Getting Into The Study Flow
So yes, finals are almost here *cue the memes and posts that are "literally you" at this point of the semester* and we are all suffering. Whether it be group projects, research papers, or just the typical 100 question multiple choice final, we may be freaking out a little. This is my 5th semester of finals and I still have to keep myself in check from stressing out. So, here are some things I do to relieve the pressure of finals and some things you should think about going into them.
Make A Playlist
Music can be very beneficial to study habits and increases productivity, also you can block out your surroundings this way by just losing yourself in your music and your study materials. You have to be careful with how you form your music playlist though. If you know that Bruno Mars' 24k Magic Album is gonna get you movin' and groovin', but not studying...you probably don't want to put it on your playlist. I know for a lot of people instrumental music actually helps them study better (I've tried this and it is very helpful). Personally for me, I like to have a mix of instrumental music and just really chill R&B. So listen to what's gonna make you get into that study mood. If you aren't sure what to listen to, check out the list of my go to albums for studying below.
My Top Study Albums!
- A Seat at the Table (2016) - Solange
- Act One (2016) - Marian Hill
- Boys & Girls (2012) - Alabama Shakes
- Blonde (2016) - Frank Ocean
- We Move (2016) - James Vincent McMorrow
- Many Beautiful Things (2015) - Sleeping At Last
- Spirited Away: Original Soundtrack (2001) - Joe Hisaishi
- Up: Original Soundtrack (2008) - Michael Giacchino
Classic Tip: You don't have to study to music. This is all about finding out how you study. Music works for some but not for others.
Find A Place To Study
This is so very important. You're study environment can definitely make or break how effective your studying will be. So think about these three things when picking a place to study: Where? Why? How?
Where: Where do you want to study? In the library? At home? In a coffee shop? Find the environment that's right for you. I find that I have the most effective studying whenever I'm not at home (or at least not in my bedroom).
Why: Why do you like to study there? Maybe there are free snacks in that area (which is a thing that happens!) or maybe it's a very quiet area and you won't be distracted by other things or people. Or maybe it's a very busy area, and you like having the background noise. I'm kind of a mix or wanting it to be quiet and wanting it to be busy. I like to have things going on around me.
How: After you choose a place to study, figure out how and how long it will take for you to get there. Maybe you'll need to take a bus or a metro to get to your desired study spot. In that case maybe the commute to it is just too long and you'll need to find another place to go.
Pick Your Study Group
If you choose to study with someone or a group of people for finals, make sure that they are actually willing to study. So keeping this in mind, you may have to tell your friends no if they ask you to study with them, especially if you know it will just end up being social hour. So choose your groups wisely.
How to Study
Finals are a completely different beast than regular exams, so you may have to study differently for it than you normally would. Because of this, it's good to see what methods of studying works best for you. Maybe you work better with visuals, so charts and videos may help you grasp a topic, or maybe flashcards are how you get your info. Either way, try and find what helps you out the most.
Take A Break
If you just sit in place and study non-stop for hours and hours on end, you will probably go crazy. So take a break! What I usually do is, is that I set a goal for myself: If I get through "x" number of chapters in this subject I have "x" amount of time to have a break. Or you can simply time yourself. For example, for every hour of studying, you get a 10 - 15 minute break (Just make sure to keep track of if, and not to watch Netflix on your breaks, because that would just go down hill fast).
Take your phone out of the equation
This is probably the hardest thing to do since we are all so attached to our phones, but trust me, this is a must if you want to have a worthwhile study session. So put your phone on airplane mode, do not disturb, or just turn it off. Do whatever you need to do to avoid the distraction of your very tempting phone.
snack it up!
Make sure you have snacks to fuel you during those midnight study sessions. And also maybe take up drinking coffee or something equally as caffeinated (I don't suggest energy drinks though, mostly because I hate them, but they also just suck sometimes). You're gonna need to stay awake and motivated, so your favorite sugary snack or soda is the perfect way to do this.
Classic Tip: If you are a coffee lover, just know that the Starbucks or local shop will probably know your name after the week is over. It's inevitable, but great, because if you are really nice to them and make friends, they will give you free coffee! (Trust me I know this from experience).
So here are my tips to (hopefully) conquer finals! Just remember to breathe,and realize that you are not the only one who is struggling through finals. So, whether this is your first round of finals ever or if this is you're 5th round like me, I hope these tips can give you some sort of solace. Also let me know how you handle finals week, and what tips you can offer! I would love to hear from you!