Motivating Revision

How to motivate teens to study for exams

Two main factors seem to stop a student from starting studies and revision:

  1. The thought of revision, and the stress of facing up to preparing for imminent examinations.
  2. Boredom. Quite simply, you might be faced with a teen who is “bored” at the idea of revision, before they’ve even really ‘broken in’ to it!


As a parent or guardian of an exam-sitting teen, it’s relatively easy to tell your teen to “get on” with revision- but it can be a whole lot harder getting them to actually do it! Here’s some tips and advice you could try with your teen to make the revision process more approachable:


Firstly, you could try something new. Conventional methods of revision often include note-taking and re-reading materials. However, you could ‘break in’ to the revision process by offering your child the opportunity to start by listening to a relevant radio show or podcast, recorded online (many are available to download.) There are lots of revision podcasts out there, and it’s something your teen can plug in and listen to whilst on the move- on the bus- whilst walking to a friend’s house, etc.


Some of us really benefit from this auditory style of retaining information (learning by listening,) and if you think that applies to your teen, it would additionally be worth your time considering the revision courses that we offer. We offer sessions, led by subject specialists, who can talk your child through their revision, and speak knowledgably. Of course, in this setting, your teen is free to ask questions and discuss information further.

As a second suggestion to get revision started, your teen could also try ‘buddying up.’ Studying with a suitable peer is often a really beneficial way to share ideas and discuss topics covered in class. Our revision courses run during the academic holidays, and each session has a small group of students. We find that a small number of students in a group really helps with revision output and engagement. Working together can create a motivated and focussed environment for revising.


As another idea, your teen and a friend could also ‘teach each other’ a topic. Each teen could prepare on a particular topic that they might be struggling with- with the aim to ‘teach it’ to their peer. This can be a really helpful way to tackle the stress and boredom that might come with trying to handle a topic alone. By having some ‘responsibility’ for the other person’s learning, too, it is a strategy which might help motivate your teen into addressing aspects of their revision.



And, finally, if things are still ‘slow going’ at the start, another strategy might be to revise the ‘easy bits’ first. By covering topics that your teen finds ‘familiar ground,’ it might give them that boost in confidence, with the knowledge that they do already have a good grasp of certain areas!

Let them showcase what they do know first and give them praise.

It’s a positive way in.