Wednesday, April 29, 2015

5 Tips to Ace Your Finals

Finals. I really hate whoever came up with this "concept."

Towards the end of last semester I started feeling very unmotivated. It was kind of ironic (kind of... but not really) that I started to lose motivation just when I needed it the most (think 5 finals in four days). I really had to push myself to stay motivated and I tried a lot of different "techniques" to do so. I thought I'd share the top 5 things that helped me stay motivated during finals week.

1. Failure. This is going to sound a little obvious but I the possibility of failure really motivated me not to fail. Often times I put myself in these positions in classes where the final is difference between a letter grade. While I wish that would not be the case, it really motivates me to study for my finals. Now I'm not saying you should be failing all of your classes so that you will study really hard for your finals, but, reminding yourself of what the final could do for your grade (positively not negatively... don't focus on the negative because that gets depressing) will help you stay motivated to study.

2. Study at Different Places. When I was studying for finals the "big thing on campus" was to wake up super early so you could to an academic building when it opened to reserve a room. It was like Black Friday people! Thankfully I had a wonderful friend who reserved a room and said I could join her. So I ended up studying in a classroom, in my room, and a little bit in the library. I noticed, though, that if I stayed in one place for too long it was easy to get distracted in bored. So try studying at a few different places.

3. Take Study Breaks. This one was probably the most important for me. At one point I looked at the clock and realized I had been studying for over 5 hours straight. That was not good. I tend to make really good plans for studying, stick to them, but then freak out the day before the test because I feel like I haven't learned enough. I learned this past semester, though, that when you don't take study breaks those last 2 hours of the 5 did nothing for you.

4. Study Groups Aren't Always the Best Idea. Whenever I read articles online about "How to Study For Finals" they always suggested that you go to a study group. I tried it out two times (once at midterms and once for finals) and I didn't like it either time. And it all comes down to this: it depends on who you're with. Both times the groups that I was with weren't super focused on studying and they got distracted really easily. I would just suggest that you honestly assess your group of people and decide whether or not it can be beneficial. Even just saying you're going to go for an hour and then decide isn't a bad idea. You can use it as a study break.

5. Keep Everything in Perspective. I have a tendency (as I said above) to freak out at the last minute and stress about not knowing enough. The only thing that does is limit the amount of information that will enter my brain and shorten my life by 5 years. So keep everything in perspective. I remember telling my bible study leader about my stress and she said "Julia, what is really going to happen if you fail the final? You might get a D? Even if you fail the class, you can take it again." While I really didn't want to take any of my classes again, I realized that in comparison to the struggles of other people in the world, my Civilization final was not that big of a deal.

I hope this list helps and that you stay stress-free for your finals! Do you have any sure-fire ways to ace finals? Share in the comment section!