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10 Study Tips To Get You Through Finals

Jan 19, 2015

Well hello there blog reader!

If you’re in high school you probably are coming up on exam time – which means that you are going to be very busy for a while. You may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed about all that you have to learn before you are done your courses. If this is you, keep reading. If this isn’t you, it may be you later on when you realize how much you still have to do before finals, so you should probably keep reading too. And to all my fellow King’s students: even though we are just starting this semester and finals are still so far in the distant future that we can’t be bothered to think about them yet – you can just store this information away until you actually need it.

So as I’m sure most of you know, when you have many exams all in a short period of time it can be really tricky knowing how to divide your time between subjects, as well as a struggle to successfully remember everything that you studied. However there are some tricks and tips to getting the most out of your study time. Hopefully knowing these ideas will help you feel confident going in to your exams and relieve some of the stress that goes along with this time!

1. Get organized.
Before you jump into your studying, figure out what you need to do. Making a list sometimes helps because once you finish things you can cross them off and feel like you’ve accomplished something. Now since you’ve started off your studying organized, keep it up! I find it helpful to re-write my notes neatly so that they are easier to study from. Another helpful tool that can help you feel organized is color coding! Color coding is something that not only helps you feel organized, but has the added benefit of also helping your brain develop connections and pathways between information that is related.

2. Put your phone away.
Yes, I know this is hard. But your phone is filled with things to distract you; games, texts, social media… all things that are so much more fun than studying. If you can take away this distraction, you can be so much more productive; so either put it away or use a self-control app to block websites and apps that will distract you. And if quitting your phone cold turkey is too hard, try putting it away for an hour at a time, and then reward yourself after that hour with a quick study break. And speaking of rewards, that brings me to my next point!

3. Reward yourself!
Studying is so much better when there is something to motivate yourself besides doing well on your exam; even though doing well should be the biggest motivation to study, sometimes it feels like it isn’t worth the hassle of putting the effort in before the final. Give yourself a real incentive to get things done! Maybe this means buying a bag of skittles and giving yourself a treat every time you finish reading or writing a page (hint: this works very well for papers), or you can find something else that will push you get your work done. It is going to be different for everyone, but basically the point is that rewarding yourself for something you have to do anyways makes it so much more bearable.

4. Take study breaks.
Although you may want to study for hours straight, this is really not the most effective way to use your time. Your brain will remember information better and you will be much happier if you take a break to refocus yourself. Take a short break every 50 minutes or so and studying will be much more enjoyable (if studying can ever be enjoyable… ).

5. Fill up on ‘brain’ food and rehydrate yourself.
While you’re taking your short study breaks, now is the perfect time to give your brain and body the fuel that it needs to do its best. Healthy snacks such as almonds, fruit, and yoghurt will give your brain the healthy fuel it needs to keep going. As far as drinks go, your best option is water. Water will leave you refreshed and hydrated, and keep you focused. Energy drinks can be tempting, but they often come with a ‘crash,’ where suddenly all your energy is gone, and too much caffeine can give you the shakes, which is the last thing you want when you need to get a bunch of things done. Water won’t do this to you, but it will still give you the energy you need to keep going.

6. Say it out loud.
After reading over all your notes, it may be helpful to say some of the most important points out loud. This will help to reinforce those points in your memory. Remember there is a time and place for this – a crowded library full of people who trying to study is probably not the best place to try this technique. Find a partner or a group that is studying the same subject and get a place where you can all talk it out, this will definitely help you remember what you need to know.

7. Create flashcards.
Flashcards are also very helpful for group work. Even better is if you make the flashcards yourself – the act of writing them out will help you remember terms and concepts very easily. Flashcards are also helpful if you want to do some last minute studying as they can help you remember the specifics that will gain you a few extra points.

8. Listen to the right type of music.
Remember: you’re trying to study, not having a party. Certain kinds of music can be very distracting when you are trying to study, and actually make it harder for you to focus on the material that you are trying to learn. Lots of studies say that classical music is the best to study to, but many people (myself included) don’t enjoy this. Something that has a similar effect but is a little more modern is instrumentals. You can even create a playlist of instrumental covers of your favourite pop songs if you like! Also important to remember – keep your music at a moderate level. If you are blasting your tunes you are probably going to find it harder to concentrate, not to mention the pain you will be inflicting upon your poor eardrums.

9. Get a good sleep before your exam.
Although it is really tempting to stay up all night so that you can cram as much studying in as possible, you are really doing yourself more harm than good. By doing this you are going to be so exhausted by the time you actually have to write your final that you will have a much harder time remembering all that you learned throughout studying. And fun fact: while you are asleep resting for your final your brain is still working at storing all the information that you have been studying, which will actually help you when the time comes to show what you know!

And the final thing to remember is:

10. Take a breath – and relax.
If you’re feeling nervous about your exams, take a couple deeps breaths and remember that you have been learning and preparing throughout the entire course for this – you are going to do just fine. A positive attitude can make a world of difference when it comes to your preparedness for the final.

Just remember, you can do it! Even though it may be a rough week of studying, it is only a week and then you are done. Well, until then end of the year. But that’s far away so you don’t have to think about that yet!


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