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Although we’ve all done exams, it’s unlikely that any of us can say that finding the drive to revise is easy.  

Given the current climate, it’s perfectly acceptable to admit that finding the motivation to revise for examinations is a struggle, particularly when exams feel so far away.  

In a society that’s becoming increasingly reliant on technology and the joys of virtual teaching, distractions from preparing for exams seem even more enticing, not to mention far easier to find. When we’re all spending practically all of our working days in front of computer screens, moving away from revision or classwork to something that seems much more interesting is literally now a click away.  

The key thing to remember is to not feel guilty if you can’t get motivated just yet. It’s a strange world for all of us right now, so it’s expected that things won’t be running as smoothly as would usually be expected.  

We’re spending a lot more time indoors and aren’t able to continue with our normal day-to-day routines, so it’s so important to give yourself credit for all the effort you are putting in at this time. Additionally, as things stand, you do have time to get yourself into a revision routine. Try not to feel too panicked about what you aren’t doing at the moment and start thinking about what you can do over the next few weeks or so to get yourself into a more steady routine.  

Here are a few tips to get you motivated for revision: 

  • Don’t compare your (lack of) progress to others:  However tempting, it’s key to bear in mind that when it comes to exams, everyone is working for themselves. Only your name will go on the exam paper and only your name will be on your results sheet. Everyone’s way of working will be different, regardless of if you’re in the same class or revising for the same subject. There is no perfect way to prepare for exams – revision is an incredibly individual process, so it’s important to not put pressure on yourself by trying to compare or compete with your classmates. Work how and when will benefit you the most.  

  • Trial and error some methods of revision – maybe you just haven’t found the right one: Sometimes, the reason you struggle to be motivated is the way that you’re choosing to work. It sounds silly, but if you work in the right way, revision may become less of a chore and perhaps even become borderline enjoyable. Teachers and classmates all throughout school will introduce you to new methods of revision, note-taking and memorisation. Some people may learn most successfully with flashcards, whilst others prefer to write everything out repeatedly by hand. Some may enjoy learning through images and graphs, whilst others benefit from the use of colours in their revision. At this stage, there is definitely enough time to figure out the most effective revision methods for you. If you find you can’t get motivated, or frequently procrastinate from your mode of revision, try something new. Remember, you can always revert back to your initial methods if nothing else works. 

  • Work in blocks: Although we’re all guilty of trying to cram the night before an exam at some point in our academic careers, it’s a given that more often than not, this is largely ineffective. Your brain can only process so much information in one sitting and commonly, the longer the period you work, the more of that time you’ll spend distracted. Set yourself half an hour blocks and perhaps even timetable certain work or topic areas to complete in that time. If you plan them out, you’ll be able to tick them off as you go along, which will make you feel much more accomplished and will ultimately motivate you to try and complete your set schedule on time.  

  • Find the right revision setting: This is most likely a given, but the more there is in your revision space to distract you, the less work you’ll get done – or at the very least, the less effectively you’ll complete the work. Try to revise in a space with as little distractions as possible, particularly things like TV’s or mobile phones. Move into a space where you can concentrate quietly without a lot of background noise or interruptions so that you can work for solid blocks of time. Finally, working in a light and airy space will ensure that you stay alert whilst revising. Some people may work best whilst listening to music and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, particularly if you’re becoming distracted by lots of clashing background noises. When it comes to music, you’ll be able to know for yourself if it’s preventing you from working well and if it is, perhaps opt to work in silence instead.   

  • Reward yourself: This is probably the most important thing. Exams are difficult. Revision is stressful. Revision for exams during a global pandemic is something that no one has properly experienced before. It’s natural to feel like you’re struggling or that you can’t summon up motivation to do exam preparation. It’s really important to give yourself something to look forward to after a period or a day of revision; be it a Facetime with your friends or a walk with your family. Your rewards don’t have to be hugely significant things, but they’ll make sure that you have something enjoyable to motivate you. 

You can chat to Emily via Unibuddy, where you can also speak to many of our students about their course, their campus and how they’ve found student life in Chester. 

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