With finals just around the corner, students feel the pressure of college.
Finals can be worth many points and oftentimes can dramatically improve, or damage, semester grades.
But, as with anything else, some helpful tips and tricks can ensure that the material studied will stick.
Perhaps the most important tip that can be offered is to allow yourself enough time to study.
It can be tempting to cram for the final the night before, especially with all the other projects and exams going on, but this should be avoided.
Organization is key to making sure that there will be enough time to study for each subject.
Write down exam times and even go as far to include specific study times in your schedule. This will ensure that enough time will be spent studying for each subject.
When it comes to figuring out what material to study, the best thing that can be done is to meet with professors to review old tests.
Cumulative tests can seem frightening at first but combing through past quizzes and tests will act as a guide when picking out the important material.
You’ll be able to keep your focus on key points and concepts that will most likely be seen again on the final.
Study groups are another great way to study, especially if you have questions or struggle with focusing on the material.
Other students may be able to clarify concepts that you previously didn’t understand or point out new ideas that will make retaining the course information easier.
Talking through the course’s concepts with other students will help information stick for the final exam.
Keith Sawyer, a professor at Washington University, researched why study groups outside of the classroom are so effective at helping students retain information.
His research revealed that study groups allow students to personalize lecture notes. Students can make the notes their own.
Sawyer’s study found that it’s difficult for students to absorb and retain the information from lectures even while taking notes.
The writing is sometimes more of a distraction than a help, Sawyer said.
The interaction within study groups aids students’ absorption and retention of the material gathered from lectures.
Students are notoriously known for foregoing sleep in order to cram in some extra study time.
This practice may seem as if it would help since it frees up more time, but it actually hurts students in the long run.
According to research conducted by the University of Michigan, sleep deprivation has been linked to lower GPAs. This is because a lack of sleep has been shown to affect concentration, memory and even one’s ability to learn.
When sleep is sacrificed, there is more at stake than just the difficulty of waking up.
Dr. Philip Alapat, medical director at Harris Health System and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, insists that sleep is necessary for doing well on exams.
Alapat recommends that students should have eight to nine hours of sleep the evening before exams and that this can be achieved by making sure to plan ahead for exams.
While getting eight to nine hours of sleep may be next to impossible for some students, staying up late should be avoided. Research has shown that neglecting sleep will do more harm than good.