Studying is a natural part of a student’s life. It’s just a shame that reviewing your coursework is tortuous, especially if you have a family or a job. While we’d all rather be doing something else, these feelings or a lack of motivation shouldn’t stop us from doing what needs to get done.
How to Stay Motivated When Studying for a Test
It can be hard to spend 20-25 minutes studying at first, but eventually, you’ll be able to go for hours.
Here are 6 ways to stay motivated, engaged, and excited while you study for tests.
1. Prepare Your Study Area and Get to It
Decades of studies prove that inherent motivation is a myth, but many of us try to capture that spark that keeps us going. The truth is, you don’t need to be in a specific mental or emotional state to complete a task; you just need to tackle the task when necessary and follow through.
Keep in mind that this advice won’t make studying easier. However, it will help you understand that you have the power to study as long as you aren’t distracted. That’s why you need to prepare your workstation and find a way to stay focused, whether you need silence or music.
2. Write Down Why You Want to Study
The main reason why we study hard for tests is to get a good grade, but that’s a means to an end. That’s like saying you only work a job to make money.
While money motivates us to get to work, it won’t stop us from quitting. However, our coworkers, benefits, or remote options will.
Many people study hard for tests because they want to get into a great college, earn their degree, or protect their families from financial fallout. For example, if you’re getting good grades to pay for your parents’ retirement, write that reason down and put it up where you can see it.
3. Attend All Classes, Lectures, and Labs
Even if you have a friend who can copy down your notes, being present in the classroom can benefit your learning. Not only will you be able to ask questions, but you can take notes that make sense to you.
If you’re a part of a hands-on program, your physical presence is vital.
For example, if you are studying for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant exam, you should find a reputable medical assistant program and try to go to every class, lecture, and lab. You’ll miss a lot of material if you’re late or decide to skip a day, so be responsible and timely.
4. Have a Consistent Study Routine
Consistency is essential when it comes to studying for a test, but that’s difficult if you aren’t organized.
If you have children, blocking off time for studying can be nearly impossible. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, as a stable routine can put you in the headspace to study.
Time management skills will come in handy when you’re trying to achieve your goals, so use a physical or digital calendar to find where you can make time.
If you have commitments that could pop up during that hour, ask a friend, family member, or spouse to take care of it for you.
5. Reward Yourself After a Complex Task
I’ve heard of students that put a single Skittle at the end of each page to motivate themselves to read study materials. I’ve also seen college students break a $20 bill into dimes or quarters for the same purpose. If you read the whole passage, you get to eat a snack or use that $20 bill.
While money and food are great motivators, you can also reward yourself with exercise, social interaction, or entertainment after you finish a study session or get a high mark.
For example, tell yourself you can take a walk after studying or see a movie in theaters after a week of study.
6. Join a Study Group with Your Friends
Some of us can’t study alone because we get too distracted. If this sounds like you, ask a few friends from your class to meet in the library after school for a study date.
Make a rubric your study partners can use, so they don’t go off-topic or miss key subjects, topics, or assignments.
Remember that you’re here to study, not mess around, but some of your colleagues may use this time to socialize.
If you have to constantly get back on track or you feel that the hour you spent with this group was pointless, it’s time to find new study partners that are similar to you.
About the Author
Sarilaya Cada is a freelance content writer. She is interested in a wide range of fields, from project management, to education, to engineering.