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    I’m in my second year at a Top 3 UK university and I’m FAILING. Although I know what I need to do for the grades I want I can’t seem to put it into practice. Admittedly, I pissed around in my first year, but I took it incredibly seriously this year, to only end up in a similar position. Here are some more details. I’ve always been quite a lazy but smart-ish student that got his act together by exam time (possibly with the help of panic). However, unlike school, the lack of close staff contact, zero mock exams and past papers and no pressure to do the work has left me being inefficient all year (my university only has finals once a year, no intermediary exams)… until I recently realised I will probably have to retake the year. It’s now last few days before exams and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that I can pass enough exams to progress. Even if I could pass the year, it would put me at risk of a bad grade when I graduate (This isn’t me being negative, the amount of content is HUGE). Regardless of whether I’m passing the year or not, I NEED to improve my study skills from now on in order to get a decent grade. Here are a few observations I’ve made. During term time when exams seem a decade away I am way too relaxed with the attitude that “I can rewatch the lecture and make notes later”, “It doesn’t matter if I don’t understand that ONE question, I’ll get help on it later” or “I can master that method tomorrow”. This thinking means the second that I’m behind is the start of a downward spiral since maths builds on itself, until I’ve got the whole course to learn and I “might as well start from the beginning in the Easter break”. That’s when I realise the sheer amount of content to learn, and I panic. Some further details: I WANT to do well, I KNOW the benefits of a good education, yet I find it hard to be self motivated enough to do non-compulsory work (there are no formal punishment for not handing in work) even though I know it’s essential for exam success. I do enjoy my course once I understand concepts enough to put it into practice (isn’t that everyone with maths?) but I need to find a way to get past that initial hurdle. I have already identified that an important change would be to make a habit of studying everyday ideally with a study buddy and have been doing this for 2 weeks (god knows how I got to University without this habit), but when I’ve tried this before, I’d chronically wander into my own thoughts or procrastinate on the internet (I’m diagnosed with ADHD but that isn’t an excuse). I apologise for the lengthy post, but here are my questions: how do I stay motivated to put in the required amount of work without the presence of time pressure or an instant reward? How do I stop putting work off because “I’m already behind”? How can I stay better focussed on my work when my mind is racing with thoughts and impulses?
 
 
 
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