‘Nova’s declassified finals survival guide

Michaela Hoffmann


1. Plan it out

Often, the amount of finals studying that looms ahead of you is overwhelming. Break your study session down as soon as you sit down by making a list of the exact material you want to cover and how long you plan on studying each subject. Dissecting your workload in to tangible, bite-size portions makes studying much less intimidating and sticking to a study schedule will keep you on-track.

2. Get in the zone 

This is it! There is only one finals week each semester, so give ’em all you’ve got. Even if you haven’t been a study machine for most of the semester, it is not too late to start. Live, breathe and dream finals material for the next seven days, and then you can start your long, relaxing summer with no finals regrets. 

3. Repetition is key

Go over your notes every day, even twice a day, if possible. The more exposure your mind has to the material, the stronger your memory will be when the exam rolls around.

4. Prioritize

Every student has his or her ‘easier’ and ‘harder’ exams. Prioritize your studying to spend more time reviewing for the more difficult exams. If you’re better at one subject than another, dedicate more time to the subjects you feel less confident with.

5. Keep your brain engaged

As tempting as it is to watch four episodes of “Modern Family” during a well-earned study break, letting your brain snooze during a study break will make it more difficult to study effectively later on. Instead of turning to Netflix or video games, refuel your brain through engaging activities such as reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, going for a walk or trying yoga.

6. Know when enough is enough

 As helpful as you think those four extra hours of studying you fit in by pulling an all-nighter are, sleep is more helpful. Allow yourself at least six hours of sleep, or eight if you can, after long days of studying. Studying while exhausted usually does no good anyways, so know when it is time to stop and hit the hay.

7. Fuel up on super foods

Research suggests that high-fiber, high-carb, slow-digesting foods are the optimal nutrition for a long week of studying. Oatmeal, fruit, almonds and yogurt are just a few of these super foods that can be found at on-campus dining locations. 

8. Mix it up

Examining the same 16-page bullet-pointed study guide over and over again can become monotonous and prevent you from absorbing the information. Vary your study methods to keep your brain alert and active, such as using flash cards, practice exams and visuals in addition to traditional notes. 

9. Minimize distractions

In order to study effectively, it is necessary to be totally focused on the material in front of you, not on the conversation your friends are having across the table from you. Try to find an isolated study space where you are least likely to be distracted by friends stopping by to chat. Enjoy studying to music but find yourself more focused on Drake’s lyrics than your biology notes? Check out Spotify’s many “Focus” playlists that include instrumental, mind-stimulating tunes to maximize your study efforts. 

10. Relax

 Constant anxiety over exams does you no favors. Stay in control of your studying during exam week and you can go in to exams calm, collected and confident. 

Good luck Nationers, and may the curve be ever in your favor!