Did last semester's finals not go as well as you hoped? Here are some tips to make this semester's end the best one yet!
I know this is the one most people will skim by due to the fact that they seem to think "I work better under pressure", "I can pull all-nighters and do fine on exams", and "I can't get motivated so early before the exam". Well, take it from someone who used to do just that-cram, cram, cram the night before-it doesn't work as well as spaced out studying. Think about it: your brain needs time to digest the material and process it into your long term memory. This transition of moving the information from short term memory into long term memory takes time. Not only does your brain need to encode the information, but it also needs to be able to retrieve the information, which is called reconsolidation. This process is the act of retrieving information from the long term memory. Reconsolidation mainly takes place during sleep. Therefore, by spacing out your studying over several weeks as opposed to several days, your brain has more time to process the information and make sense of it, as there are more times when you are asleep and resting, where your brain can spend time sorting and processing the material.
Make a schedule
How I feel observing the study schedule I've createdGiphy
Have you ever thought about everything you have to do around finals and gotten so stressed out that instead of accomplishing anything you end up taking a nap and binge watching Gossip Girl? Yeah, me either.... So how about instead of setting yourself up for a stress fest, you take some time to plan out what you need to do and allocate certain days to complete certain tasks. Not only will this help to ease your stress, but by writing out specific tasks that need to be completed on certain days, you are much more likely to successfully complete them. It turns abstract goals into concrete work, providing less wiggle room for you to procrastinate. Plus, who doesn't love the feeling of crossing something off of a list?
Study alone first; then in groups
Going to the library with friends be like...Giphy
I know it may seem fun to make a study date with your friends in the library but let's be honest-how often do you actually get everything you wanted to get done? Moreover, how well do you think you learn material around people who are just as confused as you are? It is a proven fact that studying new material should be done alone to gain a better grasp on the concepts. This is because you have more control over your environment and the distractions around you, thus allowing more time to fully concentrate on the task in front of you. After you've gained a good understanding of the material, it is then beneficial to meet with a group and bounce questions, ideas, and suggestions off of other individuals who also have a basic understanding of the concepts. This will provide the most efficient route of studying and still allows you to spend time with friends.
Take care of your bodyGiphy
Out of all the tips this one is probably the most important. You can't expect to ace your exams and write exemplary papers if you're sniffling, sneezing, and feeling under the weather. That's why it's so necessary to take time during finals to rest and recuperate, giving your body and mind time to replenish and restore itself before the next exam. Even though it may seem like you have no time to sleep, make sleep a priority this final's season. It will allow you to be more mentally aware and help you accurately remember more material. This coupled with a diet that is nutritious and healthy, filled with plenty of vitamins and minerals, will help you conquer those daunting finals.
Finally, this tip is the most simple in theory yet sometimes it can be the most difficult to put into action. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities as a student is the best thing you can do when going into an exam. Be it with pump up music, motivational quotes, or a quick workout prior to the exam, take time to build yourself up-repeating a winning mantra in your head. Confidence in yourself and your abilities has the potential to bridge the gap between you and your goals-all with a change in mentality. So instead of feeling as though you can't do anything right and thinking you're going to fail tell yourself you've got this-because you do!
Utilizing these tips will ensure that your studying and testing go smoothly and efficiently-propelling you and all your positive energy into a great summer!