Thursday, April 26, 2018

Finals Week Survival Guide

Next week is my Finals Week, which means that my days are packed full of studying and late nights until I'm done with my exams.

For me personally, I have a hard time focusing on studying, but I've found some tips and tricks for studying that work really well for me. I've also dicovered a few other things that help me when it comes to taking exams that I'm going to be sharing with you so you can get through your exams with ease and get the grades you want!

When it comes to studying, I need to be somewhere other than my apartment. I've found that it's too easy for me to get distracted when I'm in my own space, especially because I come up with other things that I could be doing (Like cleaning, making food, watching TV, hanging out with my roommate who's also procrastinating studying, etc.) so being in a different space makes it easier for me to focus on the tasks at hand.

I've also found that working in timetables of 20-30 min is the best way for me to get stuff done. By this I mean that I will set a timer and work on Math for 20min straight, and then I'll work on Wildlife Nutrition for 20 min straight, and then Conservation Biology for another 20 min and so on. Having a type of countdown applies enough pressure that I work harder in that 20 min on whatever it is I'm working on than if I just sit down with a random amount of time and start working on things. When it comes to studying, this also helps test my memory because it gives me breaks between each different set of informaiton for the knowledge to sink in rather than doing a cram session one time.

For that last one you can adjust the time to fit your needs better, but for me I've found that 20 minutes typically works the best.

I will also sometimes put in break periods. So I'll study for 20 min, and then eat food for 20 minutes, study for 20 min, take a 20 min nap, study for 20 min, watch a 20 min video. However this would take up more time and wouldn't be such a good idea if you've got a limited amount of time to get your studying in, but again this is something you can tailor more to your own needs.

For a few of my classes I got together with some of the other people in my class to do a large group study session, and I think that this was really beneficial for everyone involved. It gives some people the opportunity to get calrification on some of the information that don't really understand, and it gives others the opportunity to check go over the information by teaching/explaining it to others in the group. I also think that different people have different methods for studying, so you can test your knowledge by many different means (Things like flash cards, mind mapping, review problems found online, quizlet, etc.).

Meeting in a group is also a good way to prevent procrastination and distractions because you have a lot of other people to help keep you on track.

As a college student, I've seen a lot of people pull "all nighters" studying the night before an exam, and I gotta say that that really isn't an effective way to do it! Not for most people, I mean, and definitly not for me. I start studying a week or two in advance and I spend some time with the material using the strategy I mentioned before every day to make sure that I get the information down.

One of the main things that I cannot stress enough is to get a good nights sleep before you go to take an exam. This is another reason why doing an all nighter the night before an exam is a less than ideal plan. When I'm well rested my brain works better, I have an easier time focusing on the exam, and I think that I remember things a lot easier. Plus, if I don't know the information by 11pm(ish) then I don't know it, and trying to stay up any later doesn't allow me to retain any more information, all I'm doing is losing sleep.

This next one is kind of weird, and I know won't be for everyone.

Back when I was in Junior High, I had an amazing teacher who would buy boxes of bananas and give one to each student who wanted one (not everyone likes bananas) before an exam in her class. Her reasoning was that having the potassium would help boost our brain power, and that for some people that was the first thing they would have eaten so they wouldn't be taking the exam on an empty stomach. I don't know a whole lot about potassium and how much it helps with brain power, but I do continue to eat a banana before taking an exam. For some reason I just feel like it helps, and that I do better on exams that I eat before than I do on the ones that I don't eat before.

I've known others who eat an apple rather than a banana, or who go with a gronola bar of some kind, so maybe just eating in general. Personally I go wtih bananas, and think that works best, but go with whatever you think helps you the most.

Last, but certainly not least, ask your teacher or teaching assistant or someone else who knows there stuff for help with the information that you don't know! When I was a little baby Freshman, I would avoid talking to my teachers at all costs, and I would only go back over the information that I understoof. THIS IS NOT A GOOD PLAN! Because you're tested on all of the material, not just the material that you know really well. Youre teachers and TAs want to help you, and want you to come to them when you're confused. The main part of their job is to help you understand the material, but they can't do that if you don't come to them. Most of the time they also have really good ways to help you remember the information you're stuggling with (like a rhyme, or an acronym) and it's exactly what you need to get it down.

What do you think about these finals week studying tips and tricks? Do you have any that you like to use?

I'll see you on Tuesday

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