The last few days have been blissful because of Thanksgiving break, the delicious homemade food and the copious amounts of therapeutic shopping. However, the stress of finals is almost here. In a few days, we will start crying over last minute assignments, drowning in coffee and staying awake for three days straight. It’s so tempting to get in the holiday spirit right away and to get carried away, but if we want excellent grades we should start studying now. Here are a few basic yet essential tips to help you prepare for the vicious exam cycle ahead of time:
- Plan ahead! This is pretty obvious but instead of just saying that you will study an hour a day, try to set small portions of material assigned to a specific date. Write all of the exam/assignment dates and set a little amount to study each day leading up to your specific exam. Set weekends or free days aside for larger 2-3 hour study blocks. If you purposely fall behind, punish yourself. Force yourself to study extra the next day or have a friend push you and make sure you keep up. Even try to make studying a competition between you and your friends to increase your motivation level.
- Be active not passive. One of the best ways to actively study instead of flipping through your notes is to grab a sheet of paper and to write whatever you remember from memory. After you have done that, go back and add information you missed. For subjects that require extensive memorization this is one of the best methods to actually remember. Another way to learn the material instead of memorizing it word for word is to study with a friend that takes the same class and to teach the material to them. My friends and I often take turns teaching each other biology in the library study rooms, and even end up covering a lot more material together then we would on our own.
- Practice tests. The best way to test your knowledge is to have exam simulations. If your professor doesn’t offer practice tests, ask other friends taking the same subject for their practice exams or even try to search them up on the Rutgers departmental page. If all else fails, google practice tests and look through your homework/textbook to make your own mini test. Highlighting and rereading is not always the best strategy, it’s better to do bad on practice tests and to learn from your mistakes than to be stuck on the actual exam.
The countdown to finals is ticking. The tips above may have just been a reiteration from some, but I hope they serve as a reminder for everyone to stop procrastinating. Hope everyone enjoyed their break. Good Luck!