Staying motivated to revise and study during exam season is a challenge that every student faces. Keeping your energy up throughout exam season is vital if you want to secure the grades you need. We understand – we've all been there.
Staying motivated requires a positive mindset, a healthy diet and a goal-orientated attitude. But how do you achieve these qualities? Here are our top tips for keeping yourself motivated during your exams.
Passing your exams is a marathon, not a sprint. And like the best athletes in the world, you need to prepare your body and mind for the ordeal. Then you need to make sure that you maintain a positive self-care routine throughout your exam season.
Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fruits and veg. Yes, it's the same advice that your mum might give you, but it's true! Staying hydrated and healthy will keep your mind sharp and your energy levels nice and high.
Make a meal plan for your exam period and prep as much as you can. This will give you more time to enjoy your downtime after the day's exam. It will also help you resist opting for a fast and unhealthy kebab when you're tired after the exam.
To keep your head in the game, practice some mindfulness. After you've planned ahead, focus on the task at hand and how you can achieve it in the best possible way. When you've hit the wall, get inspired from your support network, or a motivational quote.
"Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do"
– Benjamin Spock
You've got this.
Your exams are not a barren period of misery and defeat. There are always positives and it's important that you recognise them and celebrate them. Learning to celebrate the small victories in life will help you stay motivated during your exams.
Whether it's nailing a great quote in an essay or simply getting up on time and getting something sorted ahead of your exam. These small victories matter. They are valuable because what you do matters.
"Strive for progress, not perfection."
When exam season feels like it will never end, stay motivated by reminding yourself why you're putting yourself through all this. It's all too easy to fall into the trap of worrying about today's stress and losing sight of the big picture.
Set your phone background with a picture of something you'll get when you've done your exam. Maybe that's a well-deserved holiday to celebrate, or the car you'll buy with the job you'll get after you've got your qualification. Whatever it is, keep that reminder close so when you start to feel your motivation slide, you remind yourself of why you're doing this.
You've invested so much time and money into your education and when it's done, it will open up new doors and new possibilities for you.
You'll have a qualification that you can carry with pride for the rest of your life. All the hassle will be worth it and the exam season doesn't last forever.
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
– Winston Churchill
While it's important to celebrate the little wins, don't go all-out too early. One of the key ways to stay motivated is to stay in a proactive mindset throughout your exam period. If you cut loose too early, you run the risk of sliding back into relaxation mode when there's still some work to do.
Set a hard date for your post-exam celebration. Invite your friends and make a big deal out of it. Make it something worth looking forward to and resist partying too soon. It'll be worth it in the end.
"You are so close to the victory, don't you dare give up now."
Getting distracted by a little problem or sidetracked by a big one will have a negative impact on your motivation. Being organised will keep you on track and put you in the mindset of feeling in control. This positive outlook will help you stay motivated throughout every exam and every essay.
Go deep on stationery! Buy a day planner, highlighters, post-its and those little coloured tabs. Then, label and list everything! When you see everything written down and organised, you can see where you need to go and what you need to do.
Your revision will be better too. Being able to just reach out and grab the quote or study you need to reference will speed things up. This makes your precious revision time more effective.
"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing."
Mood and energy can create a feedback loop that builds on itself. That's why it's so important to support yourself with motivated friends and loved ones. Together you create and sustain a positive attitude and a proactive mindset.
Don't allow yourself to be dragged down by the people in your life who are struggling. It's easy to fall into the trap of empathising so hard that you lower yourself to their energy and frequency. This isn't helpful or useful for them or for you.
You need to take care of yourself first, so surround yourself with people who bring positivity and support to your life and build safe boundaries from people who struggling or are a bad influence. It might sound harsh, but you'll be better off for it. And in the end, they will too.
"Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results."
– Willie Nelson
Exam season is a busy and stressful time. You might face late nights and 12 hour days. Learning to power nap will provide a number of benefits that can make you feel more motivated.
Research by Harvard suggests that a power nap of around 20 minutes is both beneficial and satisfying. During this short period of relaxation, the aim is simply to lie down in a dark room, close your eyes, clear the mind of all thoughts, and chill.
Power naps refresh the body and brain. They heighten alertness and promote a positive frame of mind. This, in turn, will improve concentration and attitudes to study. They also relax the body and brain, which will help you cope with the stress of exams.
"When the going gets tough, the tough take a nap."
– Tom Hodgkinson
Reinforce a positive and motivated mindset by getting into a good routine. Throughout your exam period, have every day clearly planned out and stick to your plan. Make sure your routine includes revision time, downtime and time to celebrate the little victories. Over time, your routine will become second nature and before you know it, you'll be living a positive, motivated life!
"I have learned that champions aren’t just born; champions can be made when they embrace and commit to life-changing positive habits."
– Lewis Howes