Exam season is upon us again! This spells late nights and copious amounts of coffee as you pore over your notes and textbooks while everyone else is fast asleep.
However, if you’re getting tired of studying, or are beginning to feel discouraged from your mountain of work, have no fear.
What you need is a shot of motivation. Here’s some straight advice for your fears, doubts and late night thoughts that battle your will to study.
#1. Get started!
Are you avoiding that pile of past year papers sitting in the corner of your table? Or perhaps you’re still not getting organic chemistry, even after numerous revision sessions. Studying can seem daunting in the beginning, especially when you look at the amount of topics you have to cover.
The key thing to remember is to take baby steps.
Focus on one section first instead of looking at the big picture. It may seem incredibly hard to cover all those chapters, but if you start by setting small goals and work steadily towards covering each chapter diligently, you’ll reach your goal before you know it!
After all, well begun is half done.
It’s worth remembering that everyone starts at the bottom before they can work their way up. Similarly, tackling challenging subjects can take a lot of effort and practice to master, so don’t be intimidated by the fact that you don’t understand something in the beginning.
Consider asking others for help, and don’t be afraid or shy to do so! Whether it’s a tutor, your teacher or a friend who is better at the subject than you are, asking for help is nothing to feel small about.
#2. Work towards achieving your dreams
While it’s important to have dreams, a dream becomes useless if you don’t actively find a way to make it a reality. Similarly, dreaming of As or of passing your exam won’t get you anywhere unless you take the initiative to study.
This means sacrificing the hours in a day that you would ordinarily be streaming a movie or taking a nap. Think of it like a piggy bank. Every hour you deposit into work, is an investment in your dream.
Apart from setting goals, you could also create a timetable and set daily goals for each subject to stay on top of your studies. Consider creating an ideal study environment or try different study hacks to improve your memory to help you ace your exams!
#3. Nothing worth it comes easy
Patience, young one. Success takes time. Nothing happens overnight. It can be frustrating to work repeatedly on the same thing (differential equations, anyone?) but know that if you keep at it, it will be fruitful. And nothing tastes sweeter than the fruits of your long, hard labour.
This is an important one. Tackling challenging subjects such as biology or chemistry may seem like an uphill battle but diamonds are made under pressure!
So the next time you find it difficult to answer a past year question, don’t berate yourself. Simply go back to your notes and review them before tackling the questions again.
#4. Learn from your mistakes
Mistakes are proof that you’re trying! It is human nature to remember our mistakes much better than what we’ve done right but make sure to learn from each mistake you make.
Never give up just because you’re not the scoring marks that you want. Every mark lost is a lesson learnt. You’re almost there.
Life is about trial and error and the same goes with studying. So if one method isn’t working for you, look for an alternative. Don’t be afraid to switch the manner in which you attain your goal. This is where you learn the idea of studying smarter, not harder.
#5. Prove the naysayers wrong
Negative people are everywhere. It could be our classmates, friends or acquaintances who doubt our ability to do well in our studies. However, it is vital to remember that their opinion doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
After all, what people say about you is a reflection of who they are.
It’s also important to note that not all criticisms are negative! Your teacher may offer you constructive criticism and may sometimes tell you to buck up, so it’s important to differentiate between the two and act accordingly!
#6. Stop worrying, start doing
Do you find yourself losing sleep at night, worrying about your grades? You’re not alone. However, worrying can be unproductive as you might end up sabotaging yourself in the process.
Instead, use that time to do something productive, such as working towards improving your grades or in understanding subjects you’re struggling with. Experiment with different revision tips and find which works best for you!
#7. Work hard and avoid regret
It’s hard to fight off procrastination when the internet can offer us an unlimited amount of fun at any time. But at the end of the day, our grades may suffer as a result of our own doing, leaving us with no one to blame but ourselves.
If you’ve experienced the regret that comes from not studying hard for an exam, you’d understand that it can be one of the worst feelings in the world, especially when you know you could have done better than the grades you had gotten.
But all is not lost! Learn from your mistake and make a promise to yourself not to disappoint yourself again. Try to understand why you fall prey to procrastination and test out different ways to beat it! After all, a few hours spent studying over several days pales in comparison to the pain of regret.
#8. Know your priorities
Revision is a choice but many choose not to do it. Sometimes, studying may mean missing out on outings with friends, but it’s important to put yourself first and know your priorities.
Understand that different people learn at a different pace. Put in the necessary hours to study and practise past-year papers over a few months before your exam, which will be an action that your future self will be thankful for! This way, you can avoid the last minute cram which your friends might resort to. It’s important to constantly remind yourself of your goal, so you won’t lose sight of it.
In some instances, be it studying or life in general, you may have to take that walk alone in order to reach your goals and dreams. While you may be able to study in groups with like-minded friends, no one can sit for your exam but you. Studying hard to make sure that you do well in your exams may mean losing out on fun in the short-run, but the benefits you’ll gain in the long-term will be worth it!
So hang on tight! Before you know it, your revision period will be over before you can say “I’m tired”. So make the most of this time because once it’s gone, there’s no looking back. Good luck!