Top Ten Tips: Finding your Exam Motivation

Library Student Team
5 min readMay 27, 2019


By Jain from the Student Team

Image of Top Tips Title — Finding Your Exam Motivation

Finding the motivation to study for exams, whether closed or take-home exams are easier said than done! During arguably the most stressful period of the year, it’s important to keep motivated so you can achieve your best while also aiming to be stress-free. Here are some of our top tips for staying focused and motivated during this stressful time.

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Top Tip 1

Give yourself achievable targets. When you meet them you’ll have the satisfaction of crossing something off your list.

Image of Top Tip One — Achievable Targets

Whilst it’s good to aim high, it’s very easy to fall victim to overestimating the amount you can realistically achieve. Trying to work towards unattainable goals will burn you out and ultimately leave you feeling unsatisfied. This is why it’s important to take some time to really think about what to set as realistic targets.

Top Tip 2

Break up tasks into small, manageable chunks so you’ll feel less daunted by your workload. By chipping away at a measured pace you’ll be more likely to want to keep going. It’s a win-win!

Image of Top Tip Two — Break up tasks

It can be overwhelming when you have a lot of content to learn. It’s no good trying to cram lots of information in the night before your exam (…when has that scenario ever ended well?), so make sure to take some time in advance to plan how you’re going to cover all the material you need to. Studying over a period of time is more beneficial for memory and understanding and you’ll have the added bonus of not having to worry about missing anything out.

Top Tip 3

Why have you come to university? What are your goals for the future? Framing exams as a stepping stone to your goals will remind you of your initial motivations and re-energise your revision!

Image of Top Tip Three —Frame exams as a stepping stone

Even if you are unsure about your goals for the future, doing the best you can for your degree won’t hurt. Remember that exams aren’t designed to trick you or catch you out!

Top Tip 4

What will it feel like to graduate or to finish that particularly difficult exam? Visualising your success will encourage you to work your hardest and do your best!

Image of Top Tip Four — Visualise your success

When receiving results or graduating you definitely don’t want to regret not working hard enough! Your future self will be grateful if you know that you tried your hardest and achieved the best you could.

Top Tip 5

Sometimes it’s difficult to find motivation. Don’t worry if you aren’t feeling particularly excited or in the right mindset for revision — this is normal. Waiting for inspiration can hold you back, so just get stuck in and motivation might just follow.

Image of Top Tip Five — Don’t worry if you aren’t feeling motivated

Everyone has days where they aren’t particularly in the mood to revise. Especially during this time, the frequency of such days maybe more than usual. However, gently remind yourself to try to work even on those days will stop work building up and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed later on.

Top Tip 6

Coming together as a group will make the task feel smaller; collaborating makes revision more appealing, as well as holding you accountable!

Image of Top Tip 6 — Collaborating Makes Revision More Appealing

Who said revision can’t also be fun? Working with others is one way to make revision slightly more enjoyable. Meet up or have a group call with your course mates. It will give you the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another to overcome issues you might be struggling with as well as help push you to do the best you can.

Top Tip 7

If you achieve a study goal, like finishing a chapter or getting a question right, reward yourself with a study break. This will make your tasks seem less monotonous and you might feel more inclined to get back to work afterwards.

Image of Top Tip Seven — Reward yourself

Study breaks will seem much more well deserved when taken after completing a study task. Make sure your breaks really are breaks! They should be time for you to take a step away from your work and recharge. If you’ve been using a laptop/computer whilst revising, taking a short walk during your study breaks is a good way to give your eyes some time away from the screen to prevent eye strain.

Top Tip 8

Remember that it’s important to give yourself time to relax during exam season or you’ll burn out before your exams are finished.

Image of Top Tip Eight — Take time to relax

A balance between working and relaxing is key to maintaining a positive mindset. Taking a well-deserved evening off after a long day of work can help you recharge for the coming day whilst equally being beneficial to your physical and mental health!

Top Tip 9

You’ve worked so hard during the year but remember you have a relaxing summer just around the corner. Don’t give up now!

Image of Top Tip Nine — Don’t give up

The last push is often the most difficult. Keeping focussed until the end of your exams will make your summer break feel much more well earned. Don’t worry, your time to enjoy the nice weather is not that far away. You can do it! While that being said, do not forget to take care of yourself and your mental health by engaging in stress-relieving activities!

Top Tip 10

Congratulations on getting to the end of your exams! We hope you have a brilliant summer!

Image of Top Tip Ten — Congratulations!



Library Student Team

The University of Manchester Library Student Team