how to stop procrastinating and improve your revision

Do you keep putting off your revision for another day? That’ll be procrastination getting the better of you. We reveal how you can tackle it head-on and start revising with haste.

It can be difficult to sit down and revise, especially when you’re not in the mood for it or have limited time. 

Putting revision off is something we’re all guilty of. Once or twice is fine, but if you repeatedly do it, then you may suddenly find yourself with a whole lot of revision to do and not enough time. 

But we aren’t here to make you feel worse about revising. If anything, given the huge number of ICAEW members and ACA students we support during those stressful studying times, we understand what you are going through and are here to help. 

That’s why we’ve shared the best practice advice with you below. It’s designed to help you stop the procrastination that’s holding you back from revising and perfecting your revision regime. 

what is procrastination? 

Procrastination doesn’t just apply to revision, but all aspects of our 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.1 

However, it’s a habit that’s not just limited to college students. We’re all guilty of doing it at some point in our life, in both a professional and personal capacity. For instance, you may have a work task that you’ve continuously put off for the last week or delayed renewing your car or home insurance.

“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.“


caba client

top tips for preventing revision procrastination  

stop wasting time 

Continuously putting off the inevitable means you will only wind up with a) putting a whole new layer of pressure on yourself to complete your revision and b) potentially run out of time to do it. 

The sooner you take action - such as, start revising, the less daunting it will become and the less anxious you will feel about it. If needs be, start small; the main thing is that you make a start. 

set achievable goals 

Giving yourself mountains of revision to do in an unrealistic timeframe is counterproductive. Take a practical approach to it all by identifying what you need to learn and how long you’ve got to learn it. Then break it down into more manageable learning blocks you know you can achieve. Why set yourself up to fail?  

accept the reality of revision 

You may not enjoy revising, but it’s an essential part of exam success. Accepting you’ve got to do it and that it won’t be forever is fundamental for overcoming that procrastination hurdle and being in the right mindset for it. 

If you can, try and think back to when you last had to revise for something. What tactics and mindset did you adopt to motivate yourself and get through that study period? Nobody knows yourself better than you, so tap into what will put you in the right frame of mind for getting your current revision done. 

banish those distractions 

Distractions are everywhere, even more so if you’re stuck in procrastination mode. If you happen to live in a busy home, then take yourself away into a room where you can shut the door and focus on your revision. If that’s not possible, you may want to consider revising somewhere else that’s nice and quiet, for example, your local library, and where you aren’t going to be interrupted. A final note about revising at home - make sure your chosen revision space is free from distractions. For instance, your computer’s turned off, you’ve only got your revision notes in front of you and there’s not lots of clutter around you.

“Any way caba could find to support my wellbeing, they did. I would tell any student who’s feeling under pressure, don’t focus on keeping up a front. Instead, reach out to caba.”


caba client

don’t wait around  

The sooner you do your revision, the sooner you can spend that time on other things you’d much prefer to do. What’s more, completing your revision well ahead of your exam means you have the time to run through past papers and practice questions and really brush up on those trickier areas. It should hopefully mean you’ll feel less stressed when you sit your exam too.  

eat those frogs  

What do we mean by this? It’s a well-known tactic that’s used worldwide. It’s a simple method that we can all use to avoid falling into the procrastination trap. 

If there’s a part of your revision you really don’t want to do or if you haven’t started it yet, then you should go ahead and eat those frogs, otherwise they’ll end up eating you because you’ll be procrastinating all day about them. Try it, next time you put off your revision, tackle it head-on and see how much better you feel for having done so. 

remember we’re here to help 

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. 

We're here to support you. Chat to one of our helpful advisers today.

If you’ve found you’ve been procrastinating over your revision, we hope this article has inspired you to take action and showed you how you can easily overcome it. You’ll be really glad that you did. 

For more insight on perfecting your revision regime read, ‘How to boost your productivity when revising.’ 

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