I read an article explaining the best ways to study for finals exams based on scientific evidence. I have either tried these methods or have past experience with them. For the most part, they were effective for me personally, but learning these things can be a process. I would recommend these methods for anyone in search of some study advice.
1. Do not cram.
I think at this point we are all aware that cramming for an exam is not a wise decision. The thought of trying to manipulate my weary brain into memorizing weeks and weeks of class material is sickening and exhausting to think about. Like eating a gallon carton of ice cream, studying is best done over a more extended period of time. That way it feels like you get more out of it and you do not projectile vomit when all is said and done.
2. Eat superfoods.
I look up from my computer screen. I have not eaten since breakfast. It is 6:45. Interesting.
“Have you guys eaten yet?”
Everyone looks up and then at each other.
“I had coffee.”
“That’s not a meal! Your poor body…”
He becomes defensive and picks up his empty potato chip bag. It is waved in our faces.
“This is food.”
I point out that it is not antioxidant rich, and therefore not a superfood. Then I realize that for people who consider coffee to be a balanced breakfast, it might be better to start small and eat food in general.
3. Move to a new study space.
Studies show that memorizing information in multiple locations allows your brain to make associations between your setting and the material you are studying. I haven’t moved all day. I might be stationary enough to grow moss from my position on the ninth floor of the Kilachand building. This is not because of a lack of faith in this particular study. It can be attributed to my laziness more than anything else. All of the times I have moved my study campsite to different libraries, coffee places, and study lounges the result has always been satisfactory. In these instances, I am more aware that I there with the intention of studying. Both my focus and retention improve as a result.
Cardiovascular activity is supposed to improve your memory and alleviate stress brought on by final exams.
“Oh, I’ve used that!” Hiba exclaims.
We applaud her initiative and use of a study supplement that has been approved by science.
“Yeah, sometimes a run by yourself helps you feel less stressed. I ran to the Commons and back at 1:30 in the morning.”
We take back all of our positive reinforcement and offer to buy her a canister of mace.
5. No all-nighters.
As an eighty-year-old woman trapped in a nineteen-year-old body, I feel more inclined to follow this one. Also, staying up all night is impossible for me. If I am tired, I will fall asleep. I have fallen asleep on floors (tile and carpet), at tables and desks, and once while participating in a full concert band rehearsal. The all-nighter is my downfall. Other people do not see them the same way. I once stayed up until three completing a group report. One of us tried to go to bed. Another group member jumped into action.
“You can’t go to bed. You just have to stay up until morning now.”
“Is that a thing?”
It is not a thing. While I gained a few hours of semi-productivity, I lost the ability to function for the next few days. I was nauseous and cried while watching a documentary about coral. The idea of studying for a final exam in that condition is unfathomable.
When it comes to final exams, there is so much going on that it can be difficult to do all of the “right” things. Sometimes studies and suggestions like the ones in the article I read can be helpful. We all plan on eating three meals tomorrow for instance. Other times it depends on the person who is studying. If you have a system that works for you, then use it. Remember that summer will be upon us very soon.