Midterm Season is over but finals are just 4 weeks away! Here are a few tips to help you overcome them:
1. Stay active
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain while sitting in one place for an extended period of time can lead to a tired, ill-supplied mind. You may not be able to squeeze in a full workout during finals week, but you do have time to go for a short walk or do two sets of crunches or push-ups. Try searching online for “exercises for office workers.” This search may lead you to activities that you can do to keep your blood flowing during this critical portion of the semester.
2. Experiment with different methods of studying
If you have more than one final, chances are you are planning to study for each one individually in a chronological order. Research has shown, however, that the human brain is not designed to focus narrowly for long stretches of time. So, plan to work on an individual subject for an hour or two and then switch. You do not have to split your time equally. If you have a British Literature exam soon, prepare for it during more than one block of time (and never in back-to-back blocks). You will find that as you repeatedly revisit the course materials, your memory becomes much better at retaining them. You can also take short breaks each hour to refresh your mind.
3. Silence your social media accounts
The reverse of focusing too intensely is not being able to focus at all. While it is true that devoting too much time to studying can lead to fatigue, dividing your review sessions into too many parts can lead to scattered and ineffective learning. Turning off social media for an entire week may not be realistic or achievable for every student. Do, however, consider using it as a reward. Check in on your favorite websites for 10 to 15 minutes before going to bed or during your downtime. Still, you need to be aware of the “just for a moment” syndrome. As most people know all too well, checking news headlines can lead to an entire afternoon of watching hilarious cat videos and reading celebrity gossip. Research has also shown that smartphones are a concentration killer. Instead, go for a walk, cook dinner with your housemates, or do some sport. One golden rule: disconnect to reflect.
4. Try to find a healthy rhythm
Some people study better in the morning or during the day, while others prefer the evening. Find out what works best for you. Either way, get plenty of sleep and make some time to relax regularly. Try to do something nice each evening before going to bed, too. That way, you’ll have something to look forward to during the day.
5. Think about where you are most comfortable studying
It’s best to study in a quiet environment with no distractions, where you won’t be disturbed. The library works for some people but not for everyone. Others like to revise with their classmates.
6. Watch your caffeine intake
Nothing drives up your stress level faster than not being able to fall asleep the night before an exam, so avoid beverages like coffee or high energy drinks like Red Bull or Jaguar.
7. Avoid hangovers
Most importantly and most likely the hardest, avoid alcohol the night before your exam; a bad hangover is the worst thing to be suffering from in an exam room.