Finals can be super stressful and make you a little crazy. Sometimes you just put extra stress on yourself for no reason. The pressure of failure gets to everyone, and you need to learn how to best prepare for your exam. If you are hating your life getting ready for finals, try these study tips to help you pass your exams.
Study in Chunks
I’m sure everyone knows how easy it is to keep procrastinating until you have no choice but to cram. However, all-nighters take a lot out of you and make it harder to recall information. According to a study by Discovery Health it is better for your memory if you study in 20-50 minute increments and give yourself a 5 to 10 minute break between each session. You don’t want to tire yourself out by staying up at throughout the night or by relying on coffee or energy drinks to get you through your exam.
Alternate Study Spots
The New York Times published an article earlier this year about the importance of changing up your study area when studying for exams. Studies done by the University of Virginia, the University of California, and a few others explained that rather than sticking to one study spot, you should switch things up when reviewing for exams. Studying in the same spot can cause your brain to associate the information with the location, which will make recall harder when you get to your exam.
According to a study done by Missouri Western State University, listening to classical music while you study can help improve your memory. It was shown that classical music activates both the right and left sides of the brain in listeners. Stimulation of both sides is linked with increased recall, so listening to classical artists like Beethoven, Mozart or these, can help you with your exams.
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is packed with antioxidants as well as cognitive and mood enhancers. Dark chocolate is a superfood, but not after it is processed into chocolate bars and other sweets. To take full advantage of the nutritious bean, dissolve a spoonful of cocoa into a cup of hot milk and you will have a healthy drink that will help you study. For an even better choice add cinnamon, espresso or cayenne pepper for optimal energy.
Study groups can motivate you to get started when it’s hard to motivate yourself. Study groups may not be for everyone, but it’s good to just be around people in your class in case you come across a problem. Sometimes, explaining difficult concepts out loud will help you figure out what you understand and what you still need to go over. You can even divide the information and have each member explain a topic to everyone else in the group.
If the mere mention of the phrase “final exam” makes your palms sweat and your heart beat a little faster, you could have more to worry about than just mastering a class. Sometimes, being overly stressed can cause you to blank out during an exam—which is the last thing you want to do. You just have to calm yourself down. Try positive visualization and picture yourself passing the test. Just take deep breaths and let yourself take breaks in between study sessions.
By the time finals roll around, your time is precious — every minute counts. If you can, start studying for your exams at least a week in advance so that way you don’t go totally bonkers during finals week. Finals are stressful to begin with; don’t make it worse by staying up late watching YouTube videos and looking at cat pictures. Decide on a schedule and stick with it, but make sure to leave yourself time for breaks and remember to prioritize according to which class you’ll need to study for the most.
Ask for Help
Nobody ever wants to go to office hours, which is why professors are so happy when a student actually show up. They are there to help and have to stay in their office even if no one ever goes. Even if you only have one question, feedback from a professor will help you figure out what they think is most important, and will help you figure out what to focus on while studying. Don’t be afraid, they won’t bite, and you could receive invaluable information.
Figure Out the Best Way to Study
Each class is completely different from the next so you can’t expect to study for all exams the same. If you try to study for your physics exam the way you would study for a literature exam, you probably won’t do very well. For some classes you need to memorize long formulas and for others it will be all about writing. If you are not sure how to study for a class ask for help or check out this guide to learn how to study for language, chemistry, math and essay-based exams.
Keep it Interesting
The brain work in some really strange ways. It’s hard to memorize a definition, but you can memorize lyrics of so many songs. Connect things you already know with whatever you are learning now. Try using memory techniques (like mnemonic devices) or connect things in a way that only you would remember.
- Don’t overdose on coffee or energy drinks
- Remember pens, pencils, Blue Books, etc.
- Pack what you need the night before
- For morning exams, get up a little earlier
- Set more than one alarm
- Pace yourself during the exam
- Just breathe!