Studying for an exam can be quite scary, especially when you have not covered much during the semester. Looking at the number of course materials that you have to cover in a matter of weeks is enough to dread the exams.

The same thing happened to me, I was a student who didn’t have a motivation to study. I attended classes because everyone was going and I didn’t know what else to do.  But I was living passively, without any purpose or goal.

I just knew that I was going to college. But it wasn’t enough! Living like this never brings success especially when it comes to academics.

I had bad grades every semester and I used to dread it when anyone asked me, “how were your results?”

But there was nothing I could do. I hated waking up in the morning to attend classes, but I still did it anyway. It got so bad until one summer break when I took a step backwards and looked at my transcript. I realized that if I continued having results like these, I wasn’t going to be able to use them for anything.

That was my moment of truth. The failures and embarrassment that I had suffered over time pushed me to pursue something. I had to go to my parents and I told them that I wanted to change schools. I needed a fresh start somewhere else. Thankfully, they agreed.

The turning point…

Now I knew what I wanted to do. I knew the purpose why I was chasing that degree and I knew why I had to finish with good grades this time around. The degree was going to be the ticket to my future career and was going to kick off the kind of life I wanted to live.

That was the motivation I needed. But that didn’t mean that my grades magically changed so there were some habits that I had to learn, they included:

I made a routine and followed it

Making a routine was quite easy, but following it was another thing entirely. When I first decided to seriously start studying, I allocated 8 hours for reading everyday. I couldn’t cope with it at all.

You laughed as well, right?

It was not because it was too much to read for 8 hours a day. But before then, I barely read for 30 minutes except I wanted to cram for an exam. I had to grow into it steadily. So I tore up the routine I wrote before and wrote another one. This time I only decided to read for three hours a day. I would read for two hours immediately I woke up in the morning and an hour before I went to bed at night.

In less than two weeks, I saw changes. And I thought it was time to push myself harder, so I did. Now I can read for 12 hours a day if I want to.

I made time for my hobbies during exam period

Even when I was just starting out, I had to make time for my hobbies. I did this so that I had something to look forward to when I took breaks. During this period, I didn’t do anything related to study at all. I just relaxed my brain and did things that were fun to me.

As I continued, I reduced the time spent on my hobbies and increased the time I spent studying. No matter how long you decide to study, always have at least two hours everyday for yourself. It is important that you relax your brain.

When your brain is tired, it is not able to retain any information you try to force inside. But relaxing and starting again will make the brain fresh and that way you can remember everything that you’ve read.

I put all my digital devices away

Phones and laptops can be quite distracting. One minute you are deep into what you are reading, then your phone chimes. You pick it up to see what that was and before you know it, thirty minutes is gone. But it’s not only the time you’ve wasted scrolling around. You’ll also find out that when you try to get back to studying, you are not able to focus immediately. It will take you another 20-25 minutes before you can focus completely.

To have a successful study period, it is important that you make the most of it. If you are going to read for 30 minutes then it means that you should be undistracted throughout that 30-minute period. This way, you are able to achieve everything that you plan to.

Sometimes, I use my phone to listen to music when studying. But the trick is to invest in high quality headphones and place your phone on DND. You might also have to pre-select a study playlist so that you do not have to keep picking up your phone to choose songs.

I never study for an exam in bed

Trust me, many students fall victim of this. I used to do it as well before I found out that I was not able to get anything done. It is impossible to be productive in a place that your brain has associated with relaxing or sleeping.

If you want to read on your bed, you’ll probably do it lying down or crosslegged. These positions will not help to focus as you should be, and you will most likely end up with backaches and neck aches.

You might even find yourself taking unintentionally naps!

So if you want to study effectively, get a good table and chair that is conducive for reading. This way you’ll be able to focus on the materials that you have to cover.


As you can see, struggling with study motivation is not unique to you alone. I have suffered from it, and so has many students in colleges everywhere. The difference was that I knew that I had to make a change and I worked towards it.

It wasn’t easy and neither was it fun, but I knew I didn’t want to end up a failure. That was what kept me going. Anytime I wanted to give up, or get distracted I remember that I don’t want to end up a failure.

So, if you find yourself having the same issues I did, pick from the tips I used and add them to your schedule. If you do this regularly, you will see that you’ll begin to look forward to your study period.