How to Stay Motivated in the First Term Back at School

It can be hard staying motivated for the duration of the school year, so here we provide advice to help you maintain your concentration and drive. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or bored of schoolwork, or if you just need an extra boost, the following tips will help you stay on track.


1. Get into a routine

You may work better in the morning, or perhaps you’re a night owl. Find a time that works best for you when it comes to studying. You’ll find it easier to stick to good habits that you form early on in the term, such as completing your homework in a timely manner when you get home from school.


2. Keep organised

Make a note of deadlines and exam dates in a study planner or journal so they don’t creep up on you! Plan your time and prioritise, to make sure you aren’t leaving your assignments until the last minute.


3. Change up your study space

Keep your workspace clean, tidy, organised and well-lit. Studying in a quiet place is advisable too; replicating exam conditions will help with memory recall. Try changing up where you study to improve your knowledge retention. If you’re getting bored of studying at the same desk in the same room in your house, day in day out, why not try a coffee shop or head to the library?


4. Study regularly 

Your memory recall will be enhanced if you study a bit every day, rather than cramming the night before the exam. Embed information in your long term memory by looking over your notes every night, well before the exam period. Incorporate active learning rather than just reading. Explaining what you’ve learnt to someone is a great way to ensure comprehension.


5. Find a study strategy that works for you

Vary your revision methods to find what works best for you. You could give the Pomodoro technique a go. Set a timer for 25 minutes of studying, followed by a 5 minute break and repeat. This can improve your focus and enhance your motivation. Or you could try listening to podcasts or making visual aids such as mind maps. Get a family member or a friend to test you on what you’ve learnt so you can identify what you need to work on.


6. Eliminate distractions while studying

Distractions can be external, such as messages popping up on your mobile phone, or internal, such as feeling hungry. If you’re distracted, it will take you much longer to complete a piece of homework or it may sidetrack you altogether. Keep distractions to a minimum when doing schoolwork. Put your phone on silent or even better hide it away so you’re not tempted to check on it. Make sure you’ve eaten a healthy and filling snack before starting work to prevent tummy rumblings! 


7. Exercise

Exercising regularly, whether it’s running, swimming, cycling, walking or taking a yoga class, is beneficial for brain activity, as well as mental and physical health. Getting your heart rate up improves blood flow to the brain. Exercise can also re-energise you and improve your mood by releasing endorphins. 


8. Eat healthy and nutritious foods

Eat a balanced diet of healthy nutrient-dense foods. Whole grains, fish with omega-3 and leafy green vegetables are shown to improve memory. If you find it hard to stick to a healthy diet, make small changes to begin with, such as replacing that daily lunch of pizza from the school cafeteria with something nutritious. Ensure you’re drinking enough water too – aim for at least 2-3L per day to increase your energy levels, relieve fatigue and aid concentration.


9. Sleep

It’s incredibly important to get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep may mean you’re forgetting crucial information, while a well-rested mind is crucial to maintaining optimum brain function. In the hour before bedtime, try to unwind and relax, avoiding screens for 30 minutes before shut-eye. Read a book before bed instead of going on your phone or watching TV to improve the quality of your sleep.


10. Set goals

Write a list of goals when it comes to education, making them attainable, personal and focused. Remember what you’re working towards. Think of the bigger picture, such as the job you want when you’re older, or the university you’d like to go to. Ask yourself what you need to do to get there, such as extracurricular activities or work experience. But break larger tasks into more manageable smaller ones so as not to overwhelm yourself. And remember to reward yourself when you’ve met your study goals!


11. Give yourself a break

Nobody can work hard constantly. Taking a break from time to time will help prevent burnout, and will in fact improve your motivation. Incorporate breaks in between studying to improve your mood and mental performance. Just getting up from your desk and walking around briefly will give your mind time to consolidate everything you’ve just learnt. Joining after-school clubs such as sports, drama or music can provide a great break from studying as well as helping you engage in school life and boosting your university application.


12. Enlist the help of a tutor

Having a tutor can improve your understanding of and confidence in a subject, as well as showing you new learning techniques. Tuition can also help make sure you’re on the right track. At Bruton Lloyd, our personable and knowledgeable tutors are always on hand to aid you in achieving your academic goals.


We hope you’ve found these study tips useful. Ultimately, staying inspired will help you to get the best possible results from your studies. If you need any further guidance, our team of consultants have close to two decades of experience in navigating the education sector.


Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate, Handcross Park School – Stock Shots November 2019