Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Why I Find Revision So Difficult

Like, reaaaally difficult.

If you’re reading this then I assume that you either are like me and are really struggling to revise this exam season, or you’re really good at revision and just can’t understand why some people don’t just get on with it. If you’re the former, then I really hope we can share and receive some tips and support – if you’re the latter, then I hope this can be insightful for you, and that you too can share and receive some tips and support.

I find it really difficult to find the motivation to revise. My main group of college friends are completely opposite to me in that respect and often mention how much revision they’ve done the previous night or over the weekend. I really struggle to understand myself because if they can do it easily, then why can’t I? I put myself down far too much and not only is it counterproductive, but it has an adverse effect on my mental health and self esteem. It’s illogical but I guess that’s just part of the anxiety that an alarmingly large number of teens and young adults suffer from nowadays.

This Easter was/is a fantastic opportunity to make the most of and get ahead with revision, and now that I’m nearing the end of my holiday having been nowhere near as productive as I should have been, I’m thinking ‘what have I done’ and I kind of want to cry. I know I’ll go back to college and my friends will all have been super productive and once again I will not be able to relate. It’s not that I can’t be bothered to revise, but more that I physically find it near impossible to concentrate and be confident/comfortable revising for much longer than about 10 minutes. Some people will go, okay that’s fine, do ten minutes then have a ten-minute break and then another ten minutes of revision and so on…but no. I don’t know if any of you will specifically be able to relate to this but I feel like once I’ve done ten minutes I feel so exhausted, especially if I didn’t understand the topic and then it’s going to take me probably at least an hour before I can even consider resuming revision. My best day this holiday has been about 2.5 hours in a day – and I’ve been up and dressed etc before 9 most mornings. I know some people will have managed to do 7+ hours every day and if I’m doing 3 times less on my best day then how on earth is there any hope of passing my A Levels?? When I compare myself to what other people are doing I feel like s**t – because it’s so easy to compare yourself to others and put yourself down when you don’t live up to their standards.

Comparison can be toxic. Just don’t do it.

I’ve been seeing my college student wellbeing support person recently and honestly she is so nice. I’ve explained to her how I’ve been struggling and she has been so encouraging. The last time I saw her before Easter, I told her about how I’d had a good week because I felt quite good about revision and was fairly productive (by my standards (also – rare, rare occurrence for me to be productive)) and she explained how “good for [me]” it was. Coming from most people’s mouths, that would sound sarcastic and condescending, but not from hers. It made me realise that it’s absolutely pointless to compare myself to all these super-motivated revision-friendly students who just manage it all with ease – I’m never going to be like that, and it’s going to be so much more proactive, motivating and positive for my mental health if I begin to use my own standards and abilities as a benchmark. Everyone will be different. Some people will manage to do 9 hours on a Saturday, some will do 1 hour and be overcome with pride at how much they’ve achieved. What you should be aiming to do is get your personal balance between ‘need’ for revision, capability of revision, and mental health. And please remember that your happiness is so important – you do not want to forgo it just for the sake of your grades. Our society appears to value letters on a certificate more than health and happiness which is something that is hopefully beginning to change. Obviously, aim high and really try to get the best grades you can – but if you know that you’re someone who to achieve those top grades would need to sacrifice their wellbeing, then put your happiness first.

The most valuable thing I have learnt recently from all my revision is that comparing yourself to others can be destructive. You need to start comparing yourself to yourself. Aim high for you. Do the best that you can do. Be proud of your achievements. Who cares if someone may have achieved a higher grade than you, if you’re happy and comfortable with the steps you’ve taken to get there and where you’ve gotten to, then that is what matters most.

I wish you all the utmost luck with any exams and anything else that may be causing stress or anxiety in your life at the moment. I really hope that what I’ve written has been of some help to some of you, and I want you to know that you are not alone. If anybody wants to share their feelings about anything, then feel completely free to message me on twitter (@georgieblue3) or if you don’t have twitter, then send an email to me at (

G x