With the most stressful time of the semester upon us, the preparation weeks for these “grade determiners” seem limited. This is the ideal time for stress and anxiety to build up and completely control the minds of college students. Never fear, these simple organizational tips will help minimize the frustration and give you a more optimistic approach when studying for finals.
- Make “to-do” lists. It helps a lot to have everything that needs to be completed written out in front of you in one place. You can organize these lists chronologically in order of due dates and specify days to get certain tasks done. Sometimes, lists can relieve the apprehensive student when they realize they don’t have as much work to do as they anticipated.
- Use a studying schedule. Plan to dedicate certain days to each class so you don’t feel compelled to do everything all in one day. If you plan ahead, you can limit yourself to 3 tasks per day so you are not overwhelmed when due dates creep closer.
- Create study outlines for classes with a lot of material that needs to be memorized; these are extremely beneficial for history and vocabulary-heavy classes. This enables you to have all of your important notes and information on separate sheets of paper and eradicates the constant note flipping and backtracking.
- Look over old tests and quizzes for cumulative exams that require you to regurgitate everything you've crammed into your brain since August. Re-writing the exams and taking them over again often triggers your memory to recall certain information. If you get questions wrong, make a separate test comprised of the questions you missed and try again until you get them right and understand them. It is a tedious process, but it can eventually lead you to understanding the material better than you did when you first learned it.
- Flash cards are best when it comes to remembering important people, events or vocabulary terms. Color code them by chapter, time period or any other organizational strategy so you can remember and relate them to other terms more easily.
- Try to study in groups of people with your same class or section. Group study indicates whether you know enough to teach the material or need to study a lot more. It also helps to hear others explanation things out loud so you can remember or understand them better for the exam.
If you follow these simple techniques and habits, studying for exams won't seem nearly as challenging. Remember to start early and prepare ahead of time to avoid stressing yourself out and procrastinating until the night before an exam. It's only one hell week that requires your full attention and commitment, so give it all you got.
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