Action precedes motivation. I learn this every time I need to work on something boring. Act first and the motivation to do it will come later. It sounds counterintuitive but trust me, it’s true.
Studying for your IB Psychology exams probably doesn’t make you excited. You’ll start cleaning your room, making study playlists, writing a letter to your Grandma, or anything other than opening the books to study. You’re probably even reading this to procrastinate! You’re telling yourself, “I’ll wait to get motivated and then I’ll start.” But one thing I’ve learned is that the more you do something, the more you want to do it. This is true even for the most boring and onerous tasks. So an important exam tip, for any subject, is to simply get started.
Make it something simple, like opening your textbook and reading the first chapter. If you need to, set a kitchen timer (DO NOT use your phone!) and give yourself 15 minutes. When it beeps, take a break and come back to read another few pages. Test me – I think you’ll find the second time a lot easier than the first. The more you do this over a few sessions the easier each one will become.
Getting started as early as possible is important. If you’re aiming for a 7, I’d recommend starting at least four months before your exams. This means if you’re sitting May exams, you’ll want to be starting soon after your December break. The later you leave it, the harder it will be to achieve top marks.
While just getting started is the first step to revision, you can be more successful by studying the right things. In this series of exam tips I’ll explain how you can maximise your study time. But before you read anything else, close your browser, pick up your books and get started.
Travis Dixon is an IB Psychology teacher, author, workshop leader, examiner and IA moderator.