/ funny note so that your friend will have some cheer when he or she finds it. If you keep walking to the fridge, put a sign on the fridge or in the fridge that reminds you to get back to work.

2. Do Something Wacky to Create Some Fun while Revising

Perhaps you could try something even wackier, like reading your notes or textbook upside down, just to introduce some novelty into the mundane. Perhaps you could sing the words in your notes according to the tune of a pop song (or any song! even nursery rhymes!)... Or you could make notes that are in mirror image handwriting. Better still, read your notes aloud or in your head but with a different accent. The possibilities are endless! When you realize that you have been wasting too much time being silly, you will begin to treasure the time that you have left to study.

3. Flee from Distraction

It is wise to study away from distractions such as the laptop. Being on Facebook while studying is a lethal combination. Or having the Google notifier sound each time you receive a new email is also a source of distraction and perhaps addiction too. Sit far away from technology (yes, including the handphone that vibrates incessantly with new messages), and after you finish a chapter, you can look forward to sweet indulgence in Facebook or Twitter or whatever technology that you might have abstained from. If you have sharp ears that pick up all sorts of conversations and background music, find a quiet corner to hideout. If you are forever tempted to draw on your notes instead of read them, change the kinds of pens that you use so that you cannot doodle easily on your notes. Or perhaps print out your notes in such a way that you minimize the temptation to draw on them eg. decreasing the print margins, printing smaller fonts so that you cannot draw on top of them.

4. Find Little Ways to Reward Yourself Each Step of the Way

If you are a food lover, and there is a cool gelato or ice-cream shop nearby, set a goal for yourself, and give yourself a small reward when you have achieved your goal. If you like to play games, or watch shows or sitcoms, reward yourself with an episode after you have achieved a productive study time. Rewards don’t always have to cost money, and it could come in the form of an email to a friend that you need to keep in touch with. Or perhaps a phone call to someone you enjoy talking to. Just as long as you have something to look forward to after some hard work, that would be make a good reward. More rewards include watching a youtube video, exercising, surfing the net, wearing your favorite shirt... it could be anything!

5. Study with Friends

Studying with friends provides some peer pressure to concentrate and be disciplined, assuming you study with the right group of friends. Study in a place that is quiet, like the library, so the temptation to talk or be silly is minimized. Studying with friends gives you motivation to study especially when you can look forward to eating meals together. Being able to discuss questions together is also another benefit. If you are studying for a dry module like math or statistics, having company definitely eases the boredom and lessens the chance of falling asleep. You could have a little competition to see who solves the math problem the fastest, or calculates most accurately. Studying with company helps you to keep accountable for your study progress. In fact, you don’t always have to study together physically. You could be in your home or in different places, but checking on each other. What do you do to keep yourself motivated during the exam period? Leave a comment!

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