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4 top tips to fight exam procrastination

Learn how to get focussed. After you've read this one last article.

Keep getting distracted?

So here you are, sitting down with your laptop and textbooks, full of determination and caffeine… and in three hours’ time, your room has never been cleaner, you’ve watched two episodes of The Walking Dead and found yourself, well, zombie-scrolling through Instagram.

You’re definitely not alone. According to a 2014 report from ed-tech company StudyMode, 87% of high school and university students admit to procrastinating.

The good news is – you can fight this beast! How? Let’s get started.

1. Set bite-sized goals

Feeling paralysed in the face of a seemingly overwhelming wall of work? Take a breath and start chipping away – one piece at a time. Give yourself clear, achievable tasks, like "I will study maths for 45 minutes" or "I will finish re-reading and taking notes for Chapter 9". Stick to them and reward yourself with a break, a cup of tea or ten minutes on your phone.

2. Find your prime time

We're all different. You may be a morning lark, a night owl or something in between. When is your mind sharpest and your motivation at its peak? Schedule the subjects you struggle with most during this time when your energy levels are up and you can better resist distractions. Then work on the hardest task first to get it over with! It'll be motivating knowing the easier stuff is coming up next.

3. Remove temptation

There's no denying it: devices are distracting. When you're struggling to focus, a little bit of forced separation can go a long way. If you're prone to FOMO, set your phone to aeroplane mode and move it out of reach so you won't hear if WhatsApp starts dinging. Tell your family and your mates that you need to study and appreciate their help in not distracting you (a really polite way to say "LEAVE ME ALONE!").

4. Recognise the importance of your exams

Remind yourself that your GCSEs and A-levels (or any other exams you have in life) hold a lot of value. They pave the way for future studies or career training. They're worth sacrificing some of your leisure time and social life for. Exams will be over before you know it – isn't it better to look back and know you did your very best instead of wondering, "What if I just spent another hour or two on English?". So adopt a new mental mantra, and repeat it defiantly: "Today, not tomorrow!"

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