December 2, 2013

10 Tips For Studying For Finals

So finals are just around the corner... I had this rude awakening when I realized that it is almost time for Thanksgiving Break--and dead week is right after that!

With that said, it's time to buckle down and start studying hardcore for finals! Is it just me, or is it difficult to find the motivation to study around this time, especially with snow on the ground and the holiday season acting as a wonderful opportunity to make new memories? Well, here are my top ten tips for getting "in the zone" for studying so that you will do your ultimate best and ace those tests!

  1. Don't procrastinate! Yeah, you should've seen this one coming. Procrastinating has become such a big problem for me because it is so easy to get distracted. So, the best way to avoid procrastinating is by making schedules and by turning those electronic devices off. Then, it will be easy to focus on the task at hand and be more productive during your study time.
  2. Study in different places. Changing up the environment while you study helps keep things interesting. Sitting down in one place mulling over a textbook is something that no one wants to do. I like to do certain tasks in one part of the library, then go to the student center and study another subject, and then go back to a different section of the library. Walking around a little bit is also a nice brain break. 

  3. Speaking of breaks, take quick ones every now and then. Don't underestimate the power of your brain--as you probably already know, it's more powerful than computers. If you go for more than two hours studying hard, it'll overheat. To keep your brain from overheating, look up from your notes/readings/textbooks ever fifteen minutes, just up at the ceiling or a poster nearby, and then return to work. It allows your eyes to stay awake because staring at the same thing for an extended period of time can be hypnotic. Then, once every 60-90 minutes, do a quick 5-10-minute-long exercise. Like, 100 pushups or squats, or a Blogilates video would be fun. Avoid going on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Reddit on your breaks though, because you don't want a 10-minute break to turn into a 40-minute break!

  4. Study alone. You're taking the finals on your own, so you should study alone. Even if you think you work better while with other people, it is beneficial to be independent too so that you can focus on the topics you understand the least. While studying alone, make sure you prioritize by asking: "If I were the professor, what would I be testing my students on?" This encourages active reading and will help you retain the most important information.

  5. Study with friends. Sometimes, it's easy to get distracted when you're studying with friends, but if you have friends who are in the same class as you, it's a good idea to work together so that you can spin ideas off each other and quiz each other. Your friends could catch some ideas you may have missed while studying on your own, and when you teach someone else a topic it helps solidify your existing knowledge on the subject. Having a balance between studying independently and collaboratively will maximize the benefits that come with each of these methods.

  6. Multitask wisely. It is possible to be productive with other things while studying. Some people can read as they work out on an elliptical. I personally enjoy doing planks while hovering above a book. You could also accomplish a lot while the laundry is going. Listening to light music for some background noise is also helpful for keeping your brain active. But remember that there's a fine line between doing laundry vs. going on Facebook.

  7. A quick tip on music: It is best not to listen to music in English while you're working because sometimes the lyrics can interfere with your thoughts. Instrumental music is nice, and I personally enjoy listening to Latino or Korean music. 

  8. Find some form of stress relief. Yoga, meditation, exercise, writing, music (instrumental or vocal), or crafts are activities that make the day fun without taking up too much time (only an hour at max!). Remember to take care of yourself and balance the studying with something enjoyable.

  9. Make mental check-lists. Keep organized so that you'll have a plan of attack. I usually construct a schedule in my head while I'm walking to/from class and only deviate from it if something important comes up. 

  10. Stay positive! Remember why you're in school, and recognize that getting an education is a privilege that a lot of people don't have. Moving forward with a spirit of gratitude always helps brighten the mood. :)

Do you have any study tips you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments below! Good luck with all those tests!

Take care,
-Riley XO

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