Dear Katy: Studying for Finals

Dear Katy,

I’m getting really stressed with finals coming up. I’m behind on studying and I need some good tips so I can make sure I get a good grade. Any ideas?

Crying in Caruth

Hey Crying,

I totally understand your anxiety, finals are definitely stressful. My first tip would be to slow down and breathe. If you psych yourself out, then you won’t get much done at all. Finals are a part of life at college, and two ways to look at them is that if a) you’ve been working hard all semester, you have nothing to worry about or b) if you’re hoping your final will push you over into passing, you might need to reevaluate your habits.

However, if you plan on succeeding and don’t already have a set of habits you like for studying, here are a few to consider.

1. Section your studying out.

Set aside a little bit of study time every day, whether that means only one subject or several smaller chunks of various subjects. This will keep you from cramming and allow for more knowledge retention.

2. Take breaks.

Studying so hard that your brain gets tired is inefficient. Try setting timers for increments that allow ample study and break time. My personal favorite is 50 minutes of study, 10 minutes of break. Set up increments that work for you, and make sure that you’re getting good brain breaks in between.

3. Stay organized

Having your space disorganized makes it difficult to focus, so make sure the space in which you study is at least not distracting.

4. Use your classmates

Find a smaller group of like-minded people from your class and form a study group. The community aspect helps you make sure your information is correct. It also ensures that you don’t get too in your head about it. Just remember that the goal is to get some studying in, not to hang out.

5. Go over old material

Hopefully, your professor has passed back old tests and homework, but if not, use the questions in your textbook to go back over the material. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.

Hope some of this helps,
Katy the Kangaroo

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