10 Study Motivation Tips That Actually Work
Exams are coming up and you know that your study motivation should be at its highest, but you’re finding it really hard to get in the mood. Procrastination kicks in, in all sorts of forms; from snack cravings and social media scrolling to suddenly discovering a new series you just have to watch on Netflix.
You’re experiencing something that every hard-working student goes through: a motivational crisis.
As a first step in overcoming it, take the opportunity to talk to support services at your university or college. One of the most valuable aspects of studying a pathway program at MIT is that you have access to Student Support and a range of services to help you adjust to student life and transition into Murdoch University.
These 10 tips from our Academic Support team will also help you get on top of your study again in no time:
1. Engage with your learning material throughout the semester
Have you considered skipping class or one of your readings in order to study for an exam? Before you do, consider this super important study hack: everything in your curriculum is study.
When it comes to exams, you are simply being tested on everything you’ve read and learned throughout the course. So, if you learn as much as possible during the semester, you don’t need to find superhuman motivation to cram at exam time.
Make sure you’re actively engaging in learning material all year round. That means doing all the readings (not just skimming, either, but really absorbing information and taking notes while you read), participating in all your classes, and paying close attention in lectures.
By the time exams come around, you will already be one step ahead and you’ll only need to refresh your memory.
2. Identify when you’re procrastinating, and overcome it (without guilt!)
Procrastination is a kind of decision paralysis that results from feelings of stress or pressure, too much choice, and from a lack of discipline or structure. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy, or a bad student.
Procrastination is very real, and it’s the nemesis of every student. It robs you of productive time, and instead you find yourself endlessly scrolling through social media. You feel guilty, but you also don’t get anything done!
Psychology Today recommends these methods to overcome procrastination:
- Don’t mentally overstate how boring, hard, or painful your task will be. Study is not painful, it’s just work: whereas procrastinating is actually a stressful activity. Keep it in perspective.
- Remember why you are studying. It’s because you want to follow your dream and achieve something in life!
- Don’t use excuses. Just get to it.
3. Break everything down into manageable tasks
Do you look at all the work you have to do in order to pass all your subjects and freak out because you feel overwhelmed, but then you’re too stressed to actually do it? If that sounds like you, you’ll be pleased to know that there is one simple solution.
Break everything down into simple, achievable tasks, following this simple step-by-step guide. Then, create a study calendar or daily to-do list where you can tick off just one or two of those simple tasks each day.
It’ll seem much more manageable and you’ll experience much less anxiety as a result!
4. Create a realistic study calendar that works for you
When you’re trying to write up a study plan for the semester, it can be easy to overload your calendar with more tasks than you can realistically manage. This can be seriously demotivating, because you’re setting yourself up to fail.
It’s much better to create a functional, simple, and realistic study calendar based on achieving simple tasks daily, as recommended above. Calendar and study planner apps are really helpful, because they come with reminders and other functions to help you stay on track.
When you’re creating your calendar make sure to include time for yourself, for exercise, and for socialising. Remember, staying healthy and happy will actually lead to better academic outcomes!
5. Give yourself rewards
Rewards can be an essential motivational tool when you’re really not in the mood to study. For example, maybe it’s a beautiful sunny day and staying indoors feels like punishment. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of going outside altogether.
Instead, promise yourself a twenty-minute walk outside after two hours of study. Best of all, research shows that rewards really work and have led to improved productivity and motivation in the workplace!
6. Study in groups
Finding the motivation to study alone can feel almost impossible at times. Studying in groups, on the other hand, makes motivation much easier. After all, it’s much harder to get out of your study commitment if it means letting other people down. Plus, studying with friends is fun, and that’s a huge incentive to do it!
Not only that, studying with others has also been shown by science to actually improve your learning. Research indicates that learning through conversation while engaging with written notes can actually help to deepen your understanding of the topic at hand.
7. Find a mentor
Having trouble sticking to your calendar, and practising the self-discipline you really need to get on top of your study? You might find it helpful to have a mentor, who can check in with you regularly, and give you a gentle push in the right direction if you need it.
Mentors can support you emotionally, help guide you through the exam and assignment process, and teach you healthy study habits and techniques. If you get a professional mentor, they can also be a big help in developing your career after graduation.
Find out if your university or college has a mentoring program. Check out the new Murdoch University mentoring program for junior and senior students, here.
8. Use apps that motivate you
There is nothing more motivating than ticking something off on a digital to-do list.
App developers are great at understanding how to trigger our mind’s chemical reward and incentive systems. Just think of how addictive it is to get Instagram likes, and imagine using that power to help motivate your study.
9. Try fun and different approaches to study
If you’re losing motivation to study, it might be time to try one of these creative approaches to make study fun again. It’s not just about turning study into a game. Some creative approaches to study are scientifically proven to work better.
For example, are you having trouble memorising things you need to know? Perhaps you’re actually a visual person, and you just don’t know it yet. Try drawing up some mind maps or creating mental pictures using proven effective image association techniques.
10. Use whatever support services are available
Sometimes a lack of motivation can simply come from stress, a lack of adequate sleep or exercise, eating the wrong foods, or depression. Don’t forget that there are support services available and staff who have your wellbeing at heart. Just contact your student services, and ask for help.
At MIT, there is a range of different counselling and support services for any students who are having a hard time.
See here for more information on courses at Murdoch Institute of Technology, your pathway to Murdoch University.
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