Blog post

Troubleshoot your revision

We’ve all be there. Exams are just around the corner, distractions are everywhere and the temptation to procrastinate is greater than ever. Kira Critchlow, a second-year BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance student, shares ideas to get you back on track when you’ve hit a brick wall and are struggling to get motivated.

19 April 2024

Preparing for exams can be some of the most challenging times that students have to go through in school, college and university. Studies by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) have revealed that 85% of students have a hard time revising, and in the lead-up to exams due to stress (Pomietlo, 2023).

Revision is a long game, and it can be easy to fall off track and lose focus. There’s an endless number of reasons that this can happen, and most of us have been there; I definitely have!

Here’s some of the reasons students typically face bumps in the road:


Finding the motivation to sit down and study and avoid distractions is something many students struggle with in the run-up to exams. Low motivation can happen for many reasons, and it doesn’t mean that you don’t care about your exam results, or you aren’t driven to succeed. Studies show that 64% of college and sixth form students have trouble keeping motivated (McInnis, 2023).


Getting burnt out whilst studying is incredibly common. Exam season is intense, and when you’re in the zone and focused on exams, it can be easy to forget to take breaks and look after mental and physical health.

Revising ineffectively

Don’t know where to start or feel as though you aren’t using your time effectively? Revising is so much more difficult when it doesn’t feel productive. Sometimes we get caught up in what our peers are doing to revise, and don’t take the time to figure out what works best for our own learning style.

So what can you do about it?

Here’s some ideas I’ve found to be useful to get me back on track and into the revision mindset.

Treat yourself

Managing your time during revision periods is incredibly important to ensure that you pace yourself and use your time efficiently and effectively. But it’s also important to make sure that that schedule includes breaks and periods of time to rest and relax. You’re not a machine! You can incorporate rewards into your breaks to work towards. Had a successful study session? Watch an episode of your latest Netflix binge! Finally cracked that topic you didn’t understand? Go and hang out with your friends!

Incorporating breaks and rewards into your revision is integral to being more productive and avoiding getting bored or burnt out from overworking yourself. Think about what's to come after the exam period: Going to a music festival? Perhaps a holiday with family and friends? Be sure to think long term too and to treat yourself accordingly!

There are methods of revision that incorporate breaks, such as the Pomodoro Technique. You can test out different length study periods and breaks to find what works best for you. It’s all about personal preference and discovering what helps you optimise your revision.

Study buddies

You’re not alone in this! There are many others in the same boat and it’s important not to isolate yourself during this stressful period, so why not organise a revision session with your friends? Perhaps you could sit together in the library, a study space or a local café for a change of scenery.

Sometimes I find I get distracted when studying with my friends but want to feel like someone is working alongside me and that I’m not alone with my studies. I have discovered that some creators on YouTube and Twitch post ‘study with me’ videos, where you can study along with them. Many of these creators also use the Pomodoro Technique or similar.

Change things up and try something new

When you’re stuck in a revision rut, try out another revision technique to find out if something different works better for you.

There are also many apps and online platforms designed to help you.

The internet truly is an endless resource of help and techniques for studying.

There’s a range of creators online who make content to help and inspire students, who tend to come under categories such as ‘StudyTube’, on YouTube and ‘StudyGram’ on Instagram. There are many other students out there who want to share their tips and tricks to help you do your best, you just need to find what works best for you.


Perhaps a change of scenery could help lift your spirits whilst revising. Staying in your bedroom the entire time isn’t always the most productive way to study when you’re surrounded by distractions of your own making such as your phone, games console or even your bed, which can be incredibly tempting! It may be worthwhile to find a new location where you can focus on studying. If silent study is your thing, perhaps going to the library would give you a nice calm space to focus. Maybe quiet study isn’t your thing? Try a local café or coffee shop where you have the background ambience to support your studies. I’m personally a fan of solo working in the library with lo-fi music playing through my headphones.


Don’t forget your end goal! Exam periods can be so overwhelming that it’s easy to forget what you’re doing it for, imagine how you’ll feel after you get those grades, or that university space you’ve been working so hard for!

Most importantly, don’t forget to prioritise yourself and your physical and mental well-being during these stressful periods. More revision help can be found on our website, be sure to check out more tips and tricks from students just like me!