Thanksgiving is coming up soon, which means that finals aren’t far behind. I’m taking my exams next week, which means that for the next several days, I’ll be reading, writing, memorizing, reviewing, and studying as much as I can to prepare. If you’re like me and are aiming to get good grades on your upcoming exams, then you’re in the right place, my friend. Today, I’m going to be sharing my 6 favorite study tips and tricks to help you stay productive, focused, and most importantly, ace your finals. Let’s get into it, shall we?
#1: Step Away From the Phone
I know that this one is easier said than done, and literally every single study hack video/article tells you to do it, but this honestly makes a HUGE difference. It is soooo much easier to stay focused and check things off your list when you’re not being distracted by your cellphone/device. When you’re being interrupted by notifications, texts, calls, and alerts, this means you’re constantly switching your focus from one task (studying) to another (cellphone use). This is called “switchtasking” or “multitasking,” and it has awful effects on your brain, increases your allostatic load, and wears out your prefrontal cortex (part of your brain). (I researched this topic in depth for a science fair project in 8th grade, and if you’re interested in reading about my findings, click here.) When I sit down to study, I silence my phone, and place it on a shelf across the room. I only check it when I take breaks, and am on it just long enough to respond to text messages, if I have any at all. Speaking of taking breaks…
#2: Take. Breaks.
This one is very difficult for some people, including myself. When I get “in the zone,” I will sit for as long as it takes to accomplish the things on my list. However, it is very important to take a few breaks here and there, and I try to take one after each subject I finish studying – about every 45 to 60 minutes. On my breaks, I’ll get up from my desk, fill up my water bottle, maybe stretch or go for a short walk, get a light snack if I’m hungry, etc. It feels so good to move around a little and clear your head after sitting down for so long. I find that taking short 5-10 minute breaks helps me feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the next subject.
#3: Get Enough Sleep
I know you’ve heard this one a million times, too, but it’s seriously sooo important when it comes to making good grades. I try to get 8 hours of sleep per night, because it allows my brain and body to rest and recover before hitting the books again the next day. If you’ve ever tried to function without a decent amount of sleep, like I have, then you know how much harder it is to understand and retain the information you’re studying. So, as you’re preparing for your finals, don’t forget to catch some z’s! XD
#4: Cut Back on Caffeine
I don’t know about you, but I lovvveeee tea and coffee. It’s kind of bad, actually. O_o I could drink that stuff all day long, but I try to limit myself to one cup a day, which I usually have it in the mornings. It’s a nice, hot drink to have while you’re starting the day, but when you begin to drink it constantly, that’s where things go wrong. I find that when I drink a lot of caffeine, I get jittery, have headaches, and ironically, get pretty drowsy. So, cutting back on caffeine is essential for me to stay focused and productive throughout the day. :)
#5: Make Lists, Plans, or Goal Sheets
I cannot function if I don’t get all my thoughts, plans, goals, and to-do’s down on paper. So, for every week of studying I have, I make a checklist of everything school-related I need to accomplish throughout the week. I have a color for each subject, and under the subject name, I’ll write what I have to do for it over the next few days. For example:
◊ Complete Chapter 8 Workbook Questions 1-10
◊ Review Study Guide Questions
◊ Take Quiz
◊ Begin Writing Lab Report for Experiment 8.4
Of course, I go much more into depth on the list that I make, but you get the idea. Having my assignments, plans, and goals laid out and organized on one piece of paper is extremely helpful for me throughout the week. When I finish an assignment, I just check it off and move on to the next one. That way, I can see the big picture, what I’ve accomplished so far, and what I have yet to do. (Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in how I plan out my schoolwork, and I might just write a post about it next semester! ;) )
#6: Create a Study Playlist . . . With NO Words
This one kinda goes back to the being distracted thing – if you’re listening to your favorite songs while you’re studying, you wanna sing along, don’t you? I used to do that A LOT, and it would distract me…A LOT. However, I have discovered something that has been a game changer in the music area – movie soundtracks.
See, instrumental movie soundtracks (ya know, the background music in your favorite scenes?) don’t have words. So, they’re great to play in the background while still having something fun to listen to. Because they don’t have words, it makes concentrating on your work sooo much easier. If you’re like me and love to listen to music while you study, but are having trouble concentrating, I’d HIGHLY recommend creating a playlist of your favorite movie soundtracks. :) Mine includes tracks from The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lord of the Rings, etc.
Well, there you have it! Those were some of my favorite study tips, and I hope you find them as helpful as I do!
Have a wonderful week, study hard, and I hope you ACE your finals! :) <3