By Amanda Bertsch
Finals are fast approaching, and many students are at a loss when it comes to studying effectively. These five strategies will take the stress out of the end of the semester.
- Get other work done: There’s nothing worse than scrambling to finish a final essay or an honors project instead of studying for that math exam. Aim to finish projects, essays, and hours logs before the week they’re due. This allows time for any projects that take longer than expected and also frees room for studying later on. Plus, final projects are often a significant portion of the semester grade. Procrastinating on these projects doesn’t just hurt study habits; it also damages the semester grade.
- Study with friends: Studying doesn’t have to be a solitary and boring endeavor. Set up a table with a few friends in a coffee shop and work through the material together. A group can quiz each other, explain difficult concepts, and compare notes. However, it’s important to not get caught up in socializing –study groups should actually study!
- Do a little every day: This can be easier said than done. The most effective way to study is a little at a time, over a period of several weeks, but finding consistent time and motivation every day can be tough. Try working with friends to keep each other accountable for material, ask family members to quiz you on certain days, or set goals far in advance. The more studying you can accomplish before finals week, the less stressful exams will be.
- Take personal time: Studying is important, yes, but so is mental health. Enjoy the holiday season! Once you reach a studying goal, reward yourself by going out with friends, watching a holiday movie, or doing whatever you like to do to unwind. Overstressing yourself leads to poorer exam performance, so make sure to have some fun and get plenty of sleep in the weeks before the exams.
- Review old materials: Try to make connections. Does the teacher favor multiple choice vocabulary? If so, it’s more important to associate words with general concepts than to memorize every detail. Does the teacher enjoy essay questions? Concept-based studying will help in these classes. Does the teacher provide word banks? If not, be sure you know all the vocabulary terms for the semester. Does the teacher tend to give open-ended problems or vocabulary questions? These questions will show the best way to study for a class and may give clues as to the content of the final, so that there are no surprises on test day.