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How to stay motivated until the end of exams

By Simon Hennessy on 28 October 2019UKblogNSWblogMotivationExam advice

Exams are nearly over (breathes sigh of relief). Which is obviously great news. But you’re not quite there yet, which raises a whole new issue: staying motivated till the end. Even the most committed students can struggle to stay motivated when they’re 2 weeks into exams but still have 1 or 2 to go.

Never fear, we’ve got some tips that’ll help you keep your focus all the way until the pens go down for the last time.

Maintain your routine

If you’ve gotten this far without the wheels coming off, a huge part of that has been the lifestyle choices you’ve made over the last couple of weeks. Early nights, healthy eating, regular exercise, your personalised study plan, a social media hiatus... whatever has been making up your routine has helped get you in that exam frame of mind every time so keep it up!

You might be tempted to start messing with this formula, skipping exercise or study, staying up that bit later, giving yourself just one game of Fifa or one night out at your mate’s 18th. Do NOT listen to that temptation. There are only a few days left to stick to this monk lifestyle and it will be more than worth it in terms of staying fresh going into your last few exams.

Focus on exam questions

One of the most common challenges that students face when the end of the exam period is coming up is to find the motivation to crack open the textbook or dive back into the notes. With your brain having soaked up so much information over the past few months, trying to absorb even more content can seem like trying to sponge up water with a stone.

Well, the good news is, that doesn’t have to be priority number one. While your notes should definitely still play their part, past paper questions will be the most useful resource with exams this close. Put your main focus on them and this will simultaneously prepare you and give you the motivation you need to get through your last few exams.

Avoid friends who have already finished

Mute the notifications on your phone, stay off Instagram and Snapchat, and don’t answer the door when they come calling. I’m serious. Nothing will kill any motivation you have left more than pictures of all your closest friends having the best time celebrating the end of their exams. They’re done, and good for them, but unfortunately you are not. Hanging around with them will only make you miserable; for the time being, it’s time to stay away.

Study with your friends who aren’t

This does not, however, mean you have to shut yourself away from the entire world. In fact, studying with your classmates who also have to face those last few exams will do more than just provide company for your mutual sorrow.

Having a study buddy is a handy way to stay motivated regardless of where you are in the year or exam cycle. Tapping into that motivation can be extra handy when the finish line is in sight, so don’t be afraid to hit up those friends who share your last exam for some group study.

Celebrate a little …

Finishing an exam is a great feeling; there’s no denying it. So don’t deny it. Once you’re finished, use your existing study breaks to treat yourself. Get some takeaway, watch an episode of your favourite show, go to the beach for an hour. Not only do you deserve it, but a little bit of unwinding between exams goes a long way. Once you’re back in front of the books, you’ll be refreshed and recharged, all the better for having enjoyed that post-exam glow.

… but not too much

There are, of course, limits. You still have exams to come, and making sure you’re ready for them is the bottom line. A minor celebration will clear your mind for that last bit of study you’ve got coming up; a major celebration will guarantee you’ll end with a whimper. Avoid late nights and 10 episode binges and keep your celebrations fun but brief – there will be plenty of time for the fun stuff very, very soon.


You’re nearly there. The finish line is very much in sight, but one last push is needed. Keep the head down, stay in routine and when you do get there the post-exam celebrations will be all the sweeter. Good luck!

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