Studying For Success: Tips For Acing Your Finals
As finals week approaches, it might seem ludicrous for anyone to say that students should avoid over-thinking how to go about preparing for them. Indeed, the first instinct of most students is probably to do just that, and not without good cause: so much hangs in the balance, that one can't help but worry about not being prepared when exams rolls around. But you shouldn't let this natural impulse cloud your thinking. Getting ready for finals is much easier than it appears, it just takes a little analysis and time management. I myself have three things I make sure to do before I hit the books.
First, take a good look at your classes and the material covered in them, and ask yourself, "Which classes am I doing well in?" Follow up that question with, "And which ones am I doing not so well in?" Now right there, you have just isolated which subjects to focus on when you study. Being diligent, students might assume that you have to put as much time into studying for finals in classes you are doing good in as you do for classes where you aren't doing so hot. If you are already performing excellently in one class, then it follows that you already have a firm grasp of the information covered in class. Thus, it follows that it is the other classes, where your understanding of the material is more shaky and your grade is uncertain, that you should devote the majority of your attention.
Secondly, I map out a study schedule for myself in the weeks leading up to finals. That way, I can review or catch up on reading at a leisurely but sufficient pace. The last thing you want to do but many college students end up doing is cramming a semester's worth of reading into a couple days before finals . This is not only irresponsible but counterproductive as well, as your chance of retaining all the reams of information you take in this short period is very low, which of course is the whole point of studying. Better to spread out your study sessions over the course of several weeks, so that you're neither stressing out nor missing out on any material you need to remember.
Lastly, you must refrain from another self-destructive habit students are prone to: neglecting sleep. Again, I understand the sense of urgency felt by my peers, but it should not get in the way of your basic physical and mental needs. You need sleep about just as much as you need good grades, so you cannot afford to sacrifice it for the sake of studying until the sun rises. Set aside time for studying, but don't forget to set aside time for sleeping as well.