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23 Tips On Staying Motivated To Study For Students

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

Whatever level of student you are and no matter how committed you are to getting that degree or past that exam, you’re sure to run into motivation problems. Why study when Netflix is calling… Here are 23 tips on how to stay motivated to study.

#1 Get Your Goal In Front Of You

You went to college for a reason. There was something you wanted to study and something you wanted to become. It could have been a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or scientist, to name a few. Get a photograph from a magazine which pictures someone in the field you desire to enter and place it within constant sight of your study area. Every time you are studying you will be reminded of the end goal and why you are there.

Contributors: V. Lynn Whitfield  from VLW Enterprise Inc.

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#2 Reward Yourself

Find a way of rewarding yourself if you study for that test. You can treat yourself to a bike ride. Hang out with friends. Take a trip into town if the campus is not located in the downtown area. Or just chill out for the rest of the time.

Contributors: V. Lynn Whitfield  from VLW Enterprise Inc.

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#3 Intern

Get out and intern or explore areas of the “real world” you are interested in and recognize that without a degree / education that those opportunities will be very unlikely.

Contributors: Lisa Vento Nielsen from The Next Step

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#4 Set Up Your Own Challenge

Just like people challenge themselves when exercising or losing weight, set up your own challenge. You can challenge yourself to make a certain number of A grades in one semester. You can challenge yourself to make the Dean’s list. Perhaps there is an honor society you would like to join so you have to keep your grades up, that’s another good challenge.

Contributors: V. Lynn Whitfield  from VLW Enterprise Inc.

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#5 Treat Schoolwork Like A Job

It's important to treat schoolwork just like a job, particularly if you are an adult student, so create a study space that you can treat as your office, and designate specific hours during the day that you'll spend at work.

Contributors: Katie S. Davis from Park Avenue Pediatric Neuropsychology

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#6 Study Buddy

Ask your friends and family (your parents’ friends) to be a mentor and / or study buddy and offer to help them in a way you like doing - so if you like to write, offer to provide them with articles about their business or something else “real world” to help build your portfolio and have them motivate you to study / get through school.

Contributors: Lisa Vento Nielsen from The Next Step

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#7 Study Schedule

Break up your studying and assignments into little bites - don’t try to do everything the night before but set up a schedule so you can know what tests are coming up and what projects (all should be on the syllabus and available by asking the teacher / professor) and use a calendar system to break up the work into deliverables such as today, study chapter 1 notes, tomorrow write a paragraph for paper etc.

Contributors: Lisa Vento Nielsen from The Next Step

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#8 Set Mini-deadlines

Big deadlines can be daunting, which is why it's helpful to break a project down into smaller tasks. Track your progress in a personal planner, and add some flair - color-coding, stickers, etc. - and pretty soon, you'll be surprised by how far you've come! This works for any large task—completing a project, studying for an exam, writing a paper, and more.

Contributors: Melissa Ho from Fueled

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#9 Work With Your Classmates

If, for example, there's a demanding exam coming up, ask a classmate to collaborate on a study guide several days in advance.

Contributors: Melissa Ho from Fueled

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#10 Meet With Your Professor (or Teaching Assistant)

They're there to help! As intimidating as they may be, scheduling a one-on-one meeting can help clarify any confusion surrounding the material, helping you feel more confident on exam day and beyond.

Contributors: Melissa Ho from Fueled

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#11 Have A Big Study Goal

The most important thing I teach my students is to have a big study goal, with lots of small, manageable goals to get there.  If the big goal is wanting to ace a test, the small goals must each be attainable with a small amount of effort, and must move the student in the right direction.  Creating appropriate goals is an art and takes practice, as well as occasional guidance.

Contributors: Adam Cole from A Jazz Musician Who Writes Books

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#12 Set “Unrealistic” Goals

Some of the worst advise a professor had given a class was to set realistic goals. Bulls***. Each semester my goal was straight A’s, and even though I never got straight A’s (got close but a B would always sneak in there) I got a higher GPA than if I had set realistic goals. I remember students would say they would get a A in this class or a B in this class. They already made up their mind on what they would be getting. Don’t do this. Your goal is straight As and you can do it! And if you don't do it, you will at the very least achieve a higher GPA than otherwise.

