People think that what makes us “Hard Workers” get good grades is the motivation to work, the reality can’t be any further from the truth. If we only relied on motivation to work we would only revise once a week and never hand assignments in on time. Motivation doesn’t last, it doesn’t persist when things get difficult. Granted, it may give you the momentum to start working, but what truly keeps the hard work engines fueled is the discipline that most of us have developed. Discipline is what allows us to win the IB marathon, it keeps us running even when we want to quit. This discipline is hard to build, but it isn’t impossible, as a matter of fact you can develop it overnight. The problem is however, if you get out of your working trend, you may find it difficult to resume all that hard work. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take time off during holidays, it means that you have to be aware that you will be more reluctant to resume working. This is why I suggest you completely cut out on any sort of distraction during the few months leading up to the exams. These distractions include but are not limited to: Video games, TV shows, Movies, Going out, Drinking (you have to become a social mole, digging deep through your books).
Now let’s get to the most important part of this blog, how do you develop your discipline overnight? Firstly you require a catalyst to get you motivated and the ball rolling, this usually presents itself in the form of a bad grade or test score. You have to use that crappy feeling that is eating away at your heart to motivate yourself to work. The problem is however that you will tell yourself “I will prepare better for the next test”, but the next test is in a month and you will have lost that motivation. What you have to do is us that painful feeling and get working the very same day. Start preparing for your next test a month in advance, go over class notes, do extra question, basically: go above and beyond. This will almost ensure that you will score highly on the next test, and that good grade, that 7/7 will create a dopamine rush in your brain making you feel happy. Use that happiness and get addicted to the good grade and understand that the only way you can achieve that good grade is through the discipline you have showed that past month.
I also set daily goals for working, I suggest 3 hours a day (but you know best). I record the times I have worked on a spread sheet and when I hit or exceed the daily goal I feel happy and this acts as a micro step towards a larger goal (visualizing progress helps you move forward). I can also see if I haven’t reached the daily goal which will act as negative reinforcement tool that will get me back to work. This timing and timetable idea might sound rather weak, but trust me, it helps.