Exams are cancelled but achieving your goals isn't - How to stay motivated without the incentive of exams.

Exams are cancelled but achieving your goals isn’t – How to stay motivated without the incentive of exams.

May 2021 Medium Read: 5 Min

So, we’ve all heard the news, GCSE and A-Level exams in the UK are cancelled.

Exams have always been an incentive to work hard, revise and do our best at school. But without the looming date of exams coming up, how do we make sure we still stay on target and push forwards to achieve our goals? 

It’s going to be hard, granted. But Casio is here to help – there are things we can do to keep the motivation going and get the end goal in sight. Here are a few bits of advice from us. 

  1. Focus past exams on your long term goals

This is easier said than done when you have been working towards that impending goal of your exams. It’s hard to divert your focus on working without that final target in sight. 

Whether your overall goal is to get the results to achieve your dream job or gain access to a particular course at university or college, visualise this goal whenever you feel like giving up. If you don’t have a target, sit down and think of just one you can use as motivation. And, make it something tangible, something that is achievable and gets you excited about the future. 

Capture what you’ll feel like when your teacher tells you how much you’ve achieved at the end of the school year. Keep this thought in your mind and remember the bigger picture that your hard work is leading to. 


  1. Track your progress as you go

If you’re not already on top of this, begin recording the topics you have covered in your revision schedule so far.

In a notebook, write down everything that you do every day concerning your studying. If you start to lose motivation, flick through the notebook and appreciate how much you’ve already achieved.

If you have studied every day or a couple of days a week for the past month or so, you have achieved an enormous amount in that time. If you’re finding it hard to sit down and take out those books, look back at your record and see how far you’ve come.

This logging of study or time spent preparing for your exams (even if they’re not going ahead) is vital for morale and helps you see where you have come from and what you have already achieved. 

Looking at this log will spark the thought, “I’ve invested weeks in this so far, why would I waste my time and give up now. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help

If you’ve been working hard for the past few weeks, you might feel that you are losing the energy to keep to your programme, ask for help. 

It’s demotivating when you’ve been working towards an exam or a specific goal and then, the goalposts move, and the exam isn’t going ahead. The incentive and drive you had before may be diminishing, but speak to your teachers and peers before losing hope. Talking to teachers and friends you’re close to will help you look past your current situation and further into the future. Perspective is critical. 

Unless you seek this support, uncertainty will harm your motivation. Getting advice can change your outlook on work and is a great way to ensure you maintain your study schedule. Whether you are studying in school or your room at home, make sure you get advice from someone experienced. 

Your teachers and tutors will have supported hundreds, potentially thousands of students, and they can give the best advice to help you get the most out of what you are trying to achieve. No problem is too small, and getting that support will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.  


  1. Don’t forget – rest is the secret ingredient for success 

Everyone has an off-day with their learning schedule.

But, these ‘off days’ are so important for both our mental and physical well-being. Sometimes, we forget that we need time off to be our most productive – this is called the ‘productivity paradox’. If we shift our mindset from thinking, productivity is working 12 hours a day to acknowledging that taking breaks makes us more productive and effective in the long run; then we’re onto a winner. 

Let’s take the example of running. Whether you’re into running or not, we all know that dedicated runners don’t beat their targets by running 10k 7 days a week non-stop. If a runner were to do this, they would first pick up injuries and second, they would burn out. Not only this, they would create a bad relationship with running and resent the process. This too applies to your learning, a gruelling study schedule will inevitably backfire, and you’ll become less productive in the long run. Rest days are essential for recovery, in all areas of life. 

Balance is vital to sustainable progress. The end goal is in sight. Even though exams aren’t going ahead, we all have our own goals we want to achieve; these haven’t gone away. So, push through and think about the end game, whatever your dreams in life may be, exams being cancelled don’t have to stop them from becoming a reality.