It’s that time of year again – finals week *BOOOO*. No one wants to say it out loud or even think about it, but the end of the year is quickly approaching and with that comes the stresses of final exams. I am here to lay out the ultimate “Ned’s Declassified Exam Survival Guide” list of tips to help get you through your final exams as painlessly as possible.
1. Start now.
Exams may feel as though they are light-years away, however, turn the page in your Lilly Pulitzer planner and you will be sadly mistaken to see that they are closer than you thought. Spacing out your studying not only avoids having to pull an all-nighter the night before your exam, but it also allows time for the information to actually sink into your brain. Some may think this is an old wise tale used by teachers to trick students into studying, but there have actually been studies done proving its legitimacy. Science doesn’t lie. Get studying.
2. Utilize your resources
Quizlet, flashcards, textbooks, tutors, office hours, YouTube tutorials – whatever works for you. Find out what study methods are the most effective for you and use them to your advantage. And always remember to ask your teacher for any study tips or hints prior to the exam. Believe it or not, they are here to help you, not watch you fail. So USE THEM.
3. Actually study
I think I am just gonna leave it at that. *This is directed towards those people in Gloco who sit on their computer “writing a paper” with their Facebook page pulled up over half the screen*
4. Brain food
Just because it’s exam time doesn’t mean you can skip out on the important things your body needs like proper nutrients and exercise. Exam week is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to yummy dinners and lunch breaks. No one wants to get stuck with a growling stomach mid-exam. Also, always remember to bring healthy snacks to munch on while studying to avoid having to eat junk food out of a vending machine in the library.
5. Make the perfect study playlist
In preparation for the long library nights ahead, create your perfect playlist to listen to while you study. Listening to calming music can help you tone out others around you and focus in on your work. While studying, I like to listen to Post Malone or simply Google “Brainwave Study Music” on YouTube. It sounds strange but the music eventually fades into background noise and helps keep your nerves down. There are thousands of pre-made study playlist so start googling and find one that works best for you!
6. Take breaks
I am sure everyone has heard this tip at one point in their student career. Teachers preach about “studying in intervals” and as much as I hate siding with the all-knowing professor, I have actually found this tactic to be very helpful. Try studying one topic for 30-50 minutes at a time, then take a break and study a different topic for another 30-50 minutes. This “chunking” of information helps avoid overloading your brain with different information and allows each topic to really sink in. This tactic also helps with controlling stress levels while trying to memorize large amounts of information.
7. Flip over your phone and turn off notifications
This is something that I have to remind myself of every time I sit down to study or do any type of work. We are all guilty of being addicted to our phones and can all relate to the feeling of looking at Instagram then looking at the clock and seeing that 30 minutes have passed by and that you are now on your ex-boyfriend’s cousin’s sister’s page. Don’t do it. Put it on silent. You’ll live.
8. Study in groups
Whether you want to call it a study group or an emotional support group, find people to study and struggle through the week with. It always helps to talk through topics and to quiz each other out loud. Simply talking about the material that will be on an exam always helps make it stick in your brain and you may even pick up on something you missed in the process.
9. Get proper sleep
Sleep, such a beautiful thing. Do not let the stress of exam week take over your sleep schedule. After all, knowledge is transformed and stored as memories while you sleep (or something like that) so it’s basically like you are still studying. Also, if you don’t get proper sleep how do you expect to retain new information the next day? To avoid falling asleep mid-exam or on a table in the middle of Belk, act like a four-year-old and give yourself a bedtime. It may sound counterproductive but getting a good night rest will actually make you feel better prepared for your exam the next day.
10. Don’t over study!
Refrain from over-stressing and over-studying. At the end of the day, it is just an exam. If you follow my advice and start studying ahead, you will do great on whatever exam is currently ruining your life. Do your best, get enough rest and bring your lucky pencil(s) on exam day!
Good luck to everyone on your upcoming exams and happy almost Summer!