Congratulations! Your trial exams are over…. What a relief!
But don’t stop just yet. From our 25+ years of experience in the education sector, we’ve found that student who use this time of year most effectively are consistently the ones that achieve Band 6s in their final exams. The key point being that 50% of your mark for the year comes directly from your result in the October exams.
So, whilst you’re over the camel’s hump (of the year), you still need to apply yourself during these next eight weeks to ensure that all your hard work pays off!
But we get it: you’re tired, hangry and grumpy, and you’ve just spent ages studying. What does this mean? we hear you ask. It’s simply that you are losing motivation! You may be feeling reluctant to engage in your subjects in class or at home. You may be having trouble staying focused, or find yourself easily distracted by certain… oh look, what’s that bird doing out there?
Losing motivation around this time of year is natural. However, it is important that you recognise this when it occurs and identify some strategies to overcome your frustration:
- Understand Procrastination
Procrastination is the thief of time! Beware of just how much procrastinating you are doing and discover why you’re doing it. Some common reasons for procrastination are:
- You’ve convinced yourself you can’t do it
- You’ve decided the topic is boring
- You’re waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to begin
- You’re rebelling against teachers or parents
- You’ve left it so long that you don’t know where to start
- You’re distracted by other things around you
Once you’ve understood why you are procrastinating, you’ll be able to formulate strategies to re-motivate yourself.
Breaking your material down into chunks is the best way to study without losing motivation again. Look at what you have to do – make a list, check it twice, and then break it down, piece by piece. Assign yourself a certain (read: ACHIEVABLE) amount of tasks to complete each day. For example:
- Mathematics Practice Paper
- Biology Chapter Five notes
- English Advanced essay: three different drafts
- Maths Practice exam: 3hr (Monday)
- Biology Chapter Five notes (five textbook pages per day)
- English Advanced essay: draft one (Tuesday), draft two (Wednesday arvo)
When your tasks are broken down, they are much easier to achieve and studying isn’t so daunting!
- Shake up your study
If you’re in a good study routine, one that works for you, then by all means keep it up!
But if you’re struggling to stay motivated with the routine that you’ve got… it’s time to shake it up. Use a timetable to formulate a new plan that will help you stay on track, and rewrite this at the end of each week to reflect the next week’s tasks. If you’re super organised, colour coding your subjects will help you create blocks of time to achieve your study goals.
If you find it difficult to make time for healthy eating, exercise or social/personal activities, schedule these into your study timetable to make sure you stick to it.
Yep, that’s right – you need sleep, and lots of it! I’m not talking about sleeping in until midday, but you need to get at least 7-8 hours sleep each night, so if you find yourself studying into the wee hours of the morning, you’re creating a sleep debt and a bad habit! Make sure you’re in bed and waking up around the same time each morning.
With that in mind, it’s time to talk about technology…. As much as you may not like it, studies have shown that late-night technology use keeps your brain active long after it is supposed to be winding down. The blue light from your screen delays sleepiness and affects the circadian rhythm, ultimately affecting your sleep and your concentration and attention span the following day.
To avoid this:
- Limit screen time at night
- Keep your bedroom a screen-free place
- Turn off your phone when you go to sleep (buy an alarm clock/watch if you use an alarm!)
- Charge your laptop in another room when you’re going to bed
By doing this, you’ll be helping yourself get adequate recharge time, and you’ll be able to work and study more effectively.
- Maintain a healthy balance
Last but not least is maintaining a healthy balance between eating well and exercising regularly. This means aiming for 30 minutes of exercise each day, whether that is walking, swimming or running – something to simply get you out of the house and revitalise your mind! This exercise time is generally separate from relaxation time, whereby you engage in the things you enjoy doing – cooking, reading, watching TV, painting, etc.
Scheduling social activities is also super important for your mental well-being. Even a simple meal with your family will help you de-stress while you chat about something other than your studies, while time with friends is essential: you can help boost each other in the lead-up to final exams, and have a good old whinge about everything… ready to begin again!
Ultimately, the key to overcoming a lack of motivation is to organise your time and work, and understand what is stopping you from doing something. Taking regular breaks will help boost your motivation and re-evaluating your goals will allow you to re-focus for the upcoming weeks.