please take note of my nerdy study glasses ;)
Take study breaks. It's probably no surprise to you that whenever I try to sit down and study my mind wanders and I start thinking about blog post topics, checking for new posts from my daily reads, and wondering what the latest pins are on Pinterest. The solution I have found for limiting this distraction is to set the alarm on my phone. I study for 30-50 minutes and then break for 10. I also figure out what it is I want to accomplish during that time period and if I finish early, I get a longer break. That really helps me to work efficiently rather than working at a slower pace. It also keeps me from looking at the clock too much to see how many minutes have passed by because I know, "Oh, my alarm hasn't gone off yet so it's not even 8:30 yet."
Notecards can be your best friend. I have to be honest, I have had one professor tell me that notecards are a very inefficient way of studying. I ignored that, used my notecards, and got and A in his class. Oh yes I did. Notecards are sometimes frowned upon because they encourage memorization rather than actually knowing the subject, but I have had so many general ed courses where remembering things long-term is not a big deal. So, I choose notecards. And it works.
Check your grades first. This tip actually came from a professor I had my sophomore year (my favorite professor yet). He recommended calculating your grade first to determine what exam score you actually need to get the grade you want for the class. He said when he was in school he would find that he worked so hard during the semester he could often times get a 60% on an exam and still come out with an A. That means that you can allot more studying time to a different exam that needs a better score and study less for the class you will automatically do well in. This works great when you have a lot of finals falling around the same time.
Write down your worries. This tip also came from another one of my professors. She read an article about it and I would love to share the link but I can't remember the name! The tip is to take a few minutes before the exam and write down all the things that you are worried about: returning textbooks after exams, remembering to email a professor, what to get at the grocery, etc. This way, you clear your mind of the clutter that you are trying not to forget and can focus on the exam. And when the exam is over, your list is still there and you can use that to make sure you get those things done.
Spread it out. I usually type up an outline format study guide, highlight important parts (or parts I can't remember), make notecards, and for my accounting classes I work through problems. I've found that it works best for me to spread things out. For example, I might try to get my outline typed and highlighted on day 1 and then make notecards or work problems on day two. That keeps me from waiting until the last minute and having to skip parts, and it also keeps me from feeling completely overwhelmed. (Although I think all exams are overwhelming).
Well I hope that a few of these help out those of you going through finals. You should also check out Owls and Lace's tips for surviving finals. I'm going to be super optimistic and think that I can implement her highlighter strategy next semester, from the beginning. HA!
Two exams down. One term paper down. Two exams to go.
And we bought these lovelies and they make me extra happy...