Revision for any exam can be hard, but especially GCSEs and A-Levels. If you’re struggling to stay motivated for your revision, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve made a list of the best 15 ways you can motivate yourself to revise for your exams, right here. Read through this list to make your independent study life a whole lot easier…
1. Tidy Your Workspace
To start off this list, we have a simple yet effective way to boost your motivation – tidying up your workspace.
Tidying up your workspace gives you a chance to organise your thoughts as you organise your desk. By taking a short break to clean up, you allow your brain a chance to rest and absorb your revision.
This will lead to better consolidation of information, and you’ll start to feel better about whatever exams you have coming up. This will then boost your motivation, and hopefully maintain it throughout the rest of your revision.
2. Set Yourself Realistic Goals
Setting goals is a brilliant way to keep up your motivation. Unlike many of the other techniques on this list, it requires minimal effort, too.
Setting goals gives you something to look forward to in the midst of your revision. You’ll be more motivated to work, as you’ll have a clearer sight of where your revision is going to get you.
Make sure they’re realistic, though. If they’re too unrealistic or too unachievable, you’ll end up forgetting about them and losing that motivation you had.
A good goal I set myself when I was revising for my GCSEs was certain topics in a subject. I’d reward myself when I mastered quadratic graphs, organic chemistry, space etc.
3. Revise As A Group With Your Friends
A bit of a dangerous one, but revising with a group of friends can be a laugh. It can also be a good way to maintain motivation to revise, provided you do it right.
Knowing you won’t have to do your revision alone should give you the motivation you need to get some work done. It’s much easier to work in a group than on your own, as you have people there who can push you in the right direction.
Unfortunately, the same people can also push you in the wrong direction. Be careful so as not to let your friends distract you when revising, as this will result in the opposite of motivation to revise…
4. Create A Revision Timetable (That Actually Works)
A crucial step to efficient revision is creating a revision timetable. What many students don’t realise is, a revision timetable can also assist your motivation, too.
Just like setting goals for yourself, revision timetables give you short-term milestones in your revision. Reaching these milestones will give you a sense of accomplishment, and will fuel your motivation for revision.
The only thing you need to make sure you do is stick to your revision timetable. If you don’t, you’ll find your grades and motivation start to go down the drain.
For more info on revision timetables and how to make them, take a look at this helpful article.
5. Break Your Revision Down Into Smaller More Manageable Parts
Similar to creating a revision timetable, breaking down your revision into smaller parts will increase your motivation.
Breaking down revision into smaller parts will give your a brain a chance to rest and regenerate your motivation to revise. Taking breaks between revision periods is proven to boost your productivity.
True to the saying, you should revise little, but often. Organising your revision like this is much better than just going at it all guns blazing, and will leave you with better exam results in the long run.
Just make sure you find the right amount of time for you. It’ll be different for everyone, so take a while to make sure you’ve got all your timings right.
6. Mix Up Your Revision Techniques
One thing the brain needs to keep up motivation is variation. Switching things up will help your brain stay focused and concentrated on the task at hand.
A good way to do this is to mix up your revision techniques. Mixing up your revision techniques keeps your mind on its toes, and therefore will help you be engaged with your revision.
Try to change how you revise every so often, but not too regularly! If you do it too often, you’ll find it more difficult to actually remember your revision because it’ll be jumbled up in the midst of many revision techniques.
There are lots of revision techniques you can utilise, for both A-Levels and GCSEs. If you’re looking for some ways to spice up your revision life, take a look at this handy article.
7. Visualise Where You Want To Be In 10 Year’s Time
A great way of keeping up your motivation to revise is to keep focused on your end goals. By doing this, you’ve always got something to work for, and it’ll be harder to fall into a negative mindset.
Visualising where you want to be in 10 years’ time is a great way to focus on your end goals. Be it in university, a full-time job, or maybe even living in your own home, everyone should have something to work towards.
It’s important to know where your qualifications will take you, and what you can use them for. By always looking to the future, you’ll have a perfectly clear view of what your exams are for and why you should study for them.
