How to reward yourself after assessments

Rest is, as they say, just as important as hard work.

So how can you reward yourself for studying and revision and make sure you maintain a sense of balance during your assessment?

We asked our students this very question, and received an interesting array of answers, from prosecco and a celebratory nap, to calling a parent to share the news.

Rewards for studying

AAT student Charlotte Woodworth, says she tries to set herself realistic goals about what she can achieve while studying.

“When I’m working on a module, I make sure to take little breaks so that I don’t get overwhelmed. This is usually when I say to myself “at the end of the next half hour, I can have a smoothie, a cup of tea or a walk.”

After sitting an assessment, Charlotte rewards herself with a special ‘treat day.’

“I eat whatever I like and try and do something nice to relax, like a long, luxurious bath with a nice bath bomb,” she notes.

Creating an incentive

AAT student Jay Wilson likes to incentivise himself with games and gadgets.

“I think everyone rewards themselves in different ways depending on their preferences, but for me personally, it has to be technology,” he notes.

“I’m a bit obsessed with Apple but, as every item is generally quite expensive I need to ‘justify’ those big purchases. It works hand in hand with my studying.”

Jay has, however, now reached a point where he has pretty much every Apple product made in the last few years. “I’m now moving on to building a Smart Home (lights, locks etc.) to keep myself motivated,” he notes.

Instant treats after assessments

Phil Toomer MAAT, an accounts tutor, says that when he was studying he always tried to book an afternoon exam.

“In the morning I would do an AAT practice assessment to get ready. Then, after the exam, I would go to a restaurant or pub that I’d never been to before and treat myself. I called it my post exam meal.”

After Phil sat his final exam he also rewarded himself with a Nintendo Switch. “I’m a big fan of games and gadgets so it seemed like a suitable reward.”

Taking a break and the power of naps

Jay also believes in the power of naps and taking regular breaks from studying.

“It’s definitely worth rewarding yourself and taking study breaks where appropriate otherwise you feel like you would burn out.” he says.

“I can look at a book for four hours and learn nothing. I’ll then take a couple days off, go back, read the same book for 10 minutes, and I’ll have learned more in those ten minutes then what I did in four hours.”

Getting into the right mindset and minimising distractions is really important, says Jay.

“There are times where I’m just simply not in the mood, and forcing myself to sit there and read just doesn’t work. I never have the TV on, or have it on within listening distance, but I do feel some quiet background music helps.”

Preparing yourself for assessments

Jay also recommends using the interactive presentations and videos.

“The presentations and videos on the AAT website really help retain my very short attention span. I sometimes make my own too. By putting presentations together you have to think and remember what it is you’ve been studying – so everything helps.”

Charlotte says she tries to give herself a week off studying to let her brain settle down so that she doesn’t get too stressed or anxious.  

“If I’ve passed the exam then great. Happy days. I have a motivational song that I put on that’s reserved solely for passing exams, and I share my success with my family and friends on social media. The following weekend I’ll do something nice, so either a meal out with my partner or going on a day trip somewhere.”

Acknowledge your journey

If, for whatever reason, you don’t pass the assessment, it’s important to be kind to yourself and acknowledge how it has made you feel, Charlotte advises.

“Fortunately, I’ve only ever failed one assessment, but over time I’ve learned that the best way to deal with that is to first allow yourself to feel all of your emotions, whether you’re upset, angry, disappointed or a mix of all of the above, you need to just feel how you feel then you can move on,” she says.

Once you have gathered your thoughts and accepted it, you can use the failure as a springboard to motivate yourself again.

“I think you should get straight back on it – look at why you failed, get extra feedback if necessary and think how you’re going to ace it next time,” Charlotte says.

Passing the final assessment

“Aside from leaping around the living room and messaging every person who I can think of , I always have a holiday/mini-break,” says Charlotte.

“Once I finish the Professional Diploma in Accounting, I’ve decided that I’m taking myself off on a lovely relaxing spa weekend. Once I have MAAT status, I’m planning a holiday in the sun with my long-suffering, but incredibly supportive partner!”

Read more tips on Excel here

Browse the full range of AAT study support resources here

Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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