How to stay motivated to study for mock exams as the nights draw in
All schools are different in their approach to mock exams, some have mocks before they break up for the Christmas holiday, while others do theirs in January following the break.
At this stage, it doesn’t matter which approach is best, what matters is that mocks are incredibly important and therefore preparation for them is essential if you hope to do well.
Preparing For Mock Exams
The main events are, and always will be, the summer exams, so much rides on doing well in these. But how do you know where you need to focus more attention if you don’t sit your mocks? And if you don’t put your all into studying for them, you will be doing yourself a disservice.
- Mocks are a great way of highlighting where your strengths and weaknesses are in each subject, giving you plenty of time to adjust your approach before the real exams roll around.
- Mocks are a great way for you to practice revising. Knowing what approach works for you and what doesn’t means you won’t waste time when it comes to the real exam preparation later down the line.
- Mocks are a great way to practice taking exams. You get to experience the pressure and the environment that you’ll be in when you take the official exams, without there being any life-changing repercussions if they don’t go as well as you hoped.
For some students it can be hard to find the motivation to study at the best of times, but as the nights start to draw in and evenings begin at 4.30pm if not earlier, it can be much harder to find the motivation to study, let alone maintain a positive approach to studying.
At this time of year, we see much less of the sun and this lack of natural light has a proven negative effect on our mood and well being, throwing us out of kilter and for some people, triggering Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
But that doesn’t mean that your studying needs to take a hit just because you’re experiencing lower levels of Vitamin D than you need. In fact, there are quite a few things you can do to keep yourself motivated to study, despite the weather outside.
10 ways to stay motivated to study as the nights draw in
- Go outside. On your lunch breaks try to get outside as much as you can. Even an extra 15 minutes of exposure to the weak sun will help boost your flagging Vitamin D levels, perking you up, enhancing your mood and allowing you to concentrate for longer.
- Partake in exercise. Just because Winter seems like a great time to hibernate, doesn’t mean you should don your trackies and settle on the sofa. Getting your heart rate up even with a vigorous walk is enough to raise your serotonin levels and boost your mood, helping you think and concentrate. Aim to get 20-30 minutes of exercise every day.
- Get an early night. Not getting enough sleep is a sure-fire way to reduce your motivation to study. Your body and brain need time to rest and recuperate, burning the candle into the wee small hours isn’t going to help you in the long run.
- Understand what you hope to achieve. If you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself to study, make a list of what you hope to achieve from doing so. I.e. what grades do you hope to attain, what university do you want to apply for, what career do you hope to have? If you know what you want the end goal to be, working hard to get there takes on a whole new meaning.
- Be organised. Getting your revision timetable in order and starting your revision early is always going to help you long term. The sooner you can plan out your studying, the less you have to do each day, meaning you aren’t cramming and burning yourself out early. Little and often is key here. And try and schedule your study periods for the same time each day – it’ll make getting into the study habits that much easier if you know you’re doing the same thing for the same time frame every day.
- Take a break. All work and no play would make anyone give up. Spaced learning has been shown to enable us to learn better. By regularly taking breaks between subjects or topics, the theory of spaced learning (or taking regular breaks) is that you are giving your brain time to build links between neurons and embed the memory of what you’ve just studied, so it isn’t merely committed to your short term memory, but becoming ingrained for the long term.
- Reduce your stress levels. Stress plays a huge role in draining motivation. So figure out what works for you to reduce your stress levels. It could be going for a walk, doing some yoga, enjoying a cup of tea, 5 minutes of mindfulness, reading a familiar book, listening to music. The point is, find something that calms you down and regularly schedule yourself time out from studying to do it. Not only will it enhance your mood, but it will help you study harder too.
- Set study goals. Break down your revision into manageable tasks and then further break those tasks down into bite-size chunks. Assign yourself a certain number of chunks to do in the time you have to study and reward yourself when you reach the end of each block of chunks. A reward or study goal can be a break, or a piece of chocolate, or 5 minutes on your phone, playing your guitar, or whatever it is that you would rather be doing.
- Hire a tutor. If you are struggling to remain motivated to study, or you just don’t know where to begin, hiring a private tutor can help set you on the path to achieving the results you want. Fleet Tutors have a great network of private tutors, so no matter what subject you’re struggling with, what level of study you’re at or what you’re hoping to achieve as your end goal, we have education experts who can help get you there.
- Remember it’s normal to not be motivated all of the time. Don’t feel like a failure because you don’t feel motivated to study all of the time. No one is motivated to do anything 100% of the time. Relying on feeling motivated to get your head in your books is just inviting disaster. Accept that sometimes you just have to get on with the task at hand and if you don’t accomplish all you set out to do today, don’t beat yourself up. Make up for it next time. And remember, this isn’t forever.
The key to getting motivated to study is to be organised and simply start. There is always going to be something you’d rather be doing than studying, that’s just life. Sadly, there is no single strategy and no one size fits all when it comes to staying motivated, plenty of people will tell you what works for them, but only you can figure out what works for you.
Good luck, you’ll be fine.