7 Tips To Help You Study Like A Pro for Finals
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7 Tips To Help You Study Like A Pro for Finals

For the studying experts and novices alike

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7 Tips To Help You Study Like A Pro for Finals
University of Texas at Austin

Have you found yourself drinking slightly more coffee than usual? Have you been dreading your classes more than usual? Have you been going to sleep later and later each night and getting up earlier and earlier each morning? If you answered "yes" to the previous questions, then you're probably entering a place every college student is about to enter: The Finals Zone.

If the fact that your finals are cumulative isn't enough to scare you, then remembering that your finals are most likely worth about a quarter of your overall grade should do the trick. If you've been struggling in your class all semester long, your final is probably your last chance to save your grade. In order to keep your head above water, however, you need to study your heart out and make sure you know your stuff! Fortunately, I have a few study tips for those who wish to truly absorb the information they're studying or those who don't know how to study effectively at all (don't worry, I was once in your shoes).

1. Do not cram, I repeat, do not cram.

Honestly, cramming is the worst possible thing that you can do to yourself. When you cram, you usually don't even cram the day before – you cram the night before and cut into valuable sleeping time (that you can never get back). There's also no way that you're watching a semester's worth of ECHOs in one night without going crazy or sleeping through half them.

2. Textbooks are friends, not pillows.

Whether you're the student that read each chapter before it was taught in lecture or the student that didn't even take the shrink-wrap off your textbook, your textbook is going to be your best friend when studying for finals. Your textbook can help reinforce ideas that your professor has taught in class or explain a concept better than your professor ever could. Your textbook probably has quizzes at the end of each chapter as well, which can be very valuable. Studies in the field of cognitive psychology have shown that subjects who studied and quizzed themselves on information they were learning retained long-term information better than those who only studied material. Also, don't just highlight stuff in your textbook. It makes no sense to highlight information in your textbook if you're never going to go back to it, so make sure you're re-reading what you highlight.

3. Try connecting different concepts you've learned.

Connecting different topics to one another not only helps you remember the concepts better but also gives you a deeper understanding of what you've learned as well.

4. Eat (healthy) study snacks.

Don't get so consumed in your studies that you forget to eat solid food. Just don't. I've been there and it's not a good place to be. Food is fuel and you need it, not only to study but also to survive, so please, eat. But eat wisely! Not all study snacks are good snacks. Don't eat artificial sugary snacks or drink sugary drinks like soda or iced tea expecting to stay awake off a sugar high. You will crash and regret it later. Instead, eat foods, like fruit, that contain natural sugars, and drink water. If you are a coffee drinker like I am, try not to overdo it on the coffee, or else you'll end up with a mean case of caffeine withdrawal after finals.

5. Study in the type of environment you'll be tested in.

Interesting tidbit I learned in cognitive psychology: those who learned facts underwater retained information, when tested underwater, as opposed to those tested on land. By the same token, those who learned information on land retained information better when tested on land opposed to those tested underwater. Long story short: you'll perform better on a test if the environment you learn/study in is similar to the environment you'll be tested in. So, when studying, try to recreate the environment you're going to be tested in.

6. Take a break!

There will be times when you're studying that you don't think you could look at the same set of information another time. Pro tip: Don't. Take a much-needed mental break. Go outside for a walk. Go to the gym. Take a shower. Go get some more snacks or coffee. Take a nap. Just make sure your study break doesn't stretch into straight up procrastination. For every two or two-and-a-half hours of studying, take a one-hour break to de-stress.

7. Get a good night's sleep.

Sleep deprivation never helped anyone do better on a final. Get a good seven to nine hours of sleep at night. You'll thank me later.

Good luck on your finals, everyone. Happy Finals Week, and may the curve be ever in your favor.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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