Amidst the indefinite government shutdown of schools and colleges, many students now face the prospect of motivating themselves to study at home. Although school is still the ideal place for learning, there are various ways parents, guardians and teachers can ensure that students stay motivated throughout the closures.
Break revision into small chunks
There is an oft-quoted Chinese proverb which states that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. In a similar vein, the first step of effectively revising for GCSEs or A-levels involves the creation of a revision plan, one which splits up daunting subjects into manageable chunks.
Effective revision plans need to be realistic and relatively comprehensive, so that they break larger targets down into daily goals. It is worth encouraging students to build in frequent breaks for lunch, socialising and exercise, so that they are more likely to commit to the schedule. Some students may also find that sharing the plan with their parents can help to maintain accountability.
Once the revision plan has been completed, it is time to begin. Psychological research has found that motivation often follows action, so forcing your student to start is key.
Use role models or music
Motivation often hinges on imitation or competitiveness, whereby one wishes to emulate or better the achievements of others. Allowing students to find, and learn about, role models can provide a long-term boost to their motivation.
For instance, Politics students may take inspiration from the story of Barack Obama; budding historians may wish to learn more about their favourite period of history to remind themselves why they chose to study the subject.
An alternative motivation tool is to listen to music before studying, since it has been proven to improve mood. However, listening to music while studying can be detrimental to focus and should be discouraged.
Work together with friends
Although group revision can sometimes be less productive than revising on their own, occasional revision sessions with friends and classmates (via conference call instead of face-to-face given the government’s advice) can be a fun way to learn if done right.
By making revision a social activity, students are more likely to enjoy it and the accountability can ensure work gets done. However, minimising distractions is paramount: group revision sessions are notorious for going off-task. Thus, if students are confident their group revision calls won’t end up becoming gossiping sessions, they can be a great way to add some variety into their routine.
Set a long-term goal
If your student has a realistic long-term goal to work towards, they are more likely to be motivated to study. This may be attending their dream university or could be something more vocational, such as becoming an author. Whatever it is, work with them to discuss what their aspirations are for the future.
Oxbridge Applications offers a comprehensive Online Summer School for aspiring Oxbridge students, which familiarises your son/daughter with the Oxbridge process and provides them with a long-term goal to work towards.