I’m not talking about working out here, I’m talking about the dreaded finals period. There is perhaps nothing worse than finals during college – essays, tests, projects, and presentations smooshed into one stressful week, However, there is probably nothing more rewarding than doing well on them and getting good grades and having a feeling of accomplishment when it’s all over!
There are tons of “study tricks and tips” out there that we’ve all heard a million times to enhance our study patterns over finals. However, everyone studies and learns differently. Here are my favorite study tricks and tips that truly work for me:
Commit to the power of outlines – for me, outlines are the single most useful thing when it comes to studying for a test. I get super nervous while testing, but outlines have a way of condensing information, in turn calming me down because then the info doesn’t seem so…overwhelming. I am all for very organized, concise outlines that I memorize literally line-by-line. I always handwrite them because it helps me to remember things better, and I keep them with me at all times to reference whenever I have time. I also always review them right before bed the nights leading up to the test, because studies show that could help you to remember the material. Then, right before the test I have the outline handy to go over one final time and look at right after the test to get an idea of how I did. If you truly commit to these outlines, they will not fail you.
Make a study plan, and stick to it! – Anyone can make a study plan, but sticking to it is a different plan entirely. Map out your whole finals period and when you want to have things done. For each day on the calendar, mark down how many hours you want to study for each subject, what chapters or sections you want to cover, and what work (essays, projects, presentations) should be done. Doing this will hold you accountable as you should strive to meet these goals by the end of each day. Be sure to post the calendar somewhere you’ll be sure to see it often, and make copies of it. Also, cross things off as they get done! It will give you a great feeling of accomplishment that will motivate you to keep going.
Utilize little remembrance tricks, like acronyms and word associations – This is the weirdest yet most useful trick I use for studying. When I have to memorize a lot of things, I first condense the facts into some kind of list. Then, I take the first letter from each first word of each item on the list. Next, for each of those letters, I make a little poem that I can remember, trying to link the words to something within the fact. Here is an example:
After I make this silly little poem, I memorize the poem words and use my outline to fill in the real answers until I can do it from memory without help. Then, when I get the test, on scrap paper or in the margins, on the question that refers to that topic, I write out the actual poem, to remind me of the real answers when I go to complete that question. As weird as that it, it really helps me remember.
I also use a lot of word associations when I study. See the example below:
Word associations such as these that conjure real life examples for me really help when recalling the information on a test.
Additionally, I use quirky and weird word associations. See the example below:
This is an example of a word (credibility) reminding me of a commonality of life – credit cards. The purpose of making this connection is so that whenever I see that question, credit cards pop into my mind, directing me towards the thought that they would not be seen as credible if they did not disclose all monthly fees from the start, which will lead me to the idea of credibility being instilled in companies via full disclosure. While that may seem like a roundabout way of arriving at an answer, but especially with questions you frequently get stumped on, this could be a good alternative to immediately memorizing the real answer. Using these associations brings the element of familiarity to your studies, which could alleviate some of the mind blocks you have towards remembering the answers.
Like I said, everyone studies differently, so these tricks may or may not work for you. One thing that I do know that many college students get caught up on, however, is the distractions of the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other sites can be major problems when you have to get work done but you just can’t help but log in. Use the app Self Control to block yourself from these sites for specified amounts of time in order to ensure your work gets done!
Happy studying! Remember to take breaks to alleviate stress, stay calm, and work hard! You’re almost there!