By YOUSUF ALI, Staff Columnist
Here we are, at the home stretch. Finals are around the corner, and all of us want to do as well as possible. As such, I would like to relay some tips that I received to advise all students, including myself, on how to study most effectively. Here are a few tips that I, along with many others, have found particularly helpful:
- Know the final exam schedule: This seems like common sense, but there have been students who have missed their finals because of confusion regarding the dates and times. The last thing any of us wants is to study extremely well only to have a zero on the test, just because of confusion over the time or location. Our university’s schedule is available on the Office of Registration and Records webpage. Ask your professor if there is any confusion.
- Focus: We live surrounded by distraction, and for that reason, it is hard to concentrate on studying for finals. Therefore, everyone has to find the place where they are the least distracted in order to study. For many, that is the library, and the silence helps. Additionally, one can eliminate distractions by listening to relaxing music. I highly recommend the tracks on the Study Music Project which can be found on YouTube.
- Don’t cram: Finals week is scheduled in such a way that the exams are separated by several days (for most). The purpose of this is so students can use this time to focus on their studies. As such, cramming is unnecessary for most.
- Take short breaks between longer study sessions: When one is studying over extended periods of time, it is easy to get tired and burned out. In order to avoid this, one should take brief study breaks between longer sessions. Many experts at the MIT Center for Academics have recommended studying in 50 minute sessions with 10 minute breaks. During these breaks, it is recommended that the person actually get up and engage in some sort of physical activity be it walking, light exercise, deep breathing, etc. The only thing I’d add is make sure your brief study break is, in fact, brief. It is very easy to get distracted, so it’s essential that we keep track of the time in one way or another.
- Know that not all classes are the same: Put simply, some subjects are more difficult for some people than others. The particular classes will vary from person to person, but everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it is essential that we devote more time to improving ourselves in the areas that we are weakest in for optimal results.
- Don’t Cheat: I understand the temptation of university students to cheat on their exams. Our lives are busy, and we have multiple responsibilities that make taking shortcuts all too alluring; however, maintaining personal and academic integrity is essential. Not only does cheating risk failure of the course and expulsion from the university, but it is detrimental to your soul. Don’t endanger your soul. Don’t cheat. Additionally, a good way to prevent ourselves from cheating is to develop habits that make it unnecessary. We do this through effective time management and using legitimate resources to assist us such as professors, T.A.s, advice from peers, etc.
Ultimately, it is up to the individual on how to best study, but the above are methods that have been tried and tested. Additionally, much of this advice boils down to this: effective time management. If we know how to use our time effectively, that will help us in all areas of life including academics. With that, I sincerely wish all students the best of luck.