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Study habits to avoid for surviving finals week

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 22:12

Congratulations, you’ve almost made it to the end of the semester! You’ve only got one gigantic hurdle left over in the form of your final exams. Whether you’re a freshman, experiencing his first moments of abject terror or a senior just trying to get the things out of the way so you can graduate, here are some basic tips to make everything easier.

First, always study without a computer if possible. I know it might be tempting to bring your computer to study from an e-text or to type up notes, but trust me when I say it’s a bad idea. Your laptop, more than just about anything else, provides an ungodly amount of distractions. “I’ve been studying for two hours,” you’ll say to yourself, “I’ll just watch one episode of “The Office” and then get back to work.” I’ve said similar things to myself ten million times, but before you know it, a single episode will turn into five and at least an extra hour of browsing Reddit. Leave the distraction at home whenever possible, and just bring a book and notepad.

Next, I know it might be tempting, but don’t go to the library. Yeah, that advice might sound weird and any other time of the year it would be invalid, but it’s important during finals week. Not only is the library hot and full of wonderful books, movies and computers to distract you with, but it’s also crowded. Chances are when you arrive, you’ll spend the first 20 minutes just trying to find somewhere to sit, and if you do have your laptop, spending the next hour trying to find an open outlet. Almost every dorm on campus has some sort of study lounge and sometimes you can even find an open classroom in some of the academic buildings. You’ll be alone with your thoughts, free to study away from distraction.

Third, do not, I repeat, do not study with friends. Having a study buddy might seem like a good idea, but chances are you’ll get about 10 minutes of work done before the two of you start chatting about random nonsense, which quickly turns into an hour. If you really need help, don’t go to a friend; go to either a professor or a tutor.

Lastly, and this may be the most important of all, relax. If you spend every waking moment studying, you’re not going to do as well as if you take your time and go through all of the material carefully. Take short breaks every few hours (try to limit them to twenty minutes though) and your brain will be able to function and absorb the material so much more efficiently. I know the pressure is on, but staying up all night to get every last bit of detail just isn’t helpful. Not only will you not learn the material, but you’re probably not going to memorize it too well either. Remember that your brain secures knowledge in your head while you sleep. Want to remember an extremely important concept? Study it right before sleeping.

Oh, and make sure to eat at least one banana each day. The potassium helps jumpstart your brain. Good luck, my young wards.


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