As finals creep around the corner, it is imperative to have a system that works for you to study.

If you are anything like me, cramming in the library for hours at a time is not a practical form of remembering information in the long-term. The following tactics have given me a studying system that allows me to retain the information I need while still remaining sane.

1. Positive Reinforcement


Often if I need to make 50+ flashcards for one of my finals, I have to give myself some type of incentive. An example to this might be, "every 10 flashcards I get done, I can eat two of my sour patch watermelon candies." I know it sounds silly, but rewarding yourself for small achievements can keep you motivated to get your work done and breaking tasks into small increments can make your workload seem less overwhelming.

2. Make and Schedule

Instead of attempting the nearly impossible task of remembering all of the information learned in a course during one sitting. Create a schedule in which you can review one or a few chapters at a time. You will be able to focus more of your attention on the specific material and will retain the material for much longer. Before your test, look over the course as a whole and gather the big pictures of the class.

3. Teach the course.

If you find a friend or study buddy that you can review with, teaching another person the material is an effective means of wrapping your head around the concepts. As you are teaching someone else, you are actually studying yourself and retaining knowledge.

4. Exercise before studying.

I have found that when I run or take a yoga class before I begin studying, my mind is free of clutter and I am able to be more mindful while working without outside thoughts distracting me.

These 4 methods are most effective for me while studying for large exams, though they may not work for everyone. Coming up with a personal studying strategy before facing the work you need to do ahead can be a game changer for your grades on your finals. Good luck to all on finals!