Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tips on how to prepare for finals all semester

I know, I know- this title sounds awful. Finals week is as stressful as is- why would I want to think about it ALL SEMESTER?!? But this is different, this post is an attempt to ease your anxiety all semester by providing you with my tried and true study tips. They have proven to save me at least 14 all-nighters and countless hours of stress-induced panic attacks at the thought of finals. Take it from me, I had a crash and burn first semester of college. (2.18 GPA... ouch) I pulled A LOT of all nighters and failed my fair share of exams. Throughout the last 6 semesters I have slowly but surely developed habits that ease the anxiety of the dreaded final exam. These are the top five things I recommend for staying organized and on top of your game all semester. Some of these take extra time but you will thank yourself when an exam rolls around! 

1. Find out first thing whether the final is comprehensive. This is a game changer in how you prepare throughout the semester. You will have to be on your a-game with studying all semester and retaining information from exam to exam. If the final is not comprehensive, then the pressure is off a little. However, you still want to be on your a-game for each and every exam. If you do well on the first few exams- you are allowed some leeway for the last exam. Which will also allow for you to pour extra energy into particularly  challenging classes or ones that have comprehensive finals.

2. Revise, Revise, Revise. I take all of my notes on loose leaf paper and re-copy/revise them after each class into a spiral bound notebook. I have one for each class. This way, I have the each lecture neatly written, in order in one place. Revise while the lecture is fresh in your mind- that way you can fill in any gaps. 

3. Flash Cards. I know, I know, flash cards are old school but I still swear by them. I write all of the main terms and paperclip them to the appropriate section in the revised notes notebook. 

4. Utilize the study guide. If your professor is kind enough to provide you with a study guide- utilize it. There are a million ways you can use it. Make flash cards, or gather the ones you've already made for each of the terms. Make sure you understand and can explain all of the concepts. Write everything down- it is a million times more effective than reading it. Have a friend or roommate quiz you off of the study guide. Put it in a plastic bag and study it in the shower. Sleep with it and hope you learn the material through osmosis. Whatever you do, utilize the study guide!

5. GET SLEEP, DRINK SOMETHING BESIDES COFFEE AND EAT REAL FOOD. This is the most pressing piece of advice I can give you. All-nighters do not work. Your body needs water and ramen noodles are not brain food. Get some sleep, drink water and eat an apple. 

These are my favorite and proven to work for me study tips. But of course, everyone is different, so: What are the study tips you swear by? 

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