Just saying the words “finals week” can make any college student cringe. However with study tips to ace your finals, this notorious week does not have to be as bad as many make it out to be. Check out these study hacks to find out some ways you can make finals a little easier for yourself this year!
1. Take a 15 minute break for every hour of studying.
You can only sit and stay focused for so long; especially, if you’re studying all week for final exams. Make sure you give yourself breaks and try and get in anything physically active too to keep yourself going!
2. Work in a clean space.
It is hard to work in a space that is cluttered and messy. It can distract you and keep you from being really productive. So go clean your dorm or bedroom up, and even if you work in the library, keep your desk space clear of everything except the materials you need at the moment so it is not cluttered.
3. Prep good healthy snacks and drinks ahead of time to have while studying.
It is important to make sure you are eating foods that will help keep your energy up so you can make sure you’re staying productive. Before you start studying, grab some water and caffeine, and snacks full of protein like trail mix or granola bars. Have them on hand as a quick boost so you don’t have to leave and interrupt your studying.
4. Read over notes after class.
Memorization and understanding the material is important to doing well on exams. This one should not wait until the day before finals, however. In the weeks leading up to exams (or even a good habit to do all the time) is to read over your notes after each class or before bed each night while they are fresh in your mind. Repetition is a really good way to learn and memorize, and you could even take it one step forward and rewrite the notes after each class to get an even better understanding.
5. Exercise during breaks.
Exercising and physical activity are an awesome way to release your stress and clear your mind. The week leading up to finals week as well as finals week itself can be brutal, so do yourself a favor and love your body a little bit. Go to the gym for a half hour to get that stress out, or even go on a walk around campus to clear your head so you can go back to studying refreshed.
6. Make study guides!
If you do not even know how to begin studying for exams, try writing out study guides to help yourself. A good tip is to write out everything you know really well on one paper, on another paper write out everything you sort of know but need to study a little more, and then the last paper should have the things you don’t know at all and need to study a lot more. By breaking it up you can see were you are at and how far you have to go, plus the process of writing everything out on paper is a great way to learn and memorize!
7. Procrastinate productively!
When you get sick of a topic or don’t want to study it anymore and you find yourself getting distracted, procrastinate by leaving that behind for a bit and moving on to another subject or topic instead. This way you are utilizing all the time you have and not wasting any of because you were procrastinating. Then you can go back to that topic later.
8. Reward studying with phone time.
If you use your phone a lot and get distracted by your phone easily, try rewarding your good study time with phone time. Work for five minutes then give yourself five minutes of phone time, then work for ten minutes and give five minutes of phone time, then slowly increase the time so you study longer without the distraction and then reward yourself later.
9. Or put the phone completely away.
If you find that your phone is too much of a distraction, put the phone completely away and turn off all noise to completely eliminate that distraction. Like they say, out of sight out of mind- and it is very true in this case. I know it may sound fairly impossible to part with your phone for so long, but trust me, it will only be hard for the first couple minutes. Once you get into your studying you completely forget about it and since it is away and off, it won’t be there as a distraction that gets you out of the zone whenever it lights up or makes a noise.
10. Actually give yourself time to sleep.
It is very tempting to pull an all-nighter to study for that one exam you are not ready for, but doing that every day for two weeks will do your poor body so much damage. You can only handle so much at a time for so long, and if you don’t sleep your brain can’t recharge. You may think skipping sleep is the best way to ace your exams, but without it you will not be able to think and take in info well because you will literally be exhausted. So do yourself a favor and get sleep every night, especially the night before your exam!
11. Plug in your headphones.
A good way to jump into your own world and get focused is to put your headphones on and block everyone else out. Some people need complete silence to work, while others thrive on a nice white noise or musical background. I personally like to put on classical music, but any music with no words to distract you works well. And if you thrive on white noise, there is are websites and videos which literally provide a white noise background to help you focus while not providing distractions.
12. Be positive!
Talk positive and encourage yourself. Your mindset is more important than you think, so keep motivating yourself and telling yourself that you are going to ace your exams. If you tell yourself that the exam is going to go badly and you are going to fail, then it will affect the way you take the test and you won’t be able to do as well. So stay positive, you will do great!!
13. Accept it.
When going into exams, accept that you know what you know and you have to trust yourself and trust that you will remember everything you studied. If you are super stressed and worried about it, you are going to psych yourself out, so try and make peace with the fact that it is what it is and trust yourself. And if you do get a less than stellar grade, just know that you did what you could and tried your hardest, and in the grand scheme of things, one bad grade usually does not mean the end of your college career.
14. Take time to relax before the exam.
The day of your exam make sure to try and relax, grab a coffee, and definitely eat breakfast. It is good to give yourself some time to chill before the exam. It is not worth it to crazily cram right before the exam, it won’t help and will most likely stress you out more.
15. Prep, Prep, Prep!
One of the worst things you could do to yourself is wait until two days before the final to start studying. In the weeks leading up to the finals, make sure you have all your materials, fill in missing notes, and get together all the materials you need in order to study and ace your exams. Getting yourself organized ahead of time so you don’t waste any time when you start studying. Then, actually start studying! If you give yourself enough time to study, then finals week will not feel so bad because you will be more prepared.
16. Write your study notes in different colored pens.
Yeah black and blue ink are fun; but sometimes when it’s three o’clock in the morning and you have that cumulative history final the next day, it can all mush together into an uninteresting mess. By writing important points such as definitions, formulas and special bits of information in different colors your eyes are captivated by the information and are less tempted to gloss over it. It is also a lot neater than highlighter.
17. Keep a dry-erase board in sight.
Preferably near a bed or desk. Use this to jot down things you do not understand or need to re-look the morning before the final. You can also use it to note down the actual dates of the exams, deadlines for final papers, and quick things to remember.
18. Comprehend not memorise.
This is the hardest. Try to study to comprehend, not memorise. When studying, instead of trying to remember the notes word-for-word, endeavour to paraphrase them in different ways to ensure that you understand the intent of the words without just blindly remembering the syntax of a sentence. This will help you especially for essay questions where elaboration is necessary.
Overall, it is so important to give yourself enough time to study and don’t forget to maintain your physical well-being during the weeks surrounding final exams. Lastly, try not to freak out. You will get through exams and soon enough you will be lounging around on your break!