How To Stay Motivated During Exams

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Written by Kimberly Linhares

From reading cheesy young adult novels to writing reviews about them. Books, have been an escape from reality. Writing, to capture a little bit of everything about my versatile lifestyle. Let’s talk but first grab some coffee!

August 20, 2021

Wondering how to stay motivated during exams? Have heaps of things to do ahead of you? Getting started can seem like an impossible task to get over with, in a situation like that. But if you break down your study obligations into small-sized goals, you’ll be able to work your way through them more easily. Get into the right frame of mind before you start studying, and establish a plan for success. Rather than following a study system that you dislike, think creatively about what works best for you and approach the material that way. Start your studies well in advance so you don’t get overwhelmed, but don’t beat yourself up if you procrastinate. 

There’s no denying that exam time is stressful. From cramming during the weeks leading up, to really cramming the night before, to mentally scanning through every piece of information you’ve managed to jam into your head just minutes before the exam starts, it can be hard to stay motivated about it all. If you don’t want the hours spent preparing for each exam to be in vain, you’re going to have to keep yourself motivated from the day you start studying, right up until the final minute of the last exam.

Sounds tough just like some exams. But fortunately, the key to keeping yourself encouraged throughout the exam period is not studying 24/7. It’s about everything else that you do around your studies to keep things fresh. Here’s how to stay motivated during exams!

How To Stay Motivated During Exams

Ways To Stay Motivated During Finals Week: 

Exam Motivation Ideas

1. Occasional Breaks

Take breaks! And not just a ten-minute breather while you make yourself a peanut butter sandwich (brain food!). Take an hour. Take two. Take a whole day off. Seriously, if you study the entire time, your brain will burn out and you’ll lose sight of why you’re even studying at all. Take a day off and keep your mind as far away from schoolwork as possible.

You’ll be shocked how much more you can get done in three one-hour blocks of study than a singular three-hour marathon session. While some exams might be three hours long.

2. Study With You Mates!

Ever noticed how you feel way closer with someone once you’ve gone through something bad together? There’s nothing like being united over a shared hatred of exams, it’s the perfect foundation for any good study group.

Fortunately, studying in a group has even more benefits than just developing your friendships. If you choose the right mates to study with, a group session can be way more productive than if you were to do it on your own.

When you’re studying on your own, you can forget that everyone else is in the same boat. One of the fun ways on how to stay motivated during exams, group work! It lets you see what your mates are up to, share some tips and tricks and encourage each other to keep going when times get tough. Along with that, how much better are study breaks when you’re with your mates!

3. Make Plans To Relax

The best part about any exams is the break you get immediately after them. So make sure to fill up your free time with the things you love, whatever they may be. It’s a lot easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel when that light is shining brighter than anything that has shone before it. So make your break one to remember, go for a drive around the city, buy tickets to a festival or make a good party plan with your favourite people. 

4. Create Small Goals

At first glance, an exam can be a very daunting thing. How do you stay motivated when you don’t even know where to start? Break each exam down into chunks. Whether it’s by topic, section, or the number of questions, make sure it begins to look like a very manageable set of smaller exams. After that, you can set a specific goal for every study session and the exam will begin to seem a lot more doable.

5. Exercise!

Do some exercise. Anything. It’s so worth it. It’s not just good for your body, it’s amazing for your brain as well. You don’t have to pump iron at the gym for hours (but if that’s what you’re into, then go for it). Even going for a walk around the block is enough. Exercise will improve your mood and focus. It’ll help you sleep and it’ll help you see clearly through the fog of stress and anxiety. Take an hour off the books and allow your heart to pump some of that good stuff into your brain.

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Quick Tips to Stay Motivated During Exams

  • Set realistic goals
  • Have a support system.
  • Recognize your roadblocks. 
  • Be nice to yourself. 
  • Celebrate the small and big victories.

Also Check Out: Decision-Making Skills For Students

Motivation Tips To Get You Through Exam Season

Along with other regular activities, there are some techniques that work effectively on how to stay motivated during exams

The Pomodoro Technique

At its core, the Pomodoro Technique is very simple:

  • Study for 25 minutes
  • Take a break for 5-10 minutes
  • Repeat the cycle 4 times
  • Take a longer break

Of course, there are variations of this technique, and you might find that you like shorter study intervals, or maybe you can only repeat the cycle three times until you need a longer break. No matter how you customize it for yourself, when you know the end is in sight and a break is coming up, it makes it easier to study for longer periods.

To help keep track of time and make sure you’re not constantly checking the clock, set a timer for both your study sessions and your breaks. You can make the most of your breaks by getting up and doing something physical that gets your blood pumping. If you use your breaks to watch 10 minutes of a TV show, you probably won’t be very motivated to jump back in.

The Pomodoro Technique also works well in conjunction with website and app blockers. The website blocker FocusMe makes it simple to use along with this technique.

Create Your Reward System

Choose something that you want: a box of cookies, a break to go for a run, a trip to the movies, etc. Whatever it is, use it as a reward for completing a study session. Maybe you buy some cookies but only allow yourself to eat them once you’ve studied for an hour. Maybe you decide to go see a new movie, but you can only go once you’ve studied for three hours or mastered 20 terms. Maybe you pick up some candy and pop one in your mouth every time you correctly answer a question or complete a practice problem. Maybe you make your favourite snack but decided that from now until your test, you can only eat this snack while you’re studying

Creating shorter reward intervals as in the example with the candy after each question might work better at first if you’re having trouble focusing. Once you get in the groove or start to find a little more motivation, you can work up to more delayed gratification.

To put the pressure on and encourage yourself to do well, try creating a reward for yourself that you can only receive if you do well on the exam or in the course as a whole. Having your parents get in on this can be helpful, too. Maybe your parents will take you out to your favourite restaurant if you get an A on the exam, or maybe you’ll take a trip to an amusement park if you get a B in the course.

The point is this: for a reward system to be effective, it needs to be customized to you. Don’t set up a reward for getting an A if you know that getting an A is next to impossible. Similarly, don’t reward yourself with a trip to the mall if you don’t like shopping or if spending money is going to stress you out.

After applying these techniques on how to stay motivated during exams, getting through your daily routine along with studies will get so much easier.

PS: If there’s anything more you’d like us to know about. Add it to the comments section!

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog on ‘How To Stay Motivated During Exams’. Do check out our other blogs. 

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