Editors' Blog: Spring Finals Study Tips

With only a few weeks left in the semester, it's fair to assume that nearly every student is more stressed than usual about upcoming exams and projects. Even though it's a hard time, by maximizing the efficiency with studying and remembering to take time for self-care, it's possible to maintain your sanity. Our editors are here to share their tips for studying, including time management and making time for friends and, most importantly, yourself.

 

Katie Malone, Section Editor

I'm a crammer. I save all of my studying until the last possible minute and then try to fit a whole semester of knowledge into my head before the final just to pass the class. If you're a crammer too, here's some tips to make it work.

1. Try to make 'last minute' mean 2 days before the exam.

It's impossible to learn anything 30 minutes before the big test. Instead, try to block out time 2 days before any exam to adequately cram. Is this the best way to do things? Probably not, but some of us just always end up taking this route. By giving yourself at least 2 days, you can fit in as much studying as possible without feeling too guilty that you haven't been keeping up on your work all semester. 

2. Flashcards are your best friend.

The key to cramming is rapid memorization. You need to be able to get the information in your head long enough to spit it out for the test. Flashcards are a good way to keep the information at the forefront of your brain so that it comes out accurately for the exam. This, again, is not advice to genuinely understand a topic, it's just to get the best grade you can after a semester of slacking. 

3. Find a place to study that meets your needs.

I hate the library, especially during finals week. There is no place to sit, the silence bothers me, and I just can't find a way to make myself comfortable. So, I've found my own places to study. Mainly, I like studying in the comforts of my own apartment. My roommates understand that I need space, and I have a full fridge of snacks at my disposal. Plus, it's cozy! Find a place that works for you, even if it's different than what's recommended or traditional. 

 

Meghan Howie, Managing Editor

So, for finals, I know that my study skills can kick in when I need them. But, working to maintain my sanity alongside my GPA is a hard balance. Self-care is where I tend to fall short. That's what I'm working on this finals season.

1. Time management

          As a journalism major, my finals are mostly projects. This means that the stress of last-minute studying isn't a major issue for me and an hour exam isn't worth 40% of my grades. However, a huge final project has been assigned for half of my classes already and they're all due right before finals. Organizing myself in hourly planners each day has helped me so far to organize my days and my to-dos around work and class. Colorful highlighters to block out the planner are definitely a plus with your colored pens for your flashcards. Here are some tips from Juliann Winn, the director of academic support for ASAC, on how to manage your time when studying.

2. Block out time for naps

          Along the same lines as the last one, it's important to highlight your own personal time through finals. Yes, I put this on my Google calendar or it won't happen. Focusing on studying while knowing that you have already given yourself breaks to recharge, helps you to be more motivated and focused during your designated study times.

3. Make time for friends

          While it may seem a bit abnormal to suggest that you purposefully take time away from the books to do better in classes, studies have shown that laughing and being with people you love decreases your overall stress levels. Taking just a couple hours in the middle of the week to make dinner and watch a movie in someone's apartment gives your brain a chance to turn off from school mode, leaving you refreshed for the upcoming study sessions.

Good luck on your last few projects, chicas!!

 

Isabel Turi, Section Editor

1. To-do lists are your best friend

Make a list of everything you need to do! When you're faced with projects / exams in every single class, it's easy to get overwhelmed and forget something. Planning out each day can make the countless assignments seem a lot less daunting. I personally use a planner, but I have friends that use wall calendars or post it notes which they stick on the insides of their laptops. 

2. Write down your notes with a pen and paper

For me, physically writing down information when I'm studying is super effective. I find that I can remember information a lot better when I physically write it down versus just typing it up. So, opt for a pen rather than just your laptop this finals season!

3. Make time for exercise and self care

When I'm stressed, exercising is the best solution for me. It makes me feel great, gives me a break from studying, and gives me a sense of control when I'm totally drowning in school work! Even if exercising isn't your thing, try taking a walk outside or just stretching for a bit. It'll help calm your nerves and clear your head.

Good luck!!!!

 

Sammy Boyd, Editor-in-Chief

1. Figure out what type of environment you study best in

This may take some trial and error, but most likely you already have an idea of what type of study environment you prefer in order to be the most focused. Do you like doing work in a coffee shop with people chatting nearby, or are you more likely to be found on the silent floor of the library? Can you study with friends, or do they just distract you? Figuring out the answers to these questions- and then sticking to what you know works best for you- is the best way to set yourself up for success with studying. I personally prefer quiet environments and get distracted when doing work with friends, but I still get tempted sometimes to break these habits to make studying more fun. However, I’m usually much less productive when this happens. While you don’t always have to study in the exact same place, it’s important to know what works for you.

 

 

2. Switch from one subject to another to give your brain a break

Although taking a legitimate break to nap or scroll through social media is important as well, if I really cannot afford the time to take a break, I’ll do it in the form of switching to studying to a different subject. My brain can only handle so many hours of studying the same material, and by switching to something for a different class, you’re giving your brain time off while still being productive.

 

 

3. Ask for guidance

Even if a Professor does not give out an exact study guide, I’ve found that most will give you some guidance on which material is most importance if you ask them in class or office hours. Additionally, asking other students in your class how they’re preparing can help you figure out what you should be spending the most time on. Working on a study guide or Quizlet with someone else in your class can help make studying more efficient, and help to make sure you’re not missing anything important.

 

 

Good luck girlbosses! 

 

 

Photos

Malone- 1, 2, 3 & 4
 
Howie- 1, 2, & 3
 
Turi- 1, 2 & 3
 
Boyd- 1, 2, & 3
 
 

Currently an undergraduate student at American University, Katie is studying Political Science with a minor in Communication Studies. When she has free time, she enjoys visiting art museums and going to concerts. 

Find her on Instagram here

Freshman at American University

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