Disclaimer: this post was originally posted on 01/25/18 as has since been updated.
The semester is coming to an end and I’m sure like me; you’re exhausted, lacking sleep and are just tired of studying, and doing assignments. However, we can all celebrate because we made it to the end! Oh wait there’s one more thing, we have final exams coming up in a couple of weeks. If you’re a procrastinator like me then your stress levels might be through the roof. The struggle is too real! My friends, as we prepare for the end of the semester I’m sharing some of my study tips to get you over the bridge so that we can be successful at the end of our final exams.
You’re probably thinking what’s my reason for saying this but let’s be real, how many of you have picked up your phone to scroll on social media while studying and call it a “study break” (raises hand). I’m so guilty of this. We’ve become so attached to our phones that putting it down for a few hours a day seems so like an unattainable task, so I know this will be the hardest challenge but it’s worth it. Think about it this way, when you take an impromptu study break to check twitter or Instagram; by the time you’re done scrolling you would’ve forgotten the material you were just studying and would then have to start over from scratch and relearn what you just studied. I downloaded this app called Pomodoro Timer Life, this apps helps with increasing your productivity and I can testify that it works. The app basically lets you select what task you need to accomplish, and you get to set a timer for about 25 minutes where you’d start studying and then you get at least 3 to 5 minutes of break in between. I love this app, if this isn’t enough for you then I suggest turning your phone completely off and get in the zone.
Review your class notes and powerpoints
Try to carve out at least 30 mins after your class or at the end of your day to review the notes from the class earlier that day. That way as it gets closer to the exam you would’ve been preparing all along and can go real hard in the paint at least 3 days before the exam. By then you would’ve had all the information drilled into your head and will be well on your way to doing well on your exam. I know you’re probably saying that finals are almost here so who has time to review notes after class but who has time to sit and read through hundreds of pages of textbook material?! If you took good notes throughout the semester you should be able to use that to study for the final. Now I’m not saying not to use the textbook but for me personally studying your notes and the slides should be good enough, unless you were idling and didn’t take notes during the semester ( I’m side eyeing you). To make life easier you can always read the summary at the end of the chapter instead of trying to navigate through all those pages ( I mean who wants to spend all their free time with their nose in a book?).
Be mindful of Your Study Environment
The environment in which you study in can make studying more effective. If studying around others who are studying or working on other projects will motivate you then you do that. The most important thing is to study at a location with less distractions and where you can maximize your full potential. For me I prefer to study at home because it gives me the opportunity to be more relaxed and comfortable. A downside to studying at home is the urge to want to get in bed or to be lazy, so it takes discipline to study at home. If you’re going to study at home sit at a table/desk. Yes, I said to sit at a desk, DO NOT STUDY IN YOUR BED. Your bed was made for sleeping, most times we associate our bed with sleeping and definitely not studying, so studying in your bed is a disaster waiting to happen. I had a professor who told me that sitting at a desk helps us to have the correct posture and that in itself will send a signal to our brain that we’re suppose to be studying.
Take a break
It’s good to have an incentive when studying. During this break I would snack on brain food. Many of us as students tend to forget that eating is vital for our brain. It’s important to keep your brain and body well fueled with nutritious foods that have been proven to aid in concentration and memory. Remember to also keep yourself hydrated. By now you guys know I’m a TV fanatic, so this is where I also take the time to watch an episode of one of my favorite shows. And YES this is where you can take the time to check your social media but only for a limited time because I know how easy it is to get caught up scrolling and before you know it at least an hour or two would’ve passed by.
Explain the information to others
Talking aloud as well as explaining a topic to another person can help to reinforce it in your brain and provide clarity as well as draw attention to your weak areas. To those who may still be living at home with parents and siblings, or if you have a roommate use them to your advantage to assist in your studies by explaining to them the information that you are trying to retain. FUN FACT about me as it relates to talking out loud when studying, I tend to go over the material and talk to the mirrors in my apartment, I even sing what I’ve been studying when I’m in the shower or washing the dishes and in my best Whitney Houston voice lol.
Manage your time wisely
One thing you could do to better manage your study time is to set a study timetable, write down the exams you have and the days when you have them, then allocate a set time for certain subject areas, that way you’re able to know how far you are in your studies and how much more you’ll need to focus on a particular topic.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL LAST MINUTE
Procrastination is definitely not your friend, in fact it is an academic killer. As guilty as I am, waiting last-minute is not good for my mental health nor is it good for yours, it puts tremendous stress and strain on your brain and even on your body. It is never good when your brain goes into panic mode, so it is important that you give yourself enough time to study.