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Finals “Study Guide”
December 13, 2014
Ah, Winter Break—a silver lining on the dark cloud called finals. Over the next week, dear freshmen, it is necessary to exert your full efforts into doing well in finals, and with the following tips, I can ensure that you will not only have a cozy winter break, but also a less stressful finals week.
- Do not sacrifice sleep. Or at least, make sure you are getting a minimum of 5 hours of sleep. Sleep gives your brain a chance to reprocess what you’ve learned, helping you to retain more information. It has been proven that one does not learn as well with fewer hours of sleep. Instead, do your best to concentrate all your attention to studying when you are awake and spend the rest of your time catching up on those Z’s.
- If you need more hours to study, sleep early, and wake up early. I personally sleep from 10-3. This would ensure that you get a sufficient amount of sleep so you won’t be tempted to stay up later at night—instead you’ll be fully rested and ready to work when you wake up. Plus, there are fewer distractions in early morning hours. (Everyone is asleep, so things like Facebook, Twitter, or even your phone become less interesting.)
- Turn your phone off. It’s understandable. Your phone is right there and your friend just texted back—how can you not want to look? However, save yourself the temptation and just turn it off. The distraction is not worth any lost time.
- When working on something that you know is particularly difficult for you, don’t listen to music with lyrics. It just gets distracting, though you may not notice until you actually turn the song off. (For the perfect study playlist, click here.)
- Review a chapter a day for each class and physically write down notes. Research has shown that writing things down makes it easier to remember them, so make flashcards, outlines, post-its, etc.
- If you don’t understand something, prepare a list of questions you can ask the teacher or your tutor.
- Set time limits for your studying sessions. 50 minutes is the maximum amount of time you should be studying before taking a break. So study every 45-50 minutes, and take 10-15 minute breaks to chat with friends, grab a snack, etc.
- Quizlet is your best friend, especially for foreign language classes. Make sets of the vocabulary words or terms you find most difficult and practice. Download the app so you can practice on the go. (For other apps to help you study, click here.)
- Take advantage of the internet. If you really don’t understand a concept, just research it online. Crash Course and Khan Academy have some helpful videos on almost every subject, so look into those if you are really stuck. I, personally, use it frequently for STEM subjects.
- Take practice tests online to prepare yourself for the kinds of questions that may appear on the test.
- Postpone any plans until after finals. Because Starbucks with your best friend can wait.
- Don’t give up! Even if it’s the last week and Christmas spirit is twinkling in every corner. Push through this last week so you won’t have any regrets during break.