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9 Ways To Survive Finals

Finals are here. As a senior in college, I've cultivated these study habits over the years and have had a rather successful academic career. Hopefully these tips will help you or anyone else you know that's struggling.

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1. TAKE A BREAK

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I know it’s weird to start an article about studying with talking about not studying, BUT it’s super important that you give yourself time to digest the information that we all know is being crammed into your brain last minute. Things you can do during your break: watch videos that make you happy for 5 minutes, exercise, take a short walk, etc.

2. Switch Between Subjects

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If you’re like me and your attention span becomes shorter after focusing on a subject for too long, move to another subject. You probably have more than one exam that you need to prepare for, so this is the time to add some study time to that as well. After you’ve read one unit or chapter, do the same for another subject.

3. Stay Awake

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Caffeine is personally the love of my life. But if coffee isn’t your thing you could always try caffeinated teas, Coke products and if all else fails, there is always sugar.

4. Don't Forget To Eat!

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I’m the opposite of a stress eater (yes, we exist) and literally it’s like my stomach turns off and forgets to remind me that I’m hungry. If you’re like me, set reminders for meal times or just have snacks scattered around you. If you see it already in front of you, you’re more likely to reach for it. If you ARE a stress eater, try to put some healthy options in your snack mix. Fruits have natural sugars so you can take a break from the candy. I’m sure your teeth would appreciate it too. Also don’t stuff yourself guys, food coma is real and it will hit you hard.

5. Don't Be Afraid of Sleep

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You’re probably tempted to pull an all-nighter but that’s not the smartest way to go about it. If your brain hasn’t had time to recharge your response time is going to slow significantly, and you probably won’t be able to recall what you studied at the beginning of your study time. Even just 4 hours is better than none, so my advice, turn in early and wake up early to continue the cram session.

6. Environment Control

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Study in an environment similar to the one that you’ll be taking your test in. It will help with information recall because your brain will connect what you learned while studying to where you are physically.

7. Teach Someone Else

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This actually works. If you can get to a point where you can explain a concept or problem to someone else, it basically means you’ve got that subject down pat. And even if you have to look at your notes a little to get the full point across, that’s fine, you’re just solidifying that info for yourself too. And don’t be afraid to be wrong and correct yourself, that allows your brain to make another connection to that topic about what’s wrong and what’s right.

8. Listen To Music WITHOUT lyrics

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You may think you can multi-task but the truth is: you can’t. Your brain is going to pick between the words of the song and the words that you’re reading/writing, and music wins. Every time. Before you know it you’ll be having a private dance party in your room rather than studying and at this point in the year, you really don’t want that. (Unless it’s part of your break from number 1). Honestly the music is for your emotional state more than your studying technique. You’re already on edge so put on some peaceful music and calm yourself.

9. Treat Yourself

You are trying to get yourself to the point where you can regurgitate about 5 months’ worth of information, you deserve a treat here and there. Again, this is for your emotional self. My philosophy: Happy you = happy grades. If you want a smoothie, you get that smoothie. You want a cake, you eat that cake. Treat. Your. Self.

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