Tried It, Loved It: Study Techniques For Your Finals!

Throughout the course of my life, I have written enough exams to know how my mind works. Everyone’s mind functions in different ways— what works for some, doesn’t work for others. Over the years, as I looked for different ways to procrastinate, I searched up different techniques to study, memorize and understand the content. As we turn down the last road of this semester, here are some techniques that I found helpful and in the end, I will share a hybrid technique that I have developed.

 

  1. 1. Pomodoro technique

    This is perhaps the most well-known technique, it is also called the ‘25-5’ technique. It is a technique to measure 25 minutes. 

    You start with studying for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. When you complete four sessions of this technique, you can take up to 30 minutes of a break! In that break, hydrate, grab a snack and stretch your legs out.

    Frequent breaks like such were able to help me create mental stability and increase concentration. When I used to study for hours on end, I would always have a splitting headache and then take long hours of break. This technique helped me with time management and concentration but, there is also a drawback. When I first started with this technique, I could only think about the break and constantly look at the time. I was distracted and as mentioned before. Since I was used to studying for long periods of time, 25 minutes was simply too short. After following this for weeks, I got used to the routine and this is the method that I now use!

  2. 2. Getting things done (GTD)

    The Getting Things Done technique is great for those who make to-do lists and love striking them off once they are done. 

    You start by making a list of what you need to do for that day and break them into smaller tasks. As you start completing the smaller tasks, you will feel motivated to complete more—because you did. It is also a great management technique as well!

    This technique helped me to stay motivated and gave me the satisfying sense that I did in fact accomplish something. This method is great, however, sometimes I have too many tasks to get done and when I break them down, it just becomes a never-ending list. This can be very overwhelming.

  3. 3. Flowtime technique

    This is an alternative method to the Pomodoro technique in which you are doing your work at your own time and pace.

    You start writing only one task and start working on it, almost like finishing things one thing at a time. You work until the time you want and then take a break. Everyone’s focus is different, for some, it’s working for 40 minutes and taking a 5-minute break. This was developed because sometimes when the Pomorodo technique creates a sense of concentration, the 25-minute mark is too low and the alarm that goes off, breaks that focus.

    This is a great technique because I can work at my own pace and concentrate on one thing at a time, but sometimes I get overloaded with stress and cannot focus on one thing; this makes this technique a little harder to follow at times, but is definitely still worth trying!

     

  4. 4. The Hybrid technique

    This is a self-made technique that I made after understanding how my mind works and what my concentration and brain power are. I start with writing down what needs to be done a night before. As we approach finals season, I am mostly reviewing lectures and my notes. So I plan what I need to for the next day. For the tasks I make, I divide them into multiple parts, as observed in the GTD technique, but instead of dividing every task, I only split up the ones which are the most overwhelming to look at. This helps me get prepared with what I need to do and not feel like I’m drowning in work. I start working on one task at a time for 45 minutes, which is my first session. Whenever another task comes to mind, I just write it down and start working again. This gives me a sense of peace that at least I won’t end up forgetting the task later on. Lastly, I take a ten-minute break, where I just walk around in my room. 

    After I complete three study sessions, I take a 45-minute break. This has proven to be the best for me! In my opinion, it is the perfect blend of work and leisure.

Every technique will work differently for others, just make sure you personalize the technique to your liking. Always remember, try to understand what you are reading or watching instead of trying to learn it word by word. Once you understand the concept, it becomes easier to remember the keywords. Keep yourself hydrated and do not overwork yourself because trust me, that never helps. Finally, make sure you’re taking the best care of yourself by getting a healthy balance of sun and sleep. Best of luck with your exams!