‘Tis the season, Lovelies. The season for all of us to get into finals mode, that is. Since all of us students have the unavoidable and incredibly dreaded finals weeks rapidly approaching, we decided to post a few tips to help you along the way.
1. Don’t panic. This might seem incredibly obvious, but I still get panic messages from my friends during finals time. While I try to be as sympathetic as possible, it’s really just a waste of time. Don’t freak out about how you have to write a 15-page paper or study for a cumulative exam for an entire hour when you could be studying. It’s not going to help and will probably exacerbate your stress.
2. Schedule out your entire week ahead of time. If you know exactly what you need to do and approximately how long it will take, it’s a good idea to block your schedule out to get an idea of when you’ll be studying, eating, sleeping and doing other miscellaneous things. It’s just nice to know what you’re supposed to be doing at every moment during finals week so you don’t have to waste brain space trying to remember what you’re supposed to be doing as you go.
3. Talk to your teachers about your final exam and final paper. Doing anything in school is 10 times easier when you know exactly what your teachers want. You can ask questions during class to help fellow classmates or you can go to office hours or take them aside after class and ask questions. I highly recommend going to a teacher on your own time so they know how seriously you take your grades, it might help give you a bump up if you’re on the fence for an A.
4. Surround yourself with motivational Post-its and reminders. Even if you don’t normally write things down, now is a time when you should. Sometimes during finals, things will get so busy that the smaller to-dos will slip your mind. I remember last year, my Post-it reminders got so intense that there was one on my pillow that reminded me to set my alarm and charge my phone before bed. It’s also nice to wake up to a post that says something encouraging like “Rise and shine! You are prepared for this exam and you will do great!” It might be corny, but it makes me feel more confident before sitting down with my blue book.
5. Find your study spot. Figure out where you study best. For me, it’s at the table in my common room or in the lower levels of my school’s library. If you have a spot specifically designated for studying, your mind is less likely to wander from the task at hand because it’s so used to focusing on work while in this spot.
6. Tell everyone you know that it’s crunch time. This will excuse any crankiness on your part and let them know that you are not to be bothered unless it’s an emergency. It’s important to let people who don’t go to your school that it’s that time of the semester, because exam times vary from school to school and they might not realize that you need to be studying and not Skyping or chatting on Facebook.
7. Take it one step at a time. Don’t think about everything you need to do during the entire week in one sitting. Sit down with books for only one subject and only think about what needs to be done for that class. Taking on too much at once might make you feel overwhelmed and lead to the panicking that I warned against earlier.
8. Keep the caffeine coming. Pick your fancy — tea, coffee, soda, whatever — and stock up on what you need. This will allow you to avoid unnecessary breaks and will help you get an extra boost of energy whenever you need it.
9. Do at least one non-studying thing a day. It’s important that you take a break every once in awhile but it’s also important to pick something that you won’t get sucked into completely. You can choose to watch one TV episode, learn to bake something new, go to the gym or even clean. Whatever floats your boat. Just be sure to choose something that lets your brain rest so you’re ready to focus when you get back to studying an hour or so later.
10. Avoid focusing on post-finals life. While it’s nice to fantasize about where you’ll be when the semester over, this can lead to extended daydreams and often leaves a person with a sense of dread with the upcoming week. If you only focus on the immediate future, you won’t make comparisons of life now and life post-fall semester. It’s extremely difficult to study when all you can think about is what your holidays are going to be like this year.
I hope some of these tips helped and you all don’t have too stressful a time this year. Best of luck with all of your end-of-the-year work!
What tips do you have for studying for finals?