Do you have problems to start studying for your upcoming CIMA exam? Do you find it super difficult to just sit down and start revising? There are many challenges and frustrations to overcome when studying for your exams and believe me I’ve been through them myself. I will show you here what are my personal tips to fuel your motivation to study.
It can be immensely tough to study when you can meet your friends instead, or your favourite TV show is on, or you have the pile of laundry to do that just cannot wait any longer. That may sound funny but my house always looks so clean and I do plenty of laundry when I have to study. Believe me, I’m definitively NOT a cleanliness freak, but when I have to start studying, there are tonnes of excuses why I should postpone the studying phase for another day or two... or ten… Don’t tell me you don’t have your own excuses!
On top of that, we also have the time constraints placed on us from busy days at work and the demands and desires to spend time with family. Therefore, the temptation to procrastinate and feel sorry for yourself is far easier and longer lasting than will power alone to get you hitting the books.
Based on my own experience, those are the
5 tips to help you ease the pain and start studying:
1. Have the end goal in mind
I strongly believe in the power of our minds.
Why are you studying in the first place?
What is the main benefit that you want to receive from your studies?
How will you feel when you finally accomplish your goal?
Visualize your end goal, write it (them) down on a post-it and stick it to your desk or computer’s screen. It will help you get back on track when you feel like quitting each studying session.
2. Prepare your study place
Find a quiet space where you won't be distracted. This could be a library, a cafe, a room in your house, or anywhere else that is free from excessive noise and interruptions. Avoid places where you're likely to run into your friends.
Make sure you have all the pens, pencils, paper, highlighters, and post-its you need. Prepare in advance whatever helps facilitate your learning process.
Keep a small stash of water and snacks by your side. People are more productive when they're hydrated. Small snacks like peanuts, granola bars or fruit will help keep you energized.
Avoid fast food and pastries. This includes pizza, hamburgers, nachos, doughnuts, muffins, cinnamon rolls, and croissants. These foods will give you a short energy rush that quickly turns into sleepiness.
3. Remove your distractions
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? For example I become very chatty – either via skype, WhatsApp, Messenger. Now I know that I want to be productive, it is better to switch off everything that potentially could distract me. I bet you don’t even realise the number of times you check Facebook, Instagram or whichever social media you are addicted to. When you add it all up together, it amounts to a significant waste of time (sorry for being so blunt here). It can be hard to detach from your life outside of studying but keeping the end goal and timeframe in mind will ease the process. We recommend the SelfControl website blocker.
Put your mobile on silent – just in case.
Wear something comfortable so you don’t get distracted by too tight trousers etc.
4. Set up milestones and reward yourself upon completion
Set concrete goals for your study session. Think in specific, achievable goals. Remember the famous CIMA SMART technique? Use IT for your CIMA studies!
By studying regularly, in small chunks, (say an hour or two a day) you’ll find this much more manageable and be filled with far less dread than having to face several hours of study all in one go.
Reward yourself when you complete each milestone. It could be something small, like having a piece of chocolate or watching something.
If you decide to reward yourself with a quick break from studying, remember that you will eventually have to get back to work. Set a time limit for your break and don't listen to the voice in your head saying, "Just a few more minutes."
Remember you are allowed to HAVE A LIFE! Go to the movies on Friday night (if that’s what you are used to). You cannot just study and study, you need some fun time so your brain can rest. Remember that rested brain is much more efficient and you will learn faster if you sometimes take a longer pause and do something relaxing.
5. Routine, routine, routine
Ok, so for instance, I’m the creative type, I literally HATE repetitive tasks. For me the word “routine” was my biggest enemy when I started my professional career. But then I got kids and the inglorious routine just saved me. Knowing what I was supposed to do during the day gave me that piece of mind.
The same applies to studying. I created a schedule of what I am supposed to accomplish every day. First few days were difficult, but then you just get into a habit of studying and starting learning is not really so hard anymore.
I hope you find it useful and those tips will help you become more productive while preparing for your CIMA exams.
Good luck everyone and let me know in the comment section below what are your tricks to keep the motivation levels high.
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Justyna is the founder and CEO of Practice Tests Academy. She is on a mission to help at least 1 million students pass their computer-based exams worldwide.