If you pass someone on campus shot gunning four gallons of coffee and dropping a notebook full of paper, any college student can tell you that they’re in the midst of finals week. Finals week can make or break your semester, so it is super important that you pass. With everything I have learned from preschool to now, here are my 10 tips on how to survive finals.
1. Chew Gum
Scientific studies have concluded that if you chew gum while you study and pick the same flavor to chew during your test, it can trigger your memory. I have tried it out myself and found it pretty effective. We all get into those cramming moments and just need a little trick to get us through.
2. Listen to Focusing Music
Some people cannot focus with music playing in the background, but for me in particular it really helps me focus. Plenty of specific songs can clear my mind and help me focus. It depends on the day, but typically I do not listen to hip hop or rock for this. I usually listen to either classical music or country when studying because they are less likely to distract me.
3. Put Your Phone on Do Not Disturb
We live in the 21st century. It is not uncommon for us to be distracted by our phones. Our whole lives exist there. From Instagram, to Facebook, to even the people on Tinder, it can be very distracting. Even though you put it next to you, if you let it ring or vibrate it may be very hard to resist the temptation to grab it and check it. I know for me the second I grab my phone, it is never just for that one notification. I end up answering that one text message, and then roaming over to Twitter and an hour later I’ve retweeted about thirty memes.
4. Write Everything Down
If you could remember one tip, let it be this one. Personally, this one is absolutely the most effective. Look at all of the PowerPoints, study guides and notes. Rewrite them to make your very own study guide. There is something about writing things down that imprints them into your brain. If necessary, write things over and over until you get it. It also gives you something to look over before the exam.
5. Take Breaks
Everyone has a mental capacity. It does not make you dumb or any less competent than your peers. If you have waited until the last minute, you shouldn’t go for 6 straight hours just studying. I usually take a 15-minute break after each hour of studying. It refreshes my mind, and I retain a lot more information whenever I come back. This is also the perfect time for snacks.
6. Plan Ahead of Time
Personally, I am a major procrastinator. I’ll admit it. I know every pro and con of waiting until the last minute. For homework, I do my best work when I am rushed. For studying, however, it is the exact opposite. When I am sitting in an exam with a time limit, I get anxiety and keep looking at the clock. I can’t focus. This concept prevails during my studying, as well. If I am rushed during studying, I can never retain everything because I am too busy thinking about how little time I have left. Make sure to not wait until the last minute to study for finals. You likely have one or two tests each day. This can make your grades go way down, because the information will all run together if you wait until the last minute.
7. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
I have studied for so many tests and tried so many methods, and pulling an all nighter has to be the least effective. You think that if you spend all night soaking in the information you’ll do great on the test the next morning, but it is the opposite. Every time I have attempted to pull this off I have scored very poorly because I was so tired that I couldn’t focus. One time I literally fell asleep on my test and my teacher woke me up when my time was up. It was awful. If you chose to wait until the last minute, just study until a maximum of 2 A.M.
8. Eat a Good Breakfast
Much like sleep, eating is very important for being prepared for finals. If you have no nutrition in your system, it can affect your mindset and make you perform poorly. I also know, again from experience, that your stomach growling is not only distracting to you, but also to everyone else. Even if you did not eat much the night before, make sure to eat a good breakfast beforehand. Coffee gets you bonus points.
9. Figure Out Your Learning Type
There are three types of learners: visual, auditory and kinetic. Everyone can learn from all three, but there is one that you are more prone to retain information from. I am an auditory learner: I learn the most from listening to someone talk or from songs. The visual type is for people that learn best from diagrams or from looking at the information. And lastly, kinetic, for people that learn best hands-on: making models, performing best at laboratories and so on. Figuring out what type of learner you are is crucial to retaining the information necessary for your finals. There are plenty of quizzes you can take online to show you what time of learner you are.
10. Do Your Best
Every time I stressed out for a test my dad would tell me: “You can only do your best.” This has helped me through plenty of exams. There is no use panicking about it while you’re taking the test. There is nothing you can do besides your best. Take a deep breathe, grab your pencil and just do your best. No one can ask for more.