It’s that time of the year again where I have to abandon all things good and fun to study for finals. Which is coming soon. Next week, actually. Tuesday. Yeah.
So, assuming some of you are in the same boat towards hell, I decided to write about 10 things that can help you and me prepare for finals 🙂 . In a way, I’m hoping this post will motivate me to study more for my upcoming exams. These tips have worked for me in the past, but since everyone has different learning methods, it may or may not work for you.
Let’s get to it!
1. Get rid of distractions before you study!
For me, distractions include blogging (unfortunately) because it actually takes up a lot of time and is the root of all distractions. For example, I go online, read lots and lots of blogs, maybe write a post if I feel like it, then maybe go on Twitter, check my email and look up why dragonflies have really long butts because why not? See? One thing leads to another the moment I go online!
Sometimes even reading becomes a distraction because who actually stops reading after saying ‘just until I finish this chapter’? I always lose track of time and end up reading until morning.
2. Know yourself
Are you the kind of person who can remember everything even if you study at the last minute? Do you have to start studying weeks and weeks before the exam?
As the self-proclaimed Procrastinating Queen, I always fall into this trap. I say this every single semester, and I’ll probably say it again “I should’ve started studying ages ago”. I actually don’t study at the very last minute, but I don’t prepare for finals very early either. Usually, I’ll start studying 1-2 weeks before finals, like right now (hence the 2-week absence). But still. The closer I get to the day of the exam, the more panicked I get and I just regret all my life choices and say “I should’ve started studying weeks ago!” I know, it’s a habit by now.
3. Music/Background noise
I know lots of people need music to study. But I can’t do it. The moment I hear a song, I immediately start singing along and lose all my focus. Even if it’s instrumental music, I’ll still focus more on listening to the song and have no idea what I’m studying. Not even white/pink/brown/blue/rainbow noise!
But I actually can’t study if the room is too quiet, either. I know, I know, I’m so fussy.
Anyway, I discovered a way for me to focus while studying by turning on the TV! It works surprisingly well if I do say so myself. The trick is to play something that you’ve already seen many times, in my case last semester it was FRIENDS, and lower the volume until you can juuust hear it. Not loud enough to perfectly hear what they’re saying, but enough so that there’s background noise.
Again, this trick is not for everyone, but it works for me.
4. Set a time limit
This one is pretty simple. You can’t study for hours and hours without a break. Let your brain rest! Study for an hour, then take a 10-15 minutes break. Drink some tea, take a walk, stretch!
If I study for long periods of time without taking a break, I actually wouldn’t remember most of what I’d been studying, so I always make sure to take short breaks 🙂
5. Have a system!
Plan your study sessions. Don’t try to cram 5-6 chapters into a 3-hour study session. Spread it out. Count how many days you have left before the exam and plan accordingly. If you have more than one subject to study for, it’s always best if you study only 1-2 subjects per day. Maybe study biology today and physics tomorrow?
Let’s say you procrastinated and the exam is tomorrow. Don’t try to study everything in one day! Your brain will go into panic mode haha 😀
Instead, focus on a few chapters that you think will be in the exam or chapters that you already have some knowledge on. This way, at least you’re sure that you can answer some if not most of the questions instead of none at all.
6. Give yourself a reward!
Every time you finish a chapter or even half a chapter, give yourself a Kit Kat! Okay, it doesn’t have to be a Kit Kat, but Kit Kats are delicious so let’s just go with that 😀
OR, if you find yourself losing focus and not studying properly, motivate yourself or maybe use negative reinforcement? I did this myself last semester, and I know some of you will probably hate me for saying it, but last semester, when I found myself slacking off or not concentrating, I made myself watch Shadowhunters. I know, I know, I’m horrible! But that’s what I did. I don’t like that show, and I find the dialogue kinda cringey so when I made myself watch, eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and went back to studying.
7. Use mindmaps or flash cards
I always use mindmaps to write my notes. It’s a lot cleaner and you can be really creative with it. Make your notes as simple as possible with only keywords and avoid writing really long sentences. With keywords, you can train yourself to explain things by yourself without having to memorize so many things. Understand the concept, don’t memorize the textbook.
Oh! And don’t forget to use lots of colors 😀
8. Don’t highlight everything!
Yes, I’ve been known to be guilty of this. I don’t really highlight everything, but you know what I mean 🙂
Don’t do it!
9. Study with a friend
This could be either the best or worst advice on this list. Studying with a friend can be great because they might understand things you don’t and vice versa, and both of you can learn a lot. OR you could end up with a Netflix marathon and no studying done.
10. Sleep and eat properly!
I cannot stress this enough. Don’t stay up all night to study! You’re going to end up feeling tired and sleepy and you won’t focus during the exam. Don’t worry, your brain won’t forget what you learned even if you go to sleep.
And don’t forget to eat healthy meals. Junk food won’t help your brain remember all the formulas!
Okay! I know I said blogging is a distraction, but today is my day off. I need a break! 😀
Like I said, these tips won’t work for everyone, you have your own way of studying, but hopefully this list helped a little even though you probably already know most of them 😉
So do you have any tips for me? How do you prepare for exams? Tell me in the comments!