It’s that time of year again…the end of Fall Quarter (or Semester) and while half of me is singing Christmas carols and planning my New Year’s Eve outfit, the other half of me is in full on panic attack mode due to my NEVER ENDING “To Do” list. Well, as a senior in college, I can’t help but feel like it is an obligation to share my favorite study tips I’ve acquired to cope with finals over the past four years.
1. As obvious as it sounds, study a little bit everyday. Even if you’ve procrastinated up until this point, at least make the last week or two easier on yourself by pacing yourself.
2. Let lists and highlighters become your new best friends. I like to make a list of exactly what needs to be done for each class (papers, projects, reading, studying, etc) and then use colored highlighters to outline which day I will complete which assignments (ie. Green highlighter=Monday, Pink highlighter=Tuesday, etc).
3. Remind yourself of your goals. I like to write my goals on colored notecards (one goal per notecard) and hang them somewhere I am forced to look at them daily (on my refrigerator or above my desk). Forcing myself to remember what I am working towards helps to keep me motivated on the final stretch of the quarter.
4. Make studying just a teeny bit more fun. I like to have study dates, or better yet, study sleepovers. Grab a friend and study at Starbucks together or invite your best friend over for a finals week study sleepover. Even though you both will be focused on exams, it’s so much more fun when there’s candy, ice cream and best friends involved.
5. Get out of your house (or dorm, or apartment, or sorority). There are SO many distractions in your bedroom (oh hi pile of shoes, you need to be organized). There are SO many distractions in your kitchen (Those dirty dishes really need to be washed…). There are SO many distractions in your living room (doesn’t watching Sister Wives with your roommate seem more fun than studying?). Here’s my best advice, head to a library. Head to a coffee shop. Head anywhere that essentially offers nothing to do but study. You’ll be much more likely to work productively, and that’s sort of the point right?!
6. Eat & Sleep. Finals week means cramming, and cramming generally means late nights. However, running on zero hours of sleep isn’t going to do you any favors. Likewise, stuffing your face with cookies and chips because you feel bad for yourself/don’t want to take the time to make real food won’t either. Aim for a minimum of 6 hours of sleep each night during finals week and a balance between healthy meals and motivating study snacks. I’m eating a cookie as I type this.
7. Binaural beats, I swear by them. If you look up binaural beats (for studying/focus) on youtube you can find a variety of tracks to listen to. Binaural beats are essentially random white noise BUT although their effects are debated I promise they help me to focus. If I have to write an essay or interpret dense reading I simply pop my headphones in, turn on binaural beats and I can tune out the distractions of the world no problem.
8. Plan a fun event or activity after you’re finished with finals to reward yourself for all of your hard work. Whether it is a pedicure, ice skating, decorating the Christmas tree with family or brunch with friends, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is crucial and in my opinion it really does help me to make it through the week.
I am by no means an Academic expert, but, I’d like to think the past four years of living life as an anxiety ridden freak has taught me a thing or two about stress management (which is ultimately what finals are testing anyways right?!). Plus I was technically that Academic Chair in my sorority so that counts for some sort of accreditation…right?!
Please share your favorite study tips for finals week! Good luck to any students taking exams this week and next!