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Ten Ways to Motivate Yourself to Study for a Numeracy Test

Studying to pass a numeracy test is hard work. It can be frustrating, and some days you just don’t want to. If you want to do really well in your test, you need to get into the habit of studying regularly, even when you don’t want to. Here are ten ways to motivate yourself.

Remember why you’re studying

If you don’t have a reason for doing something, you don’t do it. Find a picture of what you want to be able to do once you’ve passed your numeracy exam.

If you’re studying to be a teacher, find a photo of someone inspiring their students; if you’re working towards the armed forces, find a picture of a parachutist or someone getting over an assault course obstacle, or whatever else it is you’re aiming for. Put this picture somewhere prominent, near your workspace, and take inspiration from it.

Make your workspace wonderful

Few things are more depressing than working in an environment that’s untidy, unwelcoming and unpleasant. Even if you can bring yourself to sit down and hit the books there, there’s always a niggling thought that things are somehow out of order.

  • Keep it tidy.

  • Make it pretty.

  • Make it comfortable.

  • Minimise distractions.

  • Keep supplies handy.

Cross off the days

Put a calendar somewhere near where you work – and every day you study for your numeracy test, cross off a day. See how many days you can manage in a row!

A calendar is also a good motivator when you put a big circle around the date of your exam. This works in two ways: it reminds you how close you’re getting and encourages you to put in the work, but it also reminds you how soon you’ll be finished – how soon you’ll be able to celebrate your success and get on with your career or education.

Treat yourself

When you receive a reward for doing something, you tend to carry on doing the thing that earned the reward. So, set yourself up for small rewards along the way.

Find a study buddy

Studying is much more fun in company. It’s also much more effective, for several reasons:

  • Two heads are better than one. If your friend understands a topic and you find it gibberish, your friend can explain it to you and vice-versa.

  • Your brain works differently. Trying to explain something is a very different process than trying to understand – you end up making new connections and reinforcing the things you know.

  • You get some accountability. If you know you have a study date on Thursday, you’re more likely to put the work in so you don’t show yourself up in front of your friend.

  • Most things are more fun with two or more people. Humans are social animals.

Get your friends and family onside

It’s hard to do anything worthwhile without support. It’s much easier to do well when people are cheering you on, so make sure your family and friends know that doing well in maths is important to you. If your friends don’t respect that, find better friends.

Set a timer

Splitting up an hour of study into two 25-minute sessions with a 10-minute break in between helps you focus much better than trying to work for an hour straight – but you can experiment! Try 10 minute bursts, 20 minute challenges, or longer if you have a great attention span.

Remember it’s not forever

You probably just want to get this qualification out of the way and get on with your career, perhaps never to look at another sum again.

Remember that it’s not forever – once you’ve passed, you get to stop. You just need to make sure you pass.

Give yourself a good name

Giving yourself a good name is about the way you think about yourself. If you can tell yourself that you're the kind of student who studies for half an hour a day, no matter what, you’re more likely to do the work than if you tell yourself you can never seem to find the time to study.

Even if some idiot has told you you’ll never be any good at maths, ignore them. They’re wrong. Listen to yourself instead. If you keep up the good work, you’ll get there in the end. Give yourself a good reputation to live up to and you’ll find it much easier to keep on track.

Think of the outcome

Take a moment to stop and think about what you’ll be able to do after you’ve passed your numeracy exam. How will you react? What will you do to treat yourself? Daydream away, and make the thought as vivid as you can – then, whenever you feel your motivation slipping away, remind yourself of the dream. You’ll feel like it’s worthwhile straight away.

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