Studying for Finals

Ask any college student, and I can almost guarantee his or her least favorite words are “finals week.” Yes, it’s true. They’re already here. They always seem to sneak up on me when I’m least expecting it. Honestly, I’ve still got two papers to write before I even think about studying for finals. I probably won’t have any form of social life for the next two weeks. But that’s okay because after that I am done for like 20 weeks. I’ve just got to get through a few more days and then my freshman year is over. I can’t believe I’m saying that. Anyway, while I may not be a study pro, I do have a few study tips that have worked for me in the past:

1. Start studying early. Depending on how much you understand the material, adjust your schedule to make plenty of time to study. I am probably going to begin studying today (one week before my first final). I would love to have started earlier, but unfortunately college isn’t like that. And besides, finals are not that bad for me because I work hard throughout the year so that if I do poorly on the final, I will still get a decent grade in the class.

2. Find a good study place. College is nice because there are a ton of spots on campus where you can plop down and study for hours. I like going to the library or sitting on a bench by the fountain. It’s very relaxing! I also do a lot of studying in my room, but only because my roommates are able to keep quiet.

3. Distribute your time evenly. Generally the classes I have the highest grades in are the one’s I understand the most, and so I spend the least amount of time studying for those finals. However, it’s important not to focus all study time on one particular subject. You need to review everything, even if only for a little bit.

4. Take breaks and give yourself rewards. Studying is terribly draining, especially when you feel like there’s no way you will ever understand the material in a few days so you might as well give up. When I get discouraged, I take a break, sometimes only a few minutes long. Sometimes I even take a cat nap, so I wake up feeling refreshed. I also am sure to have plenty of snacks nearby to motivate me. A Reese’s cup usually does the trick.

5. Never sacrifice sleep or food. We’ve all heard this before: You need to eat and sleep properly. So many students pull all-nighters, but I personally could never do this. Why spend all that time studying if you’re too exhausted to remember any of it? And if you skip meals, your brain will function much slower. Our basic needs shouldn’t be ignored, regardless of the circumstances.

6. Stop stressing so much. I know that I sound like a hypocrite, but this is something that I’m working on. Finals are important and we all need to study for them. However, there is no need to worry about them. If you have gone to class, done your work and paid attention, college finals aren’t that bad. It’s just like any other test. I find often that I know more than I think I do. Just remember the night before that you’ve done all that you can to prepare, and that worrying doesn’t solve anything. Say a prayer and stop fretting over them!