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Finding the Motivation


  1.                 Finding the Motivation J

Create a vision-board

From magazines and newspapers find images or words that reflect your goals and cut them out. For example, it could be a picture of a group of students with the words respect or friendship beside it… whatever the feeling is associated with the image for you. By emotionally connecting with the goal it makes it more powerful. Then arrange the words & images on an A4 page and glue them into place. When you have finished the vision-board put this somewhere that you will see it every day to remind yourself of the purpose of all this hard slog!

So what do you want from life?

  • Relationships: Friendships, romance, acceptance by others, liking self, etc.
  • Career: Job, work experience or course. If you don’t know what you want to do yet, think of the qualities of the career that you would like, e.g. caring for others, working with machines, working with numbers, work with animals, own business, etc.
  • Skills: Looking after yourself e.g. learn to cook, learn to drive, be able to budget, learn to ski, play the guitar, eating healthily, being fit, confident in self etc.
  • Material wealth: House, car, travel, savings, nice clothes etc.



       Your Study Space

Study by yourself in your room

If possible, do your study in a room by yourself.  Arrange with parent/ guardian that you have a place of study that is quiet and is separate from others in the house.


Not too hot, not too cold

It is important that the temperature is comfortable in the room you study in. A room that is too warm or stuffy or too cold can have a big impact on your ability to concentrate.


Have good lighting on desk

A desk lamp is essential to avoid eye strain. Place your lamp on the opposite side to the hand that you write with. This way you will avoid shadows falling across your page.


Keep desk free from clutter

Ensure that your desk is tidy and free of clutter before you start a study session. Before you begin, spend a couple of minutes organizing your desk. You will be amazed how much better you feel working on a desk that is neat and free of clutter.

Ensure your chair is suitable

During study you need to sit for a long period of time. Make sure that your chair is as comfortable as possible.


                ◔ Your Study Time


Actively discourage interruption

Getting distracted by others can be very annoying and frustrating. Get the support of your parent or guardian on having your study place free from interruptions and noise. Turn off your mobile as soon as you start study.


Assign study times and let friends know!

It is important that you inform your friends, parents and family members of your study times. Arrange to text, phone or see friends outside study times. You will not lose friends by letting them know what you want!


No TV / Radio / Internet distractions

Reduce or cut out distraction from TV and radio during your study times. If this is difficult for you to do, try rewarding yourself with some music during break times.

Resources to hand

Always have all textbooks, notes and equipment at hand that you are going to need for the study period.


Study desk for study only

Never use your study desk for leisure activities such as listening to music. Get your brain to associate your place of study activity and nothing else.


Study one subject at a time instead of multitasking

If you're feeling really stressed, it's often tempting to work on 3 assignments at the same time, because you are so worried about all of them. But that actually makes each task more unpleasant and difficult to accomplish, makes everything take longer, and means you do a worse job on each task. Instead, devote a chunk of time to studying for one subject, take a break, and then start studying for the next subject


Take an active break at least every hour

After an hour of sitting and studying, get up and take a little break. You can walk around, eat a snack, do a few push-ups, or go get some air outside will help give your body and mind a boost of energy. Try to make the break last about 10 minutes so that you can go back to studying. When youtake frequent active breaksyou're able to learn much more in the long term.


Don't lie down when you study

You may find yourself dozing off and not getting any work done.

Maintain your focus

If you really can't focus, don’t panic, don’t get upset. Take a 10-minute break to eat, walk or get fresh air and then come back to studying

Have regular meals and water

Eat an hour before you sit down to study and make sure you drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. Your brain cannot work effectively while you are hungry or thirsty. Maintain a healthy diet overall; it helps with concentration, memory and brain function. Foods that have been linked to improved brainpower include salmon, blueberries, avocados, beans, nuts, pomegranate juice, and dark chocolate.

Don’t study only new material

Devote about 30-40% of your day to learning new material and then the rest of the day revising stuff you have done on other days.

Practice a positive mindset

Success in school isn't all about innate talent. It's mostly about effort. Instead of telling yourself, “I'm no good at this subject,” tell yourself, “I can learn more if I practice.” Instead of saying, “I'm bad at studying,” say, “I'm going to practice studying more efficiently. Don't worry if you have a more negative mindset now. You can develop a positive mindset with lots of positive self-talk.

Have a day off !!

It’s a good idea to have a day off from the study from time to time too to allow yourself to relax and recharge. And, don’t feel guilty about it; we all need rest and play to keep healthy to make sure we work or study productively.

