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How NOT to Study for Finals

How NOT to Study for Finals

By Contributor

Zayz has some killer tips for those of you trying to cram your way through finals. Now go study! —Sparkitors

That wonderful time of year, full of joy and merriment, is upon us once again.

No, I'm not talking about Christmas— finals season! Yay finals! (Sarcasm hand, leg and fuzzy socks raised.)

We are so, so close to the end here. Close to the end of the first quarter/semester/trimester/whatever you’re on, close to Christmas, close to sugar cookies and lots of sleep. In some ways, it feels like we’re already there. But, unfortunately, those large, looming, pesky final exams stand in the way of you and a stomach full of holiday joy. And unless you enjoy the pungent, bitter taste of failure, you must perform—and perform well—in order to clear the hurdle.

There are plenty of lists out there that tell you how to study for finals effectively. But everybody studies differently, so what you REALLY need to know is how NOT to study for finals. So here it is: the REAL deal on what not to do during finals season...

  1. Don’t get near sick people. I don’t care if it’s your mom, your sibling, your best friend, or your super-cool, hip aunt who smells tantalizingly like brownies. If you intend to pass these finals with minimal strife, stay at least fifty feet away. Do not assume that you have a magic bubble of germ-repellant around you; take no chances. You can get as sick as you like after your exams are over. There’s nothing worse than trying to remember the quadratic formula while hacking mucus into a mountain of tissues feeling sorry for yourself.
  2. Don’t pull all-nighters. This is a biggie. Stop wasting your time during the day and work hard; go to sleep by midnight or as close to midnight as you can. Sleep is key. There are lots of scientific studies to back this up. If you are staring at the clock the night before your test, panicking because you have no idea what you’ve been doing in that class for the past two months, then just do yourself a favor and go to sleep. You will know just as much when you wake up as you would have chugging caffeine, coloring your textbooks in highlighter, and propping your eyelids open with toothpicks.
  3. Don’t explore your hitherto undiscovered interior decorating skills while studying. Which is to say, stop arranging your book piles in just the right order and height. Don’t keep moving the location of your phone so it’s convenient to pick up whenever someone texts you. Don’t spend an hour making a studying playlist. Nest-building is fun—and yes, I do agree that the right environment can work wonders for studying—but it is ultimately just another version of procrastination. Pick a spot, crack open the books, and dive right in. You’ll be okay even if your notebook isn’t exactly three and a half inches away from your laptop.
  4. Don’t go nuts insulating yourself from the outside world. Don’t deactivate your Facebook or lock yourself up in your room or the library to study because you actually do a lot better if you have social contact and periods of rest between the studying. The common mistake people make is to extend the rest time and minimize the study time—or cut out the rest time and study every waking moment. If you keep study time and rest time balanced, or let your study time eclipse your rest time just a little, you will feel good and do better on whatever it is you have to do.
  5. Don’t assume you are a super-computer and will remember everything. Make to-do lists. Write outlines of material you need to cover or material you’ve already covered. Processing your thoughts and putting them in list format not only helps you remember them better, but gives you a better idea of what you need to do and how long you’ll need to do it.
  6. Don’t write SparkLife articles instead of writing the seven-page psychology final paper you’ve been avoiding for a week and a half. There is enough entertainment and advice on the Internet without you being a hypocrite and adding to it. Ahem.

Hopefully, this list will help you avoid the winter laziness and make it through your finals unscathed. We’re on the home stretch here; it’s going to be okay. Really.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a psychology paper that needs my attention.

What do you avoid doing during finals week?

Related Post: Finals Week

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Topics: Life, College Advisor
Tags: college, finals, school, stress, exams, tests, study habits, final exams, finals week

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