For all of my fellow students out there: how ya holding up? Over here, I’m up to my eye brows in final projects, essays, exams and presentations – thankfully this is my second to last semester of ever having to do so. I figured it was about time I shared the study tips I actually use this time of year. In the past, I’ve shared other tips for kicking finals season in the behind. However, after my 18 years of schooling (yowza…) I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am a procrastinator. I am okay with that. If you notice the same thing about yourself, you’ll want to pay extra attention.
First things first, understand how you operate best. Like I said earlier, when it comes to my schoolwork I am a procrastinator. I get a weird sense of enjoyment out of understanding that something is due in two hours or a big essay is due tomorrow. I like the pressure, it gets me to focus intently. That being said, I understand everyone doesn’t work best that way. That is a-okay. If you work best when you give yourself little milestones to complete over the next week, do that. If you work best typing your homework on your iPhone on your way to class, do that. Only you are able to gauge when and how you do your best work. Once you understand that, it’s time to make a plan.
Write down when everything is due and when your exams/presentations are. The day I got back on campus after Thanksgiving break, this was no joke, the first thing I did. For all of the stress that I had about the projects I had coming up, I felt much better once I had everything written out in front of me. In my planner, I split up each day to differentiate between what was due on a particular day and what I needed to do that day for a presentation or assignment that was due in the future.
Once you’ve got that all figured out, it’s time to put your game face on.
Study alone. In my
million eighteen years of being a student, I have finally learned that studying with others just doesn’t work. While it can be helpful to hash out concepts with a study buddy, ultimately when it comes time to take that test, it’s just you and the test. You are responsible for knowing and understanding the information, and you alone are responsible for the grade you receive. The biggest weapon in my arsenal? Flashcards. I freaking love index cards. It’s the best way, I’ve found to quiz myself with as few distractions as possible.
Speaking of distractions, stay off the computer when at all possible. You open up your laptop and click on your notes from class. You start reading them. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, you get this little tingly feeling inside your said that is telling you that you deserve a break, check Facebook. IT LIES! Okay, okay, so that was slightly overdramatic, but you get the idea. Temptation is everywhere and if you procrastinate like me, then you blatantly don’t have time for distractions. If your notes are on your computer, print them out. I’ve also found that having a hard copy of my notes gives me a place to write helpful notes to myself which help me remember things that I get confused.
And finally, rotate subjects so that your attention span holds. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m almost positive that there have been psychological studies done that have shone the significance of switching up types of tasks/subjects as a means of increasing mental acuity. It makes sense, doesn’t it? It gets really boring to read the same four chapters of history notes for eight hours – it becomes harder to focus. Switching up what you’re studying and working almost tricks your brain into thinking that it’s doing something brand new, even if it has seen the material before.
Like I said earlier, I have written many other posts about preparing for finals and you can find them here: