Time management key to studying

Tracy Ferra

In between the excitement of Novafest and summer vacation is one of the most dreaded times of the semester: finals. It’s gorgeous out, these are your last few weeks with your friends and studying is the last thing anyone wants to do. But here are a few tips to make the process a little less painful and a lot more productive.

First, make sure to get organized before you begin studying. Check the dates of your exams and prioritize which ones you need to begin studying for first. Schedule dates to study for each exam.

Aim to begin studying about a week in advance; that way you don’t stress yourself out or wind up cramming for all your tests at the end, burning out before you have time to study for your last final.

“The last test is always the worst, but if you study for it a few days ahead of time, it’s a lot more manageable,” said sophomore Laura Conciatori.

It’s also important to get all the test details from your professor. Find out what material the test will cover, as well as the test format. Studying for a multiple choice test is different than studying for an essay test, so you need to plan accordingly.

Specific details are required in multiple choice tests, while broader knowledge will suffice in essay tests. And make sure you know what percentage of your grade the test is worth, so you can plan how much to study.

When it’s time to study, make sure to cut out distractions. Quiet places like the library are the most ideal – just curb your urge to constantly check away messages and e-mail.

Also, avoid studying in excessively comfortable places, such as your bed. You’re more inclined to fall asleep and less likely to hang onto important information.

When studying, proper reviewing is key, according to Villanova’s Study Skills Center. Outline your notes, reread highlighted sections of your text and go over old tests. Study Skills also advises anticipating the test questions, outlining possible answers and reviewing them. You can do this by thinking about how the professor tests.

Try to imagine what types of questions he or she is likely to ask, based on what you have seen in the past. It may be helpful to discuss this with a friend in your class.

If you find that you are running low on time, eCampusTours.com, a college planning website, advises that you focus on the material you definitely don’t know, rather than wasting time trying to fit in everything. You’ll only get halfway through the material, missing things that were more important.

Since finals are a stressful time, it is important to take a few precautions to cut down on stress. Eating a balanced diet will help you stay focused, as will getting enough sleep.

Avoid caffeine; Study Skills warns that it’s difficult to retain material when you are tired or chugging Double Shots to stay awake. Lastly, make sure you budget time for breaks. Who can work for six hours straight?

“I can barely study for six minutes straight, let alone six hours,” sophomore Matt Lancos said. “I definitely need to take breaks.”

So study hard, give yourself time to relax and good luck on finals.