It’s that time of year. Finals are upon us! Here are some of my tips for success…
1. Take (Netflix) Breaks
Let’s be honest. No one can study for ten hours straight. We all need a good break. And we ALL love a little bit of Netflix. Whether your guilty pleasure is New Girl and a tub of ice cream or a little bit of Breaking Bad, take some time to de-stress and stop staring at a text book. You might even learn something!
Finding the motivation to get through a long day after sleeping can be tough. Believe it or not, exercise helps. Being active for even a half hour each day can have a positive effect. Getting a move on, whether it’s a walk around campus or playing soccer with friends, will release endorphins in your body that have a positive effect. This will help you to be more awake, sleep better, and even retain information more successfully!
3. Eat! Don't skip meals because you're stressed
Your body needs energy! A lot of people I know don’t eat or forget to eat when they are really busy or are stressed. That’s a crime! Not only does eating fuel your body, it gives you a chance to take a half hour break and grab a bite with some friends.
4. Along with that, treat yourself
Finals week can be tough. Leave the guilt behind and grab a pint of ice cream or a candy bar. Don’t over-do it, but a little dose of candy can help. I personally like to get something like M&M’s and use them like a study reward—one piece every time I finish reading a page!
5. Don't take Adderall
I can’t stress this one enough. A “magic pill” that helps you stay awake? Turns you into a study machine? That sounds like a dream! Wrong. The negative effects of Adderall are a huge part of my Independent Study thesis. Taking it when you’re not prescribed is not only illegal, it also messes with your appetite, moods, and your brain! It’s not worth it. If you need more convincing, check out this article I read in The New York Times.
6. Type essays in single spacing
This is a big favorite of mine. It’s always nice to type in single space and then hit the magic double space button to see all the wondrous progress you’ve made!
7. Make a To Do List
Making a to-do list is the only way I can even begin to wrap my head around all the things I have to accomplish. Folding a sheet of notebook paper in half works. I usually write all the big things (like assignments) on one half, and the smaller things (like meetings/reminders) on the other half. Fold it up and it fits in your pocket as a constant friendly reminder!
8. Learn to say NO
It’s easy to be peer pressured in to “watching one more movie” or “driving 45 minutes to get Chik-fil-a” with your friends, but you’ll end up regretting these extensive study breaks later. It’s okay to say NO! Make it easier for your friend(s) by offering to grab lunch later or go for a walk! (A great way to implement points 2 and 3).
9. Re-Write your notes
This is a favorite study tool of mind. What could be better than going over all of the things you learned a second time? Instead of staring at the page and just blankly reading, I've found it to be very helpful if I make color coded study guides that are combinations of my notes from class and the book.
10. Go to sleep
Sometimes, you're up late cramming in the library and it just seems like the information you're trying to learn just isn't sticking. That's when it's time to head to dreamland. It's always easier for me to wake up in the morning and be productive, rather then trying to keep my eyes open when it's dark outside. You've got to know your stopping point.
That’s all I’ve got. They’re not foolproof tips, but most of them are what gets me through these tough few weeks. I hope I could be helpful!
“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” –Nikos Kazantzakis