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How to stay motivated while studying at home

How to stay motivated while studying at home

by Katherine Hanrahan

With exams cancelled once again because of the global pandemic, are you worried about the impact on your plans to study your dream degree?

And now that school is back on line, are you wondering how to stay motivated studying from home?

Read on for some tips on how to stay focused on your studies and how, even in these unprecedented times, you can still prepare for going to university.

Why were exams cancelled?

A Level and Scottish Highers exams were cancelled because of the disruption the pandemic has caused to your learning. Continuing with the exam timetable could have led to unfair results for all UK students.

How will my grades be awarded now?

This year, A Level and Scottish Highers grades will once again be assessed by your school and your teachers. They are best placed and have the professional experience to make fair, objective assessments of the grades they think you would have achieved in your exams. However, the finer details of the assessment process are still unclear.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has suggested A Level students could sit ‘externally set tasks or papers’ to help teachers assess their final grades – but this has yet to be confirmed.

The impact of an assessment process for independent candidates also needs to be considered, while the range of vocational and technical qualifications means there could be a number of different approaches to exams and grading for these, too.

In Scotland, Highers exam grades will be based on an approach that’s been developed for National 5 exams, the Scottish equivalent to GCSEs.

If I’m not taking exams, what’s the point of studying?

Even though your schooling has been disrupted by the pandemic it’s still important you stay focused on what you want to achieve. And, with some uncertainty over how grades will be assessed, it’s vital that you’re engaged with your school or college work and doing your best.

Your school and your teachers know how much your learning has been affected and that will be taken into account, but so will your performance.

And although studying online and at home may be more challenging than learning at school or college, it can help you develop the sort of self-supported study habits you’ll need at university.

So, whether you realise it or not, you’re mastering new digital and communication tools, and improving your organisation and time management techniques, too – skills that will be valuable both at university and in the workplace.

I’m struggling to stay motivated, what can I do?

There’s lots of things you can do to stay focused on your studies.

  1. Check out our blog about studying at home for some practical tips on organising yourself and your study space – whether you’re working at the kitchen table or a desk in your bedroom.
  2. Studying online and at home is challenging, so don’t set yourself impossible targets. And don’t leave things to the last minute – you’re more likely to be interrupted working at home, so you don’t want to run out of time to complete an assignment or course work.
  3. Just as you have a structured environment at school or college, divide up your time so you get the most out of your day – whether that’s shorter sessions so you don’t get bored with just one topic, or longer periods spent concentrating on one subject in depth. Find the combination that works for you.
  4. If you hit a problem with your studies talk to your teacher straight away; don’t struggle at home on your own. Similarly, if you don’t understand something during an online session, and the software you’re using supports messaging, type out your question – it’s a lot easier than approaching your teacher in class.
  5. It could take a while to find a home study routine that works for you, particularly if you’re having to fit in with different family routines. Give yourself time, and don’t worry if work doesn’t go well one day – tomorrow will be better.
  6. Enjoy your successes, whether that’s a good mark in an assignment or a productive study day. Keep an eye on your progress, too; you could be surprised by how much you’re achieving.

Don’t forget, we’re here to help you every step of the way to university, and our Belong blog is packed with loads of useful advice on preparing for this next big adventure, as well as blogs on what university is like.

You can read about our students’ experiences – from their first days with us, settling in and getting to know their flatmates, to their experiences of online learning – and get a taste of what it’s like to study with us, so you can start to imagine yourself here.

We hope you’ve found this blog post useful – we’re adding new blogs and stories all the time, so remember to check back for more resources. To find out more about the University experience at Newcastle in 2021, why not download our new eBook, 2021 Entry: What will university be like?