Do you keep putting off your revision for another day? That’ll be procrastination getting the better of you! Here's how to tackle exam revision procrastination head on.
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Learning how to stop procrastinating while studying is the key to successful revision. Given the huge number of ICAEW members and ACA students we support during stressful exam times, we understand the pressure you're under and are here to help.
Procrastination doesn’t just apply to revision, but all aspects of our professional and personal life. In a nutshell, it’s the act of putting off tasks. According to research carried out by the US psychologist Piers Steel, 80% to 95% of college students procrastinate, particularly in relation to completing coursework.
It's important to remember you're not alone if you're struggling to concentrate when revising.
Putting off revision only means you'll wind up with more pressure on yourself. The sooner you take action, the less daunting the task will become and the less anxious you'll feel.
If needs be, start small; the main thing is that you make a start.
This is a simple method that we can all use to avoid falling into the procrastination trap.
If there’s a part of your revision you're putting off, you should go ahead and eat those frogs first, otherwise they’ll end up eating you because you’ll be procrastinating all day about them.
Giving yourself mountains of revision to do in an unrealistic timeframe is counterproductive. Take a practical approach by identifying what you need to learn and how long you have to learn it.
After this, you can break it down into more manageable blocks.
Distractions are everywhere, even more so if you’re stuck in procrastination mode! If you live in a busy household, take yourself away into a room where you can shut the door and focus.
If that’s not possible, consider revising somewhere quiet, for example your local library.
Once an exam’s over and you’ve got your results, it’s natural to immediately want to forget about it, especially if you’ve passed.
But before you put the exam and all of your learnings to the back of your brain, take time to reflect on your performance. If you have more exams to take, analysing your previous exams can help shape how well you do going forward.
As obvious as it may sound, good time planning is key to ensuring exam success. Think about how much time you realistically have to dedicate to revising between now and your exam. By scheduling chunks of time rather than a few minutes here and there, you'll be more likely to stick to your schedule.
Another obvious point - the sooner you start your revision, the more likely you are to complete it in time with minimal stress.
Repeatedly recapping what you’ve learnt is essential when it comes revising. It not only applies to past exam performance, but it should also be built into all of your revision sessions.
At the end of each revision session, draw two columns and record what you know and what you're still not sure of.
Cramming in too much revision in a short space of time will only leave you feeling extremely stressed. This will also lead to you not completing all of your revision in time.
While you’re scheduling in chunks of time to concentrate on revision, also consider how many topics you have to learn and then break the information down into manageable sections.
When you’re at the stage where you’ve revised all of your topics and have streamlined them down into smaller prompts that you can easily recall, that’s the time to start testing yourself.
When you’re doing this, it's important to avoid looking at your books or notes so you can figure out where your information gaps are.
Completing past papers is a great way to get in the right mindframe for an exam. While you won't be asked these questions in your exam, you'll no doubt have similar topics so you can get used to the types of questions you'll be asked as well as the timeframe you'll have to complete them. This will make you feel more prepared for the real exam.
“I found myself staring at my screen for long periods of time unable to work and therefore not being as productive as I could have been.“
It’s possible to overthink something to the degree that it consumes you. It’s easy to feel this way about revising, especially if you’ve not done it for a while and aren’t sure about the best the way to approach it. Our helpful advisors can help you access emotional support, career or personal coaching to ensure you’re on the right track.
We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students.
You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer page.
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*Please note none of our other services are means-tested.