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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Survival Guide: How to Safely Navigate and Master the Week of Finals

Finals. I have dreaded that word since the day I started high school. My freshman year, I finished Thanksgiving break and all of a sudden the stress of finals hit me. I realized that I had an entire semester worth of material, from the different phases of evolution to a hundred different Spanish verbs, to remember in only a short three weeks. My first set of finals? Not so good. Next semester, I quickly learned to master the skill of time management and made the most of my resources. Here are my tips to becoming a Jedi Master of Studying for Finals:

1. Time Management - 
  • Do NOT be that person is playing Flappy Bird the day before the test! Use your time efficiently! Map out what subjects you will study for each day. 
  • The studying schedule that works best for me is studying for 25 minutes, taking a 5 minutes water break, and continuing that cycle three more times. 
  • I then take an hour break. During the hour break I either play my violin or exercise (it is definitely a greater breather). 
  • Following this I take another two hour period of studying for 25 minutes at a time, and taking a 5 minute break. If you start this schedule at 4:00 pm, you will be finished by 9:00 pm. 
2. Get rid of ALL distractions 
  • Let's face it. Instagram will be there tomorrow. However, the A's in your classes may not be. As hard as it may be, put that phone aside and far away. Put away your iPod and Nintendo DS.
  • Make sure to work in a quiet place and not where your friends or little siblings can distract you.
  • Sometimes playing classical music in the background can be pretty soothing. However, if music is a distraction for you, put it away. 

 3. Maximize your resources 
  • Make sure you get study guides from each of your classes. If you do not get a study guide, go in and ask a teacher what is necessary for the final. 
  • Make sure you understand the material in the textbook and re-read it to make sure it sticks. 
  • If you are anything like me, you probably look at the textbook and the words look like Elvish and if you also don't speak languages from Middle-Earth, you probably need another tool to help you! Hint: the Internet. There are hundreds of sites that are super helpful for studying course material. If one is studying Spanish, there are many sites online that cover vocab and grammar. If you are taking an AP class, there are many AP course review guides that can help cover material. 
  • If you prefer videos than to reading, the explanations on Khan Academy are very helpful for math and science. I would also recommend looking at Crash Course videos for history, science, and even English. 
  • Take advantages of the sites and tools around you. Choose what will help you and will not.

4. Be of Good Health 
  • Take care of yourself. 
  • Make sure to be getting around 8 hours of sleep. 
  • Don't eat too much sugar either. That will result in a sugar high, followed by a exhausting crash.
  • Before you come to finals, eat a full breakfast.
  • Also remember to drink lots of water so you do not feel dehydrated. 
  • Remember to take care of yourself in the weeks to come as well. If you decide to not get much sleep or avoid an unhealthy diet, it will only be worse during finals.

These tips are helpful to me as they help to keep me on task, healthy, and making the most out of my studying. I encourage you to give some of these tips a try and even try to make your own tips. Don't stress during finals. Focus and work hard to studying. Working hard during finals makes the break much more satisfying afterward! Good luck to all!

Written by Rebecca, Homework Assistant

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