BY MADELEINE WIEDMEYER, Guest Writer
The worst week of the semester is coming up. The week where you curse the fact that you spent every class period on Facebook or Twitter. Finals week. You’re probably preparing to scour the web for chapter summaries of the textbooks you didn’t open all semester, stocking up on energy drinks, begging your classmates for their notes, and planning the most efficient sleep schedule so you can pull all nighters for your toughest exams. Don’t panic yet, however. We’ve compiled a list of the top study tips from professors, students, and the wide world of the internet to make sure you don’t completely lose it during the most important week of classes.
1. Study in pairs or groups. “Often, two people will find one of them caught something the other missed,” said M.L. Elrick, Journalism professor. Also, understanding material can be easier when you have someone who can explain it just for you. Study buddies can also help keep you get motivated. The benefits are endless, so find yourself a friend and plan a date!
2. Download a useful study aid app to your tablet or smartphone. Apps like Chegg Flashcards or StudyBlue help you create flashcards and add pre-made flashcards to decks you customize for your course. Exam Countdown is an app which gives you a running tally of how many days there are until each of your finals. It also allows you to keep a to-do list for each class of things that have to be completed before the exam.
3. Don’t wait until the last minute to study. This is much easier said than done, but in the long run, starting earlier will work wonders for your stress levels. “Start preparing days before the final exam and don’t pull an all-nighter the night before the test,” said Kent Minor, History professor. According to St. Lawrence University, students who never studied all night had an average GPA of 3.1, while students who frequently pulled all night marathon study sessions had an average GPA of 2.9. It’s just not worth it in the end.
4. Know what time of day your focus is at its peak. “People differ on what works best for them,” said Jean Minor, K-12 teacher. Whenever your mind feels most awake is going to be the best time to sit down and work. “If you’re a night owl, don’t act like you’re going to get up at 8 and study,” said Sara Saymuah, recent UM-Dearborn graduate. The better your mind is working, the better quality your studying is going to be, and that means less time with your head in a book.
5. Study in an area with light ambient noise. Working at the library or a coffee shop can get your creative juices flowing. According to research done at the University of Chicago, “a moderate level of ambient noise is conducive to creative cognition.” If you aren’t able to leave your house, you can visit Coffitivity, a website which plays sounds recorded at real coffee shops around the world. Light classical music has also been proven to aid brain function, so throw on some Mozart and listen away!
Remember, you’re not the only one freaking out about finals. There is always a way to succeed. And if you’re really panicking, your professors can be great resources. After all, they’re basically experts in their subject, they wrote that world-ending exam, and as a general rule, they want you to pass. Good luck!