Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Final Exams Week: Seven Steps for Successful Studying

Yesterday was the last day of regular classes for the spring term at UNC Charlotte and everyone is starting to feel a bit overwhelmed and stressed about the final exams week. As these finals are approaching (fairly rapidly too), many students are starting to wonder how they will be able to finish all the last minute projects and studying in time for the big evaluation. I compiled a list of 7 tips that will help you survive the next few days:

1. Start early: Don't wait until the last minute to start studying for your exams. Many studies have shown that cramming everything last minute pushes information into short-term memory rather than long-term memory and you will forget everything once the exam is over. For a more success way to retain information, start studying at least one week before your exam.  

2. Shed some commitments: Try to limit your unnecessary social and family obligations for the next week. Explain to your friends and family how important these exams are for your future career. They will be understanding and the extra hours of studying will help you get a good grade.

3. Know your study style: Are you a morning person? Do you study better at night? In addition, there are a number of techniques that can help you improve the information retention rate: highlight your notes and textbook; read your notes out loud; rewrite your notes; use flashcards and concept maps; and develop mnemonic devices. Use the strategy/strategies that are the most appropriate for your learning style.

4. Take breaks: The recommended 30 to 50 minutes of studying with 10 minutes break strategy will help you improve your studying. Taking a walk and stretch will let your body and mind relax so you can be ready for another study session. If you can take a longer break, hit the gym. You will not only relief the stress you accumulated, but exercising will make you focus better.

5. Vanish from distractions: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media platforms can be a real distraction from your studies. If you know you will be tempted to get on Facebook (or any of the other platforms), inactivate your account for a few days. This will allow you to focus all your energy on your upcoming exam instead of your News Feed.

6. Eat and sleep well: A healthy balanced diet and a good night sleep (6-8h/night) will help you maintain a high energy level and improve your concentration. Include dark green leafy veggies, whole grains, and fish or eggs in your diet. For high-energy snack, have some yogurt, cheese and crackers, tuna, veggies, hummus and trail mix readily available.

7. Reward yourself: After finishing an exam, take a little break and reward yourself with a few hours of downtime before studying for your next exam. Once the final exams week is over, celebrate your accomplishments with your classmates, friends, and family members.

Hope you will find these steps useful and....GOOD LUCK for the upcoming week!