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Student Stories: How I deal with study frustration

24/08/16 10:09 / by Tom Grace

Tom Grace

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It was likely to happen at some stage. As we count down towards the exam (just over two weeks now), frustration is starting to get the better of me and my textbook plus some study supports nearly went sailing out the window.

I’m obviously in some sort of study induced madness as my next alternative for dealing with the frustration takes me right back to primary school. Looking at our new family pup, Barkley, lying on the floor beside me I wondered if he would fancy chewing on my ‘homework’ but he took one look at the book and decided it would be more comfortable as a bed.

Despite the demands of work, family, etc. I’d been dealing with studying this module quite well until now. However, Chapter 4 on ‘Household Insurances’ filled with perils, optional extensions, exclusions and more is driving me up the wall. I’m sure I’ll get a handle on it in time for the exam but right now it’s just not happening.

So, this build-up of frustration got me thinking: what might be the best way to approach things if you are suffering study frustration, study block or just plain study panic? To focus myself again I came up with this.


Ask yourself ‘Why am I doing this?’

I know for many of us studying our APA or CIP is a requirement that our employer, customers and industry expect from us. However, taking on qualifications while working is about more than just compliance. For me, I’ve tried to forget about external motivations and focus on personal reasons why I want to study and get through the exam, such as:

  • Recognition of the knowledge and skills I can bring to my role
  • Building my expertise and creating an opportunity for advancement
  • Personal fulfilment – proving I have the drive and ambition to add a Level 7 qualification to my CV while working.


Shake it up

Now on my third exam, I’ve found that I can become stuck in the same old study cycles. I have times, locations and habits for my study that just aren’t working anymore. So I decided to break that cycle and change the way I’m prepping for the exams:

  • I split my study into smaller bitesize chunks to maintain my focus and build a sense of achievement. I focus on a single chapter and once I feel comfortable with it, I’ll take on the corresponding mini-mock. Sometimes it might only be a section of a chapter and when doing the mini mock I only tackle the questions on the section I’ve covered.
  • I do my best to relax – read, run, redecorate; do something I enjoy. If it improves my outlook and makes me feel more relaxed then it won’t take away from my study but puts me in the right mind-set to get some work done. After all, mindfulness only serves to increase productivity.


Forget regrets, just start

I’ve found that there’s no point worrying about what you should have covered last week or get panicked by what’s still to do. We’re in week thirteen of the semester and that means there are still over two weeks to get material covered.

My advice: worrying and regret leads to inaction so just push it to one side. Make a start or restart a chapter of the book – even if you feel it’s an area that you already know. There will be questions on all of the chapters in the exam, so anything you work on from here on in will build your chance of gaining marks.

I’m off to take a little of my own advice and start a bitesize chunk of study (focussing on the claims notification process and the requirements under this).

Good luck with whatever strategy you find gets you through your study frustration – just remember ‘the dog ate my homework’ won’t work this time!