Passing Your Finals: It’s the Little Things

By Vivian El-Salawy on April 19, 2016
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Image via The Odyssey

The semester is coming to an end and you know that that means: finals week!  That glimmer of hope that everyone knows to be summer always hides behind the silhouette of finals.  But sometimes passing your finals isn’t about pulling three all-nighters in a row and spending all of your money at some local café at ungodly hours.  Here are some little things you can do to help you pass your finals and hit the beach!

1.      It’s all about associations!

Image via LICDN

When studying, give yourself different associations to better understand the material.  Think about what a significant individual’s name sounds like and how it can relate to what they accomplished or the material being presented.  Associate colors, scents, or even inside jokes to help you remember key facts.  It’s all about creating connections and associations for the information to really make sense when you are studying and taking your finals.

2.      Wear a watch.

            This one may sound a little silly, but wearing a watch can make all the difference.  While most exam rooms have a clock on the wall, not all of them are correct and often times turning around and fiddling in your seat may give off the impression that you are dishonestly taking your final exam.  However, wearing a watch will help you manage your time as your take your finals at an efficient pace.

3.      Eat healthy.

Image via Affinity Health

            Everyone has heard this one a million times – eating healthy will help you perform better inside and outside of a classroom setting.  But seriously – replace your breakfast with something healthy that includes plenty of water and fruit, and your brain activity will be at a prime!

4.      Sleep.

            We might as well get the secondary, cliché option out of the way now.  All of those aggravating years of your parents nagging you to get enough sleep and here you are receiving the same advice from an article online.  But your sleep is more important than you think it is.  According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the following tips will help students get the most out of their sleep, which will improve their academic achievement in the long run:

  • Go to bed early.
  • Get out of bed, and stay out of bed.
  • Limit naps.
  • Wake up on the weekend.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Adjust the lights.
  • Wind down and avoid electronics.
  • Avoid eating large meals before bedtime.

5.      Read upside down.

Image via Pinterest

            This is not a drill.  If you are a procrastinator who is cramming last minute, most of the time the information you are trying to soak in bleeds into your short term memory and the words you read at 2am after two cups of coffee from Starbucks begin to lose their meaning.  However, by physically turning your text upside down, whether digitally or in print, it is said that you will focus harder in order to retain the meaning of what you are reading, and therefore allow you to better understand the material as a big picture.  Or you could just choose not to procrastinate for your finals.

6.      Turn your electronics off.

            Nowadays, many college students consistently have some form of social media open – whether it is a tab for Facebook on their laptop or a notification for a tweet they were just mentioned in on their iPhone.  Do yourself a favor and turn your phone onto airplane mode for periods of time to help you really focus on your studying and preparation.  Take an extra step and log out of your social media accounts or tell your friends that you need an hour to yourself to study – they should understand.  Many students even deactivate their social media accounts for a short period of time to go into a temporary social hiatus for finals week.  Don’t worry, it won’t be the end of the world if you can’t update your status for a couple of days.

7.      How do you work best?

Image via Bitlanders

            While many studies suggest that working within a group or with a partner is best for an individual to truly sink in certain academic information – many students tend to disagree.  Be sure to explore yourself as a learner.  Do you learn through repetition?  Does it help to review material or to be quizzed on it?  Do you like to visualize your information or does reading suffice?  This may take some time and experimentation, and may definitely not be figured out in one go, however it will prove to be highly beneficial in the long run.

8.      Positive reinforcement.

            Treat yourself.  No seriously, it is totally encouraged for you to take a break every once in a while and reward yourself for your progress.  Tell yourself that for every question you get right, you get a snack.  Maybe after a certain amount of time of studying/reading, you can eat a gummy bear or take a little break and do what you enjoy doing – play a song on your guitar, doodle for a couple of minutes, and so on.  It is important not to overwhelm yourself in the process of studying.

9.      It’s okay to socialize!

Image via Her Campus

            This may seem like a leap from the point about temporarily deactivating your Facebook, however it is important to know that socializing a little bit is okay.  In fact, it is encouraged.  While studying with minimal distractions is ideal, it is only healthy to take a break every once in a while and have some kind of human interaction.  Go outside for thirty minutes with a friend – maybe even study with them there.  Socializing boosts happiness, so spending quality time with family and friends will help you de-stress and compress the overwhelming feelings you have directed towards your finals.

Sometimes it takes the smallest changes in your everyday habits to create an immeasurable impact on your achievements.

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Vivian El-Salawy is a third year student at Florida State University. She is currently pursuing a degree in Editing, Writing, and Media with minors in Slavic (Russian) Studies and Communications. Alongside writing for FSView & Florida Flambeau and WVFS Tallahassee 87.9 FM, she is a member of the World-Renowned Marching Chiefs and Seminole Sound.

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