Keeping up momentum through the exam period

13 May 2021

It can be hard to keep your momentum through the exam period, so UCL student Julie Colonna brings you her top tips for doing so, and completing your exams and assessments this term to the best of your abilities.

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Here are three completely un-scientific but easy techniques you can try to motivate you to get through the last academic hurdle and cross the finish line.

The ‘Mole’ technique

I’ve named this technique after Charlie Mackesy’s book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse — a short and comforting book to enjoy during the exam period. Each character in this illustrated bestselling book represents a different side to the same person: my personal favourite alter-ego being the sweet-toothed mole. (If you’re anything like me, your motivation to get out of bed is what you’re making yourself for breakfast).

When you’re really struggling to get going, feeling run-down with your revision or just procrastinating your days away, try buying yourself a sweet treat. The plot twist: you can only attack it once you have met your weekly goal. Keep a picture of it in your phone or have it on your desk to look at while you study — it’ll really get you going! (The one thing to be wary of with this technique is to make sure your goal is realistic and concise.)

My high-school English teacher confessed she would buy herself a pack of Maltesers and eat one once she had finished grading each paper: if you prefer short term rewards this could be a better version for you!

Side note: If you’re not into sweet treats (gasp), this technique works with anything you consider to be a reward. The trick is to take care of yourself: making sure you integrate positive experiences in your study sessions.

The Monica Geller

Do you have mugs lying around your desk that have been there for a little too long? When is the last time you cleaned your bedsheets? Hoovered? Once all those things are out of the way, it will really help you focus. (Better to procrastinate productively and set yourself up for future success). Set up a cosy study space in your flat, or change environment and go to a UCL Study Space.

On that same note, try making yourself a study plan. Mine is a day by day and colour coded! Whether you’re type A like Monica or type B like me, it really helps to have your day set out for you. It simultaneously allows you to set goals and track your progress.

The Media Warrior

To avoid ‘doom-scrolling’, download the app ‘Moment’ on your phone — it tracks your screen time, gives you notifications warning you of an extra long phone pickup and you can set it up for a ‘phone fast’.

For £2 you could also get the ‘Forest’ app, which plants real trees when you’re not using your phone.

I also love the Life Cycle app, which tracks and turns into data what your activities are throughout the day. That way you can see what affects your studying moods!

Julie Colonna, BA English Language and Literature