Top tips on staying motivated to ace your exams!

With exam season having started for those taking university exams, A-levels and GCSEs, it can become overwhelming when studying for upcoming tests. To help students prepare, Educate is sharing tips from two Cambridge graduates on the best ways to study effectively and how technology using Microsoft can help.

Rosie’s tips 

Rosie Crawford, a graduate from the University of Cambridge, shared some tips on studying for university exams that can be used for GCSEs and A-levels. 

1. Move around – Change up your study location. Staying in the same place all day could cause your motivation to dwindle – a visit to the library or a local cafe with your laptop and notes could make all the difference! 

2. Make a list of three – Choose three things that you must get done that day. With A-levels perhaps you have a certain topic from each of your subjects that you need a refresh of. For GCSEs, choose three subjects that need prioritising. 

3. Prioritise mental health and wellbeing – It is easy to fall into a cycle of studying longer than what your brain can take. Working thirty minutes to an hour and taking short breaks in-between is recommended. When you are demotivated or procrastinating, it usually means you’re burnt out, so try and set aside a whole day when you’re feeling this way.

Use your list of three in a different way on this day, and do three things that will make you happy, like seeing friends or going for coffee. 

4. Figure out when you work best – Whether you work best first thing in the morning or late at night, complete your hardest work at your best study time. If you work better at night, try reducing screen time or using dark mode on your computer, tablet or phone to protect your eyes and to have better sleep hygiene. 

Mariana’s study tips 

Mariana Quiroga Londoño, a final year PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, also shared some tips that she has been using to study for exams that can be applied to GCSE and A-level revision. 

1. Avoid procrastination – Ensuring your workspace is tidy, quiet and free from distractions will help you stay focuses and minimise temptations to procrastinate. Ensure you have everything around you that you will need and leave distractions, such as your phone, in another room. 

2. Track progress – Use ‘Microsoft to Do’ to maintain a ‘done’ list, so you can have a look at the day’s achievements and recognise the full extent of you daily work. 

3. Allocate timeframes to task – Allocating specific timeframes for tasks can motivate you to get work done in a specific amount of time. While you may not get all the work you planned done within the timeframe, thee aim is to get as much done as possible. 

4. Reward yourself after studying – You will be more motivated to complete your studying if you have a treat awaiting you afterwards! Have a think before you start the day of what your reward will be, whether that is watching a movie you have been looking forward to, having a go on your video game or going out for dessert; you can switch it up each day! 

Microsoft’s study tips 

Avoid feeling overwhelmed with your to-do list – Stay on top of your to-do list with Microsoft Viva, which gives you daily debriefs of tasks to be completed and reminds you of things you may have forgotten. It is a great tool to help you stay on top of your priorities.    

See all your tasks at once – Use Snap Layout to see your to-do list at once, ensuring you stay on top of all your revision topics, and so that your list doesn’t seem too daunting.   

Stay connected – Keep in touch with teachers and fellow classmates using Microsoft Teams, a quick and easy way to have a meeting, narrowing down all the fine details without leaving your home. 

Ensure everybody is supported – If your classmate missed a revision session, include them with the help of Microsoft Teams where you can record sessions and ensure nobody is left behind. 

Create a study board to plan your revision days – Windows 11 offers multiple tools to help you manage and stay on top of your revision whether you’re on Whiteboard, a free-form intelligent canvas for real time ideation, creation, and collaboration, or using the Snipping Tool, you can be as creative as your mood takes you.

Draw, type, or add images, stack things up and move them around. Choose your writing instrument, including a pen or highlighter. The options are endless!  

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