In the wonderful part of life that is college, finals are always rapidly approaching. I have been to three colleges during my college career (indecisive I know) but each finals experience was different. Because of this, I was unable to really figure out what worked for me until I settled into my final college and really started to get the hang of how I study. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to be prepared before my first round of college finals at the University of Arizona thanks to my lack of preparation from my first two colleges. So, here is what I learned the hard way and what worked for me when studying for my dreaded finals:


1. Sleep is SO important

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My first round of finals, I decided to pull two consecutive all-nighters in order to study for a big exam. What a mistake. It taught me a very valuable rule that I now stick to with no exceptions: I always go to bed by midnight. If I don't understand the material I'm studying, odds are staying up the whole night will not be as helpful as getting some rest. The brain continues to process information long after we go to sleep. So, making sure I get at least 8 hours of solid sleep helps me process and I usually understand things a lot better once I've woken up.

2. Coffee is not always king

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My first semester and into my first round of finals, I had this insane caffeine/coffee addiction (Five to Seven cups per day) that cost me so much money and didn't end up being helpful in the end because my tolerance was so high, I would need to down two cups of coffee before the caffeine woke me up at all. Especially when I hit my peak of five to seven cups per day, I was jittery and unable to focus at all. I ended up kicking the coffee addiction to save money (Starbucks is so expensive) but after experiencing a serious caffeine crash mid-final, I can assure you that coffee addiction is not the move during finals.

3. Group study!

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Friends can be super distracting but they can also be super helpful. Within my major, we all bring different things to the table and do really well in varying concepts of each class we take together. Studying together helps us not only understand what we originally didn't and solidify our understanding of concepts we think we do know. Plus, it's always nice to have company when doing something as boring and tedious as cramming for finals.

4. Listen to your body

If your brain is telling you to slow down or take a break, DO IT. If your body is sore and you feel like you need to stretch, DO IT. The most important part about studying is making sure you set yourself up for success not only by stuffing all the information down your throat but also by listening to yourself and making sure you give your body and your mind what it needs to be healthy and open to all the knowledge you're forcing down your throat.

Remember, this is all stuff that worked for me. I'm not saying cutting out coffee and studying with your entire major is the way to go for you. The best advice I can give as a college student is just to figure out what study techniques work best for you and stick with it. Your studying may look different than the people around you and it may even vary from class to class but once you find your groove and really get into it, you'll be all set to totally CRUSH your finals.

Good luck!