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8 Things That Will Motivate Students To Study Harder

8 Things That Will Motivate Students To Study Harder


By Annabelle Fee, Guest Writer

Annabelle is part of the Content and Community team at Smile Tutor, sharing valuable content with their own community and beyond.


Motivation is a topic that researchers have studied for many years; whether it’s how to motivate a dog to do tricks or how to motivate students to study. In this article, we’ll be looking at the best ways to motivate students to study harder. Research done by psychologists has established that there are 2 forms of motivation: External and Internal.

According to the ACS Distance-Education website, the motivating factors behind learning work either internally or externally and different forms of motivators influence different kinds of learning situations. External applies to forces at work outside the student to motivate them to study harder. 


1) Tangible Rewards

These can often work very well for example in the form of a car or a special toy or treat in return for good grades. It’s important to understand what rewards will work at what level. For example, a gold star awarded by a teacher in primary school will definitely not work in high school as the student perceives no value in it. But the promise of a car or maybe a trip will have a much better chance of working for a student doing final exams in their last year of school.


2) Family Obligation

In some cultures, students are motivated by a strong familial sense of duty and obligation which motivates them to study hard to reach a particular educational goal. Their parents may have sacrificed a great deal of money or time to make sure their children have the opportunity to have a better life than they did. The children in these families are very aware of the sacrifices of their parents and are strongly motivated to repay the debt by doing well in their studies and their future careers. They may also be motivated to pay their parents back when they get a good job.


3) Internal Motivation to Have a Better Life for Themselves

Whether they come from families such as the above or not, some people have a very strong ambition within them to have the life of their dreams, whether it be being famous, having lots of money or the outward signs of status and success, such as cars or houses. A good example of this would be Arnold Schwarzenegger who was driven to reach an almost impossible goal he had set for himself. He not only had to work physically hard but had to study hard as well. This motivation can be extremely powerful but is not all that common, especially in today’s society where instant gratification is more the norm.


4) The Motivation of Careers

Equally unusual is the student who has a particular career goal in mind, such as becoming a doctor, a lawyer or a pilot who is very aware that they just cannot reach those goals without studying and passing the requisite forms of examination. The motivation for careers such as these, which are very lucrative and high status can be very strong. Not only that but the study required for these careers is long and arduous, which requires a very high level of commitment and motivation which must endure for a number of years.


5) Peer Support

A trend in education in recent times has been to get students to work together in groups. The concept behind this is that of group collaboration and responsibility. Each member of the group feels a strong obligation to contribute their part. Otherwise, they may feel a sense of letting the team down and being an outsider. This can be a very motivational factor to produce work acceptable to the group. If this is not organized by the teacher, it is a good idea to find a study buddy to work together with, not necessarily on the same project. Just working physically alongside someone can provide a sense of support to keep going.


6) Social Acceptance

Social acceptance can be an incentive to study harder. It is a very lonely feeling when you have failed a subject that all your peers have passed, especially if you have to repeat it with a whole new class who were previously junior to you. Everybody likes to feel like they belong somewhere and in a class, you have an inbuilt environment of belonging. If you lose your group and have to start over with a new group, especially if you’re struggling with the feeling of failure and complete displacement, this can be overwhelming. This is definitely something to work hard to avoid.


7) The Fear of Failing Can Be a Very Successful Motivator

For example studying for the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), which is a requirement for entry into any American university or college can be a huge incentive to do well. This is a time when all your peers are moving on toward their future lives and you will be left behind if you fail. Some students turn to outside help in the form of tutoring. An example of this type of external tutoring help can be found at Smile Tutor who specialize in tutoring for the SAT exam, as well as other international entrance exams.

8) Researching a Topic or Subject in a New Way Using the Tools Provided by Technology

You can find information on just about anything on the internet, so you can use it to make your subject more interesting and possibly less dry or confusing. Relating your subject to something else that does interest you online can make your topic something you might enjoy, instead of such a chore.That doesn’t mean spending all your time on Facebook or keeping up with the latest tweets, but instead on pages that are relevant to your studies and perhaps shed a new light on the topic and make it more interesting.

Hopefully, these insights to motivation may help you to work out what incentive might work best for you, whether it’s an internal one such as pleasing parents or teachers or an external reward such as receiving a tangible reward for your efforts.The ability to concentrate deeply on a subject and learn is a valuable asset at any age and in any type of job or career. Learning what motivates you is worth finding out so you can use it in your future life.


A Note from Dr. Carol Utay…

“Subject tutoring sometimes isn’t the only path to student success. Along with these tips, there are dynamic things that your child can be doing to ensure their success both inside and outside of the classroom. Total Learning Centers offers solutions to your child to help them not only learn, but know how to learn to maximize their experiences. Programs and services like School Coaching & Homework HelpStudy Skills, and Executive Functioning training (Brain MAPS) are offered at TLC and are designed to help out students fill the gaps and to help them become their best. Call today at 724-940-1090 to learn more, or to schedule your first session with one of our top-notch tutors!”

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