Sunday, December 15, 2013

How to: Survive Finals


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Finals are a tough time or everyone. It's already stressful to take one test at a time, but when you've got 4-6 in one week, it's rough. I am not an expert in anything other than procrastinating, but here are some things I've found that definitely help me get through finals reasonably unscathed. 

1. Snacks
Studying is not fun. No matter how interesting you think your major is, reading the same material over and over can be frustrating and it's going to take awhile to learn it. I love to get a mix of healthy and unhealthy snacks before finals starts. You need healthy things (like fruit and yogurt) to keep your energy up and keep your brain focused, so I definitely wouldn't recommend all sugar all the time. I like to get things like chocolate covered pretzels or peppermints as my unhealthy snacks just because they at least have some purpose other than calories. Pretzels can be filling and dark chocolate is good for you, while peppermints are good to keep you awake (at least for me.) Also, drink water. I have a coke obsession and I know most people are addicted to coffee, but that will leave you feeling horrible at the end of the day. Just get a cute Tervis Tumblr and suck it up! Split the day between good and bad drinks and snacks if you have to, just don't go all bad all the time. It'll hurt you in the long run. 

2. Take Study Breaks
If you haven't learned it by 2 in the morning, you aren't going to have it memorized by 6. Your brain needs breaks to refuel and continuing to push it will only make things worse. Most of the time a two hour nap will work out much better for you than staring at your book for two hours like a mummy and being even more tired than you were before without learning a thing. 
I like to reward myself with 1 hour of Netflix after 2-3 hours of concentrated studying, but be careful. Tumblr, YouTube, and Netflix suck you in, so make sure to set an alarm and only spend the amount of time you set aside. 

3. A Good Playlist
I study much more efficiently when there is music in the background. I like a mix of slow and upbeat stuff because sometimes I need to chill and sometimes I need a pick me up. Music helps me tune everything out and focus and I've been jamming this all week. Try it out if you've got tests (or even if you don't just for fun!) and let me know if you like it! I always love to see what other people's tastes in music are like. This one's quite a mix (from 50s to Disney to country) so prepare yourself for the awesomeness it holds. 


4. A Schedule
Scheduling out your time is one of the best things you can do to truly prepare yourself. It shows you realistically what other responsibilities you'll be dealing with while also needing to study and keeps you on track. I like to start by making a column for each day on a blank piece of paper and then writing in all my tests. I then write in work or meetings so I can see when I'll have free time. Once I know what time I can set aside for studying, I break it up into subjects based on which tests I have. I really wouldn't recommend cramming right before the test, so I'd say do about 2 hours of each subject each day and add hours as you take tests (because you obviously won't be studying things you're done with). I prefer to break it up like school because after a few hours on the same thing, your focus is quickly disappearing. Switch the subjects up every once and a while to give your brain something different. I promise, it works. It's much easier to study for 12 hours on 4 different subjects than 12 hours on all the same one.  

5. Try to Relax
There is nothing worse than going into a test with enough anxiety to explode your head. Study as efficiently as you can and try to go into the test with a clear mind. If you aren't prepared, there's nothing you can do about it once it's test time anyway, and if you are prepared, then remember that you know the material and you don't need to stress. Don't underestimate yourself...go in with the attitude of someone who's totally going to rock it because you studied and prepared like a champ! Think positive thoughts and remember to breathe!

Do you have to take finals this year? What's your best finals tip or finals must haves? 
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