The difficult part is staying motivated…
The mid-year examinations have almost reached the halfway mark and it is natural for students to start feeling tired, drained and demotivated. Some might even be dreaming of the holidays already. Yes, the exams are almost finished, but not yet. The difficult part is staying motivated.
Psychologists talk about extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. In short, intrinsic motivation involves motivating oneself and this is by far the most powerful form of motivation. But how?
These ideas might help:
Remember your goals
The most important point to focus on, is the same reason you decided to go to school in the first place:
What is my ultimate goal?
What do I want to achieve on my matric certificate?
What do I want to do with the rest of my life?
Students who are clear on this find it easier to motivate themselves. How about a photo or picture of your dream, that you stick to the mirror, or keep on the desk where you study? When you see that dream regularly, it remains much more real in your mind, which will motivate you to keep working towards that dream.
Change your perception of school exams
An important principle to remember, is that exams are not the enemy. An exam is your friend. It might not feel that way, but an exam is a wonderful opportunity to show the teacher and the world at large, what you can do. The great thing is, no-one is going to interrupt you, as people often do during conversations or even in class. You have that full exam session to 'say what it is you want to say'. And the best part is, the teacher must 'listen', the teacher has no choice but to mark your paper.
When you see an exam as an opportunity rather than a threat, preparing for the exam becomes so much easier and more meaningful.
On a very practical level, you can reward yourself for studying hard. For example, allow yourself to take a break after successfully completing a certain section of work, or go and make a tasty sandwich or burger after having actively studied for an hour. You know yourself: you know what you can achieve in an hour, and you know what it is you would like as a reward.
Reward yourself well, but be strict with yourself first.
Don't neglect everything else
Remember to get some exercise. The idea is not to exhaust yourself so that you cannot study further afterwards but getting exercise can get the blood flowing and the brain working again. Your exercise times can also be used as a reward: say to yourself that you must first finish this chapter before you may go to the gym.
Make time for other activities you enjoy. Always create a balance around exam time.
Give yourself enough time to revise on the day before an exam
It's advisable not to study new content the day before an exam. Cramming creates stress and anxiety which may lead to forgetting what you've studied. Rather create understanding in the content and use memory tricks to recall your notes, like acronyms, songs, attaching content to real-life experiences or creating a story.
Always try to recall your notes without having them in front of you. Giving yourself enough time before an exam will calm your nerves and boost your confidence about acing the exam.
Organise your study space
A clean and conducive study space will motivate you to study longer and harder. Make sure you have the recommended materials to study before starting.
Finally, live the Nike lifestyle: 'Just do it!'. Another way of putting it is, 'do not procrastinate!'. The exam is not going to go away because you are ignoring it. It is simply going to become a bigger mountain to climb. So just start. Chances are, once you get going, you will realise that it is not so bad.