So, you just got back from spring break, you’re a little tanner, a little blonder and totally freaking out because you procrastinated ALL of your homework, right? Same! It’s so easy to go on vacation with your family or friends and completely forget that school even exists, but, eventually, those tan lines will fade and instead of sipping margaritas on the beaches of Bimini, you’ll be drowning in assignments and study groups for those inevitable finals that professors love to give. But don’t worry! Here at Her Campus, we got ya covered! Here are six of my most trusted study hacks that are sure to help you regain a little motivation for the last leg of the semester and boost your productivity (and GPA!).
1. Make a list (or lots!)
It’s so important to write everything down if you want to remember it! Whether it’s in a planner, on a napkin or even on the back of your hand, writing things down will ensure you don’t forget anything important. That’s why I always make a list of every single thing I need to do, including personal things such as laundry or taking the trash out. It’s also super satisfying getting to cross off a task once you’ve completed it. Bonus points if you color code assignments according to which class they are for!
2. Make a schedule
Making a schedule is also key to making sure everything not only gets done but that you turn it in on time. How in-depth your schedule goes depends on your personal preference. It could be by the minute, by the day or simply by the week. I prefer to plan out my days individually, aiming to get one or two assignments done each day. Don’t feel like you have to overload yourself. Make sure your daily goals are attainable given the amount of time you’ll have. For larger projects, it may be better to split things up over a few days, working on it a little bit here and there. Again, crossing things off your schedule is so so so satisfying, but don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t get done according to plan. Try to squeeze it in somewhere else and remind yourself that any progress is better than none at all!
3. Color coordinate
This is a tip that has been proven to help your memory. The brain associates facts or words with certain colors, allowing you to recall the information better. When taking notes or reading for class, quickly highlight any vocabulary terms you don’t know, important dates, people, quotes or events. That way when you go back to study, the colors alone can help you recall exactly what you need!
4. Work in numbers
This one comes with a disclaimer: only work with friends who will keep you focused! I have officially given up on study dates with my boyfriend because I know for a fact we will end up distracting each other by making stupid jokes and will spend hours working on nothing. NOT GOOD! Feel free to kick distracting friends to the curb for study sessions but keep the ones that will help you stick to your grind! A good study partner will preferably be working on the same thing that you are, will share notes, quiz you on test topics and won’t be afraid to give you hard criticism when proofreading all of your essay drafts. Bonus tip: don’t just have a good study partner, BE a good study partner too! Finals are hard for everyone, but helping others can actually help yourself in the end too. They always say you truly know a topic best when you can teach it to others.
5. Cut out distractions
I know it’s really tempting to watch that video Kayla posted on her Snapchat story of Jeremy jumping into the Westcott fountain at 2 a.m. after an “All You Can Drink” night at The Strip but it’s WAY more important for you to pass this test, so put down the phone, turn off the music, lock the door and get to work! The best thing to do is buckle down and get it over with instead of stressing the night before an assignment is due. Since I know I’m bound to break down eventually, my favorite trick is to tell myself I can only check Instagram after I’ve read however many pages of my textbook, then I can check texts after another chunk, then Twitter and so on. In my head, it’s a way of controlling the distractions while also giving myself short-term goals and rewards.
6. Take a break
Don’t try to do everything at once, you’ll go crazy! When making your schedule, leave room to take a quick Netflix break or have dinner with friends. It’s important to relax every now and then. Just make sure your relaxation doesn’t turn into procrastination and that you eventually get back to work.
Hopefully, these tips are as useful to you as they are to me! Go out there and crush those finals, everyone!