How to Survive Finals When Summer is All You Can Think About
It’s official. We have reached that time in the year where school is almost finished and summer is sooo close but finals remain a rather large road block. I have this week of classes and then next week of finals and then I am DONE and on summer vacay!
Last year, I shared with y’all some of my favorite study snacks for finals, as well as my favorite study tips for finals. Going along with that theme, today, I am bringing to you my hacks on how to get through finals when summer is all you can really think about.
I am not sure about where y’all live, but here in Houston, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous (aside from our last few thunderstorms). One of my favorite ways to study and be productive is to do so outside. Read your textbook by a pool, create an outline in your local park, or simply spread out your study session in your back yard. By being outside, where you can hear birds chirping and see leaves rustling, it become much much easier to study and subconsciously remain focused.
Stop Studying for Hours & Hours
There is this stigma around finals that you must study for hours upon hours and that is just not true!! Take sometime to plan out your finals week and other events you may have scheduled. From that, block out study time and keep each study block around an hour to 2 hours. If you plan your studying well in advanced, you can space shorter study periods out over the course of a few days or weeks which will allow you to learn the material better, as well maintain your life and sanity!
Color Coding & Organization
I know this tip seems blatantly obvious but it is really helpful so I had to include it. Adding color to your notes and keeping your study materials organized, may not make study for finals ~ fun ~, but it certainly does help. This past weekend, I actually took some time to sort through my binders, recycle any unneeded papers, and file away the notes I plan to study with.
There is simply no way someone can sit down and study for multiple hours and be fully attentive. This is why when I am planning my studying, I plan my breaks as well, which typically include a run, jog, or workout class. Just getting up and moving your body is so so nice and can really clear your mind (but not of all the material you are studying of course!!).
During your study blocks, set your phone and any other unneeded distractions ASIDE and turn them on do not disturb. I typically will take my apple watch off and store my phone away in a closed desk drawer. Perhaps, you may find it best to put your electronics in another room. If you find yourself continuing to seek out your phone, you may want to consider using the scheduled ‘Downtime’ feature for those of you who are iPhoners. This allows you to schedule designated times when you don’t want to use your phone or certain apps on your phone. Then, once you have a study break, you can use that time to scroll through Insta or check you texts before you get back to studying.
How do I studying for my classes?
Ok so now that I have gone over my more general tips for time management/studying, I will now go a bit more in depth and explain how I study for each of my classes because one of the biggest tips I have learned is you can’ t always use the same study methods for each class. I will also say that everyone’s brains do work differently so my studying methods may not be the most efficient for you but if anything, they are just some ideas. And by absolutely no means am I a genius!! But i have found that throughout this past year, as well as past years, when I use the methods for tests/exams I typically do fairly well.
For starters, I base the majority of my final exam preparation off of review guides that cover everything that is expect to be on the exam. thankfully, my teachers will for the most part provide me with either a review packet or list of terms/concepts to review, but if they don’t I simply create my own.
Math // PreCal
Honestly, math is kinda hard to truly study for, but I try my best to review and ensure I am very comfortable with the concepts. I do so by completing the review packet on my own. It is lengthy and can take a while, but that is where the majority of my studying comes from. I then, use the key to check my work and review any problems that I didn’t understand. Then, with an extra sheet of notebook paper, I make a list of whatever it was that I missed or need some extra reinforcement with and will simply go over that notebook paper until I feel very comfortable with the material. Sometimes my teachers allow us to write notes on a single notecard and use it while taking the exam. if this is the case, I will often times write down whatever I made note of on my extra piece of notebook paper which is typically the concepts, equations, or whatever else I didn’t quite understand.
English is another tricky exam to study for, but I typically just review old tests/quizzes (specifically the questions I got incorrect). Also, there are often times specific passages or sections of texts that my teacher will emphasize when discussing the exam in class, so I always make sure that I feel comfortable with those. Sometimes, my teacher will throw in some vocab words so I make sure I know those like the back of my hand as well.
Language // Spanish
Languages can be so tricky to study for because not only do you need to be familiar with the vocab, but you also need to know the grammar and even some cultural aspects as well. For Spanish, I start going through the vocab quizlets that I have made throughout the year. My love using the ‘Write’ feature and just reviewing that way. Then, in terms of grammar, I make an outline which begins as a list of all of the rules and conjugations we have learned in order of when we learned them. From there, I use my notes as well as the textbook to go through and fill in further details pertaining to each lesson. At the end of my outline, I list out some important facts and topics to review for the culture portion of my exam. This may mean going back and rereading literature or re-watching various videos.
History // AP US History
This year, I am in AP US History so although we have already taken our final, I still have yet to take the APUSH exam. Nevertheless, I do feel that I have learned a few things from taking normal AP tests in class as well as practice AP exams. I quickly learned that simply studying the key terms is largely ineffective. Instead, I found that reading through the Course Exam description, as well as class notes was the most beneficial.
Science // Anatomy
Luckily, Anatomy is pure memorization so for this final, I plan to fill out my Anatomy review sheet and then go over it again and again. It sounds crazy, but I will truly read the review out loud multiple times over, to where I eventually can kind of go through the entire review without even looking at it. I will also either create my own quizlet or see what Anatomy quizlets are already out there and maybe run through them a few times.
Either way you cut it, finals are not the best :/ But the truth is, as long as you plan, study, and try your best, that’s all you can do. Just do good on them because summer will be here before you know it!!