Further Help For The Revision Road- (6) Mrs Maria O'Neill (Head of Spanish)

Examinations MFL

Yesterday, at the close of our post on revision, we promised the thoughts of our Head of Spanish Mrs Maria O'Neill and the issue she highlights is a crucial one: motivation!

We all know revision is crucial but, without motivation, there are so many distractions that will draw us away from the revision path!

Mrs O'Neill comments: 'When we talk about revision, we usually concentrate on what to revise and how to revise; however we forget about one very important ingredient: motivation. For many of us it is often harder to stay motivated when we are away from school or work, out of sync with our normal routine. However, there are some tricks you could use in order to keep your motivation levels up.

First of all, you need to remember that motivation comes and goes. As one of my favourite motivational speakers Zig Ziglar points out: ‘‘People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing- that's why we recommend it daily!’’ The truth is, you need to work at being motivated and it’s natural to have some days when you just can’t ‘get going’.

Revision can be daunting and if you are not motivated, you won’t use all the wonderful revision techniques that we, teachers, told you about and will end up staring at the book for a couple of hours just to get your parents off your back.

The fact is that motivation and habit go hand in hand. In order to remain motivated, you need to make it a habit to use some strategies to keep motivated. At this stage it would be useful to ask yourself whether you have healthy or unhealthy revision habits; in other words: are your current habits helping you to revise efficiently or stopping you from doing so? Be honest with yourself: no excuses please!

Just like you and like everybody else, I too, struggle to be motivated all the time. And just like you, I’ve used to have some really unhealthy learning habits. The good thing is that habits can be re-learned; you can adopt or learn some healthy habits that will help you tackle revision successfully and remain motivated. Here are some habits that I’ve found particularly useful:

  • Take full responsibility for your revision. You can make a difference; you are responsible for your success or failure. Make a ‘positives' list, think of all the things you are going to achieve, if you succeed.
  • Have a plan. Are you clear about what you need to revise? Have you written it down? When are you going to revise? You need to assign timings to your revision slots; otherwise you’ll just end up putting it off.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once- small consistent steps towards your revision goal are better than overwhelming yourself with a load of information that you are not going to remember. Once, when I felt really overwhelmed with many pressures that I had to face, one of my good friends asked me: ‘‘How do you eat an elephant?’’ The answer was: "Bit by bit." Remember: just take care of one day at a time.
  • Give your 100% attention to the task during your revision time. If you are doing many things at once, it will take you longer and your revision will be less effective. If I am doing something important, I tend to lock my phone away, so I am not tempted to use it and don’t get distracted by any annoying notifications.
  • Don’t think of how much you still need to do. Think of how much you’ve already done. One of my friends has a ‘motivation jar.’ Every time he has done something, he writes it down on a piece of paper and puts it in the jar. On bad days, when he finds it hard to get motivated, he reads the notes from his ‘motivation jar’ to remind himself of how far he’s come.
  • Challenge yourself. Many people don’t succeed because they think that they can’t do something. Think of something that you find difficult and challenge yourself to do it.
  • Have you got your support crew? Parents, classmates, friends and teachers can help to keep you on track with your revision and become your revision cheerleaders.
  • Keep on going, do not stop no matter how tempting it is to miss a scheduled revision slot or comment on that photo on Facebook. As Will Rogers, American humourist and social commentator said: ‘‘Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over, if you just sit there.”

We are very grateful for Mrs O'Neill allowing us to present the information above that she has also posted as a blog.

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