Finals can be the biggest morale murderer of the semester.
Scratch that—studying for finals can be the biggest moral murderer of the semester. Cramming for finals and wrapping up group projects replace sleep, and free time is just a memory. It feels like the loop of note taking, review sessions and trips to Quizlet is never ending, and it can be hard to keep studying, even when it will pay off at the end.
The good news: There are a lot of simple ways to stay motivated during finals season.
Talk to your family
Sometimes the best motivation comes from other people. When you’ve got a free moment, call a family member or maybe even a friend from another school. Tell them you’re having a hard time staying on track while getting ready for finals, and ask them to give you a pep talk. It doesn’t need to be that long, just whatever it takes to get the inspiration you need to keep going. It’s easy to think that the only people we let down if we don’t study is ourselves, but knowing that there are others in your corner can help you keep pushing through.
Study with new people
Following the trend of getting motivation from others, try studying with someone you don’t usually study with. Sometimes studying with friends is more likely to lead to a spontaneous late-night-snack run or gossip session than actual work getting done. So, branch out and find a couple new study buddies.
Maybe it’s the kid you sit by in Spanish, or maybe it’s someone in your hall who you know is in your huge lecture classes. Ask them to go over some key concepts with you and set up a time to work together. You’ll get more studying done if someone you don’t know is holding you accountable. Your new partner might understand something in the class that was more challenging for you. This is also a great way to meet new people.
Listen to some new music
If you’re the kind of person that can’t study without getting sidetracked, try putting on some motivating music. Music can be a great way to stay on track because it can be played while studying to motivate in the moment. Spotify has some playlists that are meant to encourage work.
Its “Deep Focus” playlist is great because it’s all instrumental songs, without potentially distracting lyrics. Or, if instrumental music is a gateway to a nap to you, try its “Motivation Mix.” With songs from Kanye, Ed Sheeran and Fall Out Boy, the upbeat playlist will fuel any study session. Check out MOVE’s study playlist for even more inspiration.
If pre-made playlists aren’t your jam, it only takes a few minutes to pull together some songs to inspire.
Motivate yourself with notes
If music itself is too much of a distraction, take a couple minutes to write down some goals on Post-its and put them where they can be seen while studying. Don’t be too general with the notes. Most people want to graduate, but what’s a specific achievement that will get you there? If you’re studying to achieve a goal, you’ll be more inspired than if you were just studying to pass the class.
Studying is no easy task. The material is hard enough as is, but staying focused can be even harder. That’s why important to at least try some different ways to help you study. You never know what will inspire you to prep for an exam until you try.