The human mind is very unpredictable. Sometimes confusing! When I’m doing nothing, it gives company and throws no productive thought at me, but when I try to find the motivation to study and sit down, the mind is suddenly the most active entity on earth.
It makes me think about the economy, celebrity gossips, climate change, poverty, my crush and hers, stranger things and every possible thought that could prevent me from studying.
This increases specially when exams are just around the corner. If the exam is scheduled for tomorrow, the intensity of thoughts to hit my mind is at its highest. Still, I have to ensure that I pass my exam if not top it.
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So, if you’re someone like me, who makes the so-called study time tables to study boring subjects and unconditionally postpones the plan, here are a few tips that will help you stay motivated and take out that damn book and study.
I realized that unfortunately, you could finish studying by only studying.
So, if you’re lost, still now aware how to motivate yourself to study for exams, or just lethargic about your exams, check out some of these simple tips below. It’s been quite a few years I graduated, but these tips are still the best of the lost.
1. Create your own success mantra
When I was preparing (mentally) for my 12th standard board (I call it bored exams) exams, I quite literally lost any intensions to study or do anything in life. The peer pressure, the mode of teaching at my school, the threatening of teachers that 12th was the turning point of my life and other factors suppressed me into giving up.
I was failing at exams, getting punishments and abused and even sent to the verge of being denied of my hall ticket. Then came the savior – my mom – who just told me one thing that got me thinking.
She just said this, “It’s up to you son. If you’re finding difficulty studying this now, for the first time, imagine that you have to study the same thing again for another year if you fail.” That made a lot of sense. If I couldn’t sit down to study my portions just once, how could I study it for another whole year?
I had to get done with it and that was the best success mantra I’ve ever been shared with. So, if you’re looking for that one reason to motivate yourself to study, wondering why you need to study, remember the fact that you don’t have to study it again. Simple!
2. Stop developing aversion towards studies
Psychologically, most of us just hate to sit down and study. When you keep hating studies, you involuntarily develop an aversion to it and this is lethal. Aversion towards anything is bad. It’s a very, very strong feeling that will prevent you from doing anything in life.
Slowly work on your thought process and train it to look for the good things about studying. Motivate yourself to study by thinking that you’re sitting down not to just pass in your exams but to learn something new – something you’ve never heard or read about before. Read good books, great motivational thoughts etc to keep your motivation level high
Start seeing studying as part of a learning and evolutionary process and trust me, there’s nothing more prominent beyond this. From aversion, you set out on a quest for knowledge.
I used to hate physics way back in school but when I actually started learning Young’s Double Slit experiment instead of studying it, I encountered a new-found fascination for quantum physics.
Now the thirst never seems to get quenched.
3. Take smaller steps but consistent ones
When you sit down to study, don’t think of finishing down the entire syllabus at a stretch. That very thought is a burden in your mind, and that will involuntarily act against your motivation to study. Instead learn to create effective goals and implement them.
Break down your schedule into smaller portions, chapters, or even paragraphs (whichever suits you) and complete them.
Gift yourself chocolate or a small piece of cookie as a way to celebrate your completion and keep taking smaller steps. Follow a effective routine instead of just wandering around. If you want, take small breaks of two or five minutes just to walk around your house or to the terrace and keep your mind and body fresh and active.
Grab some juices and keep hydrating yourself as there’s nothing more damaging than a dehydrated body. Continue to conquer smaller milestones in your study schedule and in no time you’ll realize that you’ve completed your journey. In the end, you’ll still have the motivation and contentment to keep going.
4. An honest dose of cliché
Stay away from your phone! Yes, you read that right. It might be a cliché, but it does stand true of its consequences. There’s no distraction like that of your phone’s and the urge to check for notifications on social media profiles.
Staying away from your smartphone keeps you away from your friends’ stories of them studying and keeps your motivation strong. Also, don’t be that guy who puts stories on Instagram and Facebook that you’re studying and get trapped in a web of comments.
Instead of hoping around useless stuff on your smartphone, use good apps to increase productivity and focus, that will prove more beneficial to you.
If possible, put your phone on flight mode until you reach a milestone and pick it up after you’ve covered a significant portion of your syllabus. Fight the inner urge and prove you’re from the generation that never had these gadgets in the first place.
P.S. Stop tagging and paying attention to getting tagged during study time.
5. Set your competitor right
Most of us lose the spark to study for exams is because we don’t have proper exam goals. Lack of goals makes it difficult to find an approach and direction to studying. So, if you’re suffering from severe lack of motivation, simply find the right purpose and define it.
Sit down and think why do you have to study – do you intend to top your exams, do you want to actually learn and evolve, or do you intend to pass simply? Depending on these, decide on your approach. If you want to top your exams, your competitor will be the one who is already topping them.
Find out his study patterns and put in more efforts to outsmart him. If you intend to learn and evolve, remember that you’re competing with yourself. There’s no competitor fiercer than you, and there is no concept of success or failure as well; just evolution.
Lastly, if you want to study and pass, set your best friend as your competitor because that guy out there is probably studying an additional two pages from your syllabus and getting in touch with influencers on important questions.
Your squad might say they haven’t touched their books but trust me, they have. Or at least they know what exam is scheduled for the next day. Setting your competitor will help sustain motivation.
6. Don’t just keep thinking of studying
Most of us burden ourselves with unwanted pressures. If paranoia takes the best out of us most of the times, it’s the self-created burdens and thoughts that deter our peace of mind for the rest of the time. If you have set a time to study, think about it only during that time.
Don’t keep pestering your mind that you need to study at evening 4 and distract your rest of the day. If you’re in a cinema hall, focus on your movie and not the next plan of studying. Eating out? Just enjoy the damn food on your plate. Do one thing at a time and when you study, just study.
Thinking about just studying the entire team makes you develop aversion that I mentioned and triggers your mind to come up with escape plans and reasons to not study. Free yourself from the burden of studying and think of it as part of your everyday life.
You don’t always keep thinking and bite your nails on having lunch, do you? They why for just studying? That’s how you find the motivation to study!
IN THE END
So, these were some of the practical tips to motivate yourself to study that had worked for me during my exams. While some of them are downright simple, others could be harsh and challenging.
Just remember that you need to get done with studying so you can actually do whatever you wanted to do. It feels lighter in the mind and heart you see! Go for it. Good luck!