how to approach your revision with a positive mindset

The thought of having to revise can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here, we share our dos and don’ts for tackling revision with more of a positive mindset.

Is the thought of having to revise for your next exam or a resit getting you down? 

It may be because you’re yet to get into revision mode or it could be that you’ve always struggled when it comes to revising. Whatever your situation, there are plenty of practical methods you can follow to make your revision more manageable. 

One of the best places to start is with your mindset. Because if you don’t feel motivated to revise because you see it as a negative thing, it won’t encourage you to get stuck into it. 

Ideally, you need to approach your revision with a positive mindset. At the end of the day, it’s something you’ve got to do and will benefit your career, so why not reframe your thinking?  

“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

here are our dos and don’ts for feeling more positive about revision: 

  • do focus on the present - don’t fall into the trap of worrying about the future and that you may not pass. Turn your attention to the here and now; the fact you need to revise for your exam and you’re doing all you can to pass it. 
  • don't be secretive about your revision - tell people you are doing it. Saying it out loud reinforces your revision commitment. It also makes you more accountable for getting it done, especially if people ask you how you’re getting on with it. 
  • do be calm - if you intend to get some revision done at the end of a hectic day, give yourself chance to detach from that experience and put yourself in a calm and more focused mindset. Starting your revision sessions with one minute of deep breathing will help put you in the right frame of mind. 
  • don't dwell on failure - as easy as it can be to focus on past exam failures, don’t let them hold you back. Turn them into successes by focusing on what you did well. For example, how you calmed your nerves, how much sleep you got, how you planned out your revision.
  • do reflect on past exams - how did you perform on the day? Which areas did you excel in and which topics do you need to really brush up on? Did you run out of time? All of these learnings are key for perfecting your future exam performance. 
  • don't forget to back yourself - tell yourself you can sit the exam and you are going to do well. When you’re revising, say that you are looking forward to learning and praise yourself at the end of each session. Control your voice to be cheerleader not a critique. Exams are a stepping stone to your future success - what will they unlock for you? 
  • do create a vision board - vision boards are a great tactic for motivating yourself to revise and picture what’s beyond it. They enable you to visualise what success looks like and what you will achieve as a result of taking this exam stepping stone. This video is useful.
  • don't overlook your rewards - every time you do your revision, reward yourself. It’ll help you feel more positive about it overall too. For instance, you could treat yourself to a long, hot soak in the bath or your favourite chocolate bar. It doesn’t have to be anything too elaborate, but must be something you will look forward to enjoying once you’ve hit your revision milestone. 
  • do put your blinkers on - it’s so easy to compare yourself to others. But it can be really counterproductive when it comes to making progress with your revision. You may have heard that your colleagues did all of their revision in the space of a weekend or that they’re already all prepped for the exam when you’re not. Try not to get distracted by their tactics and progress; try to just focus on you and your revision schedule because that’s what matters. 
  • don’t neglect yourself - it can be easy to neglect yourself when you’ve got lots of studying to do. However, it’s important you don’t push yourself too hard, overlook your needs or skip the basics - such as, eating healthy, regular meals, getting plenty of sleep and exercising (which is one of the best stress relievers there is).  
  • do plan and prepare - effective revision is based on having a dedicated plan in place. You may want to draw up a study timetable to help you stay on track - learn how by reading ‘Study smart: your plan to get the most out of revising.’ Alternatively, you may want to create weekly or daily schedules, where you can break up long hours of study into smaller, more manageable sessions. As the late, great Benjamin Franklin famously said: ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’ Don’t let it happen to you. 
  • don’t get in a revision rut - unfortunately, feeling motivated about revising isn’t something people can pass on to you. It has to come from within because you are in control of your brain and how you feel about revising. However, if you’ve managed to follow the advice above, we hope you’ll be feeling far more motivated about revising now!  

Feeling positive about revision may initially seem like somewhat of an impossible challenge, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t feel that way. There are plenty of things you can do to change your mindset from negative to positive and tackle your revision in a whole new light. 

Would you like more practical advice on getting into the ‘flow’ of your studying? Take a look at this article, ‘revising for exams: how to find your flow state.’ 

training and events

9 August 2022

espresso anxiety relief toolkit

Discover how anxiety affects your body and your mind.
espresso series
16 August 2022

espresso mindfulness for beginners

Understand the concept of mindfulness and the ‘opportunity to give it a try’ practicing exercises like mindfulness of breath and three step …
espresso series
23 August 2022

espresso understanding mental health: skills for life

Mental health is a fundamental part of your wellbeing.
espresso series
6 September 2022

developing a compassionate mind

Learning to support ourselves with care and kindness will equip us with the internal resources we need to manage stressful times. Research has …
enhanced course

view all training and events 

your questions answered 

Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW)1, ACA students2, ICAEW staff members3, and the family and carers of members and students4

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is or was dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

view more questions

Not got the answer to your question?