Hey you, procrastinating again? Feeling overwhelmed? Look, I get it and this is the ultimate judgment-free zone for students. When it’s final exam season or even midterm season, the ish gets serious and the stress is REAL. Here are 7 tried and true favorite tips that help keep focus and sanity in check:
1. Limit the Distractions
I know this one seems obvious and you are probably thinking this won’t be anything new, BUT if you have the TV on, a show playing on your iPad, music coming from your phone, and this blog/Amazon/etc. open in extra tabs, how much of your focus is really centered on what you are needing to study? Probably not much! This also means if you aren’t good at working in groups (i.e. you end up talking about what happened on last night’s episode on Bravo) try your best to go to a cubicle instead. It stinks, I know. Here’s how to make it better though: Separate 30 minutes during your study session to check your Instagram notifications, scroll through Facebook, visit with your friends in the library, whatever! Just get back to it as soon as that time is up. It will help you feel refreshed and still somewhat connected to the outside world.
2. Dress Well | Test Well
My personal favorite, and y’all, I cannot stress this one enough. Whenever I am studying or getting ready to take an exam all I want to do is wear sweats. Here’s the thing though, there’s something about actually going through the motions of getting ready and putting together a semi-decent outfit that not only boosts my confidence to be in the general public sphere but also wakes me up for the day. I can focus so much better when I feel good about what I’m wearing. Keep it comfortable, keep it simple, but try your best to stay away from the sweats if you can help it, otherwise you’ll just want to nap even more than you already do.
3. Keep It Consistent
Whatever your routine is, keep it consistent. This applies to more than just not cramming the night before. Is there a certain hairband or scent that you like to use when you’re studying? A small hard candy or mint? Personally, I love to wear Ugg slippers when I study, super random – probs even a bit weird, but they are amazingly cozy and that’s all that matters to me. Get in your groove and pattern of what you like to do and stick with it. That will help train your brain to focus when you are sitting down to hit the books.
4. Figure Out Your Mode
How is it that you best learn? Auditory/Visual/Interactive? Find out ASAP if you don’t already know, and spend the majority of your study time using that method. Supplement with the other forms. For instance, if you are visual, work on your charts, or note taking, then after you feel comfortable, try to discuss the concept with a friend in the same class. (As long as it’s allowed of course, don’t do anything against your respective school’s honor code.)
Also crucial to not only your mental and physical health, but to your understanding and ability to concentrate. Start studying early enough to allow yourself to get sufficient rest. Complete the work first then play, not vice versa. Sleep should be just as important as eating and breathing, don’t skimp on it, especially the night before a major exam.
6. Eat Well
Speaking of food, what you eat fuels your body and your brain. As tempting as it is to snag the pizza or snack on chips and candy on those later nights, try your best to resist. A balanced diet will not only help you sleep better, but will vastly improve how you feel when you are preparing for big exams. Grab the water before the energy drink, and you’ll be surprised as to how much more helpful that is in improving your study session.
7. Know The Expectations
Last but certainly not least, know your professor’s expectations. Never assume. Ask for feedback, ask for assistance, ask for examples of past exams, JUST ASK. This will vastly decrease your study time, making it more efficient and more effective. It will prepare you exceptionally well for your final, and very likely build a solid rapport between you and your professor. A relationship like that can be helpful in more ways than just getting you a decent grade in the course. Do you see yourself in a career involving this subject matter longterm? Are you going to be applying to a graduate program following graduation? Well, recommendations from valued professors are not a given, however, they are much more likely to happen when you’ve consistently shown dedication and personal motivation for excelling in his or her course. Not interested in the subject longterm? Still apply this and you’ll have no worries. Roll into that exam like a champ because let’s be real; you’re ready.