5 reasons you’re procrastinating about exam revision (and what you can do about it)

We all procrastinate – it’s part of the human condition, but it’s a really unhelpful habit!

We know we need to take action (make a revision timetable, start going over notes, get help with those difficult topics) but there are many reasons we might be putting it off. If you’re finding it difficult to take action, consider if any of these 5 factors might be causing the issue – identifying the cause of procrastination is a great first step to working out what you need to do to get going!

1. Overwhelm

It’s easy to see why we might get overwhelmed by revision. Where do we start? There is a huge amount of content to cover, and for a subject like chemistry all the topics link together, so it can be hard to work out which to prioritise. If you don’t know where to start and haven’t downloaded my A Level chemistry revision planner, try using it to plan your time – I’ve taken some of the effort out of the thought process for you by thinking about a useful structure for revision that also suggests clear activities for you to be doing.

2. Lack of urgency

With just under 12 weeks to go until A Level chemistry exams start, it might not quite be feeling real. 12 weeks seems like a long time, which not only makes you feel like there’s no urgency yet, but also that you wouldn’t know how to structure that time. You might also have got away fine with ‘cramming’ your revision at GCSE – many capable students do. A Levels are a whole other ball game though, and you know deep down that nothing gets easier if you put it off – so get a plan and just start taking some small steps to help you get started. One small step could be to decide to do a retrieval practice quiz – they only have ten questions and are a great way to see what you know and which chemistry topics to prioritise.

3. Fear of failure

This is a big one, and it affects most people. In fact, I procrastinate all the time when I should be telling people about my courses, classes or revision packages because I’m afraid I’ll fail too! It’s perfectly normal and A Level chemistry is challenging! If you’re struggling with negative self-talk then procrastination often seems like the easy way out – if you don’t take any action, then you feel less accountable for things going wrong. As above, the best way to get around this is to allow yourself to feel scared or anxious but just take some small steps to get yourself moving anyway. If you need help with some activities to do on your own, check out the A Level chemistry revision activities section or revision masterclasses.

If you feel like you need a bigger boost with confidence and understanding specific topics, there’s still time to book onto an Easter revision course – these are a perfect way to accelerate your progress, boost confidence and understand the trickier concepts in a small, friendly group setting.

4. Lack of motivation

Lots of students feel like they can’t get motivated at the moment. All the three factors above will contribute to a lack of motivation amongst other things – sometimes when our parents or teachers nag us it makes us even less motivated, plus we’re exhausted and it seems to be constantly raining… Surprisingly enough, lack of motivation isn’t as big a problem as you think it is, because – guess what – you can actually perform tasks even when you’re not motivated! In fact, you’ve probably already done two or three things today you didn’t feel like doing, because you felt like you had to.

The trick with revision is to make it feel like you have to. This can be as simple as putting a time in your diary to set aside, setting a timer and just doing it – no matter how you feel. If you need a bigger push, tell parents, friends or teachers what you are committed to doing so you get some accountability. Even better, sign up for a course, online lesson, or revision package – just like paying for the gym, signing up and paying for something will make you more motivated to actually use it.

There are a few spaces left on my OCR A and AQA A Level chemistry Easter holiday revision courses at the time of writing – if you’re not in a position to pay for a course, make sure you are signed up to my free mailing list and also take advantage of my free online organic chemistry revision class on 2nd April.

5. Distractions

I don’t recall ever living in a time with so many constant distractions. While I love the freedom and variety that working online brings me, the endless messages, notifications, adverts and other distractions are exhausting. Take some control by using do not disturb, focus or airplane mode on devices. Even better, keep your mobile phone out of the room if you can. If you have another digital device like a laptop or tablet, consider separating them so that you only use your laptop or tablet for study, and only use your phone for socials and entertainment. This will also help you when you want to take a break from study as it will be easier to switch off.

The most important message

Procrastination is normal, but it’s not healthy if it goes on to long as it can lead to a lot more stress and anxiety around exams. It’s important to take a break and rest over the Easter holidays as the next few months will be tiring, but if you’re finding yourself spending hours on your phone, cleaning your room or organising your gel pens, consider why you’re procrastinating and use the suggestions above to do something about it!

If you are procrastinating about booking an Easter holiday course because you’re not sure if it’s right for you, email me: claire@ckchemistry.co.uk to ask – but don’t leave it too late!

Claire Costello-Kelly

Claire Costello-Kelly

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