Finals season is upon us, along with the stress and sleepless nights that usually accompany it. If you’re like most students and are finding it hard to get up the motivation to study after an already grueling semester, then this article is for you.
I know, you’ve worked hard this fall. You’ve read the books, written the papers and taken the exams. So why are the gods punishing you by throwing you these monster exams after so much hard work when you just want to go home for winter break already? Well, I don’t have the answer to that question, but I do have ways to help you study for your exams without going nuts.
Studying for finals doesn’t have to be a caffeine-infused, stressful and crazy-making experience. With a little discipline and some organization, you’ll tackle your finals and live to tell about it.
Here’s what you need to do to get motivated for your final exams:
First things first. There’s no point in trying to study when your notes are a mess. Get things organized, make sure there are no gaps in your notes from missed classes. Some ways to make sure your notes are in good shape for you to start to study are:
Review your course syllabus
Compare your notes with a classmate
Meet with your professor
You’re not going to have the will to sit down for long periods of time in a place where you don’t feel comfortable. Find a nice comfortable chair or sofa and call it your own for the duration of your study sessions. Wear clothes that you feel good in. Just don’t get too comfortable. Studying in bed, for example, can easily lead to napping instead of studying.
Nobody expects you to have willpower of steel, especially during finals season. I mean, what would you rather do, study for your Philosophy exam or read your Facebook newsfeed? The best way to avoid temptation is to get rid of it. Put your phone away, turn off your notifications and allow yourself the time you need to study.
When it gets down to the wire and priorities start to get tight, a lot of students resort to indulging in fast food or comfort food. This can have negative effects on your studying. An upset stomach or a sugar high with the inevitable crash that follows are no way to make it through a tough finals schedule. Take the time to eat at least three balanced meals each day, full of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Your brain and your body will thank you.
Sleep deprivation can have seriously negative impacts on brain function. If you think you’re doing yourself a favor by pulling all nighters before finals, you’re mistaken. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night will help refresh your body and brain and allow you to absorb information more easily.
Studying alone is fine, but if you’re struggling to find motivation to hit the books, why not check out your class’ study group? It can help take the pressure off of tackling a semester’s worth of information alone. For auditory learners, discussing and hearing the information instead of only reading it can help you retain it better. Finally, a study group can be a fun way to get through finals.
Students become intimidated by the task of studying for finals because they see themselves studying day and night with no end in sight. Setting limits on your studying sessions and taking breaks in between is a better approach to studying. Otherwise, you run the risk of burning out. If you keep going after your brain’s already called it quits, you won’t absorb any of the information after that point. Breaks are necessary for even the brainiest of students.
A break should be something to look forward to. It should involve something not related to reading, writing or studying. Going for walks, cooking a meal or having a meal, watching a movie or spending time with friends can help you refresh your energy and make your next study session more efficient.