So it’s coming up to the worst time of the year: exams. Everyone is urging you to study and the pressure is piling on top of you like the weight of a thousand textbooks. In times like these, it’s tempting to give up, and let distractions like socialising and marathoning Game of Thrones take your hand and lead you away from revising into the warm embrace of procrastination.

However, that is not how you’re going to pass your exams, friend. What you need is a guide to stay on track, get the most out of your studying, and avoid distractions. This is it. Today I’ll share with you my tips for combating some of the most common distractions.

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Shouldn’t you be hitting the books?


#1. Your social life

The first distraction that may spring to mind is your social life. Friends, parties, your significant other (if you have one), they’re all things you won’t be willing to give up straight away. Unfortunately it’s essential you cut back on them in order to do well in your exams.

Don’t feel pressured to hang out with friends when you’re supposed to be studying. Ideally, organise study sessions with your friends who are taking the same subjects, that way you can test each other and get more fun out of revising. Don’t do this if together you are likely to stop after thirty minutes and do other stuff.

Social networking sites like Facebook should also be avoided. You don’t want to be making good progress and then get distracted by messages. Let your friends know (make a status about it if you have to) that you won’t be available to talk as much and that you’re busy.

If you’re in a relationship, you’re faced with one of the biggest distractions. Yes, you two love each other, and people say you’re like the younger, slightly less famous version of Beyonce and Jay Z, but during this time it might be better to stay away. That doesn’t mean you need to break up, just limit time together, because you won’t want to work and “studying” will mean something else. Twice a week is good, it might seem hard, but it’s only temporary.

Avoid Netflix. Netflix is not your friend. Those episodes will still be there when exams are over.


That’s much better


#2. Your study space

Now that you’ve cut down on socialising, you need to ensure that you are not going to be facing other distractions that occur at home. Find a good place to study, where you won’t be distracted. Set up a study location, which is quiet, without any background distractions like the TV. Turn off that laptop and put it away, unless you need it for studying, in which case, avoid opening those unrelated tabs.

Keep a watch with you to keep track of the time, as phones can be distracting. Set yourself a number of hours to work without checking your Facebook or phone. Let the people around you know that you are going to be studying and ask for them not to disturb you.


#3. The studying part

Now that you can focus, you need to make sure these sacrifices are worth it and you’re actually getting something out of your study time.

Set yourself study goals, eg. memorise a set amount of information, test yourself, see if you can improve your test results, or even just manage to study for a set amount of time without a break. Make sure you won’t just mindlessly go over notes; actually aim to achieve something. Make a playlist if it will help you focus – you can always check out Spotify for study playlists, or even check out study music, music created for the purpose of helping you to focus, on YouTube. We have even created a perfect study playlist, just for you!

Make some kind of schedule to ensure that you do fit in study time. If you know studying for long periods of time isn’t really realistic with your schedule, designate certain periods where you will study, but make sure that these are strictly study time: full concentration and effort to make the most of the time you are able to put aside.

Ultimately, everyone studies differently. But generally speaking, effort is required to avoid procrastination and limit distractions. Even if you are organised and have taken the steps required to cut down on distractions like socialising, life may throw you off guard, so use any peace and quiet you get.


#4. Stress

Often when things like exams weigh down on us, it becomes easy to stress out to the extent where we put off studying and try to avoid thinking about potential impending academic doom, or give up. If you need to take a break and chill out, do so.

Remember that exams are important, but they’re not everything, and results don’t define you. However, it’s important to give them your best shot. After all, you have nothing to lose. Just set clear blocks of time, each one dedicated to each subject.

So that’s it, the guide to avoiding procrastination and distraction, and getting the most out of your study time. If you make the effort to cut out distractions and make the most of your study time, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Just take a deep breath, and begin. Good luck!