5 Short and Sweet Tips to Effectively Tackle Finals Season

As finals season quickly approaches, there are a lot of obvious traps to fall into that stop us from studying effectively. Here are five super simple tips for getting started and staying motivated to result in your acing every test! 

1. Just Five Minutes

Five minutes of focus is usually enough to break through your apathy and get you into the working zone. The hardest part for me is always starting—forcing myself to start and breaking through that five minute barrier is when I start to feel happy and productive. Before you know it, an hour or more has passed and you've made great progress (or you're done)!

2. Focus on a Single Task

Instead of multi-tasking, make an intentional choice to try mono-tasking! By doing one thing at a time, you do it more efficiently, more completely, more effectively, and more enjoyably. Ultimately, whenever you focus on one thing, you do it better than you would have had you been focusing on three things...and also texting at the same time. Mono-tasking boosts your productivity, and trains your brain to focus. Along with this tip, make sure to avoid any distractions. Turn off your technology to ensure that you wont be checking any texts or social media when you need to be focusing!

3. Break It Into Pieces

Repeat this to yourself three times: do not study everything the night before! It is much less tiring and stressful to study for an hour everyday for a week than to study for ten hours the (frantic) night before. Additionally, spreading out your learning will allow you to retain the information for a longer amount of time - it's a waste to painfully study for so long the night before and lose it all to short-term memory!

4. Don’t Force It

Motivation and focus only lasts for so long. Our brain only effectively absorbs information from the first and last 15 minutes of studying. Set a timer to study for 30 minutes at a time. Once you're tapped out, take a nap, take a walk, or take a snack break. Let your subconscious toss around the ideas while you rest and recharge.

5. Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Sleep is always important, but it's especially important the days and weeks leading up to test day. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is paramount. Everybody is different, so find the sweet spot that works for you (typically 7-8 hours), and make sure you get it! I sometimes find myself pulling all-nighters the night before an exam, and I always feel a little frantic and distressed in the morning. It's essential and so important to get enough sleep the night before the exam!

A professor once told me, "We only have 24 hours a day. It's not time management, it's energy management!" Forcing yourself to start, focusing part by part, taking breaks when you've hit a wall, and getting enough sleep, are all ways to better manage your energy. Pace yourself in a healthy way and you'll soon be effectively studying for every test coming your way!