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Study Tips for Finals Season that Bring Results

This school year has been anything but ordinary. If you’re a student like me, you know that this year has been challenging in new and unique ways, as most of us have had to learn how to operate virtual school to some capacity. The instability of this school year may make the idea of finals season even more daunting than normal. This article offers numerous study tips for this finals season to help you crush your final exam or project.

Make Some Friends/Online Study Groups

         Studying with other people is a great way to increase productivity. Meeting up with people from your class can help you review the material, and your peers are a great resource if you need clarification on any topics. Studying with friends virtually or in person also helps to hold yourself accountable and make sure you aren’t getting off-topic or distracted whilst studying. If you are all virtual this semester or don’t know anyone from your classes, you can try joining a virtual study room online. These virtual study rooms became popular recently on TikTok and they are a great resource to use if you find that you study better with people but are stuck at home or don’t have access to a community.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

         “Work Smarter Not Harder” may seem like a cliché, but it is an incredibly useful concept to keep in mind this finals season. In my experience as a student, it doesn’t matter how long you study. What really matters is how you study. Absentmindedly skimming over your textbook repeatedly for hours will not prepare you for your exam. Instead, try summarizing each section in an outline with key takeaways and focus on that material. One tip I like to use is to teach the material to another person. Teaching the material is a great way to conceptualize what you are learning and make sure that the key concepts are ingrained in your mind. If your family members or friends are busy, you can pretend with your dog, cat, or stuffed animal, which might seem silly, but speaking the material can really help to keep it fresh in your mind.

Take Breaks

         Taking breaks is essential for any student. It’s important to remember that you are not a superhuman, and studying for hours upon hours a day is both mentally and physically exhausting. It is important to take breaks to keep your mind healthy. During these breaks, make sure that you are eating well-balanced meals to fuel your mind and body. If you are someone that struggles with time management, try setting a 5- or 10-minute timer on your phone to keep yourself on track so that your break doesn’t go from 5 minutes to 5 hours. 

Eliminate Distractions

         One of the most harmful things for studying is distractions. In this day and age of media, distractions are all around us and most are centered on our virtual devices. Even though it might be hard, cutting out the distractions on your phone will save you so much time in the long run. If you don’t have the self-control to cut out Netflix or social media, you can download an app called Freedom where you can manually block certain apps/websites from your phone or laptop. Apps like these are a great way to force yourself to stay on track and eliminate distractions.

 Get Up and Get Moving

Even though you may be facing an endless to-do list, make sure to budget time into your schedule to get up and get moving. If you live in an area where you can go outside, try taking a walk or jog around your neighborhood. If you don’t want to leave your room, do a quick yoga or stretching session during your study break, or do a couple jumping jacks to get your heart rate pumping. It might seem counterintuitive to spend time not studying during finals, but exercise can really help stimulate your mind through those extra endorphins and help wake up your body after a long day of sitting at the desk. Moving during your study breaks can help increase your productivity to get your to-do list done as fast as possible.

Julianna Grimson

Vanderbilt '24

Currently a freshman at Vanderbilt but originally from outside of Washington, D.C. Undecided in major but leaning towards Political Science or Environmental Sociology. Loves fashion, reading and watching TV. Passionate about the environment, sustainable living, and women's empowerment.
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