By Stephanie Hyland, Storage.com
College is as full of new adventures as your car is on the day you move in to your dorm. Storage.com can help you tackle your college career with helpful tips or by providing you a safe storage solution for summer breaks.
Between class schedules, meeting with professors and figuring out when and where you are going to study, finals week can be stressful. Don’t worry! Storage.com is here to help you prioritize your time before the big test. Here are our top 12 tips that will help you ace your final exams!
1. Find a Friend.
Studying for a big test can seem like a daunting task, but when you study with a friend, the level of motivation, commitment, and even fun will sky rocket! Yes. Studying for a test can be fun. However, it’s important to study with someone who has the same goals for the upcoming tests as you do. When you hit the books with a classmate or friend, you can help each other stay on task and hold each other accountable for making time in your busy schedules to study. Once the test is over, what is better than celebrating with a friend who knows how much effort went into those essay questions!
2. Make the Connection.
Making connections between the material you’re studying may help you remember better instead of trying to memorize a particular study guide word for word. Also known at contextual learning, being able to make connections to the material that makes more sense to you will help the information stick with you longer. For example, if you are taking a Spanish test and need help remembering that “rojo” means red, you can remember the meaning of the word better if you remember that both words start with the letter R.
3. Read Aloud.
Even though this may seem a little silly at first, reading a chapter from your textbook or study guide out loud can help you retain the information better. It’s said that this technique is helpful because once you have read it and said it, you have created the memory of hearing this information in a way that makes sense to you, as well as reading it. This study habit can be especially helpful if you are studying for a foreign language test. By reading out loud, you can build pronunciation, fluidity, and even confidence. Just don’t practice this studying technique if you are in an area of the library that encourages quiet reading, you may get some looks!
4. Write it Down.
Even though you have already taken notes for your class, copy them again. It may seem like a lot of busy work, but studies have shown that writing with a pen and paper has a way of committing information to memory. By rewriting your notes, the Reticular Activating System, or the RAS, in your brain becomes stimulated and begins “encoding” the information. When your RAS is hard at work, it allows for more genuine focus on the task at hand. Unfortunately, this technique is not as effective when it comes to typing, so push your keyboard aside, grab a No. 2, and get to work!
5. Reward Yourself.
When you’re faced with a handful of notes and study guides that need your attention before a big test, it can feel like the work load will never end. Since studying for your upcoming test takes effort and time, it’s important to reward yourself for making progress in your work. A reward can come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe you want to reward yourself with a 20-minute break every time you finish a chapter or maybe indulge in your favorite treat when you can recite your flash cards perfectly. No matter how you decide to do it, that personal motivation can keep you accountable for progress during a study session and can keep you on the right track toward acing your test!
6. Make a To-Do List.
If you have more than one final coming up, it’s important to make sure you figure out where your priorities are when it comes to hitting the books. Make a list of all of the tests you have coming up and the supplies you will need to help you study for each test. This is also a great time to schedule study sessions with classmates or a tutor. Staying organized will make your long list of to-dos seem manageable and will help you stay stress-free during finals week.
7. Shut it Down.
Put your phone on silent! This is hard to do in a world that is so tech savvy and the latest information is at our fingertips. By putting your phone away and signing off of Facebook and Twitter, you will eliminate one of the biggest and most accessible distractions. By shutting down your favorite apps, you will be able to concentrate on your study guide and not be tempted to answer that text message.
8. Study on the Go.
There are a few phone apps that pass for exam prep, as they’re designed to help your study efforts. If you’re like most college students who have busy schedules, you may not have as much time to sit in the library to study as you would like. However, there are a number of apps that can be downloaded onto your smartphone to make studying a breeze and accessible at any time. Check out ExamTime, Cram, and StudyBlue.
9. Grab Your Gum.
Researchers have proven that chewing gum during a test can help you concentrate better. Recent studies have shown that students who were asked to chew gum during an experiment had a higher level of concentration, alertness, and accuracy. The motion that comes with chewing come is said to increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, specifically the area that hones in on your attention level.
10. Get a Change of Scenery.
When you’re studying for a handful of tests in a variety of subjects, sitting in one place can become boring and even distracting. Switching up your scenery from a library table or dorm room to a quiet park or coffee shop can boost your motivation and concentration! Picking a new spot to study can help your brain get a fresh take on the incoming information and will help you remember key points when you have a test in front of you.
11. Skip the All-Nighters.
Even though pulling an all-nighter seems like the right thing to do since it would allow you a huge chunk of time to read and review, studies have shown that not getting enough or any sleep can actually work against you when it’s test time. Research has shown that you need to get four hours of sleep, at the very least, in order to properly retain the information you covered.
12. Eat Right.
Even though that energy drink and vending machine are tempting, it’s important to stick to a balanced diet when preparing for finals week. Eating healthy meals and eating at regular times throughout the day will keep your energy levels and blood sugar stable. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is something we have always heard—eat breakfast. Even if you are not a breakfast person, grab a banana or a handful of blueberries that you can eat on your way to your test. You may also want to consider taking it easy on the caffeine the morning of the big test. Yes, it will wake you up, but too much can make you jittery and make it hard to concentrate. Having a quick, morning snack will provide your brain with the power it needs to ace your last final.
Do you have a straight-A study tip? Tell us in the comments below!