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How to motivate yourself to revise for an exam

Are you preparing to revise for an examination and need help getting motivated? This article on How to motivate yourself to revise for an exam is just what you need to read in order to get started. Getting started has always been the hardest part for many students when it comes to revising.

And according to some experts, the fatal mistake made by students (but also their teachers and their parents) is not to take pleasure in revising as most current school systems only settle in evaluation, the search for performance and competition.

For more effective work, According to Isabelle Pailleau (clinical psychologist of work and learning and co-author of Keep calm) using positive pedagogy which is the « pedagogy of joy » could help motivate students.  

This recommended Positive Pedagogy starts from the principle that the grade is not important, it’s what we do with it that is important. It is to say that we can learn, without suffering, by making efforts that do not cost us our self-esteem. In short, it is to value the practice of  » encouragement, rather than pressure « .

Preparation = Motivation

For Isabelle Pailleau, “ the first thing to do to revise is not to open your notebooks. You must first give yourself a global vision, in order to plan and organize  ”. Concretely, ask yourself the question: “ What is expected of me? From there, one can draw a map of one’s program, for example using mind mapping . “ It’s reassuring to work, which allows you to know your destination and identify the steps acquired and missing. »

Isabelle Pailleau sums up her thoughts with a simple rule: “ Sitting down is only effective if you know why and how to do it. No rush, then. Before rushing headlong into a math textbook, give yourself plenty of time to identify what you’re looking for and how you’re going to work on it. The idea is to set a goal to achieve, which helps to attack and stay the course.

How to motivate yourself to revise for an exam? – The art of staying focused

Preparation also rhymes with concentration. But how do you set up effective work slots? First, put the phone and the computer away, or at least turn off the notifications. The idea is obviously to avoid all visual and auditory distractions. Then, adapt your workspace well by tidying up your desk, and why not by choosing background music conducive to work (Youtube is full of playlists!). 

In addition, from year to year, the average concentration-time decreases. Today,  it is eight seconds, for adults and teenagers, one less than goldfish. Also, sinking into books non-stop for several hours is not really a good solution. 

 » The idea is to indulge in short work periods, for example, 15 minutes, but effective, » advises Isabelle Pailleau. And between each, “ take some fresh air and drink a glass of water before leaving for another quarter of an hour  ”. 

Don’t forget the breaks

Sometimes longer pauses are essential , especially when blocking. Isabelle Pailleau gives an example that we all know: “ If you’re stuck on a problem for too long, tearing your hair out is useless. You have to go out for 10 minutes and get some fresh air, walk, take a bike ride… When you come back, the problem will be approached from a totally different angle and much easier to solve. » 

For the attention of the smart ones: “ Taking a lot of breaks does not mean cutting revisions with an hour of video games. On the other hand, in the evening, after an effective day’s work, there is no harm in rewarding yourself, for example by going out to see a movie with friends. 

Besides, for those who like to see their friends, why not revise in a group? For some, “ the living experience of exchanging will anchor the memory ”, explains Isabelle Pailleau. 

Sugar is the enemy

 » Drinking a lot of water is very important, notes Isabelle Pailleau because it allows the body and the brain to stay hydrated « . Still, in the culinary register, she strongly advises against eating too much sugar. Small point SVT: “ Sugar explodes the job of the pancreas, whereas, during the revisions, it is the brain which needs to be irrigated by blood .  » Say goodbye to sodas, chocolate bars and energy drinks.

Another factor that plays a huge role in the quality of revisions: sleep. If “ we are not all equal when it comes to sleep ”, according to the psychologist, a constant exists, also valid for adults: “ To sleep better, you have to get off the screens at least half an hour before going to bed. Another very simple technique: doing sports at the end of the day, which accentuates physical fatigue at bedtime. 

Work at night? Bad idea

And for latecomers (yes, you, who read this article a week before the baccalaureate), is revising at night a solution? “ It is useless to work when you are tired, the brain does not register, warns Isabelle Pailleau. It is better to wake up very early to work than to revise at night. »

The positive pedagogy advocated by Isabelle Pailleau does not offer a miracle recipe, but starts from the principle that one can “ work less, but better ”. But wouldn’t that be a little lax? “ It is not the pedagogy of the lazy, but the pedagogy of well-being, she defends herself. Working in this way gives pleasure and triggers motivation . » 

 » A little good work is better than a lot of semblance of work, which is exhausting as well « , concludes the psychologist.


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How to motivate yourself to revise for an exam

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