2019 has finally come! Everyone is looking forward to the new year and has made resolutions to do better this year. But how many resolutions does one actually keep?

Remember the start of last year, when you were so motivated to do well and succeed? And then when the End-of-Year exams came around all you wanted to do was sleep? Well, what if I told you there was a way for this motivation to last the entire year?

Read on below for 5 secrets for you to last your motivation to excel in school:

Secret 1: Motivate yourself!

Say no to procrastination

You must be thinking this is an obvious secret but how many times have you felt like giving up and just procrastinate until the very last minute? Motivating yourself is an important step! Some people get motivated by snacks, a nice clean desk to work on or even a 20 minutes break to watch an episode of a favourite episode.

Keep your work area decorated with a few of these motivational quotes to get you going. A sure fire way to get you working is a study buddy It helps you feel like you’re not alone in your stress. That is one of the worst feelings you can have, that everyone else is doing well while you’re struggling So whether that’s getting a study group together, setting a catch-up lunch date with your friends, or just having someone to text and check in with, line it up.

Secret 2: Scribble your notes by hand!

Check out my handwriting!

The action of notetaking keeps your body and mind active and involved, it helps you avoid feelings of drowsiness or distractions. Taking down notes instead of copying everything from the textbook engages your mind and requires you to listen carefully whilst deciding what to include in your note allows you emphasis and organize information. As you take notes you’ll decide on and highlight the key ideas you hear. You will also be able to indicate the supporting points of a presentation, making studying and understanding easier after each class. Moreover, having your own notes gives you the opportunity to link certain topics or themes to an image or something meaningful in your own life.

Secret 3: Test yourself

Studies have shown that students perform better when they give themselves enough time to study and check their knowledge by testing themselves in the future. Many students create a routine of STUDY, TEST, STUDY, TEST. Through this way, it will be easier to identify your mistakes and the gap in your memory, your future study session will also be better spent revising what you do not know rather than the whole topic.

This technique also makes it important to set yourself a study schedule that allows time for you to test yourself. For example, you can spread out your time across a week instead of cramming everything into a day. If you try and fit all your study into one day, you would not have the opportunity to study and test yourself.

Secret 4: Switch up your space!

Green is good for your eyes.

Avoid studying in the same place every day!

Changing spaces forces your brain to retain and recall information better. Your brain is able to make connections between the work you are studying and the environment you’re in. This means that when you study in different environments, your brain forms more connections with the work, making it easier to recall when you need it. The change of scenery also breaks the monotony and revives your mind. This is a great way to refocus your mind and increase your interest and concentration. Best of all, it improves your productivity and keeps you on schedule. A different environment will give you a fresh perspective and can help you stay focused for longer.

Secret 5: Take Breaks!

Have a break, stretch yourself a little

Study breaks can help your concentration and improve your productivity, so don’t feel guilty about taking one when you need it!

Breaks increase productivity and creativity. Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative. Resting also helps to consolidate memories and improve learning. During a rest period the brain reviews and ingrains what it previously learned. However, resting does not mean mindlessly staring at a tv screen for more than 2 hours. Try taking this time to unplug and going outside even if that means just going downstairs and walking around your neighbourhood for 10 minutes.

With that, I hope that these tips will hopefully be able to help you as you start a new year full of different challenges and difficulties by making them just a tiny bit more bearable. Not only can you try these new tips out but next year why not challenge yourself to help not only yourself but others as well. By implicating these tips into your lifestyle you will be able to learn many values such solidarity when you and your friends come together to help each other out so why not learn more about cooperatives and see what you can do to help someone else.

This article was brought to you by Mariya Yusuf Shahiwala. A Secondary Four student who is pursuing her secondary school education at CHIJ Katong Convent. She was a student intern in SNCF, Campus and Youth team from 12 November to 16 November 2018. She enjoys spending time with family and photography.