Tips for Acing Finals

Finals week is quickly approaching us and this time is easily the most stressful time the year for students. As a freshman in college I really didn't have much of a clue how to prep for finals except study, study, study. There's not tip or trick I can give without the student putting a lot of work and time into their grades. Do understand how big of a percentage your finals are. I have one class where the final is worth 40% -- there's not too much room for error there.

At this point in the year you should be wrapping up all of the information you need for you classes and it's up to you to start early. Just remember though that even though it's a crazy time, you are so close to Christmas break. Breathe, eat, sleep -- you'll be okay.

Get Started NOW -- You think I'm kidding. I'm not. Start studying now. Take an hour or two a day where you would be watching Netflix and start making quizlets and rewriting your notes. This is tedious work for "prepping" for finals but it is such an important step. You want to make sure you do this now so you have an entire week to study.

Silent Section of the Library -- the group study section of the library is the worst place to go and study. I agree sometimes it's nice to study in a group so you can ask questions but everyone ends up getting distracted. I've seen it and experienced it all too often. Now, I only study in the silent section to minimize distractions. If you want to study in a group book a study room at your library for productive collaborative efforts.

Quizlet App -- I have found that make detailed Quizlets is an extremely effective way to study. They're great for quizzing yourself and easy studying. I love the Quizlet app because I can start and stop studying on the go. I will study my flashcards on the bus in the morning or at Starbucks when I'm waiting for my tea. If you are good at using flashcards and find them helpful, try the Quizlet App.

Rewrite Your Notes -- I wasn't a believer in rewriting your notes until this semester. I know, I'm dumb. I usually just do flash cards but this past semester I went through about 100 pages of SCOM notes and made a hand written study guide with only vital information on communication theories. By hand writing my notes again, I memorized so much more information that I would have typing it. I ended up with a 26 page study guide that I looked over for about a week. I ended up with a 99 on the midterm so if you want an effective way to study a ton of information, hand writing your study guide is a great route.

Meal Prep for the Week -- When I'm on a roll studying, that last thing I want to do is get distracted and feel like I have to stop. Because of this, I will be meal prepping all of my dinner for finals week. I pre-boiled pasta, frozen taco meat, and already grilled chicken are great ways to cut down on dinner time while still getting the food you need to keep your brain going. All you have to do is heat up in the microwave. If you want a little extra help avocado, blueberries, broccoli, beets, celery and dark chocolate all boost brain power and memory!

Never Go Without a Blue Book & Pencils -- Make sure your prepared when it comes time for the test. Always carry things like a water bottle, a couple fresh pencils, a black pen, an eraser, and an extra blue book with you for taking written finals.

Make Sure You Get Sleep -- This is another tip I didn't care too much about until this year. I never realized the power of sleep when studying. In high school I would stay up until 2, 3 or 4 in the mornings sometimes until I felt like I understood and retained the material. This semester in health we studied brain power and memory when it comes to sleep and the science is incredible to me. I experimented with early bedtime and earlier studying throughout the week and each day when I would go to study I would remember things that I didn't the day before. Make sure to head to bed at least 9 hours before you need to be up for the test. Seriously this helps so much!

Make a Schedule -- Making a study schedule is the only way for me to stay on track school wise. Sit down and map out times to study. Make them reasonable times. For me I'll carve out an hour maybe a week before the test and then as I get closer to an exam I'll amp it up to two hours a night or something. So this for all of your finals. Put more study time in for those more complicated classes. If you have to write a paper for your final, the best advice I have is research, outline, and write. Sometimes you have to just sit down and get it all done. Writing papers early and turning them in before the due date is a great way to cross things off your to do list.

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