Mind over matter: 5 ways to change your attitude about study

Studying doesn't need to be as hard as it is made out to be. Here are five ways to streamline your learning process, keep reading to find out!

a year ago   •   4 min read

By KIS academics
Photo by Siora Photography / Unsplash

Studying isn’t always the most exciting event on the calendar, but especially in year 12 of high school, it’s inevitable. So how can students change their mindset to get the job done?

Year 12 and study

We’ve all been there: it’s been a long day at school, or maybe a series of long days to make things worse. Sleep has eluded you (hello, end of daylight savings), and you can feel your motivation slowly waning. Yet the tests, assignments, and classes continue to pile up. School holidays are a welcome reprieve but before you know it, you’re back into the fast lane and two weeks didn’t bring those energy levels back up to 100%. So what’s a year 12 student to do?

While there isn’t an easy solution to overcoming the study equivalent of writer’s block, by changing your mindset, you give yourself the best chance at maximising your study. Here are 5 tips to consider in shifting your attitude to make studying less of a chore when times get tough:

1: Study with the end goal in mind

It’s hard to feel motivated to do something if you don’t see a bigger purpose. Many students often ask themselves “What’s the point?” when learning how to sketch parabolic functions or memorising the steps of the Krebs cycle as the relevance to life beyond year 12 can seem non-existent.

However, shifting your thinking to consider study as part of a bigger plan can help you persevere through the more mundane tasks. Do you have a goal in mind for university study or a career? If so, great! Remind yourself that everything you’re learning in school will help you get there. This is true in terms of boosting your marks to help you get accepted into your course, but it’s also true in ways that aren’t quite so easy to appreciate.

While you might not deal with parabolas directly as an architect or physio, broadening your problem-solving ability is essential for any career. If you’re still uncertain exactly where you’re headed after school, that’s fine too. Consider your study as a way of enriching your knowledge and skill set in various domains that give you many more options in the future.

2: Break it down

If you’re struggling to grasp a concept, staring at page 222 out of 223 in your textbook where the most difficult questions are can make the challenge seem insurmountable. Be patient and start with the basics. Imagine if you showed a prep student calculus and said “You need to know this in 10 years, so best start now”. That wouldn’t work.

You need to teach them their times tables, addition and subtraction, algebra, and so on. Consider the timeline from now until exam day. Break down your expected knowledge into a series of steps and check back in with yourself every week to see how you’re progressing. Learning a little bit more and delving into slightly harder content on a week-by-week basis is a lot less daunting than going straight for page 222.

3: Treat yo self

A great motivator to do anything is knowing there will be a reward at the end. So, for every study session, think of something you can do either immediately after or sometimes on the weekend as an incentive for your hard work. Maybe it’s letting yourself watch an episode of Netflix at the end of the day. Stock up your pantry with your favourite snacks to use as rewards. Call a friend, take a long hot shower, or whatever will serve as the light at the end of the study tunnel.

4: Find new ways to study

Part of the reason you’re hitting a wall can be that the type of task you’re trying to undertake just doesn’t work for you. It doesn’t mean you’re bad at studying or that the concept is beyond you; it more likely just means that you haven’t found what works for you. If you’re a visual learner, draw the concepts using colour codes rather than reading from a textbook. Make flashcards. Makeup rhymes to remember definitions of terms. When most people think of studying, they picture someone’s head buried in a book, and while that may work for some, it doesn’t have to be that way.

5: Consider group study

Year 12 can feel very lonely and like the weight of the world is all on your shoulders. Joining a study group, or even studying alongside your friends if they’re doing different subjects from you, feels more like a team effort. Being in a supportive environment where you encourage each other can make studying something to look forward to, especially if you break up the sessions with time to catch up and talk about anything other than school.

There are infinite possible reasons that a student can struggle to find the motivation to study, and different strategies for shaking off the negative vibes will work for different people. If you’re in year 12 and need some inspiration in breaking your study funk, consider booking a free 30-minute study skills consultation to discuss what might work for you with an experienced tutor.


How do I motivate myself to study?

  • Consider your study with your goals (uni or otherwise) in mind. Break tasks down into a series of steps and incentivise yourself with rewards for your hard work.

What are some ideas for making studying more enjoyable?

  • Make colour-coded diagrams and mind maps. Quiz yourself using flashcards and think up fun mnemonics.

Should I form a study group?

  • Absolutely! Get a small group of friends together at a regular time and break up the study with socialising to make it something to look forward to.

Written by KIS Academics tutor Dee Tomic. Dee currently offers tutoring for VCE Maths Methods and Biology. Dee is completing her PhD in epidemiology with Monash University. If you have any questions for her or would like to request Dee as a tutor, feel free to reach out through her profile here.

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