It’s that time of year again, fellow students – finals season. I’m currently plowing through my own exams, as I’m sure many of you can relate to. Ever wondered how to study for finals effectively and achieve those A’s? Well you’re in luck! I have ten study tips here to help you ace any exam.
1. Have a clean and organized desk space.
You don’t want to study in a messy, disorganized area. It will make you give up before you’ve even started. Make your space yours! Design it the way you want, and make it comfortable for yourself (just not too comfortable).
2. Make flashcards.
This is one of the oldest study tips in the book. You can do this online on the ever-popular Quizlet, or make them by hand. Either way works, but I suggest this flashcard method for testing yourself (especially with more arts-based subjects like English, history, art, or politics). Using colorful flashcards is always a good idea because it’ll help stimulate your brain. This way you can also organize your material into sections or categories. It’s easier to study once you divide your study content into sections.
3. Eat snacks.
This is always one of my favorites! Eating healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, or even smoothies, will help you feel full, nourished, and rewarded while studying. You’ll end up getting more accomplished in the long run if your stomach is satisfied. I don’t know about you, but when I study for so many hours in a day, I need study snacks to keep me going.
4. Teach a pretend audience.
This is a technique that has really been working for me this term. I recommend standing when you teach. Pretend that there is an audience sitting on your bed. Keep your notebook open but away from you, in case you need a reference. Try taping blank sheets of paper on the wall or wardrobe (especially if you’re in a dorm room) and use a black permanent marker to write down key information while you teach. This may just be the most intricate and important step of all.
5. Keep a schedule/planner.
I always use a planner throughout the school year, but this year I started using a bullet journal, which is working really well. Writing things down is one of the best study tips to keep you organized and on track during finals. You’ll be sure to study everything on the menu, and not miss a single moment of precious study time. As with your study space, make sure your planner also expresses who you are. Surround it with positive messages and design it how you wish! It’s important to keep yourself motivated and happy while you’re studying.
6. Drink water.
The more water you take in, the more strength your mind and body will have. Food is not the only form of nourishment. Water not only hydrates us, but also enhances mental functions, concentration, memory, and strength. It’s good to drink 8 glasses a day, but this can often be challenging. Just drink as much as you can while you’re studying to keep your brain focused. Drinking tea is another refreshing study drink, and it’s perfect for fall and winter study sessions. A flavored coffee drink is always a nice change, so treat yourself!
7. Use the Pomodoro method.
I use the app ‘Pomodoro’ from the iPhone app store. You can set up your study time with scheduled breaks all to your liking! Try one hour of solid, uninterrupted studying with a five minute break, and a half hour break after each second hour. This is one of those study tips that might sound a bit tedious, but the app is very straight forward and easy to use.
8. Eliminate distractions.
It may be difficult to put down your phone and resist the tempting urge to check all your notifications. But believe me, you’ll be happier if you do. This is the step that requires the most effort and discipline. A good way to ensure you won’t be tempted to go on any social networking sites (don’t worry we’re all guilty of it), is to install some sort of self-control app on your laptop and/or cell phone. Some focus apps are only available for Mac users, but there are others available in the App Store and the like. Personally, I just throw my phone on my bed, but I keep it on ringer in case someone important tries to contact me.
9. Test yourself.
Possibly the best way to simulate a real exam, is to draw a few practice ones up yourself. I usually make a few tests and a final exam in preparation for my real exam. That way, I’m more aware of what to expect. Testing myself prepares me for whatever may come. If I know there are essays or long answer questions on my exam, I make sure to include that in my mock exams as well. Cheating yourself is the worst thing you could do; it’s better to test yourself on everything you know will appear on the exam.
10. Relax and breath.
Make sure you always take breaks, even for 10 minutes at a time. Taking breaks allows your mind to refocus and refreshes you from the feeling of being tired and worn out. You can go on social media, watch a YouTube video, blog, paint your nails, go for a walk, drink some water or tea, or do some yoga! Do something fun, but remember to continue studying. And don’t forget to breathe. You need it!
I hope these study tips will help you succeed this finals season, and all year round. Happy studying, everyone!