5 Studying Tips for Acing Your Finals

It's that time of year again: when people you didn't even know were in your class start showing up, when the library is so packed you can't even find a chair and when the stress of the upcoming end to the semester starts settling in. Brace yourselves: finals week is coming. 

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While finals week is notorious for being a time of stress, no-sleep and sadness, there are ways to make it a more enjoyable experience. These tips will help you be ready for anything finals week can throw at you.

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5) Be Prepared: If you started singing the song from The Lion King, then you're on the right track. In order to study efficiently, you need to make sure you have everything you need: textbooks, laptop, notebook, outlines, practice exams and even snacks. Like the first step in a science experiment, gather all your materials. If you collect everything you might possibly need before you sit down, you won't waste time getting up to get anything and you can really focus on what you need to do.

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4) Do Your Research: Before you embark on your studying journey, it's imperative you find out exactly what you need to be studying and by when you need to know it. Put your exam dates and times in a calendar so you won't lose track or forget anything. Check the syllabus for any information on what the exam is going to cover and even go ask your professor if you have any questions. Getting this all sorted out before you start studying will make sure you don't waste time studying something that is not even going to be on the exam, or worse-- miss the actual exam!

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3) Know Your Type: Everyone is different. So, it only makes sense that everyone studies in their own different way. Use your time wisely by figuring out what are the best ways you learn before you start cramming. Visual learners might benefit from charts/graphs and looking over powerpoints, but kinesthetic learners (people who learn by doing, or hands-on activities) might prefer making flash cards or mnemonics. Auditory learners can try listening to recordings of lectures to help them study. Using strategies that cater to the way you learn best will increase your chances of retaining the important information and be able to recall it during your exam. 

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To find out what kind of learner you are click here to take a short quiz and find out!

2) Eliminate All Distractions: Ever find yourself re-reading the same sentence over and over but not being able to remember what it says? That's because you're not focused. Distractions while studying can be the worst because studying is a process that builds momentum. Getting into the flow of studying takes time, and something like a busy library or loud roommate can ruin your progress. Make sure that where you choose to study is a quiet place, free from all possible distractions. Put your phone on do-not-disturb and let your boyfriend/girlfriend or group chat know that you will be M.I.A. for a couple of hours. Try listening to instrumental or classical music to keep you focused but not partying. If you learn best by talking about the material with others, then make a study group. But if you're easily distracted, study groups can be a big waste of valuable study time. No one is going to take the exam for you, so make sure you know yourself and make decisions based on what's best for you. 

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1) Give Yourself a Break: College horror stories usually include strings of sleepless nights loaded with paper writing and exam cramming. But, it doesn't have to be this way. Use your calendar with exam dates to plan out your studying strategy. Dedicate time to individual subjects based on how much material you need to cover or the difficulty of the material. Make sure to take short breaks in between long study sessions to keep your mind fresh and focused (Rule of Thumb: 40-50 minutes studying, 10-15 minute break). Trying to study while you're falling asleep is like not studying at all. Instead, take a quick 15-minute nap and get back to work. If you're feeling antsy, get up and walk around or stretch for a bit. Your brain is a muscle, so using heavily for hours on end will tire it out. Just like there are rests between sets at the gym, give your brain a rest every once in a while to keep it from giving out on you when you need it the most. 

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Finals week doesn't have to be the stuff of nightmares. If you plan yourself out and stay focused, you can make finals week a breeze. Just always remember to be confident and do your best! 

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