We all know how quickly finals sneak up on us every year, and somehow they have done it yet again.
With just one remaining week until what Urban Dictionary defines as “a state of purgatory in which the whole school is either cramming or having a panic attack,” maximizing your study time and reviewing efficiently can be crucial to maintaining your grades.
Firstly, and most obviously, don’t procrastinate. Procrastination does nothing but build impending anxiety and decrease your productivity. By simply deciding to get things done, you are doing both your grades and your mental health a favor.
Although most of us resort to a diet of Doritos and Red Bull, especially during our late night 2-in-the-morning cramming sessions, the key to surviving finals week is to stay healthy, hydrated, and well-rested. Those state educators telling you to eat a good breakfast and get eight hours of sleep before the ISTEP+ weren’t lying, and their advice definitely applies to finals week as well.
Before beginning any studying, ask your teacher about the format of the exam if they have not already told you. Knowing how your final will be formatted can greatly help you to understand the methods of studying that will be most beneficial.
Make flashcards and recopy your notes from the semester. By writing things down and reviewing them periodically, information can be stored for longer periods of time, which is optimal when preparing for mid-terms.
Review your finals material throughout this week, rather than cramming all of your studying into one, stress-filled night. Feeling overwhelmed will only threaten your ability to do well on a test, so methodically reviewing old quizzes, tests, and worksheets are the most recommended ways to prepare.
Use the study guides that you are provided by your teacher. In college, final exam study guides are nonexistent, so cherish what you are being given now and use it. Chances are, teachers will write their tests around the guides that they are giving you, and many may even draw information directly from those very guides.
Don’t be afraid to get help from fellow classmates. Sometimes your peers can do a better job of explaining a difficult concept to you than your teachers, so be open to getting help from others who can help you to understand.
When studying for long periods, take short and infrequent breaks rather than long frequent ones. According to the State University of New York, “Studying in 20-50 minute increments and giving yourself 5-10 minutes in between is more beneficial than cramming. Distributing learning over time typically benefits long-term retention more than a short period.”
When the group chat won’t stop your phone from dinging, it can be hard to stay focused. Not only texts, but the constant Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat notifications aren’t going to help you ace your final either. So take your valuable study time to turn off your phone and any other electronics in order to maximize productivity. If you need to communicate with friends about questions you have regarding a subject, agree ahead of time on a short time period for discussing these issues and hit the off-switch after that.
Lastly, it is highly suggested that you study in a stress-free environment, such as a library. By further limiting distractions, and being surrounded by others who are also in a state of focus, you can retain more information in a shorter period of time.