16 May 2023

The Study Motivation Checklist

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Exam season…It can be tough. Overwhelming even. So what can you do if you’re finding the study season difficult?

Without sounding cliché about it all, if you’re struggling to stay motivated during your studies, we want you to know that it’s normal. It’s okay. Even if it doesn’t feel that way now, it will be.

That’s why checking in with yourself during exam season is so important. We know it’s easier said than done, but there are some ways to ensure you’re being kind to yourself during exams.

Here are a few tips to help you not lose your s!@t while studying.

Sort out your environment

Let’s face it, nothing will get done if your workplace is messy… A few simple changes to your environment can clear your mind and make a big difference.

Give your room a spring clean. That could be anything from…

  • Folding clothes and putting them away
  • Changing bed sheets
  • Sweeping / dusting
  • Putting unnecessary items away (decluttering).

Remember, the point isn’t to distract yourself but to make your environment more study-friendly. So don’t spend too much time cleaning up.

You could make calming additions to your room, like getting an essential oil diffuser, a scented candle, ambient lighting or a white noise machine. There are some incredible (and cheap) options on Amazon.

Take a break – lots of them

Do not take a good break for granted. Don’t punish yourself for having one, either.

Breaks are lovely because they allow you to take a breather from studying. Contrary to popular belief, powering through study time is not a productive or motivating way of studying. 

You’ll eventually burn out if you don’t take time away from your current tasks. And won’t be bothered to do anything at all.

When you feel yourself going over the same thing, or it starts to get complicated, close that revision book and get away. Do something else. Get out of your learning environment. Touch some grass.

Just make sure to intentionally set time aside for breaks. This can be done by creating a study schedule to help you structure your revision time. More on that later.

Find a study buddy

Studying with someone can be motivating.

It’s an opportunity to bounce ideas off each other before the exam. It can even be a group situation where a few of you get together for a revision date. Some universities might already offer group study sessions. Have a look.

It’s also a way to provide yourself and others with some emotional support. Sometimes knowing that someone else feels the same way you do can really help.

Revision and studying can be really fun. Here are some revision games to help you boss your exams.

Get moving

Moving produces feel-good hormones called endorphins. It’s true. Endorphins are nature’s painkillers and stress balls.

They’re released when we’re doing fun activities and do the following:

  • Reduce stress, anxiety and depression
  • Improve your mood
  • Boost self-esteem
  • It helps memory and improves cognitive health.

Moving will help you clear your mind. If you want to dance to Beyoncé’s Break My Soul for a few minutes, do it. If you enjoy the gym, make that a part of your day. Even a 10-minute walk will do the trick.

Studying can have you glued to a desk and chair, and it can wreak havoc on your body when you’re seated for too long.

Lean on a support system

The exam season lasts a while, and it can sometimes feel lonely cooped up in a workspace for what seems like hours on end.

Just because you have exams doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see people. Whether it’s to ask for some support, to talk through things, or even just to hang out for a little bit – leaning on a support system will be a huge help.

That can be anyone from family and friends to a partner or fellow students. There is strength in numbers, so having a few good people around you will work wonders.

Create a study schedule

This will 200% help to relieve some of the stress surrounding the exam season. It’s also a way to beat the procrastination monster.

Why? Because schedules are a marvellous way of visualising what your day will look like. The best thing about it is that you get to decide what goes where.

For example… You might have the morning off and decide to revise in the afternoon. Or spend the morning revising with a spot of reading in the early afternoon, then a break and back to it for a couple of hours in the evening.

Practice self-compassion

Exam season is already full of pressures without putting loads more on yourself. 

Remember to practice some self-compassion. If you’ve missed a study session, it’s okay. If you feel like you’ve completely effed up during an exam, you don’t actually know that. If something takes a little time to sink in, it doesn’t make you stupid.

It’s normal to struggle at times. How you react to it and recognise what to do in those situations matters. 

Whether it’s taking a break, going for a long walk, watching an episode of Jewish Matchmaker on Netflix or any of the above, do it. You deserve that.

Looking for additional tips? Watch below!

What’s great about checking in on yourself during the exam period is that all the above tips are only seven of many ways in which you can de-stress.

It’s all about what works for you and what you can manage. Take your time. You’ll honestly be okay.

If you’re struggling, know there is support for you. Student Minds has some amazing resources to get you the right help.