How to stay motivated in the IB

Written By Ranjika B.

As the year approaches its end, DP students get closer to their dreaded EE, TOK and IA submissions, and mocks, they are likely to find themselves losing motivation. If this sounds familiar, remember: you’re not alone! It is completely normal to feel anxious, unmotivated and overwhelmed. Please do not feel unworthy or guilty for losing motivation. The way you feel about your education right now does not define who you are. That being said, it is possible to get motivated through goal-setting, stress-management and thinking about the long-term benefits of your study. 

Set SMART Goals 

We all tend to lose sight of why we are doing things. It is very common for students to feel overwhelmed with the number of IB deadlines and wonder “Why am I even doing this?”. It is helpful to take a moment and remember why you chose this track and these subjects. Once you are reminded of your goals, it is easier to get motivated and set more specific, short-term goals. It is also useful to breakdown large tasks – like an EE or an IA, into smaller chunks that translate to more achievable goals. Remind yourself of the future as well as of your personal development goals. The ATL skills – self management, social, research, communication and thinking skills are a good starting point to set goals for personal development. 

Specific: use real numbers and deadlines 

Measurable: trackable goal that you can use to measure your progress 

Attainable: within your scope of achievement 

Relevant: aligns with your long-term objective 

Time-bound: the goal must have a fixed goal 

Stress Management 

It is no secret that a lack of motivation causes stress and anxiety. When you don’t feel the drive to complete something, you will inevitably procrastinate and feel stressed about the work you have left. Some of the basic things that you can do to manage stress is exercise regularly and eat well. Avoid relying on stimulants like caffeine in energy drinks and coffee. Take time out to practice your hobbies and do things that you love. A pro tip would be to convert your hobbies into CAS work, so as to complete IB requirements doing things you long. In the beginning of the week take 15-30 minutes to plan out your week effectively, accounting for breaks, meals, and hobbies. Take some time out for journaling to get your stress out in a creative way. Of course, these are very general things that do not apply to specific instances. Do not hesitate to reach out to your school psychologist to help you when you need it. They are there to listen, and it is always good to seek help from a trained professional. These little things will help you feel less stressed out in general. However, if you need academic assistance to cope with stress, we recommend getting a tutor. This will help you get a fresh perspective on your work and improve your academic performance and retention. 

By implementing these strategies, we are certain that you will regain motivation to complete the DP and have a more positive outlook towards your academic career. 

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