6 Effective Strategies to Stay Motivated to Study

Staying focused is essential for success in your studies. However, even the most motivated of us can experience slumps in our energy levels. Motivation doesn’t come naturally all the time. When a drop in interest hits, it can be hard to push yourself to go to class, finish your assignments, or revise for exams. Having a few tactics to restore your concentration and improve your drive could see you maintaining focus on your studies. Here, we look at some of the most effective strategies for sustaining motivation and getting back on track when you feel like you’re losing focus.

Strategies for Motivation

1. Recall your purpose

Reminding yourself of why you’re studying can be an excellent way to restore your motivation. Consider why you chose your course in the first place, and take a step back and review your long-term goals and what you intend to achieve as a result of your studies. Write the reasons down on a piece of paper and pin them up on the wall. Whether it’s getting good marks, learning about a field, or becoming qualified for a chosen career pathway, your goals can drive you to persist in your academic work.

It’s also useful to consider the type of motivation behind your goals. For example, you might be more easily driven by positive motivations like learning for its own sake or achieving good grades so you can eventually secure a good job. Also, focus on what you like about each course and subject, whether it’s the research, writing, or sharing ideas with other students. This can help you stay engaged.

2. Take the first step

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you have a lot of reading, assignments, or exam preparation to do. When you become overwhelmed, you find it hard to know where to start and the temptation to procrastinate can present itself. In this case, take a small first step; act first and the energy to keep going will spark itself as you take action. Don’t worry about feeling ready or motivated enough to finish everything in one sitting. Instead, focus on completing each incremental step, starting with the first one.

3. Break tasks into manageable chunks

Along with taking that first small step, make sure you split tasks into manageable pieces. By dividing up a task, large or small, into smaller chunks, you’ll be less likely to feel swamped and unmotivated. For example, with an essay, break it down into the research, writing, and editing stages. You can then further divide each stage into smaller tasks, like researching on specific topics. From there, you can tackle each step one at a time rather than feeling overwhelmed and tempted to put it off.

Another way to break down tasks is by using the Pomodoro Technique. This involves simply dividing up tasks into, say, 15-minute or 25-minute intervals. This shorter time span prevents you from feeling intimidated by the task and losing motivation. It lets you achieve a more powerful focus. In between the intervals you can get up and have five-minute breaks during which you can do whatever you want. Even short breaks and small rewards can have a positive impact on your motivation levels.

4. Keep to a study schedule

For some students, keeping to a study schedule or routine allows them to stay motivated. With a schedule, you’ll set up specific study times across days, weeks, and/or months. This can help you stay focused on the bigger picture and help you sustain your focus throughout the entire academic year. Use a digital or paper-based calendar and assign study blocks of time into your days. This creates a habit, allowing for consistency and building an association between certain times of day with studying into your day.

5. Join a study group

Study groups are great ways to stay motivated. You can create one with your friends or by joining an established study group. You’ll be able to chat with people who have similar goals and travel on your academic journey together. It’s a good idea to have study groups with people who are doing the same courses as you so you can share ideas and motivate each other to meet deadlines throughout the academic year. If you don’t know where to find a study group, start with online platforms like MoocLab or GoConqr, or reach out to your academic institution for more information about the online groups they might have.

6. Create a study space

Create your ideal study space at home. Your study environment should be clean, quiet, organised, and comfortable. Remove any distractions like game consoles and tablets, and ensure you have comfortable seating. Switching it up by studying at the library once in a while can also help you keep motivated. Some people prefer not to study in a completely silent environment. In this case, playing relaxing background music or nature sounds, or heading out to the local cafe could help. Turning off your phone and using website-blocking extensions for your browser are other ways to eliminate distractions and make the most of your study periods.

Most if not all of us probably need a little extra help when it comes to maintaining the motivation to study. Throughout the academic year, you’ll likely be reviewing materials regularly, completing assignments, and revising for exams. Avoiding eleventh-hour sessions and sustaining a regular study pace is crucial for doing well and making the most of your learning experience. From reviewing exactly why you’re studying to creating a better study setup and routine, these strategies should help generate momentum, boost your motivation, and keep you powering through the whole academic year.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.