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There isn't a secret to studying the right way, and there isn't a secret to enjoying getting your work done. But there are ways to get motivated to study that will change your entire process for the better.
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to completing work. Some need to have headphones in, while others need complete silence. However, everyone struggles to gain motivation to begin studying, and finding a process that works best for you is crucial to being proactive.
You know you have to study, but finding the mindset that will allow you to do so the best way is provided through preparation, routine, and a new perspective. These are the ten best tips to change your mindset, find a process that works for you, and be a more proactive student.
Set up a reward for yourself after you've finished studying.
A tip that will work well for everyone, setting up a reward for yourself, no matter how small, will get you through most tasks. To get motivated to study, promise yourself that you'll allow yourself a bowl of ice cream afterward. Or if that's not motivation enough, tell yourself you'll go out with friends if you study for an hour or two.
Though it might seem a bit silly, finding restraint in yourself for something you want is the perfect way to motivate yourself to get your work done. This can be done in chunks. If you study for an hour, you can eat a snack after. Once you get done with class, make sure the first thing you do is study, so if there's something you'd rather do, you can tell yourself you'll get to it after.
Even if one of your favorite shows is on TV, make sure you study beforehand, so you can allow yourself to watch guilt-free.
Would you rather relax now with guilt or later with no guilt?
With this same concept in mind, it is very easy to put studying off when you're lazy and unmotivated. As one of the best ways to get motivated to study, remind yourself that if you relax now, you'll do so with the guilt of your responsibilities in the back of your mind.
Would you rather do that now, or would you rather find the time to relax after you've finished your work, with zero guilt? Personally, I can relax easier when there is nothing I have to do. And as a better way to indulge, I would choose the latter.
Turn your phone to Do Not Disturb.
We all know the struggle of being distracted by our phones and the internet. You could already be on your laptop, using it to study, but instead, you're scrolling Twitter and watching YouTube videos instead.
As a way to force yourself out of this rut, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, or airplane mode. This way you will not be able to be contacted by texts, Snapchats, or calls. And on your laptop, dedicate your time to solely academic sites. No Instagram in the next tab.
You can also use this tactic in collaboration with the reward tip. Tell yourself you'll turn your phone off Do Not Disturb once you've completed an hour of work.
Picture yourself on test day.
Our next tip to get motivated to study is to picture yourself taking your test. Test day will inevitably come, and you will eventually be sitting at your desk with a pencil in hand.
Would you rather be prepared then and suffer a few hours of studying now? Or suffer through the test, and have zero confidence when the grades are posted?
This is a tip that will work for those who take their academics seriously. It will motivate you to want the best for your future self. Don't fail yourself, literally.
Think of test day, and think of the positivity that will come when you easily know the answer to each answer. Test-taking does not always have to be stressful, and when you're actually prepared, it can actually be a bit satisfying and fun.
Turn it into a habit.
Studying and getting your work done should fall into being a habit for your life as a student. And to do so, you must rely on your self-awareness and dedication to your success.
Though it might just seem like a test, or even a small quiz, once you've turned studying into a habit, it won't be as painful.
Much like anything in life, the original few times you go to the gym, it's going to be painful. But once you've incorporated it into your lifestyle, it comes as second nature.
This should be thought of similarly with studying. Once you are assigned a test day, you will begin studying a bit each day. Schedule this time into your planner and don't push it off till later. Once you've gotten to this place as a student, you won't have to rely on motivation at all.
Break the studying into smaller tasks.
As students, we will picture a large task that seems almost impossible to get done given the time and shut down. For example, a final exam is overwhelming in any course, but breaking down the time you spend studying for the exam will create a more reasonable process.
As one of the best tips to get motivated to study, studying does not have to be a sleepless night filled with hours of cramming. If you break studying into 30-minute study sessions every other day a week or two leading up to your exam, it will not be as overwhelming.
Instead of stressing yourself over the amount of material that needs to be consumed, think of it as multiple days of one small task. This way, you will be able to concentrate on one specific topic per day, comprehend the information at a much slower rate, and will be able to go over previous material on each day leading up to the test.
Teach your knowledge to someone else and try using notecards.
Many people study incorrectly, but finding the right process for you will elevate your motivation, because you'll have much more confidence in your technique. If you feel that sitting solo in your room results in you failing to retain anything, there are plenty of ways to switch up your process.
I suggest teaching your material to others, or if there's no one around, teach it to a stuffed animal. Seriously, writing your material down and especially explaining it in your own way, out loud, is a great way to retain information. Reserve a room in your library with a dry erase board and play teacher. No matter how uncomfortable you might feel, this process is one worth trying.
If that's not for you, then I suggest using notecards. Notecards will integrate physically writing and a continuous questionnaire. If you don't have the motivation to write out notecards, Quizlet is a great platform for online personalized flashcard flipping.
And you can print them out, if you work better with physical material. We've all used notecards to study before, but they really work for anything. Set aside the ones you definitely know and focus in on the notecards you struggle with. You can even try them with a friend, and they don't have to know anything about the topic.
Don't study in your room.
Though laying in bed after a long day of class might seem like the perfect place to get some studying done, it's really the least productive spot. As a crucial tip to get motivated to study, your room should no longer be a place to study.
Trust me, it's much easier to make this a rule than to get too comfortable in just going back home to study, when you could be using your school library to your advantage. Again, use coming home to your warm bed as a reward after you've finished studying for the day.
This way, your room is seen as an escape. This will even help you get better sleep, if you treat using your bed as a reward, rather than a place to do whatever you want.
Also, you are much more likely to stay concentrated in an environment such as the library. You will have a desired time in mind on how long you want to spend there, and you'll be surrounded by other students doing the same thing. Plus, it's super quiet and has all the resources you'll need.
Get a friend to go to the library with you.
Now that you've dedicated your studying time to only being in the library, feel free to invite a friend along or even meet a study group. Studying in collaboration with others is great. Your notes will be slightly different, you'll be able to pass the time easier, and you'll talk through each of your struggles.
Use this in collaboration with the teaching tip, as each of you can take the spotlight for the parts that you understand most. Plus, it's just easier to find the motivation to go if you know a friend will be coming with you.
Even if you two are studying two entirely different subjects, just working in silence with a friend can be more bearable than going alone.
Take the time you are using to complain, worry, and talk about your test to study instead.
We often get too stuck on worrying about our tests that we use all of our energy toward being stress, when we could really be using that time to get work done. As our final tip to get motivated to study, stop putting energy into a negative outlook on your upcoming exam, and make progress toward being prepared.
Stop talking about how close your exam is, and instead, prepare. You would be surprised how much time we use on worrying, when we could really be much more proactive, and instead use that time to study.
Even as you're reading this, is there something you need to get done? Waste no more time, and get to it!