What time is it!? Crunch-Time! What time is it!? Crunch-Time!!
Uh-oh. It’s the weekend before finals, and you drew a poor hand in the exam-schedule: two exams on Monday, one on Tuesday, and just to keep you in town the maximum amount of time, your professor threw one in on Friday for good measure. You’ve got a few days to give yourself an overview of literally everything you’ve learned over the course of a full academic semester.
You may be thinking to yourself, “It’ll be fine. I’m just going to hit the library hard this weekend, bring a couple Red Bulls, put in a quick 16-hour day on Saturday, run it back for Sunday and crush my Monday exams.” If only it could be that simple. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is this:
- You’ll sleep in on Saturday because you think you have all day, leading you to not make it to the library until about 1 o’clock. You’ll incorrectly think this is still pretty early.
- Within 30 minutes of entering the library, you’ll see a couple friends studying and go chat it up with them for a bit about their post-semester plans and how hard the class you’re taking is.
- Within 45 minutes of entering the library you’ll get hungry and leave for an hour to go grab something to eat. It will take so long because the line will no-doubt be extensive with similarly procrastinating individuals.
- Within two hours, you’ll just be getting settled into your study schedule and planning what you need to cover. However, as you go into your email and campus website to access the syllabus and study schedule you’ll get caught up in about an hour’s worth of YouTube videos.
- After locating your study guide, properly setting up your study schedule and exhausting all possible forms of online entertainment, you’re ready to study but—
- --BATHROOM BREAK!
- Okay, now you’re ready to study, and you do this for three hours before you realize it’s midnight and you’re tired.
- Within the next 30 minutes you’ll figure out how you can make up the material you didn’t study today, over the course of tomorrow.
- The cycle will continue.
You need help. And luckily for you, OmegaFi is here to give it to you. Take a seat over here for a minute and learn how to navigate Crunch-Time: 5 Study Tips to Ace Your Final Exams.
5. Practice on Your Old Tests
Practice makes perfect, and here’s where prior experience comes in to help you directly: your old tests. Whether you aced every single one of them or flunked them all (we would hope not if you’re still in the class at this point), your old tests and quizzes often comprise the material—and sometimes the direct questions—of the final. So needless to say, these documents are worth holding on and paying attention to. Practicing on these tests is also a great way to review the general difficulty of the test material and give you an idea of what to expect for the final. So, if your last test is bleeding red, trust us, it’s possible to breathe in new life and get some use out of it. If you no longer have the original quiz or test, ask your professor for a blank one. They may give you some static but offer to return it if proprietary information becomes an issue. They may just appreciate you for your moxie and give you a couple extra points at the end of the semester.
4. Give Yourself a Break (Literally and Figuratively)
If you’re doing it right, school is hard--even when sometimes it feels easy. That being said, you deserve a break, so treat yourself to a 5-10 minute break when you know you’ve put in a good amount of work (i.e. an hour of straight studying). Hit “open in new tab” on one of the YouTube videos you’ve been itching to watch and watch it when you get done. If direct entertainment isn’t your sort of thing, get up and walk the block for a bit. Shoot, go to the bathroom and reply to messages on your phone. The key is to give yourself a reward for the work you’ve done and give your mind a break.
3. Plan Your Studying Out to the Letter
This one is simple: Bring everything you can possibly see being a distraction later with you to library. This means if you haven’t eaten and you’re about to head to the library, pack a lunch. If you know you might get a little fatigued because it’s late, get a coffee before you sit down to study. Bring every piece of material you’re going to need: your books, notebooks, notecards, etc., so that your mind doesn’t wander on what you think you’re missing. We promise, the more focused you are on the given task at hand (i.e. studying) the quicker and smoother this unpleasant process will be.
2. Kill All Possible Distractions
This one is also pretty easy but incredibly difficult to execute: Cut your phone off or put it in your backpack. No, we didn’t say to put it face down on vibrate. We said turn it off or put it in your backpack on Do Not Disturb. Why? Because we both know that you’re going to pick it up the moment you feel a vibration or hear a ding. The work of studying isn’t fun or pretty. It’s long, extensive, monotonous, and mentally exhausting. You’re going to want to give yourself any kind of distraction you can from that at all times. But you can’t. You need to study in order to be a successful student and pass your exams. So pretty please with sugar on top, from us to your brain, to you, put your phone away and focus. Pick it up after an hour of studying and text your friends back then. The delay will make you seem nonchalant, cool, and aloof. You’re welcome.
1. Break the Material into Chunks
Is it a forest or multitude of trees? That distinction is key to your success as a student and in life. You’ve got to view large tasks as a series of smaller tasks. Sure, it may seem longer when actively working on it, but it’s much easier to start a small series of tasks than to stare down an epic project. When studying for your finals, break each section into small bits. For example:
“I’m going to get through this chapter in the next 2-hours, take a walk and stretch and then watch an episode of my favorite 30-minute show once I’m done.”
Next up, chapter 2. The key in this lesson is to take on large tasks in piece meal sizes so that you aren’t discouraged. If we asked you to do 1,000 push-ups in one sitting you’d reasonably tell us that it’s impossible. However, if we asked you to do 50 sets of 20 push-ups with a healthy break between each set, it looks a little more possible.
If you’re coming up on your finals and are ready to knock them out of the park all three of you can let us know in the comments below. For the other thousand of you, let us know how you’re getting ready for finals, and good luck!