One more week of classes, then we have our final exams. While the libraries might be empty all semester, they start filling up now. Personally, I can’t study in the midst of a crowd. Here are some of my study tips that help me through the final exam rush.
Find your happy place. For different times of day or different days of the week, I have certain libraries that I visit. Sometimes I study in classrooms. But final exam preparation across campus throws off my schedule. If you can study with lots of people around, grab a table in a library early in the morning. Otherwise look for an empty classroom, reserve a room for group study in advance, or study at your kitchen table. Find that perfect spot where you can stay focused.
Pack your lunch and snacks. If you find a great spot to study on campus, I guarantee it will be taken by someone else if you leave for lunch. Come prepared. Pack a peanut butter sandwich, a banana, almonds, granola bars, and any other healthy foods and snacks to get you through the day. If you have hot food delivered to the library, the smell might distract other students. Come prepared to stay for the day.
Make a study plan for the day. Prioritize the subjects you need to study and any last-minute assignments you need to complete. Actually write out a timetable of how long you will work on each topic. Schedule short breaks for yourself too so you can stretch your legs.
Turn off your phone. There is very little that is as distracting to studying as a text message. Turn your phone off and hide it in your backpack. It’s the only way to focus.
Log out of social media. If you’re anything like me, you save passwords on your web browser to the extent that you have no idea what your passwords are. Log out of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and whatever else distracts you. Don’t log back in until you are done with your exams.
Stay off the internet. When it’s crunch time, I turn off my internet. I save all of my study tools to my desktop. If you need tangible notes to study, then print them off and leave your computer at home.
Don’t wait until the last minute. If you start studying today, you will have a lot less studying to do in a week. Spread out your studies so the night before your exam you will just be refreshing your memory and not learning a semester’s worth of material.
Use your mornings. I find every semester that student lounges and libraries are pretty empty until late afternoon. Around 3 or 4pm, suddenly there are crowds of students hard at work. I start studying early in the morning and at 3 or 4pm I call it a day. I get in just as many study hours but have evenings to relax or do some light studying for easier classes that I can do with more distractions.
Crunch numbers. Going into finals week, I always calculate exactly what grade I need to get on the final exam in order to obtain the grade I want in the class. I then study accordingly. If I can fail an exam and still get an A, I might not study for that exam at all or just review an hour or so before the exam begins. If I have to get a perfect score on the exam to get an A, I put a lot of effort into that subject. When I put my studies in perspective this way, I almost always obtain the grade I need.
Remember that “Dead Week” is for studying. The week before finals, there are not supposed to be quizzes, exams, or new material. Of course it isn’t a perfect system, but the week tends to be lighter than the rest of the semester has been. This time is for you to get ready for finals, not to have fun (sorry, folks). Winter break is in sight, so power through.