Finals Aren't That Bad // How to Study Like a Pro

Can you believe Summer is so close?! It’s so crazy to think I only have five weeks left as a sophomore in high school. When do your classes end? 

As ecstatic as we are about summer, we do have to trudge through finals first. Believe it or not, I have managed to somewhat enjoy finals. I know, I know that seems nearly impossible. Of course, I don't enjoy taking tests, but I do find peace in getting organized & going out with a bang. Today, I will be sharing my seven top tips to use when it comes to studying for finals. Hopefully, these hints will help y'all find a little joy in such a stressful time of year.

Plan Ahead

I think the phrase "I get it from my Mama" has never been more accurate when it comes to planning. My mom plans like a wizard & thankfully, I have been able to pick up a little throughout the years. Planning ahead for finals is one of the best ways to eliminate the excess high-stress. At least two weeks before exams, whip out your calendar & block out the times & days you are taking each test. From there, you can block out studying times. When you begin studying & the amount of time you spend studying, totally depends on you. But ensuring you have enough time to study for each class, really helps calm your nerves. 

Get a Headstart

Now that you have planned out when you are studying, go ahead & start! The sooner you begin reviewing material, the more natural it comes to you. By giving yourself some leeway, you should have plenty of time to meet with teachers & professors about any concepts you don't fully understand. All in all, starting to study a few weeks in advance really helps calm my own nerves and stress.

Organize!

Along with planning, having everything well-organized helps put me at ease. Organization truly is not very difficult, however, it does require a little extra time & energy so you may want to take that into consideration upon planning your study time. For example, decluttering your binders & notebooks is super helpful. When doing this, I get rid of any irrelevant homework or worksheets. I then like to ensure I have any and all notes needed. I also place my notes in order chronicle order so everything is in the same order from which I learned it during the year. 

Find Your Method

When it comes to studying, there are so many ways to do it. For finals, it’s so important for you to use whichever study method works best for you. Now, since it’s the end of the year, you have probably discovered some of your own ways to go about studying, but for those of you who may want a little something new, here are my go-to's. Quizlet is one of the handiest tools when it comes to school. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Quizlet is essentially a website/app where you can create & search for online flashcard sets. I find it specifically helpful when studying vocab terms. I know it may sound strange, but for history classes specifically, I like to essentially lecture myself. So after completing the review (if you are not given one, I recommend making your own), I will go into a quiet room & say aloud everything that is on the review in as much detail as possible. The more I do it, the better I remember the material & can eventually go through everything we have learned without using the review. Whiteboards have been one of my favorite ways to study ever since the 2nd grade. I am lucky enough to actually have a whiteboard at home from my pretend school days. However, if you don't have one of your own, you can always use a teacher's after school or order your own off of Amazon. For science & math classes, whiteboards are really useful when sketching out various concepts & situations.

Breaks Are Okay

I think a lot of the stress of finals comes from people not balancing their time wisely. When you are planning out your study schedule, it’s important to include breaks. I never allow myself to study for more than an hour without taking at least a 5-10 minute break. Although you may think studying for 4 hours straight will benefit you, it really will just wear your brain out. I try to plan my studying around meal times because that is always a good time to take a break & refuel. Also, activities such as going on a quick walk, making yourself a cup of tea, going for a run, doing a little yoga, & even taking a quick 15-minute power nap are always good things to do to break up your study time.

Your Environment is Everything

When studying, it’s really important to take your surroundings space into consideration. One thing I have recently started doing is studying outside. During these spring months, the weather can be beautiful so it’s a shame to sit in a room for hours and hours. Go to a local park or even just your backyard, lay a blanket out, play some soft classical music and study!

Don't Forget Your Own Wellbeing

Although it's so important to prioritize your exams and studying, it’s equally as important to make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep, eat well, & stay active. When studying, do NOT pull an all-nighter. I am sure you have heard it before, but in order to actually study & study well, you HAVE to get good sleep & a lot of it. I recommend setting a curfew for yourself. It may seem early to some of y'all, but perhaps don't allow yourself to go to sleep any later than 10:00 or 11:00 pm. Then, the weekend before finals, I would set an alarm for 9:00 am at the latest. Like I mentioned earlier, if you find yourself a bit sleepy during the day, take a quick nap to give yourself a boost of energy. This way you will be sure to get plenty of rest but also use full advantage of the day. On top of sleeping, don't allow yourself to sit down all day long. Get up & get active: walk your dog, go on a run, pop into a spin class. Do something that gets your blood moving. Trust me, it will help you go a little less crazy. And you guys--please please make sure you are maintaining healthy eating habits. Make sure to stay tuned because next week, I will be introducing y'all to some of my favorite healthy study snacks and food replacements!

Finals are not easy, but hopefully, at least some of the tips have brought you a little peace. Which tips work best for you? Let me know if you have any other study tips of your own. Goodluck on exams!