Faithful, fresh, foolproof study tips for finals

Photo credit: Gwen Ueding | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: finals. Whether you’re making one final push to secure an A in that one class, or you’re simply trying to scratch and claw your way to a C-minus, final exams and presentations are arguably the most stressful part of college. With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful for each member of The Editorial Board to offer up our favorite study tips.

Some of us choose to abide by tried-and-true study methods. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Rachel Royster

  • Ditch the paywalls on Quizlet, and jump on the Brainscape train. It’s a more flashcard-based tool where you can score yourself on how well you know the content.
  • I also like to make mass study guides compiling all the notes I have from each section of a course. I start out by making an outline of what content is on the syllabus, then I go through and fill in what I know off the top of my head. Once I’ve done that, I transfer all the notes I’ve taken by copying the key topics we covered word for word. I never just copy-paste the content, because I want to intentionally digest what I’m typing.
  • Additionally, I have a specific YouTube loop of music that I listen to when I want to do focused work. I try my best to pause the music when I get distracted, so I can only associate that music with working.

Tatum Mitchell

  • Make a schedule, and outline times to study for individual classes. Google Calendar is really helpful with blocking off times. Split up studying over multiple days to avoid cramming. For example, study for your hardest final for an hour and a half on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Creating a schedule helps with being overwhelmed and dividing time wisely.
  • Find your ideal study spot.

Ana Ruiz Brictson

  • Organize q-cards with questions that could potentially be on quizzes or finals, and have the answers on the back. After memorizing them, have a friend quiz you.

Erianne Lewis

  • Don’t cram! For most people, planning ahead is so vital to be able to be successful on an exam. Don’t wait until the night before and try to cram four weeks of knowledge into your brain for a test. I’ve been there, and it’s never worked for me. You may find yourself getting overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge you are trying to learn in a short time span. Instead, start studying as soon as you can, so you have ample time to prepare.

George Schroeder:

  • We all know students wait until the last minute for papers and projects. It’s OK to do that when it comes down to the actual writing process, but do yourself a favor and set up your sources and project elements in a reasonable timeframe.
  • Study to smooth jazz. Searching “Coffee Shop Smooth Jazz” on YouTube will give you a plethora of options to choose from. I use the same music every single time I do serious studying, which has conditioned my brain to associate the music with working (or something like that).

Others have methods that are a little more unique, proving you really can’t leave any stone unturned during finals week.

Tatum Mitchell:

  • Set a timer for every 45 minutes, and take a 10-minute break. Reward yourself by going on a walk, taking a few minutes on social media, getting a coffee or eating a snack.

Gwen Ueding:

  • Acquire a friend who also needs to study, set a timer for a certain amount of time and hold each other accountable to doing work uninterrupted for that time before taking a break — bonus points if the break includes a snack. Repeat process.

Erianne Lewis:

  • Reward yourself! Take little breaks throughout studying, and treat yourself when you get answers right. You deserve to reward yourself, and you need something to encourage you to keep going. If you get something wrong, don’t beat yourself up. Keep reviewing, and keep rewarding yourself.

One or two of us have habits that are, quite frankly, a little feral. Anything goes during finals week, I guess.

Gwen Ueding:

  • Pretend like it’s the most interesting thing ever, and every time you get an answer right, say “yes” out loud and do a quick dance.

Nate Smith:

  • As weird as it sounds, a study tip that I’ve always stood by is chewing gum. Pick a flavor of gum, and chew it while you’re studying; then, chew that same gum when you take the test. Your brain associates the information with the flavor, and it helps jog your mind.
  • Also, caffeine. Obscene amounts of caffeine.