How to motivate yourself to study
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
As the end of the year draws near, levels of motivation tend to drop. It's totally normal but totally inconvenient. You start spending more and more time lying on your bed, trying to convince yourself that you only need 30 minutes to study for your exam, or that really, you know the content so well that you don't have to study at all. Deep down, you know that you're lying to yourself, but deeper down, you know that you just lack the motivation to do anything at the moment. Even reading this article might seem like a challenge.
So how do you motivate yourself to study in this time of need?
Here are just a few tips:
Give yourself a reason to do well
A recent study found that when students were offered money as a reward for doing well on a test, their marks went up remarkably. They attempted more questions and answered more questions correctly. This demonstrates just how important incentive is when it comes to trying hard at school- arguably more important than ability or talent! This is because incentive leads to motivation, and motivation leads to hard work. You've probably heard the saying "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard", and it's entirely true!
Incentive can come in many forms- not only money. You just need a reason to do well! This reason can be anything from wanting to get into that one university, or proving to yourself that you can work hard and get good grades. By having a really solid reason for wanting good grades, you can easily motivate yourself to study. Just make sure that your reason is for yourself. Not for your parents. Not for your friends. For yourself.
Plan your study (and break) time
Why should anyone feel motivated for the day if their schedule says "Do work"? I would feel much more inclined to work hard if the schedule included some rewards and breaks!
An important step to motivate yourself to study is to plan when you will work and when you will play. When you know that you don't have the whole day to procrastinate, you'll be much more willing to work hard in your allocated "study" times! You'll also want to finish your work so that you can get on to doing things you actually want to be doing.
I've recently discovered free printable study planners made by The Organised Student - if you need any help setting up a study schedule, I'd head there first!
It also helps to plan the semester in advance. You'll know when your assignments are due, when you're going on holiday and when your final exams are! It will prevent those crazy late-night stress sessions as well!
Don't spend unnecessary time studying
If you could learn 3 hours of content in an hour, you would do it, right? Well, you'll be surprised to hear how many students are spending unnecessary time studying! There are a couple of ways to combat this:
Use good study techniques - when you use study techniques that work for you, you'll work much more effectively in your study time. Some study techniques include things like mental imagery and name mnemonics, while other study techniques are things that some wouldn't even consider a study technique- things like sleeping well and exercising are very important when it comes to studying effectively. If you're unfamiliar with study techniques, Bradley Busch sums up some key study techniques in his article for The Guardian quite nicely.
Prioritize your study- Make a list of all the things you have to do, and prioritize them. Do them in order from most important to least important. Sometimes you'll even notice that the items at the bottom of your list aren't even worth doing! Seeing exactly what needs to be done by what deadline might take off some of the pressure. You'll notice that you probably don't have as many tasks as you thought you had. This will make it much easier for you to motivate yourself to study!
Do practice tests and exams- In high school, I was surprised to see my chemistry grade go up nearly 10% after I started doing practice exams! I never really paid much attention to practice exams and relied more on making perfect notes and reading the textbook as my main study methods. Making notes and reading the textbook are reliable ways of studying, but boy do they take up a lot of time! Instead of just relying on these two study methods, I started making good quality notes (but not perfect) and spending the rest of my study time on practice exams. It worked like a charm!
Surround yourself with motivational resources
Whether it be motivational people, motivational songs or motivational quotes - find some resources that motivate you and turn to them often! In year 12, I made a little flipbook with a motivational quote on every page. Every morning when I woke up, I would flip the page to a new quote and read it before getting out of bed. This helped me stay focused and motivated throughout the day, and it might do the same for you!
Motivate yourself to study by rewarding yourself
No one can work all day every day! If you're feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, consider taking the day off, even if it might mean working a bit harder tomorrow. Use your off day to do whatever you want- maybe even try a new hobby! It might sound counter-intuitive, but taking one day off may really motivate you to get studying tomorrow. Look after yourself first, work for good grades second!
I'm glad you had enough motivation to get to the end of this article. Now go and smash your goals!
About the Author
Tanya is an Australian blogger and the founder of High School Hints - a blog dedicated to helping high school students work productively towards their academic goals and have a wonderful school life. Excelling academically, Tanya scored in the top 5% of her state. Follow her on Pinterest or sign up for her email updates.