It’s the bottom of the 9th, the 4th quarter, the final countdown or whatever sports/motivational phrase you choose to inspirationally tell yourself in the last couple days of the semester. Studying for finals is even harder than usual—and that’s really saying something—when people are starting to head home to a magical place filled with spiked hot chocolate and comfortable beds, while you’re subsisting on stale goldfish and flipping through endless pages of notes.
Although I won’t ever claim to have the answers for making finals a fun time, there are ways to make sure all that study time pays off and you leave for home feeling like the real MVP (see what I’m doing with the sports talk there).
Read on for the 5 habits that all highly effective studiers use and just remember, there is life after blue books and color-coded flash cards.
1. Find your happy place.
Or more realistically, your finals happy place—because, let’s be honest, being on a beach in Hawaii with Dave Franco bringing you cocktails isn’t super conducive to a 4.0. Whether it’s the library, your desk, or another study spot, scope out a location that’ll make you feel smart and motivated. Word to the wise: off campus coffee shops can be a great way to get away from the mass stress-fest that is finals time.
2. Network, Network, Network.
You never know who has an awesome study guide or is secretly a managerial accounting savant. Even if you’re the one that actually knows what’s going on in the class, explaining the concepts to someone else can be a great way to reinforce what you already know.
3. The internet is your friend.
I’m not suggesting you spend your last couple days in the library Facebook stalking your entire graduating class, but the internet can be a magical thing when it comes to studying for finals. Couldn’t understand a word your professor was saying? Spent all semester imagining what beautiful babies you and the boy 3 rows down from you are destined to have? Sites like Khan Academy are great for gaining a deeper understanding of concepts you may have missed in class.
4. Sleep for more than 3 hours at a time.
I know I sound like your mom (and trust me, I find that horrifying) but sometimes sleep is the best study-trick. A full 8 hours of sleep can take you from feeling as if you know absolutely nothing to being Rory Gilmore-level smart. There’s nothing worse than getting an answer wrong on an exam because you were too exhausted to think.
5. Know your style.
One of the most important things when studying for several exams is to use your time wisely—and I’m not just talking about asking your mom to change the family Netflix password. Personally, I could hear a concept explained a million times and it doesn’t click in my mind until I write it down. Understand how you learn best, whether that be quizlets, study guides or explaining things out loud, and use that knowledge to your advantage.