8. Compare Yourself To Other Students (But Not Too Much…)
Many teachers say that this is actually a bad use of your time, and it should discourage you from revising. However, comparing yourself to other students can actually be beneficial to your motivation…
Taking a look at your peers and assessing where you are in relation to them can make you feel more competitive. Depending on how competitive you are, this can actually boost your motivation to revise.
When I was taking my GCSEs, the only thing I wanted was to be better than my friends. This pushed me to revise harder, and I came out of school with some fairly decent GCSEs.
9. Create A To-Do List
It might seem like an obvious one, but having a to-do list can make it easier for you to maintain motivation. Just like having a revision timetable, it can break things down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
To-do lists are essential for keeping up motivation when in the exam season. Sometimes, all the things you have to do get overwhelming and impact on your motivation.
A to-do list helps you to organise your thoughts, and clearly plan out exactly what it is you have to do. Therefore, you’ll find it easier to revise and boost your motivation as you know exactly what you have to do and when.
10. Think About How Bad It Would Be If You Failed…
Similar to comparing yourself to other students, this method uses competitiveness to boost your motivation.
Failing any exam is disheartening, but especially GCSEs and A-Levels. You can use this to your advantage, however, by considering what might happen if you did fail.
By thinking about what would happen if you fail, you can see how much you want to avoid it. Therefore, this should help you stay motivated to revise.
Try not to focus on failure too much, though. The last thing you want when heading into your exams is the mindset that you’re going to fail, as this will decrease your chances of doing well and making the most of your revision.
11. Start With Easy Topics And Work Your Way Up
A great way to not only build but maintain motivation is to work your way up through content. Start with the easy stuff, and slowly build your way to those topics you don’t quite get.
Developing your understanding on foundation topics will make it easier for you to study harder topics. You’ll start to feel more confident in your abilities, and you won’t have to work as hard to understand the harder stuff.
This method of motivating yourself should also boost your revision, too. It should help you to consolidate your knowledge better than before, as your method of learning is more organised and structured.
12. Reward Yourself After A Revision Session
This method of motivation is one of the nicer ones on this list. Instead of comparing yourself to others to try and boost competitiveness, you can just take a step back and enjoy your accomplishments.
Rewarding yourself periodically (either within revision sessions or after them) will seriously boost your motivation. It’s a bit like setting yourself goals or looking ahead to the future, but just more short-term.
There are loads of different ways to reward yourself, too. Sweets, games, or even just some time off can be good ways to reward yourself and maintain that motivation.
13. Make Mind Maps For Particular Topics
Getting yourself organised is one of the best ways to build up your motivation to revise. A clear set of goals and tasks will make it seem easier to actually undertake those things you’ve got to do.
Making a mind map is actually easier than it sounds. All you have to do is write down everything you do know about a topic, and compare it to everything you need to know.
That way you can identify the gaps in your knowledge, and start to build up your motivation to work on those topics. For more info on how to make the best mind maps, take a look at this handy article.
14. Try To Actually Understand What You Are Revising
A bit of an oddball, but bear with me on this one. Actually looking at your revision and trying to understand what it’s about should boost your motivation…
By engaging your brain with the task, you forget that what you’re doing is monotonous. Taking out the element of boredom from your work should make it easier to revise, as your motivation shouldn’t decrease as fast.
The easiest way to make sure your brain remains engaged is to eliminate distractions. Take away background noise (or add it if that helps), tidy your desk, and put away your phone!
15. Give The Pomodoro Technique A Try
The pomo-what? The pomodoro technique, although oddly named, is a seriously good way of keeping up your motivation to revise.
It basically means splitting up your revision into smaller chunks, with small but specific time intervals between them. Traditionally, the pomodoro technique says you should work for 25-minute periods with 5-minute breaks.
It works nicely, as two sets of this adds up to an hour. This specific time frame is also proven to provide the most efficient revision, but feel free to change it up as you need.