It's Exam Time - Let's Get Motivated!


Get motivated for the Matric exams


This is the time of year that you should be focusing on studying and understanding your work. You should be buried in books, and you should be excited to show off your newly acquired knowledge.

If only!

If you are anything like me, you may put off studying for exams. Somehow I always find something ‘urgent’ to do before I can begin studying. Many times I prepare my study area, take out my books – and suddenly remember that I haven’t cleaned the bathroom, or my cupboard needs reorganising!

I’ve put off studying many times, and let me tell you it’s really not worth it!

The more I put off studying, the more stressed I feel and the more I dread my exams. I’ll admit, I do enjoy the adrenaline rush I get from leaving studying to the last minute, cramming the night before, and still passing my exam. But that only works sometimes, and there are subjects like Maths that you can’t do that with.

So, I’ve had to start convincing myself to begin studying early and stay motivated.

I went onto the internet and searched for ‘exam motivation’ and advice on approaching studying – thanks Google!

Here is what I wanted to know:

How do I motivate myself to study?

This is hard. Sometimes you need more than a few motivational words, sometimes you need the reasons why you should study, and the consequences of not studying in black and white.

I found an example of a ‘study motivational list’ on Pinterest. I changed the details to suit me. You can also write a list like this and refer back to it when you need study motivation.

Reasons I should study

  • I’ve come this far, I shouldn't give up now
  • Not studying can mean having to redo my school year
  • Not studying can mean delaying my further studies
  • I deserve better
  • Once I’ve written the exam, I don’t have to worry about it anymore
  • Do what I have to now, so that I can do what I want to later
  • To prove to myself that I can do it

How do I set up a study schedule and stick to it?

This one took a bit of planning, practice and a lot of saying no to party invitations. But, I also found it wasn’t only social events that were a distraction, it was my procrastination that was the real problem. Remember, I said sometimes I would rather reorganise my cupboard than study? I had to figure out how I would conquer myself.

So, I scheduled all my distractions, I made a to-do list for all the things, other than study, I needed to do and did them. I made sure that my room was clean, cupboard organised, and dishes washed. I replied to text messages, told my friends that I would be offline for a while, and turned off my phone.

This was hard at first, and sometimes I had to force myself to do it and get to studying. Eventually, it became easier as I got into the habit of doing it.

Sometimes sticking to your schedule is simply forcing yourself to do it. And, referring back to the motivation list you made.

What supplies do I need for studying?

Before beginning a study session, I lay out everything I’ll need, including snacks and water. I make sure that I have my textbooks, a notepad, and stationery (like pens and highlighters, and a calculator if I’m doing maths). Having snacks and water close by means you don’t have to disrupt your study session to get something from the kitchen (and you can’t use hunger as a procrastination technique!).

Where is the best place for me to study?

I’ve always found that the best place to study is in a relatively quiet space, at a table, with natural light. If your house is busy and noisy, like mine, you may find it hard to find a completely quiet place to study. Going to a public library to study is a good idea, and you can ask the librarian for books on the subject you’re studying if you want extra information.

What is the best time for me to study?

During the week you are at school (and I’m at work), so studying has to be done at night. When I get home I like to do some light exercise, like a short walk, and have supper before I begin studying. The exercise clears my mind and releases bottled irritation from the day; and eating before studying fuels my brain so that I can concentrate better.

Weekends, and during exam time when you have days off, studying in the morning works best, while you still have energy and brainpower.

Collection of motivational quotes

Surrounding myself with motivational quotes gives me the little push I need when I don’t feel like studying, and inspires me to keep going. I like to paste quotes in notebooks, diaries and sometimes my textbooks. I also save quotes as my screensaver on my phone and computer, and I stick them all over my room.

To get your motivational quote collection started, I’ve chosen my favourite quotes to share with you. I found these quotes when I did a search for ‘motivational quotes’ on Google.


“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” - Albert Einstein

“Procrastination is the thief of time.” - Edward Young

“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy — I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it” - Art Williams

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” -Thomas Edison


Remember to post questions you have regarding further studies, distance learning and exams on Facebook. I’ll answer them in my next blog post.


Good luck with exams!

Desi Signature10the Distance Learning Diva


Disclaimer:  Martin and Desi are fictional characters created by College SA for educational purposes.