Five ways to manage finals

Five ways to manage finals

Hayley Mann

Staff Writer

hayleym@goshen.edu

Chelsea Risser, a first year, spends some time studying in the library.

Chelsea Risser, a first year, spends some time studying in the library.

There is just one week left in this semester. Your reactions to these words should tell you how you feel about the coming week – probably either stressed or relieved. If finals leave you in mental exhaustion just thinking about them, possibly in a state of total comatose shock, you might have some studying to do in the days ahead. Luckily, this list of tips can help you effectively study for all those exams, minimize your stress, and allow you to look forward to the days when you can actually enjoy the semi-warm weather.

Tip One: Make a master list and schedule

With the remaining week of the semester, divide up each day into manageable blocks of study time, with enjoyable, restful breaks in between. Assign specific coursework to each time-block, being specific enough so you can completely stick to this plan. Break your cumulative exams up into sections, doing an in-depth study of each section and then bringing all of those sections together for a quick(er) second overview during your blocks of time.

Tip Two: Explain the material to someone – even if it’s just an empty room

By speaking the material aloud, you force the material to be accessed by more than just one part of your brain, ingraining it in your memory with much more success. If you are able to meet with someone and do this, all the better because they can check your understanding by asking clarifying questions.

Tip Three: Sleep, sleep, sleep…and eat healthy

Sleep functions as a major information processor that you are unable to access while awake. By allowing yourself to get sufficient sleep, you will not only be alert enough to learn and review the material, but also to retain that information. Pulling all-nighters will not help you (go back to your scheduled time-blocks!). When you are awake and studying, eat nutritious food that will maintain your blood sugar – not high sugar snacks, which will cause you to crash later.

Tip Four: Try the 50-10 rule

The brain can only absorb so much information at a time, creating that feeling we all know: when we begin daydreaming, or suddenly find the Instagram discover page super interesting, or scroll through Reddit until you finish the front page… The 50-10 rule tries to limit this by forcing you to study for fifty solid minutes with no distractions. Once fifty minutes are up, you can take a ten-minute study break. Repeat this cycle as it serves you and fits into your master schedule, making sure to take longer breaks in between bouts of studying.

Tip Five: Just get started

The hardest part of studying can sometimes be just that initial motivation to actually open up the material and get to it. This can be because the material is overwhelming or feels too easy or is just boring. Whatever the excuse you may have, discard it. By just beginning to get organized and start looking over the material, it becomes more manageable, and ultimately finals week will not be quite as stressful.

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