How to set a study goal

Revision help graphic

Setting study goals is a brilliant way to make sure you get the most out of your revision so you ace your exams. But there's a knack to making sure you set yourself quality goals, so don't rush.

Don't know how to set a goal? Don't worry - read this and you'll be well on your way to making great goals and getting great grades. 


Why set yourself a study goal?


Getting motivated to study can be a challenge. “SOMEONE needs to kick me up the backside,” says YounesB, and I’m sure he isn’t alone. It’s normal to feel demotivated sometimes– especially when exams are looming and you’re not quite sure where to begin.

Setting goals for yourself is a great way to help you make sense of your workload, and maintain focus. Make use of positive re-enforcement and give yourself a small reward for achieving your goals, this will give you an extra motivational boost!

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How to set a study goal

There’s a knack to creating good goals. They need to be S.M.A.R.T:


The best goals are specific, remember you’re trying to give yourself a clear target to aim for. You know what your ultimate goal is (such as getting a B in maths), so think about how you can break that down and the steps you need to take to get there.

Instead of using something vague such as ‘revise biology’, try to be more precise. A perfect example comes from VittoriaAnna: “Complete 2 biology homework booklets on microbes and disease”. That way you know exactly what you need to do, and won’t find yourself sat in front of your notes wondering where to begin. 



Your goals should make you feel encouraged and inspired.Try framing your goals in a positive way – for example: “By the end of the week I will have finished reading Of Mice and Men”. Assuming the future in this way is a great mind trick; it makes your goal a reality and gets you in the right head space to complete your goals. 
It’s also really useful to give yourself some positive reinforcement – if you achieve a goal do something nice for yourself like a trip to the cinema, or hang out with friends. 

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Make sure your goals are realistic. “I actually completed mine however it was quite small in comparison to others as it was to complete 3 papers” says catherinexxx. This is super– your goals are for yourself and not for anybody else. If you set yourself goals you can achieve you’re far less likely to give up entirely. 


Your goal needs to be relevant. Make sure you always prioritise your weakest subjects as they’re the ones you need to focus on most.

Another good tactic is to get your least favourite subject out of the way first. That way you’ll have done the worst bit early on, and the rest of your study session will be a breeze. 



Give yourself a deadline as to when you need to complete your goals by, and make sure you have a planner. “I print mine off weekly every Monday morning, so I have a plan set for the week,” says MrMackyTV. 

“Gingerbread101 suggested that I do a to-do list for each day which works with my revision checklist, so I will be trying that out for the next few days,” says BryonyG98. Whether you decide to plan for the week or take it one day at a time, this will be really useful for structuring your study and making sure you get your work done. 

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