Everyone loves the holiday season. We get caught up in family time (rightfully so), the food, festivities and decorating. However, finals like to take the upper hand come mid-December.
And boy do they all come at once.
The best thing we can all do is: prepare. Find out when your finals are way in advance. My university provides an academic calendar containing our final schedule which is released in the beginning of the semester. And yes, this sounds crazy, but mark down in your planner when each of your finals are as soon as you know! This will help you divide your time wisely when the time comes. Preparing is half the battle won, and the rest comes easy.
Writing things down is the perfect tip to create awareness and urgency in order to study. Therefore, you will be motivated to do so as the weeks approach, because we all know cramming is never the most effective way to study.
Figure out whether your productivity spikes in the morning or night, and block out that time for your studying. If I would've read this 3 years ago, I would've laughed if you told me to wake up at 6 AM to study. Nowadays, I find that my productivity is increasingly heightened in the morning, which is when I choose to get most of my work done. That way, I have the rest of the day to feel more relaxed and splurge on holiday festivities.
However, it is most important to designate certain time blocks for certain courses. If you don't go into studying with a plan, you are going to feel overwhelmed and confused. In my experience, I become a scatterbrain and I want to do a million things at once. Feeling hopeless, I would usually give up and tell myself studying was for a different day, "when I have a better mindset," I'd say. This is not the best approach! If you have a blocked out schedule telling you to focus on one subject at a time, you will enter your study session with a clear head, relaxed, ensuring that you will cover all of the topics necessary by exam time.
Speaking of topics, it's detrimental that you write down each subject with a general outline of each subject matter you need to study. This will help you organize the material for the exam, and figure out which classes require more attention. Some may say this is a waste of time, but it's a perfect layout of everything you need to study, hopefully reducing the amount of stress you feel. The chances that you know some of these topics from prior exams, or even from lectures is likely, which means there will be information that you only need to review! Don't study what you already know, now that's wasting your time.
Now that the time is approaching, I feel overwhelmed. How do I possibly balance finals with decorating, baking Christmas goods...going ice skating?! With the holidays just a few short weeks away, I want to make sure I allocate the necessary time to step back form exams and enjoy my time freely. Yes, I want to do well. But, family and the holidays hold a priority in my heart that I cannot push aside. I refuse to sacrifice a family outing to get that extra hour in of studying. In the end, how much information was I going to retain within that hour anyway?
This is why time management is the most important within the November and December months. Family time is so important, spending time with your friends over the holiday brings so much joy, and you deserve the time to relax after a hectic semester! By allocating the necessary time to study by writing it down in a planner, you're more likely to do it. You should also make sure you block out time in which your friends will be studying as well, making you feel motivated to push through the final weeks of the semester!
Unfortunately, stress goes hand in hand with the month of December. Whether it stemmed from finals or buying those last minute Christmas presents, the stress always prevails. The way we manage it is the most important. If you create a balance between the amount of time studied and free time, you're bound to be hit a little less by the impact of stress and still succeed on your exams.
I wish everyone the best of luck this finals season!