Exams in One Month!

My first term exam is fast approaching, but I feel lazy on a daily basis. I cannot even concentrate on one particular subject!

Can you help, please?

- Nanao Naorem, Manipur

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This is a problem many students struggle with, Nanao - you're certainly not alone!

The root problem is motivation, or rather, a lack of it.

It's not that you don't want to do well - of course you do. It's just that you've lost sight of what you are studying for.

I'm guessing there are a million and one other things that seem more appealing right now!

That being the case, here are four ideas that will help you find the motivation to get your work done (good name for a book!):

1. Remind yourself what you want

The first thing I would do in your situation?

Put your specific goals up on a wall where you will see them on a daily basis - the more often you see them, and the more visible and eye catching that they are the better.

Be specific and be ambitious.


What's the lowest grade you would be happy with.

What's the highest?

Go one better on your poster.

You don’t have to actively look for them them - you’ll see them as you pass them, and those visual reminders will consistently ‘sell’ you what it is you’re aiming for.

Do it today!

2. Make a plan

Okay, so you say that you’ve got a month between now and the exam...

If you haven’t already, make a realistic study plan. Use a spreadsheet to work out just how many days you have, what you need to study and when you’re going to do it. (A spreadsheet is ideal because you can edit it easily. Print it out when you’re finally happy with it.)

Make sure you build in ‘buffer’ time for unforeseen issues that will inevitably disrupt your plans.

You can see an example* of a template I created (with my son, actually) here.

*This is only an example - do not use these dates yourself - they won't fit!

3. Shut out distractions

You mention that you can’t concentrate. What’s distracting you?

When you study, really study! Far better to work for fewer hours and for it to be quality, focused time.

Turn off your phone, shut down anything else that could distract you and decide on the number of minutes you want to commit to.

Tip: The fewer the number of minutes, the less your brain will resist the idea of doing some focused study.

Learn more on how to focus (and stay focused) here.

4. Reward yourself

You’ve got to have something to look forward to after you’ve been working. Whether it's a few minutes relaxing, exercise or some food, treat yourself (moderately!)

Just remember to put a limit on it and get back to work!

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Best wishes, Nanao - let me know how it goes!


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