It’s coming. The calendar just changed months and the air is warming. The end of semester is almost here, and that means one thing–finals! Preparing for finals is not always the easiest task throughout your college experience; in fact it may be the one that causes the most anxiety. Good thing that there are many ways to make sure that you’re prepared and ready to dominate all your finals and begin your summer on the right track. We’ve provided some examples before about how time management and effective study tools are two key components that will help you pass and prevent any last minute cramming or panicking before the last exams of the semester.
To help you get to the summer with a successful finish to the semester, we’ve added some great tips to our December blog on studying for finals that can you can utilize during your prep for spring semester finals:
- Organization is key– Before you sit down and study, you need to find ways to keep you on track and focused. Make sure you create a schedule for yourself by setting times for studying among your other appointments and responsibilities. This way you can break down assignments and see exactly what needs to be done for each class. It will make everything a lot more manageable and limit your procrastination. In other words, NO CRAMMING!
- Prioritize your tests – You know not all tests are created equal, and you know which classes you need to focus on more than others. Pay more attention to the tests in classes you have more difficulty in so you can give yourself an opportunity to find ways to better those grades, and also your cumulative GPA.
- Study in intervals– Managing your time is critical in college. It’s best to study material in 20-50 minute blocks of time, so that you do not tire out from one subject. In this way you can concentrate fully on the topic and get the most effective use of your time. Then you can take a short break and move on to a different topic.
- Eat (Healthy) snacks – Ditch the potato chips and reach for something just as delicious that can help fuel your brain. Eat fruits like berries and apples which reduce the levels of toxins in your bloodstream and improve memory function. Snack on some pumpkin seeds or nuts for added zinc and vitamin E, which can help boost memory power and prevent mental decline. Also remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
- Turn down the tunes– Although it’s fun to jam to your favorite tunes while studying for your calculus exam (kidding!), it’s not the best way to retain information. If you can’t completely ditch your music, try listening to soft, instrumental music like classical or jazz to keep focused on memory and learning.
- Find your study zone– The style of studying for every student varies depending on the student’s interest and comfort. Some students enjoy studying in the library and others in their bedrooms. There are many other places where studying can take place. If the weather allows, studying can be done outside, coffee shops, or on a quiet campus building floor. Find the environment where you feel most comfortable and are able to concentrate and effectively study.
- Test yourself– Instead of staring at your textbook trying to soak up information, you actually need to engage with your studies. Testing yourself and reviewing materials using flashcards or practice tests are great ways to prepare yourself for the real exams. This way you can see how much you truly understand, and what you need to go back and pay more attention to. You can review tests from earlier in the semester to review select topics and questions, or download some new apps that can help provide testing resources and study help.
- Get some sleep!– Rest is the most important part of the studying process. So try not to pull all nighters (you won’t have to if you follow tip # 1) and get some solid rest before your exam. A solid 6-8 hours worth of sleep can help relieve stress, increase alertness and improve focus!
- Find resources for projects- Depending on your major, there are different types of finals you may find yourself taking on. You may have to prepare for written exams, but other finals may be project based. When preparing for a final project it is important to have a list of campus resources you can utilize and have access to the technology necessary to complete the project. If the final project requires working in groups, it is crucial to create a schedule with everyone’s availability along with a list of convenient working locations for all.
- Stay alert- For some students, concentrating can become an issue while studying. One way some students can get over this issue is by consuming small amounts of coffee, or caffeine. Caffeine in small doses can help increase mental focus and alertness. This may help you increase your level of concentration when studying for multiple final exams. But remember, simply drinking coffee won’t make you smarter. Leave that to studying!