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right”

- Henry Ford.

Contributors: Greg Shepard from Dallas Maids

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#13 Look For A Real World, I-could-do-this-today Link

Many students quickly lose interest and despair of having to study material they feel they will never use. A good instructor can weave into lessons the real world application of materials, but if that doesn't happen then look for this connection on your own. For example, I point out to my students who are concerned about being graded on grammar and spelling the many news stories where business deals fell apart or reputations were ruined due to simply proof reading mistakes.

Contributors: Karen Southall Watts from Karen Southall Watts Professional Encourager

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#14 Find Your Best Time Of Day And Use It

A key to good time management and self-motivation is to understand your personal energy rhythms and to use them to your advantage. If you're a night owl, then when possible study newer and more difficult materials in the evenings and night. If you know you have a big energy dip after lunch, don't try to memorize facts then, but instead opt for a nap or quick exercise session.

Contributors: Karen Southall Watts from Karen Southall Watts Professional Encourager

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#15 Design a Fun Study Guide

A study guide tailored to preferred learning styles can keep students engaged and motivated to study. Visual learners can take notes using different fonts or graphics. Auditory learner can record important concepts to be played back later. Kinesthetic learners can practice teaching concepts to others.

Contributors: Lemi-Ola Erinkitola from The Critical Thinking Child

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#16 Avoid Digital Distractions

Limit online studying to one digital device at a time to eliminate distractions from other sources.

Contributors: Lemi-Ola Erinkitola from The Critical Thinking Child

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#17 Care

There’s nothing worse than having to learn something you have no genuine interest in. The best solution to this is not to do it. I’m not saying drop the class or get an F, I’m saying that you should find a reason to care. It’s easier than you think, all you need to do is figure out how this otherwise useless class can change your life.

Contributors: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

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#18 Take A Break

Sometimes a lack of motivation comes down to nothing more than being too tired. If you need a break take a break. Taking a break will give you perspective and perspective will feed your motivation when you’re ready toget back at it.

Contributors: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

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#19 Question Yourself

  1. Do I have to do anything (today)?
  2. Am I able to do that?
  3. Is this activity or its result important to me?

The difficult part is that every question must be answered with yes so that we are ready to do something: 3 x yes results in motivation.

Contributors: Gianluca Romano from Yalu Jailbreak

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#20 Schedule Fun

Schedule 1-2 hours of a fun activity each day. Some things I did were watching my favorite TV show, went to a movie, exercised, visited a friend, went to get ice cream, and I even read US Weekly or People magazine - things that cleared my head to get back to my focus. Also, I did not feel deprived after doing those things.

Contributors: Sandi Webster from Pandi LLC

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#21 Pay Yourself

For every paper I completed on time, I paid myself $10; homework on time was $2. For every A that I received, I put $50 in a jar, $25 for B, nothing below a B. That's where I get the money for my fun activities in #2! Or I bought something really nice for myself.

Contributors: Sandi Webster from Pandi LLC

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#22 Use Your Alarm

Set the alarm on your phone at 1-hour intervals. If I fell asleep while reading or at the computer, the alarm would wake me up and I wouldn't lose several hours.

Contributors: Sandi Webster from Pandi LLC

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#23 Avoid Negative People

Once a professor came into my computer class and said if you are in this field for the money, then you aughta get out. I was not solely in computers for the money because back in the mid 90’s I knew computers were the way of the future. I understood it was important to overcome my weakness in tech. This was the BEST “mistake” I ever made! The computer classes did pull my super-duper GPA down BUT getting over my fear of computers paid dividends. I got out of the computer field a few years in my career because it was not my talent; however it allowed me to be ULTRA-SUCCESSFUL in life. I would not be where I am without them. By the way, a secret to being successful is focusing on your and your employee’s strengths, not to improve weaknesses… in most cases, not all.

Contributors: Greg Shepard from Dallas Maids

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