By S.N. Boreham
With finals week rapidly approaching, the school is a buzz likewise of a busy bee hive in the middle of summer. Students zoom in and out of classes and bounce around the campus library and coffee shop, trying to stay awake and absorb as much information as they can in preparation for finals. Even though they only span the time of a few short days, finals tend to act as the make or break of grades, so students are trying to be on their A-game. Some students have studying down pat, but most end up scrambling and stressing themselves out, something that is hugely unhealthy. There are plenty of tips and tricks to forming the perfect study habits that will help reduce stress at the same time.
Getting Yourself Ready
For starters, you can’t study if you’re not in the right mindset. It can be difficult prepping yourself to sit down and work for hours at a time, but in order to absorb as much information as possible, you have to be in the right mindset. If you’re working at home, go take a shower and put on your most comfortable clothes. It sounds odd, but it’s been scientifically proven that taking a shower helps to reduce your anxiety and stress, clear your head, and make it easier to focus on the task at hand. Another odd tip; keep your shoes on! When we take our shoes off, our brain recognizes it as a sign of relaxing, not one of working. In order to be motivated to keep going, keep your shoes on and act as if you’re in a working environment. Also make sure to eat before sitting down at your work station; it is immensely difficult to focus when you have a grumbling stomach!
Having the Right Set Up
Before you get started, create a work space that has everything that you need. Find a quiet place to work that will have the least amount of distractions. Try to find an area with a large table where you will be able to spread out and keep more organized. It is also helpful to have a white board and or bulletin board nearby where you can write your ideas and even create charts and anything else that may be useful to your studying. Work on one subject at a time and keep only the items you need for studying that topic out. If you start pulling everything out, you will become overwhelmed and will begin to retain less information, because your mind will be too cluttered up. Also keep snacks, drinks and anything else you may need throughout your study period so that you aren’t continuously finding excuses to get up and walk away from your work.
Staying focused can be extremely difficult, especially if you really don’t want to be doing this. The above things mentioned will help to keep your head clearer and focused on the task at hand. There are also useful apps, such as Forest, that keep you on task. This app allows you to set timers to work and will grow a tree while the time ticks down. If you mess around on your phone often, and are not staying focused, the tree will die, and you will lose points. You can set it up for anywhere from 10 to 120 minutes, and then it lets you take breaks in between work periods for however long is necessary to you. Make sure that you keep your breaks relatively short though and use them to walk away from your work and refresh your mind. Go outside for some fresh air, stretch and return ready to study some more.
Passing Those Finals
Use all of these tips and find what works best for you. In the end, it is important to keep to what suits you and works with your schedule and personality. Work hard and try to keep yourself as stress free as possible. With hard work and the right routine, you are likely to pass those finals and move on to a relaxing break between quarters!