How to Study for Finals like a Boss

-Sam Bouchat

It’s almost finals week. Are you ready? No? Well, join the club. And enjoy some of my personal steps to ensuring an efficient and effective study session.

Midterms mean everything

Odds are that your midterm will look a lot like your final. Get a hold of that old scantron and study it! What did you get wrong? Why? Figure it out, because professors love to reuse questions. Additionally, most professors will let you see the midterm test if you go into office hours.

Flash cards, flash cards, FLASH CARDS!

Everything from foreign language to chemistry can benefit from the usage of flashcards. Na is (flip it over) SALT! 骨means (flip it over) BONE! Good job. Creating and then using flashcards is a fantastic way to memorize things. Also, a stack of index cards are a lot less daunting than a stack of textbooks.

If you can avoid cramming, do so

Cramming is wasteful—you’re studying to remember information for a single test, and then will inevitably forget it. That’s not fun! I, for one, want to remember how and why human activities are affecting fluvial systems. You shouldn’t be in class to pass; you should be there to learn. And remembering this stuff now will save you valuable time in the future!

Time Management

Be aware of your priorities. Sure, my geology final is on Tuesday while my Japanese final is on Wednesday, but I also know that my geology final won’t have kanji on it. Label each test with a priority level, and study accordingly. It will save you time, energy, and will help you mentally organize the upcoming nightmare of a week.

Make Blackboard your new best friend

If you’re lucky, your professor put some class materials online. Anything from PowerPoint lectures to the keys to the homework assignments is now a vast field of knowledge. Get to know that stuff. If your professor thought it was important enough to put into immortal online form, odds are it’s also important to know.

Once a textbook, now a canvas

Those textbooks are yours. You bought them for inflated prices and, no matter what you do or how fantastic the condition is, you will only ever sell it back as used. So use it. Mark the corners, doodle notes, put stickers on pages, stuff it with color-coded Post It notes. Highlight passages, underline captions, and draw creative crayon graphs in the margins. Even if you never open it to that page again, marking a passage or phrase will help you remember it infinitely times better than simply reading it.

Follow Sam at @sambouchat

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