How To SERIOUSLY Motivate Yourself to Revise | Student Guide

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When you’re on your fifth brew, 1,567th TikTok and staring at a pile of books, you know you haven’t got this revision thing down.

As a university student, revising is a pretty big part of your student life. Exams form a hefty slice of your grade, along with your projects and assignments. Whether you agree with the examination methodology or not, it’s an unavoidable aspect of being a student. The good news is, you’ve had practice at school and many of those good habits you learnt still apply.

So, get your highlighters ready, notepads open, and brains checked in for the ultimate ten ways to get motivated to revise and write a dam good essay.

1. Make a revision playlist

boy in room listening to music while he revises

Make working work for you. If you love your music, make yourself a revision playlist. Rhythmic lyric-free songs are the best as these lend themselves to deep focus. Music activates our brains and releases endorphins, so it’s no wonder that listening to music has been known to focus minds, relieve stress around exams and assignments, and block out distractions.

Whilst you want to be selective, try not to spend too long selecting those tunes. That’s the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here. Zero procrastination. All those songs that get you bobbing in your chair, let your stank face loose and get your gun fingers at the ready are not the songs to have on your playlist.

Mix up the genres (electronic, ambient nu-jazz, j-garage) and try to remember that music that seamlessly transitions into the next song is the one. Boiler Rooms should be skipped and substituted for lo-fi beats to study and relax to.

2. Exercise

students exercising

Another endorphin mega releaser is physical exercise. Heading down to your gym or going for a run outside gets those pleasure chemicals coursing through your body. Exercise makes your outlook far more positive creating a better mindset to approach revision.

3. Start with things that interest you

brainstorm before revising in uni

Ease yourself in. Even though you might be super passionate about your subject, some things will be more interesting than others. Start with the topics or themes you enjoy to get you motivated and in the zone. This way, you’ll create the habit and workflow of revision that’ll take you through to the drier areas of your course.

4. Don’t do all the easy bits all at once

girl studying hard for university deadlines

And that brings us nicely to our next trip. While choosing things that interest you jumpstarts the motivation, make sure you don’t front-load your revision marathon with the easy bits. Spreading out the things you know and are likely to instantly smash out the park are excellent little motivators after some more trickery topics. Spread these out and use them as a little brain treat after you tackle a challenging subject.

5. Study buddy

studying hard and working even harder with a buddy

Revision and writing essays don’t have to be a solo affair. Pairing up with someone to bounce around ideas, test each other, make notes or even split up journal articles make revision and essay writing social without the hangover.

6. Reward your revision

student rewarding themself

Long term or short-term rewards work wonders for those of you who hate being sat at a desk. Sweet treats every 20 minutes whilst using tried and tested study methods like the Pomodoro technique or planning a fantastic night out or getaway once assignments are all handed in are great ways to keep yourself motivated throughout the summer.

7. Plan and create checklists

revision notes and ticking off the checklist

Organisation, organisation, organisation. It pays off – seriously.

Breaking down the insurmountable task of revising an entire year’s work in a few weeks is only doable if you break it down into small actionable tasks. Do it by topic, methodology, author, year etc., whatever suits you best. Lists also create a sense of achievement. You get such a sense of accomplishment ticking or crossing things off a list. Make sure you don’t plan to do too much in a day. Carrying your list into the next day can lead to demotivation so be smart and realistic.

8. Stay off the socials

stop going on your phone whilst revising

There’s no real tip or how to do this. Just switch ’em off. At least for the duration of your study period. End of.

We don’t need to go into how detrimental too much screen time is, or the destructive power social have on our concentration and focus. You know this, so just uninstall or block them off for a few hours.

If you’re yearning for some screen time and need to have some interaction with your hone, check out some productivity apps that might help you.

9. Eat clean


Feeding the body feeds the mind, right? Stay away from sugary foods, even if you’re super lagging as these will ensure a very short-lived sugar high and trust us when we say you’ll pay for it.

Snacking on the right foods such as nuts, dried fruit and seeds, accompanied by wholesome and balanced meals, will feed the mind and soul. Even though we’re against all-nighters, chances are you’ll probably pull one or two. Pack nutrient-dense snacks for the library, try and lay off the caffeine (everything in moderation) and avoid alcohol if you want to get up early.

10. Tidy your space

desk with a tidy space

A library is a perfect place if you need a change of scenery, but most of the time you’ll be stuck in your room, looking at the same four walls. And we know those four walls are lovely, cos, well they’re our four walls – but are they tidy?

We also know you’ve got a pretty sweet desk lying underneath all those clothes, hangers, takeaway boxes, plant pots, makeup, books etc. The adage of tidy space tidy mind seriously rings true.

Chaotic environments make it super hard to focus and contribute to cognitive overload, something you’re already susceptible to whilst revising. Procrastinators also tend to work in messier environments. If this is hitting home, you need to make that desk space have more clean lines than an Apple store.

Get organised! Pop down to Wilkos and get a desk organiser for your pens, sticky notes and highlighters and some beaut notepads. Kit out your desk and start using it as a desk rather than an extra storage surface.

You pay some serious tuition fees to come to uni, so make sure you make the most of it, get the best grades you can and smash through the assignment period.

Got some tips of your own? Start a conversation on our social channels!