For most college students, exam time is the most stressful part of the year. It sometimes seems like every teacher forgets that his or her class isn’t the only test you have to prepare to ace. In addition, you likely have other obligations outside the classroom that don’t let up just because you have a final to take.
Just remember as Albert Einstein said: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Luckily, if you know how to study properly, you can usually prepare yourself for those tests and achieve your goals.
We’ve put together five tips to help you when you’re studying for finals.
1. Pretend you’re explaining
When you’re trying to learn a subject well enough to ace a test, act as though you are explaining the topic to someone else. If you can present facts to someone else, you obviously know your stuff! This can be a great way to “test yourself” in the last days before the final exam.
2. Be cautious when studying with others
If you use a “study buddy” don’t split the work. It may be that you wind up only knowing half the material! A much better approach is to meet with a friend or classmate after you’ve already spent some time studying alone. Then you can quiz each other, or use that time to practice explaining elements of the test to one another.
3. Watch out for distractions
Turn off your television and consider putting your phone’s notifications off during study time. It is hard to focus on studying if you are constantly being bombarded with beeps and buzzes. A better option to listening to the TV is to have the radio playing musicthat you find motivating and uplifting.
4. Use music to memorize
If you have facts and figures you need to memorize, consider putting them to music or poetry. This can be the easiest way to commit these things to your memory. Think back to elementary school. You probably remember that in fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue--that’s because of the rhyme. Using tricks like this can help you with nearly any difficult fact.
5. Write it down
Writing things down will go much further to committing something to memory than just reading it ever will. Even if you’re just copying facts from a book, write it down--then read it, and highlight the important parts. Your brain will remember the act of writing.
Studying may sometimes seem pointless. However, the National Survey of Student Engagement has found that students who studied more usually had the confidence to do well on their tests and also experienced more success outside the classroom too. While studying for your finals may never be your favorite task, when you’re studying purposefully, you will accomplish so much more in less time--allowing you to do more of the things you love. That’s really what it is all about!