Study in Different ways

Use different ways of working to assist your memory as we remember by both hearing and seeing things. So read something, jot down notes and speak it aloud. For instance watch a youtube clip on how to do biology experiments or how to solve a maths problem as well as reading the book and practice for orals by saying it aloud. It can be good to record it as you practice, then listen back and make corrections. Get used to hearing your own voice. Practice with a friend too if it helps.

Get more interested in the difficult topics

Look for aspects that interest you or ways to connect what you're learning to your own interests. If you don't like your English class, for example, but you love History, try to focus on the historical aspects of the literature. Every topic will have at least one interesting aspect to it. All you have to do is find those parts!!

One difficult topic a day

Tackle just one of the areas of learning that you find tricky or that you feel stuck with each day as those areas will take more energy for you to master than the ones you find easier.

Make sure you get enough sleep every night

Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep as this will allow your battery to recharge and help you focus.  Aim to get 8 hours of sleep at night. When you are sleep-deprived you will get easily distracted. Here are some ways to help:

  • Have a nightly bedtime routine.
  • Wind down at the end of the day, have some fun but come off the games/social media at least one hour before you go bed as your mind takes time to wind down when it is been stimulated.
  • Try reading a book, listening to music before bed. Or go on youtube and find a relaxation session to calm your mind and body. Here’s a couple that you could try…


  • Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm.
  • Try to go to bed as same time every day.





Detail the areas to be studied. Tick when complete. Use the comment box to list specific areas you weren’t sure about & need to spend more time on.


Area to Cover











































YOUR PLAN: How are you going to tackle those tricky areas of learning?    

                           Some ideas… tackle one area per day, check out Youtube, ask a friend, and look at past exam papers…



















           Managing the Nerves

What actually is stress?

Stress is NORMAL. It is a reaction to a danger or threat and is a bodily response to ensure survival of the species. It provides the energy in your body to either run away or to be able to stand your ground and fight when in danger.

Why do I feel stressed about exams?

Because you think of the exams as a threat, your body acts in the same way as if your life was in danger. The body doesn’t know that you aren’t under attack from say… a wild animal. 

Is stress bad for me?


Stress can actually help you to perform well in situations like exams and interviews. It only becomes a problem when you experience stress over a long period of time, when there is no obvious reason for the stress or when the stress experienced is excessive.

How do I know if it is excessive and I need to seek help?

If you are feeling panicky a lot of the time, have difficulties sleeping, have lost your appetite, feel angry a lot of the time or low in your mood these are all indicators that all is not well.  We can all have spells of this and that’s normal but if this is happening often or over an extended period of time then you need to let your parents know.

Sometimes our thinking can create stress

How we think about situations makes a difference to how well we cope with them. For instance if we are always telling ourselves that we are no good then of course, we won’t believe in ourselves and be able to study well. Or just because we find one subject tricky, we tell ourselves that we are rubbish at everything and so we undermine ourselves and our abilities. Check this out on-line if you want to know more about the different thinking errors that we all engage in sometimes: Identify what negative thinking patterns you use, be aware of your thinking in the moment and try to change the negative self-talk to something more positive. 

It is easy to say “be positive”, but what if I don’t do great in these exams?

Remember, it’s not the end of the world if these exams don’t go as well as you hoped as there are lots of ways to get to college if that’s what you want or to succeed in life through a different route. Once you know that you have put the work in, that’s all that you can ask of yourself. Each of you is awesome in your own way: Some great at the academic work, some fantastic singers or musicians, some great with animals, some are just incredibly kind. Whatever it is that you have going for you, you will find your way as long as you believe in yourself. Don’t be harder on yourself than you would on someone else!. It is important that you treat yourself with the same compassion and kindness as you would a friend.


What can I do to help manage stress?

Here’s some things to think about:

  • Getting enough rest and fun in your life is really important.
  • Take a break from the study if you need to.
  • Do things that you enjoy.
  • Spend time with friends and family.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise is great for burning off stress so find something that works for you.
  • Caffeine and smoking are stimulants and will make the stress worse so avoid these
  • High sugar foods are stimulants so eat healthily but enjoy the odd treat too!
  • Monitor how you are feeling and take action. So, if you have developed butterflies in the stomach, a headache, tightness of the muscles especially around the neck and shoulders or any of the other signs of stress, leave the study for a while and do something else to relax
  • Some people enjoy relaxation or meditation
  • And finally breathe deeply. Make sure your stomach rises and falls with each breath, not just the chest.


            Good Luck

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