Brace yourself. Exam season is coming.
We’ll keep it as real as we can here: Homework, studying, and exams all suck. That isn’t to say learning sucks, just nearly every aspect of formal learning is, frankly, unpleasant. Why, you ask? The formality of it. You have to learn exactly what your professor tells you to learn, regardless of whether the subject matter is even remotely interesting to you. Couple that with hours of learning and reviewing this material every night in preparation for a test of that accumulated knowledge and you can quickly see the level of mental discomfort we’re referring to.
Take that general malaise and inject a Lance-Armstrong dose of Hulk Juice into its carotid artery, and we give you the frantic hell-scape that is exam season.
As opposed to the rest of the semester, exam season is noted by its brevity; it’s only about a week in most cases. Further still, your professors are out to get you and they’re not shy about it. For starters, exam week tends to start right after you’ve finished your last exam or quiz for the semester. That’s right. The week of exams is separate from the academic semester; in effect it’s the cherry on top. So, within a two-week period you’re looking at the due date for a major project, essay or semester exam and then you’ve got your final to look forward to.
But worse still, the weight of the final exam is designed to make you pay dearly. Sure, all the homework you dedicated 17 hours a week to accounted for only 10% of your grade, quizzes and tests maybe 30%, but that final…it’s coming in at a solid 60% of your final average and God help you if you’re not a strong test-taker.
But it’s okay, because OmegaFi is here to grab you by your shoulders, give you a nice therapeutic massage, and sit you down in that study chair. From this point forward we’ll be here to help you maximize your time by understanding the importance of Study Hours: 4 Tips on How to Make Them Count.
What Are Study Hours?
If you’ve ever seen The Breakfast Club—which every millennial has as a simple rite of passage—there is a concept in it called detention, which is sort of a disciplinary use of the concept of study hall. Study hours in most Greek organizations is a designated time and place where brothers and sisters collect their textbooks, notepads, and pens and sit and study quietly for a block of time. The benefit to these types of programs is that accountability is immediately present. For fraternity brothers reading this article, this may sound like a familiar structure to one of your work out schedules. It is. Just replace “gym” with “library” and “work out” with “study,” and you got it.
4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Time Study
4. Allocate Enough Time (aka Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute)
Simply put, this means to give yourself enough time to get your stuff done. If you’re taking four classes for the semester and within a two-week period, you’ve got two 10-page essays due, three final tests, and then four final exams, block out enough time to study for each of them. This means not waiting until the last two weeks to try to cram all this stuff in. This can be a difficult lesson to learn (a lesson we at OmegaFi can personally attest to), but if it’s an assignment that isn’t an in-person test (online homework, quizzes, final projects and assignments etc.) get that stuff done early. We promise, your professor will not be mad if you take the May 31st deadline and put your final paper in two weeks early. It doesn’t mean they’ll grade it any earlier, but the point is that you just cleaned a meal off your plate before they started to pile up.
3. Sharing is Caring; Study in a Group
At OmegaFi, we cannot stress enough just how important it is to study in a group. For starters, you’ve got peers around you that you can ask for help if you’re the person that’s too nervous to raise your hand when your professor asks for questions. Secondly, if you’re in a particularly smart study group, their influence can raise you close or to their level. Luckily for you, you’ve got a brotherhood or sisterhood of individuals that may be in the same section as you, the same class, or better still have taken the class before and can give you wisdom through their experience. Maybe they can tell you which sections to really look over, or what to expect on the final. The key is that you have a network of people that are willing to help you succeed so use it. And bonus, the library is a great place to meet people that are also driven and focused.
2. Keep Yourself Hydrated and Well-Fed
Water is everywhere. We need it to live. It’s in us. It surrounds us on all sides. And yet, most Americans are dehydrated. In a country that is so abundant that clean drinking water can be found on the streets (water fountains), it’s crushingly ironic that such a vital resource can go so underused. With that said, your brain needs water to function. Feeling groggy? Drink some water. Got a headache? Drink some water. You’d be surprised how much of an effect it can have on your day-to-day just by increasing your water intake.
Aside from that, you aren’t you when you’re hungry, so feed yourself plenty of health snacks (raw foods: nuts, berries, veggies) and give your body real energy. Pack a lunch with you if you plan on being in the library, and no, by “lunch” we don’t mean two red-bulls and an Adderall. We mean real food. This will keep you from getting up and buying food, which will ultimately distract you from your work and leave you with a little less cash than when you started.
1. Dominate Your Space
Spread all the way out.
Whether you’re in an individual study room, a group breakout room, or a partitioned desk, make your space yours and be comfortable. You need to find a place with the spatial flexibility to let you stretch out and spread your things around. Your space should allow you to take every study material out necessary: books, notebooks, pens, papers, etc. The purpose behind this is to free yourself from mental constriction--the constriction that makes you feel fatigued when you know you’ve got to dig around your backpack to find that specific formula sheet. It’s the same fatigue that leads you to finding a distraction.
If you’ve got exams coming around the corner and feel prepared, let us get a “helllll yeahhhh!” If not…well, you know what to do. Let us know how the studying is coming in the comments below!