Monday, November 17, 2014

Get To Work: Study Tips for Finals

    This semester is almost over...eeeekk!! Snow is currently falling down from the sky, it is freezing cold and the anticipation of Thanksgiving is really kicking in. But anyways.... the next few weeks will be very hectic for us all. Everyone has started thinking about the end of the semester and the finals that come with those last few weeks. I'm am not by any means telling you how to study, I am just going to give you some of my tips!

ONE// By far my number one tip is to bribe yourself. I will be the first to admit that I hate studying. it is probably one of my least favorite things to do. So when I really have something to get done, like writing a paper or studying for a large exam, I find that giving myself incentives often helps to keep my motivation up. Normally they are things like a 10 minute break, a latte from Einstein's or maybe even a nap. I know a lot of people that also use the gummy bear system for when they have a lot of reading to get through. Place a gummy bear (or any other delicious candy) at different places throughout the text. When you are done reading a certain section, you get to enjoy a delicious treat!

TWO// When in doubt, YouTube it. I love YouTube. Ask anyone. If I am in my room on my computer not doing homework, I am almost always on YouTube watching videos. If you are tired of reading the material in a book, check on YouTube to see if there is a lecture about the topic. It is a good way to get the same material in a new and exciting way. One of the channels that I use all the time are Crash Course which breaks things up into mini lectures that are normally 15 minutes or less. I also really like MinutePhysics and TED-Ed. Those two are more lecture based but really make you think and can help give you topics for papers if you find yourself struggling with that.
Crash Course has cool videos like this one. There are tons of them that cover all different topics!

THREE// I get distracted so easily. So tip number three is to stop the social media. I know, social media such as Twitter and Facebook and distract you very easily. They always distract me. But guess what? Some pretty clever people invented this pretty spiffy thing called internet blocking apps that help to keep you off of those sites while you are trying to study. Two that I know of are Self Control (which is for Macs) and Cold Turkey (which is for PCs). I know that Twitter and Facebook can be oh-so-fun but also oh-so-distracting when trying to get a lot of work done. These apps make it so that you can't even open the browser page. No more distractions!

THREE// Book pages and notebook pages can get really boring after a while. So add some color to your studying! You can do this many different ways. One of my favorite things to do is rewrite my notes. I write my original notes in one color, like red, then add other colors to represent material out of the book or my own thoughts. I also really like highlighting when I am reading a book for class. Studies have shown that adding color can dramatically change your mood and help to make studying a more positive experience. It also helps to add some sort of visual element to studying. This can mean adding in a picture or drawing a diagram. A visual or change of color can help keep you motivated to break up all of the small print words or single colors.
When you are studying, rewrite your notes in a creative way. Whether you draw pictures, diagrams or color code things, this will help you to retain the information a lot better.

FIVE// I am not really musically inclined, but if you are, put your notes to music! I mean, I can almost always remember song lyrics more than I can remember about what I just read in a textbook, so why not put that talent to good use? It is pretty easy. All you have to do is think of a basic tune or your favorite song and then just change the words to fit what you are studying for. You may not be the next Beyonce, but you will feel more prepared for your exam!

SIX// Take advantage of any opportunity. If a professor gives you a study guide, use it. Don't just brush it off saying that it is extra work. It will help you. If your professor is organizing a study group but all of your friends want to go downtown, go to the study group. Most of the time professors will give you inside information about what is on the exam, help answer your questions or even give you extra credit points just for showing up. Trust me, you will have time to go downtown once you are done with your finals!

Good luck everyone!


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