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Study Tips for the Spring Student’s Soul
“Ugh, I’m so jealous. I’m watching all my friends Instagram stories’ of their travels around the world. Meanwhile, I’m stuck here on campus stressed out of my mind cramming for finals season.”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that line in the spring term, I’d be able to pay off my student loans.
As we’re nearing finals season, I thought I’d take the time to gather all the study habits that my friends and I have adopted and share them with the rest of you. So whether you’re studying for your final exam on Thermodynamics or Classical Mythology, here are some study tips that are applicable to everyone and anyone.
Pick your environment
You have to pick an environment you are comfortable working in, otherwise you’d come up with a million distractions before actually getting down to the nitty gritty. Are you someone who prefers to study with friends so you can keep each other on the task at hand? Or, would you rather be by yourself to avoid any distractions?
Next, think about where you feel like you are most productive. Some common suggestions I have are local coffee shops, libraries, open classrooms, outdoors (take advantage of it this summer!), or simply staying in the comfort of your own home. Also, keep in mind that some people (like me) get their creative juices flowing best when they’re standing up or moving around. If you’re one of these people, there are adjustable desks on the sixth floor of Dana Porter Library, and standing tables exist all over campus. Check them out on the second floor of the Quantum Nano Centre.
Choosing the right music
Or, as others may call it, “getting into the zone”.
There’s no reason you are obligated to listen to those “Focus” and “Study Acoustic” playlists on Spotify. Some people work better blasting EDM, following the flow of classical music, or listening to the same tune on repeat so there’s no anxiety with guessing what the next track is. Or, try keeping it simple by listening to the noises around you, or using an ambient sound app like A Soft Murmur.
Understand your study strategy
Depending on what subject you’re studying and what the structure of your exam is going to be like, you should approach studying tactics differently. Is it all knowledge-based multiple choice? Perhaps it’s better to memorize information. However, if you think you will have to elaborate on your answers or go through some problem-solving, try thoroughly understanding the concepts you learned in class and applying them to examples or other course material that was covered. Also, whatever your brain strategy is, rewriting your notes (or writing them for the first time - no judgment here) always helps!
Stay Fuelled and Hydrated
This goes without saying: you will always perform best when you are not working on an empty stomach. Remember to eat your three meals a day and stock up on healthy snacks you can munch on in between. Exhaustion doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to recharge with caffeine either. While some of us love to say that we can’t function without coffee, your body is most likely refusing to cooperate because it’s lacking H2O. So don’t forget to drink water!
Take Breaks and Get. Some. Sleep!
I remember during my very first finals season, my roommate was so stressed out she considered taking out the garbage as her version of a break. You’re working hard, so you deserve a break. It’s as simple as that. Take an hour to catch up on social media, watch some YouTube videos, or take a walk and soak in some sunshine. And if it’s nearing midnight, maybe it’s time to hit the hay and start over the next day. You’d be surprised how much a good night’s sleep can do for you.
I know these study tips may seem repetitive to some of you. However, regardless of whether or not you’ve seen these words of advice before, it never hurts to be reminded of the simple things you need to do to stay focused to kill your exams. Remember, these are all suggestions, so pick which pieces of advice work best for yourself.
On a final note, no matter how you do on your finals, this is a reminder that your grades don’t define the person you are. They are merely just numbers in the grander scheme of things, and there will be possibilities to pick yourself back up. Have faith in yourself and best of luck, Warriors!