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Students: how to stay motivated throughout the school year?

Tips for students 21 September 2021

After a successful first year, Kate, who is studying Humanities and Social Sciences, shared her experiences with us, which are as rich in learnings as they are intense in work 📚

What’s the most complicated thing according to her? Staying motivated to study despite the fast pace and the perpetual heavy workload 🤯

Between procrastination and stress, the effects of demotivation can have negative consequences on your personal life as a student. But don’t worry, many students experience this and eventually find solutions. So how can you find the motivation to work?

Here are all of Kate’s tips! You’ll be able to experiment with multiple methods to keep motivated throughout the year. 💪

1. Recreate a work-friendly environment:

Choose your workspace well

The setting in which you work directly affects the way you study and the desire you have to revise. Therefore, we advise you to choose your place carefully. For Kate, the most motivating places are:

  • Her office. Yes, that’s right! But with a few conditions. So as not to be tempted to do anything other than study, Kate prepares her workspace by first tidying it up. That way, there’s no possibility of distractions. Yes, we too have found ourselves cleaning our room from top to bottom to avoid getting to work 😝
    In fact, she is increasingly adept at minimalism, a pared-down style for a less cluttered space. More than being just a fad, several benefits have been highlighted such as increasing concentration.
  • The university library is the temple of revision. There is nothing like being surrounded by ten or so students, in a quiet environment, to motivate you to work. The group effect can have an extraordinary power to encourage you to work. So, give it a try 😉

But the most important thing in choosing your workplace is that it corresponds to your needs.

Indeed, working at home allows you to revise comfortably, in total freedom, with the possibility of reciting aloud or even walking to learn. On the other hand, there are more temptations.

In contrast, the library may seem more rigid, but it can allow you to set a framework for yourself to progress more quickly by remaining more easily focused. And, as Kate says, you will feel less lonely surrounded by people who are going through the same thing as you.

Inspire yourself

Taking an interest in best practices is a very good idea. There are plenty of experts on the internet who are happy to share their advice.

Kate has chosen to rely on tips from students who are in the same situation as her, to discover new ways of learning.

She also has a specific Instagram account, dedicated solely to finding tips for stimulating work. It allows her to save instructive posts that she wants to revisit later.

She also watches study vlogs (videos about revision), especially at the beginning of a study session. The whole world of these videos puts her in best conditions to study. For example, she is very sensitive to the calm and soothing music that helps her to stay focused. She also feels like she is working with someone else, which motivates her even more!

2. Use nice revision supplies

For some people, the aesthetics of class and revision notes are a real motivator. If that’s your case, like Kate, then don’t hesitate to create some pretty work materials 🌈 The good news is that, in addition to doing something aesthetically pleasing, your memorisation of the course is likely to be better because you’ll have taken the time to reread and rework your lessons before revising. But for that, be careful not to focus only on the visual result but also on the content ⚡

Besides, beyond the aesthetic side, so that your revision sessions are not painful, we advise you to organise your lessons as you go along:

  • Catching up on any missing parts of your lessons as soon as possible.
    If necessary, ask your friends to send you their lessons with the SCRIBZEE application which allows you to scan OXFORD notes. Like Kate, you’ll find that it’s much faster than a scanner and that the result is much more qualitative than taking a photo with your phone.
  • By sorting your lessons as soon as a chapter is finished. Take all the sheets and handouts from your course (yes, yes even the ones you left lying around at the bottom of your bag for several days 😬) and sort them. It will save you from looking everywhere for THE missing page of your history-geography course the day before the exam 🙈 Kate even scans her most important notes with the SCRIBZEE app to make sure she never loses them and can easily find
    in the folders she creates.

3. Working in groups

Helping each other

Friends are an unfailing support. They have the power to make the most critical situations more pleasant. So, don’t hesitate to call them for help 🆘:

  • In any case, sharing your feelings will only make you feel better. You will certainly feel like you are all in the same boat. And feeling surrounded by others during revision time is good for motivating yourself and finding the strength to get back to work.
  • At best, those who have understood the course well will be able to explain it to you in their own words so that it is easier to assimilate. And if you are behind your revision schedule, they can advise you on which parts to work on first.

Adopt fun revision methods

Revision can be repetitive and not always enjoyable. So how can you avoid procrastinating when revision sessions follow one another and look the same?

One tip, tested and approved by Kate, is to change the revision format. Rather than always following the same revision rhythm, why not opt for active revision?

But what is ‘active’ revision? These are revision sessions in which you try to remember the answer to a question by asking yourself questions. The principle is simple: break down your course into several questions, like those you might be asked in the exam, and try to answer them without cheating 🙊

This method is effective because:

  • You make the effort to remember and it anchors the information in your memory.
  • You identify more easily the notions you haven’t mastered yet and it allows you to save time by focusing on them.
  • This method can be fun, so you don’t get bored 🤗

This revision method works particularly well with flashcards! And you can revise with your friends for more interaction or on your own for more focus.

Flashcards on a desk with the SCRIBZEE app

4. Give yourself breaks

This may seem obvious to you yet very few students take real breaks during work/revision sessions. And Kate agrees, during the most intense periods, it seems difficult or even impossible to give yourself a break. But it’s precisely at these times that they will do you the most good.

Taking time for yourself is essential. Not only will it give your mind a rest, but it will also allow you to be more productive during your work sessions. Because after a few hours of work, the temptation to stop altogether is strong… and even more so with all the screens around us.

So how can you find the right balance between work and well-being?

Kate recommends the Forest application. The principle is simple. Based on the Pomodoro technique, which consists of working in limited time slots, it allows you to define a time period during which you want to work before taking a break. Forest motivates you because a virtual tree grows during the time slot you set. Beware, if you touch your phone, it will die: a deterrent, right? On the contrary, once the working time is over, you can take a break! 😍

Taking fifteen-minute breaks can be enough to recharge your batteries and come back even more motivated. During these breaks, there is only one key word: treat yourself! Doing a sporting activity, taking a bath, watching a TV show, cooking, going for a bike ride, … these are all possibilities that will help you to achieve your goal: to revise efficiently so that you can enjoy yourself even more afterwards!

The conclusion to stay motivated throughout the year

Don’t hesitate to try out the great tips shared by Kate but also to look for your own sources of motivation. And if you have a bout of sluggishness, don’t forget that many students are in the same situation as you, you are not alone! You have everything to succeed so keep your spirits up 😊

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