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Study Tips to Stay Focused for Finals

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CWU chapter.

Congratulations Kitties, we have officially gotten fall midterms out of the way and can catch our breaths before finals. Since some of us have been at this study game for quite some time now, it would only be fair to share our secrets to success. Here are a few tips and habits that might help you sweat less and get the A+ with ease!

Study in Front of a Window When You Need Inspo

For more creative projects or papers, looking at a wall is not going to give your mind the space it needs to be creative. Open spaces with windows is the best way to get that inspiration sparking and those creative juices flowing! Communal library spaces (like the fish bowl), coffee shops and the SURC are my study spaces of choice when it comes to blogging, paper writing or feature writing (wink, wink).

Study in Front of a Wall When It’s Time to Focus

Although those wide open spaces are good for creativity, when you’re memorizing the latin names of body parts or analyzing the significance of supply and demand, closed spaces are recommended. When information is particularly confusing or detailed, it would be best to close yourself off a bit.

Work in 15 minute Increments

Forcing ourselves to stay focused doesn’t always work as well as we think it does. You maybe reading the text in your textbook, but you’re not absorbing anything if your eyes are scanning the words while your brain is thinking about what you’re going to wear on Friday night.

Give yourself a break! If there is something you can’t stop thinking about while you’re studying, tell yourself that you are going to finish the first part of the study guide and then order those shoes on Amazon Prime, then get back to business for another 15 minutes. There is nothing wrong with you time as long as it’s in moderation.

Don’t Focus on the Big Picture

Speaking of breaking up your work; when we overwhelm ourselves with all the work we have to do, we end up not doing it. AND THAT IS NOW WHAT COLLEGE IS ABOUT (Que: Gretchen Weiners).

If you put off your studying, your vocab, you’re reading and all the other tedious requirements you have to do, don’t freak out. Make a list of every single thing you have to get done and highlight what is absolutely priority i.e. the things that are due soon or will take the most time. Get the hard work done first. Once you realize you get a couple of things out of the way, the work load seems a lot smaller and winter break feels much closer.

Be Efficient

Color coding is rad, but if you are taking 15 minutes to write down simple notes with 15 different colored pens, you are working harder, not smarter. If you are committed to a colorful agenda, by all means, live your life. But don’t waste valuable class time color coding your vocab and author names when a designated highlighter will do just as well.

Take Your Index Card to Class

There is literally nothing worse than realizing you have 50+ flash cards to make the night before a test. To increase the likelihood of you actually using those flash cards, bring your index cards to class and when a professor posts a vocab word, write it then and there! Then when it’s time quiz yourself or your classmates, you’re already prepared.

Make  A Playlist   

Do not get in a good study flow and let your most hated song shuffle on Pandora and bring all that focus to a halt. Modern technology is a beautiful thing; Youtube, Itunes and Spotify let you customize your playlists and you can even avoid other suggestions. Build your perfect playlist before dust off your textbook, so get off that playlist and back to the books!

Successful study habits are the tools of successful students and what you learn now can carry over to your habits in your career! Believe it or not, college is the easy part. So use a couple of these tips and slay those finals, girl.


President at Her Campus CWU Senior, Public Relations Major at Central Washington University!