Sunday 26 February 2017

Getting down to study Find motivation to make the most of your available time

For the majority of students, it is not easy to sit down and study. One of the main reasons is that we are not taught how to do it.

Also, for many students, the fear of failure weighs heavily on their minds. It is often easier for them to avoid beginning a serious level of study altogether -- they drift along doing the minimum, fooling their families, and, worst of all, fooling themselves.

This lack of initiative will result in a build-up of assignments and incomplete memorisation, which, come exam time, will be a problem.

Approaching your learning in an organised and planned way will help you avoid this. Read our study guide and apply what you learn to your own study.

The best thing you can do to overcome the barrier to effective study is to think positively -- setting some goals, for example -- and get going.

Once you begin an assignment, you may find it more interesting and not as challenging as you had anticipated. The relief you feel as you accomplish a task will motivate you and you will begin to look forward to this feeling of satisfaction as you progress further in your studies.

Not being able to study could be categorised in two ways -- conscious and sub-conscious reasons. Put simply, they are the reasons the student knows about and the ones that may not be as obvious.

The first category contains distractions such as TV, a hectic social life and Facebook. The physical environment around the student may also have a bearing. There may also be practical reasons, such as having to help at home or do part-time work, which reduce the time available for study.

It may not be possible to have ideal conditions for your study, but you must make the best of them.

The second category, sub-conscious reasons, is less obvious and so may be more difficult to deal with.

Here are some of the typical reasons that can cause an inability to motivate yourself

and get going:

Asking yourself 'what is the point? A lack of motivation, purpose or self-belief.

A lack of ability to change. There is no structure, no goal or long-term aims. Asking yourself 'why bother, it's not going to work?'

With the mountain of work ahead, you begin to panic. It seems impossible to tackle and you keep putting it off.

You feel powerless. You feel you can't achieve anything. You have low expectations of yourself.

You label yourself as not being able to do it. You make yourself believe you're lazy and soon enough it becomes a reality.

You fear failure and criticism and you have low self-esteem.

These are the things you have to change and these

are the ways you can go about doing that:

• Think positively.

• Talk to someone you trust -- a parent, teacher or friend.

• Start small and set yourself realistic goals. Achieve them.

• Try to do things differently. Change your study area.

• Do not go on the internet or watch TV until all study has been completed.

• Change how you do things at weekends, such as not going out on Saturday night and getting up for study early on Sunday morning when the house may be quieter.

• Think of the things that are blocking you and plan to overcome them.

Motivation comes from two main sources -- the internal satisfaction we get when we complete a particular task and the external "reward" of getting good grades.

The key thing about motivation is that it is something that we must build from within ourselves.

As part of your assessment of how effective your study skills are, you will decide on what things you are trying to achieve and how you will go about achieving these.

You must have a strong self-belief in your own ability to achieve these goals.

It is vital to believe in yourself. If you don't, how can you expect to succeed? Even a small bit of self-belief can work wonders.

Here are some ways in

which you can build up

your self-belief:

• Believe in your ability to achieve what you want.

• Try to bring a positive attitude to your learning.

• Begin to make it happen by planning small, realistic goals.

• Visualise the end goal in mind -- what do you want to achieve in your exams?

• Your achievements could be impressive if you choose to make them happen. So make it happen -- be proactive. Make the change. Be proactive and become positive.

• You should take on the responsibility of the exams -- you have the opportunity to succeed. It's up to you, not anyone else. Only you can realise your full potential. Only you can bring a desire and a willingness to succeed into your studies.

• Leave the past behind you. If you didn't succeed before, forget about it and start afresh. Don't be labelled by other people.

• Know what you want and how you are going to get there.

• Have a plan of action.

• Try to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

• Challenge yourself. This is a good place to do some goal-setting.

• Praise yourself when you achieve something.

• Seek help when needed.

• See the positive in everything.

Irish Independent Supplement

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