How to ACTUALLY motivate yourself to revise

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Today we have an amazing guest post by @lucy_studies. Here’s her brutally honest account of how she feels about exams, and how you can find the motivation to smash them this year. Finding the long-term motivation to actually revise isn’t easy, so hopefully these tips will help you!

Finding the motivation to acheive your aspirations

With the new school year in full swing, people have assigned their mindset for their year already. Will you start out with a meticulously planned revision schedule? Will you have every intention of being a model student, but give up after a few weeks? Or, will you simply not even try at all?

Obviously, I would advise against the last option and would love to say that I’m guilty of the first, but in actual fact, I think the vast majority of us students fall into the middle bracket. We have high aspirations, but lack the motivation to achieve them, especially when they can seem so out of reach, and those pesky target grades don’t help. The feeling that if you don’t achieve this number or letter, you’ll be letting people down, which is an extremely daunting thing, and I am definitely a victim of this pressure. However, I know my teachers have set me these grades because they can see what I’m capable of, as hard as that is to believe. They’re the experts right? Shouldn’t we take their advice more seriously?

revision motivation

Photo by: @lucy_studies

The impact of a positive mindset on motivation

Despite being a student taking her GCSEs this year, I probably sound quite calm and confident, this however, is very much not the case.

I’m being predicted 8’s in subjects I’ve never even achieved a 7 in. As much as I’d like to say that I’m reassured by my teacher’s confidence in me, I’m really not. Worries about exams, our grades and pretty much anything to do with school stress is a regular discussion topic amongst my group of friends, and to be honest, we’re all in the same boat.

I’m in top set for all my subjects at school, which alone is a lot of pressure, but I would also say that I am at the bottom end of that spectrum. I am definitely not the smartest kid in the room and have a slight issue with putting myself down for that.

The same questions whirl around my brain: why aren’t you getting 9’s like he is? Why can’t you think of good ideas like she can? Yes, it’s hard to steer away from these pessimistic thoughts but in my opinion, the first step to achieving these high expectations is a positive mindset, (as cheesy as that sounds).

I imagine a number of people have already clicked off this post facing the sudden realisation they don’t have what I see, as the first requirement. But, for the persistent amongst you that are still here, firstly, congrats. Secondly, let’s hope my tips and tricks will help you out a bit, whether it’s for GCSEs, A Levels or just some advice you can take on board for the future.

revision motivation

Photo by: @lucy_studies

Useful and free apps for revision motivation

One thing that has definitely saved my revision from time to time are apps. There are so many useful and FREE apps out there just waiting to be downloading by people just like us. You can find apps for anything study related, whether it’s making flashcards, keeping track of homework or planning out your revision schedule, there’s an app for it.

Some of my life savers include:

Adapt - plans out your revision timetable and tailors it around your exam boards and any pre-existing commitments

Quizlet - allows you to make flashcards and quiz yourself in different ways

23 Equations - teaches you physics key recall equations based on your tier and exam board

Spanish Dictionary - accurately translates spanish words and phrases including tense rules and irregulars

10 effective tips for revision motivation

However, a key step in revision is actually having the motivation to do so, which I think we can all agree is easier said than done. A weekly occurrence for me is to write a nice to do list showing my mammoth list of tasks, then putting it aside and never actually being able to tick them off. If you seriously lack motivation or even when you are ready to revise, don’t know how to do it here are my top 10 pieces of advice which I swear by:

1. Have a tidy study space

Tidy life, tidy mind, right?

revision motivation

Photo by: @lucy_studies

2. Use nice stationery

Now this isn’t an essential but I couldn’t imagine sitting down to some revision with just a black biro pen!

3. Prioritise your weakest subjects

There’s no use going through a set of flashcards for hours on end on a topic you already know, sometimes it’s hard and boring going over subjects you don’t find interesting or even understand yet but it needs to be done.

4. Experiment with different methods

Just because you hate mind maps for english doesn’t mean they won’t be useful for science and the same goes for other methods in other subjects.

5. Begin making resources as early as possible

You want to set yourself up in the best possible position so make your revision resources in year 9, year 10 or even at the very start of year 11; so when exam season comes around you can just pick it up and get going! Knowing you’ve already made progress is so effective for long-term motivation.

revision motivation

Photo by: @lucy_studies

6. Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask about something if you’re unsure, whether it’s from a teacher or a friend, if you don’t understand it, chances are that they will.

7. Use rewards

Create time for breaks, instead of trying to power through 3 hours of revision in one go, do three separate hours with 15 minute breaks. You could even create a reward system for example, if you do so many hours of revision in a week you get to order a pizza.

8. Don’t write down what you don’t understand

If you’re getting information from a revision guide, don’t just copy the information word for word because it won’t help you to process or remember the facts. Also, if there is a section that you don’t know or understand, don’t just write it down for the sake of having it because it will further confuse you if you’re trying to remember words that don’t make sense.

9. Plan a lesson

Find a willing family member or friend and try and teach them a topic without referring to any resources or sheets. It will be a great indicator of whether you know the information and how far you understand it.

10. Write down what you achieved

At the end of every revision session write a list of what topics you covered or what you did, this will help you realise whether you achieved what you wanted and what you need to do next time.

Hopefully I’ve inspired you to go and do some revision or homework or even just gave you some advice for next time. Good luck in all your exams, if you work hard you will get the grades you deserve!


Cover photo by: @lucy_studies

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