Final exam week doesn’t have to be survival of the fittest. Take it from these Olivet College students who have had to do their fair share of studying and exam preparation. We’ve collected 10 of the best “go-to” finals week tips from our most seasoned students to help you ace your exams.
1. If you can teach it, you know it.
Linnea Brege ’16 knows how to get the best out of her brain as a psychology major and social work minor. When it comes time for final exams, she says that talking with others about interesting points she’s learned during a course unit helps her better retain information that could potentially be on an exam. Enlist the help of your friends and present information that you’ve learned in class to them, activating your memory and using repetition to drive home important concepts.
2. Find your study environment.
Industrial psychologists are professionals who evaluate work spaces and develop environmental elements to enable productivity and eliminate stress. For Brege, Burrage Library is the perfect place on campus for her to getaway and focus on the studying that she needs to complete. Experiment to find your go-to study environment by periodically switching out your dorm room for other areas on campus, with minimal distractions, to give your brain the kick start it needs to finish that final chapter review.
3. Give it a rest to stay fresh.
It’s hard to believe, but there is such a thing as “too much studying.” For too long that is. Brege’s final tip to students is to avoid mental fatigue while studying by taking breaks every now and then. Examtime.com recommends a brief break for every 45-50 minutes of studying, otherwise your brain will be challenged to retain new information.
4. Prep your work space.
There’s nothing more distracting to business administration major Marco Santos ’16 than having to get up every five minutes to grab a laptop charger, pair of headphones or snack while reviewing important material for final exams. Santos says that bringing everything you need for studying to your work station can encourage concentration on your real task at hand, rather than daydreaming about the protein bars you left behind in your dorm room or rushing through a final paper against the warning of a low battery.
5. Use the buddy system.
They say that great minds think alike. What they didn’t say is that great minds think alike together. Santos believes in the power of studying with a friend when needed. Not only can you keep one another accountable for reviewing, but sometimes it helps to tag-team on difficult material.
6. Rock out.
Plug in and your iTunes could help you nail that final presentation. Santos’ final go-to tip for acing your final exams is to listen to music and “tune out the world” to enhance focus and block out disruptions while studying. According to examtime.com, you could get brownie points for making a playlist of classical music, as lyrical music is more distracting than just instrumental selections like Beethoven and Mozart.
7. Hang up the phone.
Emily Washabaugh ’16, business administration major with a marketing concentration, laments how easy it is to get caught up in scrolling through all the latest newsfeed updates. To avoid the trap of getting carried away with pinning DIY projects on Pinterest instead of going over review notes, Washabaugh’s go-to study tip is to put her phone and other potentially distracting electronics away while hitting the books.
8. Blow some bubbles while studying and testing.
Chew on this – popping in a piece of gum while studying is a tip that we’ve all heard, but Washabaugh swears by it. Pro tip: it’s been scientifically proven that peppermint triggers the area of the brain in which memory is stored. Blow some bubbles with your favorite mint variety of gum while studying and pop in the same kind as you’re about to take the test; the familiar scent will help you remember what you reviewed.
9. Studying is a marathon, not a sprint.
College students have been known to pull all-nighters, but know that when it comes to preparing your brain for an exam, cramming is not the way to go. Washabaugh’s final tip to students is to pace your studying leading up to the big exam, then get some rest the night before. You’ll be more focused and energized enough to recall what you learned, and your brain and final grades will thank you.
10. Use Google Translate to edit papers.
When your “study buddy” gets tired of listening to you read that final paper out loud for the umpteenth time during your editing process, let Google Translate do the work for you. Copy and paste your work into the given box and select the speech icon to listen, then edit along as you catch missing words, spelling errors and grammar mishaps to ensure you finish the semester strong.