Study Strategies for Finals Season

Ugh, finals season is approaching and no one is excited about it. Day dreaming about winter break is the only thing getting anyone through the miserable few weeks of final tests and papers. Finals, on top of the holiday season can be and feel so overwhelming, but here are some study tips that may make your finals season a bit less dreadful than the last.

  1. Make a Study Schedule. While this might seem like extra work on top of studying, it can really help you stay committed to your studies and keep you on track for all your tests. The moment I found out the dates and times of my finals, I would create my study schedule. Each day I would write what I was going to study and for what class. For example: On Monday the 9th I will study lectures 1-3 for Chemistry, lectures 2-5 for Neurobiology, and lectures 3-6 for Abnormal Psychology. I would always try to get through all the lecture notes at least twice for each subject. It can be a lot of work, but repetition was the most successful study method for me. So, I would make sure to plan it out so there was at least 2 review days before the test where I wasn’t absorbing new information, but reviewing what I had been studying. Don’t try to do too much in one day. It can tire you out and also make you feel worse when you do not accomplish what you intended. Keeping your schedule doable, will boost your confidence about your knowledge of the material. You can also give yourself time limits if you struggle to get through material quickly, but it can be harmful to some- so it really just depends on how you work!
  2. Stay Away from Screens. This one is tough. Now, if you have to write a paper, this will probably not be the best tip for you, but for most other subjects it can be helpful. If you generally take notes on your computer, try printing out notes and annotating by hand. Screens can be an essential tool, but they can also be distracting, so this will allow your eyes and brain to have a break from screens for a bit. It can be a nice little break from staring at blue light all day and can be a change-up to your routine that can positively impact your studying.
  3. Find your Study Method. This one can take a while, it took me a couple finals seasons to find what works best for me, but once I did, studying became more efficient and I got better results. For me it is repetition by hand, meaning writing notes, and re-writing notes, and re-writing notes. I learn and remember best by writing the material with pen and paper, not very modern, but it did the trick. Now, this might not work for you, but throughout the year try new things during your normal study sessions and see what you feel works best for you. Some people love flash cards, or white boards, others like teaching and group study. Whatever it is, spend some time during the semester figuring out what fits best for you so that come finals season, you’re ready to tackle all your material.
  4. Don’t Stay Stagnant or Isolated. Going to the same place to study everyday can get boring and repetitive, try going to new places every now and then to change it up. I would travel to the public library in the city I was in or try a coffee shop to get away from all the heavily crowded libraries on campus. It made things a bit more fun, and it helped to not be around so many stressed out people at once. Try not to be alone 24/7 during studying, even if you aren’t a group study person, share a table with some friends just to have someone to talk to or laugh with during study breaks. It can be really helpful to have people around who you like to get through finals.
  5. Sleep Sleep Sleep. I cannot say it enough, please get some sleep. While it may seem enticing to stay up long hours during finals and just catch up on sleep during the break, it can really hinder your overall performance on your tests. Your brain needs that sleep time to process and retain all the information you studied during the day, without sleep, even with a bunch of study time, you will not perform at your best.
  6. Take Breaks. Take a break and get some fresh air. Walking and moving around a bit can instantly make us feel better after hours of prolonged sitting. Get some Vitamin D while taking a stroll outside, get a snack, take a quick nap, or even watch some TikToks for a laugh. All are good de-stressing things to refresh you for your next study period.

Good Luck Everyone!

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