How to Finish Finals (Without Letting Them Finish You)

Final exams are right around the corner…

Half of me is cringing just thinking about finals, and the other half is jumping for joy at the thought of finishing my first semester at college. (I’m so ready for Pre-Calculus to end I’d actually consider throwing a party to celebrate taking the last exam for that class).

Here are the things I’m doing to prepare (along with a few helpful hints I’ve learned a long the way):

  1. Start studying at least a week before

There’s no use trying to cram an entire semester’s worth of material in one night. You’re not Cranial Capacity, you can’t learn it all at once. Studying an hour a night for a week before your exam helps your brain re-learn all the material without getting stressed or feeling fatigued, and studying daily means you’re reinforcing the material.

2.  Study in intervals

I’m not going to lie, I tend to binge-study one subject until I know it entirely before I move onto anything else. Lots of students get this way. Let me tell you right now – your brain hates you for it. Studying one subject for a few hours is very hard on the brain’s memory capabilities. The brain can become tired and start to blur and confuse information. One way to prevent this is to study in intervals, switching between subjects every 30 minutes to an hour, with a five minute break every hour to hour and a half. A great method for interval studying is the Pomodoro Technique.

3.  Study with friends

Grab some popcorn, music, a few blankets, and your books and boom! Study party! Quiz each other, teach each other, or just make sure you and your buds stay on task. Friends are a great resource to have when it comes time for exams.

4. Don’t camp out in the library

Seriously, don’t even think about packing some pillows, snacks, blankets, and a camp stove. You won’t be more motivated, and you’ll feel really groggy after not sleeping for so long. You’ll also start to smell. Gross. So go home to your dorm or apartment, take a shower, nap, and only go to the library to study if you really need to. Chances are it will be full of people all trying to cram or write papers, so not exactly the quiet, peaceful studying haven you need right now.

5. Take care of yourself

I cannot stress enough how many people will eat readily available junk food while studying at their desks during exam week. You’ll end up feeling sluggish, foggy, and maybe even sick. No one wants to take an exam (especially an exam worth over 10% of your final grade) feeling like that. Try your best to eat well balanced meals. If you find you’ve been sitting for a while, take a brisk walk. Take showers regularly, it helps clear your mind and leaves you feeling refreshed.

6. Go into your exams with a positive attitude

Embody The Little Engine That Could and say “I think I can, I think I can.” Check out this motivational penguin if you find you need a boost, Shia LaBeouf can’t hurt either.

Need some more help? I’ve got your back, don’t worry!

Here’s a great post on how to survive exams…And another great post about studying in general. Hungry? Skip the vending machines, check these recipes out! And lastly, for those of you writing essays: How to Recover an Unsaved Microsoft Word Draft.

Best of luck to you all!

xo Bailey


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