Before college, I was that kid everyone hated. I studied for an hour before the test and got an A or B. I was also that kid that people came to in Anatomy to try to figure out how the heck I did so well on the test. When I started college, I had a hard time taking tests because cramming no longer worked. I was the one asking others how to study and not freak out five minutes before the exam. Here's how I am getting through my 3rd round of college finals:
During this time of year it is easy to feel like you're drowning in major assignments, exams, and life in general. It is also really easy to put yourself ahead of the game by not stressing what's to come over the next few weeks.
- Prioritize. Begin studying for the harder and comprehensive finals earlier. This will help you to recall some of the more difficult or older lectures and practices. However, just because you think an exam will be easy does not mean you shouldn't study for it.
- Study 45-90 minutes whenever you can. You will recall more from shorter, meaningful reviews than all-day or all-night cramming. Spend more time on the more difficult concepts. Use shorter time periods for material you just need to refresh.
- Draw Pictures and re-write notes. Drawing pictures can help you to remember a concept because it forces you to understand the subject enough to visualize it. Also rewriting your notes will help you to recall the lecture. If you use a technique when re-writing (bullet journal, highlights, etc.) you will also get more out of it because you are breaking the concept down and compartmentalizing it.
- Create a mnemonic. Mnemonics (memory tricks) are my favorite way to remembering a concept.
- Go to a review session. Review sessions typically go over everything that will be on the final. They are great if you feel like you have no idea what to study.
- Go to office hours. Ask those final questions you may have. This is one of those "speak now, or forever hold your peace" type of situations. Check out this post to help you be successful in office hours.
- Breathe. Take one minute before the test or while studying and take a few deep breaths. This will help you to focus. Panicking will otherwise increase your heart rate and make it hard to concentrate on the task at hand.
- Snack. Give your brain nutrients to help you think, see, and focus better. My favorites are: carrots, celery, trail mix, yogurt, and granola bars.
- Sleep. Studies prove that studying before bed help memory. Make sure you give your mind enough time to recall and store the material you studied (so like 6-8+ hours).
- Exercise. Going for a light jog may help you to clear your mind. Yoga may even help you to feel more centered. Working out releases dopamine (the happy chemical) to counteract some of the stress you may be feeling.
- Clean your room. While cleaning your room, clean your mind. Focus on positive thoughts and how you will do well. By removing excess clutter, you will focus better and react more positively to situations that may occur.
Is this your first round of finals? If not, do you prefer cumulative exams or noncumulative? How do you keep yourself from stressing during finals time?