Preparing for Finals

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My finals are in about a week, though your’s may be sooner.  I hope, however, that this comes in time to help you.

Of course, this advice will be for myself as much as for you.  I have a short attention span, so part of the reason I am posting about this today is to establish what I will do this year.  I will use advice from other sources, as well as from myself, which I will provide at the bottom in case you want to visit them, and also from my own experiences.

Now, one thing to remember that not many people mention, is that everyone is different, and therefore different techniques help them.  So, while some may be fine studying with TV on in the background, others (*coughcough* me *cough*) say they do and then get nothing done.

So, here are my “Final Survival Tips”

1.  Turn.  Off.  The.  TV.

Unless you are one of those weird people who can study with the TV on (Yeah, they exist) then turn it off.  In fact, don’t even be in the same room as the TV, lest you be tricked into the mesmerizing activity of diligently staring into those bright LED lights instead of your textbook.

2.  Make a finals playlist.

Exception: Some are prone to distraction with music on in the background, in which case it is a big no-no, but this tip is for the music lovers like me, who can’t go five seconds without a song in their heads 😉  I am working on mine now, through YouTube, since I usually have my computer with me.  But you could do this on your ipod, or have a special box of cd’s set aside, whatever works for you.  Some artists I would personally suggest, for instrumental music, are Joe Hisaishi, with his song “One Summer’s Day”, Lindsey Stirling, and Vitamin String Quartet.  Some suggest that Mozart’s music has a special quality to it that enhances the benefits of studying, and while I’m not sure if that’s true, it doesn’t sound too bad. 😉

3.  Secure a study spot.

This is a great idea for anyone.  It doesn’t even have to be in your house.  Love nature?  Go study on that big rock on your lawn.  My study spot has been secured, and while I usually study on the couch in front of the TV, that doesn’t work very well.  So, this year I am planning on studying on the large windowsill out looking the front yard, which has a thin bed-like cushion on it.  Note: Some sources suggest that alternating study spots is a better technique, but I could not find enough backup information in order to feel comforatable presenting that as a tip.

4.  Give yourself rewards

You know how as soon as you sit down to study, those chips begin to look really good, or that new show is coming on, and if you miss it…well, lets just say being sad by refusing yourself these things isn’t going to help you through studying.  So how do you find a balance?  Rewards.  Every time you successfully finish a period of focused studying for say, an hour, give yourself a reward.  Like getting a snack to eat while you begin the next thing-just make sure it’s a bowl of chips, not the bag 😉  And by focused studying, I mean not taking a quick phone call in the middle, or getting distracted by the butterflies for ten minutes.

5.  MAKE A SCHEDULE!!!

You can tell it’s important, because I capitalized it ^_^  But seriously.  I personally know that I am a very scatter brained person.  Not only will it keep you at a reasonable pace, but it will also lower your stress level.  And I mean a schedule on paper, with times, not in your head!!  Important note: schedule in breaks.  Pretty much every human needs a break.  Do an hour of studying, and then have a five-minute stretch.  Just remember to stay on schedule.

6.  Get sleep

This is one of the main reasons that procrastinating is frowned upon.  Not only will lack of sleep affect how well you do the day of the test, but it will affect how much information you retain when preparing for the test.  Also, it will help you to focus.  Hopefully, if you follow number 5 well enough, this will not be a problem. 😉

7.  Talk to teachers

If the teacher tells you he/she will be in his/her room after school for an hour to tutor students who are having any trouble, don’t be afraid to go.  They know what will be on the test, and will therefore know what to quiz you on.  Also, remember, it’s not the stupid people who go to tutoring sessions–it’s the smart ones who want to get a decent grade.  I’m already planning to go to my math teacher’s room this Wednesday for about an hour with others to study.  Memorize all the theorems!!

8.  Get the study guides

Get the study guides, keep the study guides, and go over the study guides.  I know personally that I often come up with questions about assignments or tests last-minute, because that’s when I double-check with the rubric or study-guide.  Don’t do that.  Also, while the teacher is talking about the final, take notes.  It is tempting sometimes to zone out–after all, she just gave you the study-guide–but many times they will answer important questions you may have later.  So write down anything not on the study guide that she says you may need to know.

9.  Read your notes and/or book chapter aloud

I thought it was silly when my mother told me to read my math page aloud.  Why would that help me if I don’t understand the teacher explaining it in class?  But I was surprised to find that it did help to read it aloud.  It made me pay attention enough  to notice things I hadn’t before.  This is a great way to study, I highly encourage it.  Even better, as you read it to yourself, record it with something, like an ipod.  Then, later, when you are stuck somewhere without a book, and you’re super bored, you can at least listen to the information.  Also, if possible, it would be good to listen to it as you fall asleep.

10.  Quiz with a friend

If you’re too stressed, it won’t matter a lot how much you’ve studied.  Find a way to make studying fun.  Studying with a friend may help with this–you can meet somewhere like a Starbucks.  While sipping on your coffee, you can quiz back and forth.  It’s an enjoyable way to learn, and will give you a sort of break while still studying.

11.  Don’t go “THE FINALS!!”

While the introduction to this top was rather strangely worded, my point is, don’t view finals as this massive, terrifying, blob of stress coming to eat you.  It’s just some big tests.  You’ve taken tests before.  Also, if you study properly, and get enough sleep, it will be a snap 😉  You got this.

For more reading…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPTh8OEBwEo

http://publicrelationsmatters.com/2010/11/30/26-tips-for-studying-for-final-exams/

http://www.simmons.edu/blogs/300thefenway/2011/12/7-awesome-study-tips-for-finals.php

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/01/study-tips-for-exams-12-ways-to-ace-your-finals_n_789731.html#s193417&title=Alternate_Study_Spots

Do you guys have any tips or funny final stories?  Share them in the comments.  Also, I am planning to give other tips as I learn them throughout the studying to come.  Time for…ALL THE STUDYING!!!

DFTBA,

Rambling Writer 😉

 

 

 

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