The Best Study Tips for Finals Week

The art of studying is complex and exhausting. Sometimes you can spend hours working on something to find that it is only halfway done. My personal favorite? Not being able to properly focus and then re-reading the same line of a textbook several times. I know that nearly every college student has struggled with studying/assignments/papers in some way or another. While this should make me feel slightly better, in the sense that I'm not alone, it honestly makes me feel worse. How can so many college students not know the best, individual ways to study? Because finals week is here, I thought that it would be an appropriate time to discuss some effective ways to study. 

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The first major thing I wanted to talk about was time management. If you procrastinate and wait until the last minute then you are usually unable to complete assignments or properly prepare for exams. The good news is that it is still relatively early in finals week, so there is some time to organize your schedule and prioritize what needs to get done. I use a Bloom planner which I absolutely love. I refer back to my monthly and weekly spreads whenever I'm confused about due dates and etc. However, because finals week is so jam-packed, I like to create my own DIY calendar just for the 5-day stretch. The paper-sized calendar maps out my finals (especially if there are time/classroom changes), my work schedule, and any other appointments I have. I look at my short-term schedule and know exactly what to expect. I then try to plan out what to study and when, so I can make room for all of my courses. It's a personal preference, but I like to write things like "3:30-5:00 Poly Sci Ch 9-11 review," "1:00-2:00 work on Lit paper," or "30 minutes Italian flashcards." Regardless of what technique you use, planning out what you need to study and when will help you ease into finals without any whiplash. 

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In terms of studying, I think the most difficult yet most important thing you can do is put down your phone. When I study with my phone nearby, I often find myself picking it up every few minutes out of boredom. The cycle goes like this: 1-minute studying, 30 seconds looking around Grasseli, and 8 minutes on Instagram. Instead of actually getting work done, I find myself rotting by the window. This actually takes up more time than just buckling down and completing a task. If you are someone who genuinely likes to study with podcasts or music playing then more power to you. I still suggest downloading the media and putting your phone on airplane mode/do not disturb, so you won't be tempted by Snap Stories or YouTube. 

I found that studying with a timer helps me stay oriented in my task. I like to set it on my phone or watch for 20 minutes and say "I will not think about anything else but X for the next 20 minutes." During that short amount of time, I can usually get a decent-sized chunk of work completed. I repeat the process over and over until I can't take any more (which is usually around 4.5 hours). 

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There are a lot of decent ways to study but they really depend on your personal preference, learning style, and subject. For example, it is easier to study language and vocabulary with flashcards, but that may not work as well for a communications exam. Similarly, you wouldn't study for a math exam the same way you'd study for an English or sociology exam. There is no one size fits all for studying- and that's okay! There are a lot of different resources online, especially Pinterest and YouTube, that discuss techniques for certain subjects and personality types. 

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Best of luck this week!