5 things you tell yourself to avoid studying
The most challenging part of exams isn’t really the studying part. It’s not even the pressure. And it’s certainly not the mysterious cough you always seem to acquire in examination rooms (why does that happen anyway?).
The toughest part is procrastination – the impulse to do anything other than open your books.
We talk you through 5 of the most common techniques to avoid studying. Recognise any?:
1. “I have to login to Facebook or else my friends will think I’ve been abducted by aliens”
It’s true – it’s been a whole fifteen minutes since you last updated your Facebook status. Better sort that out or your family will panic and send out the search helicopters. You don’t want people to worry, do you?
2. “I’ll study tomorrow”
Of course you will. Except – doesn’t tomorrow have a habit of turning into today? And won’t you make the same excuse then? That’s the thing about tomorrow – you’re never actually in it. You’re only ever in today, so make the most of your time here.
3. “I have to tidy my room – I can’t study under these conditions!”
It’s true that you’ll probably find it easier to study in a clean, organised space (free of your pizza box reconstruction of the Eiffel Tower). So by all means, tidy up. But let’s be honest – do you normally feel the need to create a filing system for your socks? No, thought not. You’re just avoiding the inevitable – get back to the books.
4. “I don’t want to overdo it…”
Regular study breaks are definitely important (a 5 minute break every 15 minutes is ideal). But half an hour of trying to read while being distracted by YouTube videos of badgers on water slides? Is that really “overdoing” it? Hmmm.
5. “I can cram at the last minute – I’ll stay up all night if I need to”
Sure you can. You just need lots of coffee. And matchsticks to prop up your eyes (don’t actually try). And the ability to push aside that growing, all-encompasing sense of blind panic…you see, the thing about cramming is that it’s not very effective – your brain struggles to retain the info. So yes, maybe you do have the stamina to sit up till dawn. But it won’t necessarily get you the best results.
They only way to deal with procrastination is to recognise it for what it is – an annoying little gremlin that will do anything to distract you from getting the job done. So lock the gremlin in your cupboard, brew some coffee, and open your books. Apply the energy you put into procrastination into actually studying – you’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve.
Check out our 13 study tips for success infographic.